Keil

       Keil is the souternmost city of Falia and is its trading center. Blessed by a large and protected harbor, it is a shipping center for the Northern Empire. Primarily the Stern and Prokoff families hold the city. These are ancient families and have been fervent supporters of the King since the time of Ulrik. Although large families, they have a significant influx of Novarese blood through marriage in the past hundred or so years. These two families are amongst the most accepting of new things of all the Falian nobility.

       The city itself is an incredible collection of art and architecture from across the Empire. It is the only city in Falia that is not build out of the typical dark stone and brooding architecture. Most of the buildings are of white marble from Novarum. The most beautiful of these is the performance hall on Knight’s hill overlooking the harbor. This building was build completely by Novarese craftsman in tribute to the leadership of King Seigfried the first. It is said by most who see it to be a very beautiful building.

       In the year 614 IR, four new vessels were comissioned in Keil at the order of Duke Hugo von Stern. These ships were designed to protect merchant shipping from the ever-increasing threat of pirates on the Great Inland Sea. Fast, maneuverable and powerfully armed, these ships were the best in the Empire and no expense was spared in making sure that the best captains and crew served on them. Duke von Stern elevated his best Captain, Horst Steinbeck, to command the four-ship squadron. From his flagship, the Starbrucken, he took to the sea against pirates.

       A full summer’s campaign was waaged and many a brigand’s vessel was burned to waterline and sunk. Additionally, several settlements of pirates and their ilk were burned and destroyed. Returning to Keil in triumph , Captain steinbeck retired to a comfortable house in keil, admired by all who knew him, for he was above all an honorable man whose word meant everything to him.

       IN 621 IR along the coast of Scolia and Falia, a group of Unmakerites had summoned from the deeps a great creature of chaos and was using it to attack settlements and to make demands of the people who lived near the water. All of the warships of the Empire rushed to defend the settlements, but the creature, backed by a significant number of clerics, damaged or destroyed most of them. In open water it was simply to fast to be directly attacked by the powerful magics and weapons needed to affect it.

       Fearing the loss of much of the Maker’s world to this vicious creature, King Fanz commanded all the High priests and his generals to provide a strategy for the destruction of this threat. However, after days of planning and much prayer for guidance, no significant plan had been advanced for the destruction of the creature.

       On the eleventh day of the meeting an uninvited guest appeared from thin air, in the center of the King’s hall. Ignoring the assault of the guards and the assembled spellcaster the guest spoke these words. "A gift to the King from Magus Island. to destroy the beat you must have a ship draw it into the shallows east of Carrick at the changing of the ties. When the waters recede you may destroy it with magics and weapons that you are familiar with. Mark this warning, the best is wily and will not fall for the same trick twice. So choose your ship well, for to fail means the end of this world. " The hall fell silent for a moment, and then the King spoke to the assembled nobles: “Who among you has the finest captain, crew, and ship, for we must surely have our best at the helm?”

       Moving to the center of the room and lowering himself to his knee in front of his King, it was now Duke von Stern’s turn to speak, “Proven in battle and by devotion to duty, there is none greater than Horst Steinbeck, and with the Starbrucken and her crew, we will have the best chance.” The king knowing that he was sending the devoted servant and his crew to their death, gave the order to set the plan in motion.

       Summoned from retirement the proud but grizzled Steinbeck swore to his liege that he would not fail. As he was leaving he was heard to say to his wife of 40 years, “Know this my love, I will sail back to this harbor and into your arms. No force on this world will prevent me from this, for thou hast been my life.”

       The captain and crew of the Starbrucken led the creature across the freef despite its power over the weather and the sea itself. The creature struck the ship again and again, costing many of the crew their lives, for it was known that to be consumed by the beast was to be deprived of all of the Maker’s Gifts, for the creature was the maw of chaos itself.

       Bards, jaded by years of their trade, often still shed tears when they tell this tale and reach the part where it became obvious that the plan would fail, for the creature recognized the trap and made to flee, stopped only by the bold captain Steinbeck who selflessly rammed the battered remnant of his once proud ship into the gap in the reef, trapping the creature but costing every member of his crew the remainder of the Gifts given them by their creator. Every child knows of the terrible battle that was fought to destroy the beast and of the many brave combatants that were lost that day, but in the end the great beast was destroyed.

       Sailors maintain that sometimes at midnight on the anniversary of this battle, an image of the Starbrucken sails into the shallows of Keil, and that each time the proud Captain Horst Steinbeck steps onto the dock, gathers his waiting wife into his arms, re boards the Starbucken and sails away.

Keil

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