The ship lurches in the wind as a black blot appears on the horizon. Melvaunt, the City of Swords. The City glows with the light of a thousand forges. It is a city of metalsmiths and merchants where smoke from the workshops hangs in the air like a black curtian. It is this cold black mist that persists in the minds of many foreigners. The moisture mixes with the smoke and ash to kill most traces of vegetation and it leaves an oily residue on buildings, ships, and people. A bright yellow light shines on the western side of the city beconing in ships from the harsh waters.
You rode the churning waves of the moonsea upon a vessel called “The Cutlass” with 14 other passengers and a shipload of grains from the Vast to the South. You step off the boat onto the crowded dock. The wind howls loudly in your ears as you make your way toward dry land. All around you, workers load and unload ships with goods of all kinds. You see many uniformed guards and dock inspectors charging thier tariffs as the captain gives orders to move the merchandise. Off to the west a man with a whip moves a single file line of humans chained at the ankles. A guard nods and waves to the man with the whip as they pass.
Known as the “City of a Thousand Forges”, Melvaunt is either the last city on many northerly trade routes, or the first port of call for the vast, untapped wealth that flows southward from the frontier settlements north of the Moonsea. The city is an almost iconic representative of the mores and culture of the rough lands of the Moonsea. With it’s location in the swampy estuary of the glacial River Svalich, it’s deep harbor, and it’s inarguable wealth, the city has managed to withstand the press of hostile humanoid tribes in the to the northeast, the unremitant ambitions of the people of Zhentil Keep to the west, and even the occasional dragon attack from the untamed lands far to the north. The history of Melvaunt dates back all the way to the first tentative ventures of “civilized” humanity into the forbidding lands of the Thar, and arguably, beyond even that.