White-Barrow is located in the eastern edges of the Central Steppes, near the White Oaks. Though most of the Steppes are extremely flat, the region around the city, known as the barrow reaches, is filled with a number of hills. White-Barrow is located on the tallest of these hills. The barrow reaches are located at the crux of trade routes between Heatherbrush, several mining towns in the Winder, and the logging camps within the White Oaks.
The city was founded before the Devastation as a fortress when Groundfrost was still a part of Riverland during power struggles of the early human kingdoms. The fall of the Titian, Verome, which created the vast eastern forests and ended the first era of hostilities, turned White-Barrow into a isolated outpost at the northeastern corner of the Riverland region.
After many years of rebuilding, it expanded past the original fortress walls and became a gateway to the south. The constant flow of goods helped to bolster the city’s coffers, but the relatively low attention that the Riverkings paid to the north meant the bandits and robbers that frequented the city’s borders prevented any real growth.
The years after the Devastation left the city in turmoil as different rebel groups took control of the city. Eventually, after the Twin Monarchs and the Grey Ambassadors stabilized the city and unified the rest of the country, the city began a revitalization to rival the grand southern cities.
The rapid growth has led to destabilization of the ground beneath certain regions. These collapsed areas have opened up vast networks of passages and halls beneath the city that have been not fully documented. There is strong evidence that the passages were constructed before human habitation of the Steppes, but it is unsure of who the original constructors might be. Many people have disappeared beneath the city’s forgotten passages, and there is unrest in the regions surrounding these openings.
Districts of White-Barrow
The Oldkeep is the original embarkment and is over 1500 years old. The it has been rebuild over twenty times, each during a different rule. There are few people that live in this area of the city and it houses the Grey Ambassadors. Those that enter into Oldkeep typically have a specific reason for doing so. The Faces, a stone mural located in the base of one of the towers, has been described as being older than the keep itself and depicts a variety of fanciful creatures that have yet to be identified.
Just outside of Oldkeep is a region known as the Feathers. It is home to the rich merchants and tradesmen that work within the city. A lively and compassionate region, there are many newly wealthy that have made their fortunes since the Unification. Many of the heads of the White Sigil and Magi live here, and it houses the Sigil’s Temple.
Bedlam’s Fair, the main market region of the city, straddles the old city’s southern wall. It is mainly a place where goods are exchanged and deals can be brokered. The woods of White Oak, the ores and metals of the Winder mines, and the goods of the southern kingdoms are traded here, as well as the majority of taverns, inns and ale houses.
The alleyways and courtyards outside of the western and northern walls play host to the Hammers district. Here, craftsmen and artisans make their living shaping raw materials into weapons, tools and accessories. Those that live here tend to come from all over Groundfrost to make their living, and are a varied bunch. The Magi, a rare sight in the north, also have several workshops located within the Hammers where their services can be brokered.
The surrounding region, touching the eastern wall and the outer edges of the Hammers and Bedlam’s Fair, is known as the Shambles. Those that have flocked from areas damaged from the Unification and looking for work and fortune have come to live here. There may not be much work or money, but the people here live in a peace that has not been known in the North since the Devastation. The Jesters in Black have been known to frequent the shady cellars and back alleys of the Shambles, much to the dismay of the Grey Ambassadors.