Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Fortress Salzinwuun

The fortress Salzinwuun is located near the exact center of the city of Salt in Wounds. Though referred to as a fortress, this tremendous black-stone fortification is a wonder of engineering more properly considered a castle. Salzinwuun is and will –in many ways- always serve as heart of Salt in Wounds; it is the base of the God-Butchers, first processing center for Tarrasque viscera, security to prevent untoward access to the beast, and first, best line of defense should the Tarrasque ever free itself.


History


After the first slaying and binding of the Tarrasque, the heroes
encamped around the beast while those of their number versed in lore searched for a way to permanently slay the creature. In the weeks to come, much of the army that had been raised to oppose the Tarrasque melted away to tend to the other matters of their lives. Still, without any way to deal with the Tarrasque permanently the remaining guardians were forced to kill the Tarrasque over and over again even as their numbers dwindled, their equipment failed, and the winter crept over the high valley where the Tarrasque lay, endlessly regenerating. The remaining binders did all this while fending off monster attacks as well as raids by hostile tribes of wild-men and yeti.
In the hard months to come, the camp was transformed into a fortress proper incorporating the siege equipment and heavy weaponry used to slay the beast. They named their structure ‘Salzinwuun’ which means ‘The Chains of God’ in the old, formal speech of the era. The name stuck even as the fortifications transformed from wooden palisades to simple (if competent) stone-work raised by the local stone giants who were enslaved by the early God-Butchers.
As the fort grew; buildings, shops, and merchant stalls were raised outside its walls; the God-Butchers now beginning to insist that only those actively working on controlling the beast should be allowed any access to it. A second set of walls was established to protect everyone and everything else, and this became the city of Salt in Wounds.


Salzinwuun Today


Even the most strident critics of the Tarrasque’s binding –those who preach endlessly about how the creature must be released or slain- must admit that Salzinwuun is a wonder. The modern day fortress walls are over a hundred feet high, constructed of smooth black granite. The skill and craft of the stone giant builders has left barely an inch of space between the seer-mortared blocks; only enough toe or finger hold for the most skilled of climbers. A faint discoloration betrays where the east facing wall was repaired following the 12th Meridian crisis.
Still referred to as a fortress, Salzinwuun dwarfs most of the continent's castles. Where one would expect a keep lays the living, howling Tarrasque. Whereas most similar structures have defensive options aimed outward, Salzinwuun has numerous offensive emplacements aimed both in as well as out: arrowslits and parapets to keep the rest of the city and any would be invaders out, massive ballistas (their bolts affixed to massive chains sunk into the foundation) pointed towards the Tarrasque. First time visitors often confuse the emergency weaponry (of which the wall mounted ballistas are the most prominent) with the weapon-like cutting tools (belly lifts, extraction screws, scalpel-rams) the God-Butchers utilize to run their operations.
Besides the gates, extraction tools, and last ditch weaponry the interior of Salzinwuun also sports numerous first stage processing infrastructure: from house sized vats and kettles for rendering fat and boiling piss & other liquids, to sieves and sifters the size of alleyways for doing rough sorting before exportation to the Process Guild.
The largest structure inside Salzinwuun is the mess hall, a raccous, simple building filled with endless tables and kitchen facilities to feed workers.


Getting In and Out of Salzinwuun


There are five main ways people and viscera move into and out of Salzinwuun.
  • Prime Gate Prime Gate is set in the west which serves as the main thoroughfair. This is almost a snarl of traffic as merchants and others seek to move under the double raised portcullis and the looming murder-holes between. God-Butchers man check points just without and within; verifying bills of lading, inspecting cargoes, and doing what they can to facilitate the men and meat.
  • Giant's Gate Giant’s Gate is almost impossible to spot when closed, but can be found north of the west facing Prime Gate. This exit appears simply as another section of wall, curiously with rail tracks emenating from the fortress. However, when the massive interior cranks are turned with super-human strength what looks like an ordinary stretch of wall shifts, lifts to allow egress by massive, rune enscribed stone giants hauling huge carts filled with meat, lard, bone, and other viscera delivered in bulk to the Process Guild. No entry is allowed through Giant’s Gate (the carts are hauled easily through Prime Gate at the end of the day) and anyone attempting to enter here would likely be trampled by exiting giants or their cart or –surviving that- slain by well armed God-Butchers who jealously guard this gate.
  • Butchers Gate: Butcher’s Gate is a small entrance (the size of a double-wide door) south of Prime Gate. Butcher’s Gate is utilized by God-Butchers and the extremely well connected (Binder-Lords, the wealthiest Blood Merchants, ect) to avoid the chaos of Prime Gate and quickly get into and out of Salzinwuun. 
  • The Charnel Sluice Grates The Charnel Sluice Grates are embedded into the south side of Salzinquun are more utilitarian, and are not utilized by sentient beings. Around the Tarrasque deep, bridged crossed channels have been dug to direct the flow of excess blood and waste (ground to a slurry) out of Salzinwuun through massive steel grates out into the Red River. The grates (and the channels that feed into and out of them) must be regularly cleaned (a common punishment for God-Butchers who have failed in some way). While the defenders of Salzinwuun doubt any would brave the foulness of the outflow to try and gain access, they still diligently patrol this feature.
  • 12th Gate 12th Gate -sometimes referred to as the Gate of the Marrow Miners- built into the east facing section of wall that was damaged during the 12th Meridian Crisis. This entrance was constructed when 12th House contracted the Marrow Miners for extraction and binding services. While not as impressive as Prime Gate, 12th Gate is still a heavily utilized entrance and exit, though delays to use it are much more pronounced as the God-Butchers who defend it regularly stop travelers or traffic altogether to conduct (sometimes justified, but often punitive) searches of the Marrow Miners and their haul. God-Butchers claim that all contraband is smuggled via 12th Gate. While this isn’t entirely accurate, numerous criminal elements do make extensive use of the Gate of the Marrow Miners (in addition to making use the Guild of Marrow Miners themselves).


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