With ten thousand people and a disproportionately large military, Huerten City is the largest and most powerful population center in Rang. Baron Huerten lives in the center of the city, in his castle, the outer walls of which long ago crumbled to ruin.
The Lodge is an upscale inn, tavern and resteraunt owned by the baron and patronized by the more wealthy merchants in the city. It charges several times what other inns charge, but it's still very popular and extremely large. The Lodge sits right next to the lake, and is stilted six feet above the ground to protect it from flooding. The main support of the Lodge comes from an enormous Ostmark Oak rooted fifty feet into the ground, a gift from Diure LVIII. The Lodge was destroyed during the earthquake of 10/8/100188.
The First Knight Inn, commonly called “Sir Jerenil” after its owner and operator, is the Lodge's main competition. Neither Jerenil nor any of his ancestors is actually the first knight of Huerten, but his inn is well known for its quality, and the performers it regularly hires, and the large dancing space in the center of the tavern area. During holidays and other celebrations, Jerenil tends bar in his armor. The First Knight is less expensive than the Lodge, but still charges double what most other inns charge, and it has large, expensive suites and rare foods to compete for the highest class of patron. The inn is larger than the Lodge, with almost a hundred rooms. Most of the year, the inn is largely empty, but Jerenil makes up for it during the major trading seasons.
It took quite some time to find the First Knight. Both pairs got lost once or twice based on incomplete directions, and many people they asked had not heard of the inn. Finally, someone responded with “Oh, you mean 'Sir Jerenil!',” and directed them to the right place. When Ardith and Korisca arrived at the inn, Kreemon and Kay were already there, and had been waiting for half an hour.
When the door swung closed behind them, Ardith and Korisca were struck suddenly by silence. They'd gotten used to the noise of Huerten, and even such a large inn, at three o'clock, was not well attended. A tall man in his fifties with broad shoulders tended the bar, and nearby, standing on display, was a well-polished suit of plate armor, which wore an elaborately-hilted sword at its waist, and a shield strapped to its wrist, emblazoned with the form of a snake twisted around the perimeter of an ellipse.
The common room was spacious, and was full of empty tables, including two long rectangular tables and a large number of round ones for smaller groups. Only four of them were currently occupied, including one of the long tables, which had a single man sitting at its end. The middle of the common room devoid of furniture, possibly for use as a dancing space, and a raised platform took up most of one side of the room.
The First Knight Inn, popularly known as “Sir Jerenil,” was still serving dinner when they arrived, though it was quite late. A popular place for travellers and merchants, it often kept lights on, music playing and food cooking until midnight or later. Tonight, the entertainment was a woodwind quintet and a frail-looking woman with a high-pitched, sweet voice. The music had an airy, mystical quality, and often gave the impression it was telling a story. Mineasia was entranced by the music, the people, the smells and sounds. There was more going on in this room late at night than in her entire village most of the time.
Bull's Tavern is a small place with a dirty common room but nice bedrooms and good service. Second Inn is the oldest inn in the city. There are many inns owned by knights who need to make a living somehow (Sir Wendal's Inn, Sir Greveran's Inn, Sir Uruni's Inn etc).
The castle was not difficult to find. Its towers, which rose nearly as high as the spires of the Temples of Andritha, could be seen from almost anywhere in town, even in the moonlight. From a distance, the castle was quite impressive, but when Kreemon approached the outer walls, he was disappointed. The castle was far larger than Baron Wently's – no, Baron Velhelm's – in Elgony, and at some point in the past it had no doubt been a great fortress, capable of housing hundreds of townspeople against a siege. Now, however, the outer wall was in a pitiful state of disrepair. The huge stones out of which it had been constructed were broken up, making the wall easy to scale. Out of the cracks grew moss, grasses, weeds and even small shrubs. What had once been a wide moat was filled in, though it dipped slightly downward, and a drawbridge was permanently lowered over it. One of its chains was rusted through, and the broken red metal swayed gently back and forth in the breeze, while more of the chain lay in a pool on the ground.
In turn 88, a devastating earthquake hit the city, which opened a rift in the earth two miles away (discovered in turn 90). Between then and turn 100, the Sh'kurdaru and Baradarres were found living inside.
In 859, the region now known as Huerten was re-conquered by Diure LVIII and enfeifed to the first Baron Huerten. The baron was given this land along with the added responsibilities of caring for a good many knights and soldiers of Rang, and closely monitoring the southern border. In the later capacity, the baron received the additional title of Royal Clerk, or First Clerk of Huerten.
The Second Clerk of Huerten is second in power only to the baron. He is responsible for assigning knightly duties, collecting taxes, reading legal documents before passing them on to the baron, and maintaining the system of law in the city and barony.
Gisald: Unassuming and unambitious, Gisald, High Priest of Huerten (named after His Eminence Gisald the Holy) leaves politics to the baron. He is on good terms with the baron.
In his thirty years as high priest (Gisald is nearly seventy), he has done little of note. He's encouraged the passing of several laws restricting Morenthians, and for the four years from 978-982, he advocated registration of Jarramites, Zahirans, Durramanians and other non-Andrithans in the city. This eventually became too expensive a law to maintain, so the baron and priest jointly signed the document that repealed it in 982. He has supervised the construction of one and a half temples (the second one, due to a critical flaw in its architecture, collapsed and was replaced by a courthouse). Ironically, he opposed a law promoting increased taxes on Jarramite-sold goods, and generally opposes restrictions on trade for religious reasons. In 991, he granted the title of priest to the baron's second son.
Gisald is responsible for a small group of a dozen knights, who, while officially under his command, spend most of their time serving under others. Gisald has become less active in recent years, delegating much of his responsibility to lesser priests.
Barburan: Barbruan, a priest of the Fighter, takes care of most of the administrative details of the priesthood in Huerten. He arranges correspondance with priests in other cities, and, on rare occasion, with Duerstadt. While he would have little to do with a court case, his church is known for detailing certain stories of the Battle of the Magics, where priestly magic is said to have been used.
Meretier: Meretier might have something to do with the courts, as he was a judge before being ordained as a priest of the Lover. Dispite the aspect he works for, he's not known to be particularly sympathetic to anyone.
Yunwel: Yunwel, priest of the healer, replaced the current Healer of Dunweig when the older man became a high priest. He is in favor of teaching all the old stories, whether they be seen as truth or legend.
By Karl Schinke (or was it Nathan Weismuller?) and the DM.
The most important cases are presided over by the First or Second Clerk of Huerten. Other cases are presided over by various local judges, many of whom are knights or other gentry. Typical fees amount to 5at per trial per day for a local judge, 40at per trial per day for the Second Clerk, and 60at per trial per day for the First Clerk. Bribing a judge is a crime punishable by death, which is not to say it doesn't happen. The loser of the case is required to pay 80% of the judge's fee, while the winner pays 20%.
An advocate (lawyer) is a trained and licenced orator who can make your case before a judge. Fees range from 1at per day all the way up to 50at per day.
The judge usually decides on the location of the trial. The cost of the trial, excepting the fees of the judge and advocate, is paid in equal share by the defendent and prosecutor. This usually amounts to 2at per day. An additional 2ag per day is paid by each of the accused and accusors.
Guilty until proven innocent is the policy of all courts in Huerten. Because of this, it is not unusual for defendents to be imprisoned or even tortured for information before the trial. Clergy are all but immune to torture, since the baron must receive special permission from the High Priest of Huerten to engage in such an act with a priest.
The crimes and standard punishments are listed by the bailiff. Then the prosecutor, who may be a proffessional advocate or any other person of the accusor's chosing, makes his case. Then the defendent, a proffessional advocate or any other person of the defendent's chosing makes his case. The prosecutor gets a final statement, while the defendent does not. At any point during the trial, evidence or witnesses may be brought.
After all testimony has been heard, the judge either makes an immediate judgement, or retires to deliberate. During deliberation, the defendent is held in custody, often in a jail cell.
With fair regularity, the spokesman for the defendent has been tried after the trial for bearing false testimony. For this reason, it can be difficult to find someone to defend a case.
In the early afternoon of the eighteenth, Ardith, Kay, Kreemon, and Korisca arrived at the gates of Huerten. The city walls were high, about twenty-five feet, and innumerable guard towers were spaced about. There were four gates, to the south, south-west, north-west and north- east, and Andan Huerten, a Lake whose dimensions put the Black Lake to shame, formed most of the south-east wall. The slight fog made it impossible to see all the way across the lake, though innumerable fishing and trading craft were visible even through the fog. One enormous ship was docked in the distance. Its flags were lowered, so it was impossible to tell whose it was.
Even from outside the south-west gate, the city looked large – larger than its population of ten thousand would require.
Although Huerten was large for its population, that did not make it look any less crowded. Trader's booths lined the main streets, even spilling into a few of the residential areas. Shops had their doors closed against the chill afternoon, but it hardly seemed worth the effort, since they were constantly swinging open and closed as customers and traders went in and out, and it was not even evening, when the town would be at its busiest. The streets were full of people; walkers, runners, cart-pushers and horse-leaders, wagons, coaches and trains of servants. A goodly number of knights in and out of armor rode on well-groomed horses, with their ladies before them or behind them, and numerous small patrols of guardsmen kept watchful eyes out for trouble. In sum, Huerten exhibited all the sights, sounds and smells of a market day, even though it was the middle of the week.
The size of the town was not an indication of sparseness. There were gardens and areas of undeveloped land here and there, but mainly, the town was packed full of businesses and public buildings. An almost absurd number of inns, taverns and lodges were set up for the benefit of traders, many of which were named after (and, most likely, run by), some knight or other. Others had more generic names, like “Second Inn” or “Bull Tavern.”
There were also a lot of temples. Two large temples sat in the center of town, to Andritha the Mother and Andritha the Fighter, but there were also dozens of smaller temples, some little more than private homes converted by the affixation of a symbol of Andritha above the doorpost. Were it not for the Signs, it would have been difficult to tell that these were temples at all.