The Free City of Dragonfall, also just called Dragonfall, is an independent kingdom, city-state, and major trade power in Orthon.
Because of its strong independence from the Empire of Gard and Holy Episcopate, it draws refugees, fugitives, and other outcasts from those lands. It also draws adventurous souls seeking new opportunities at the center of a major trading empire. The population of Dragonfall has grown dramatically in recent years.
The name “Dragonfall” is held to come from the early days of the Last Dragon War. It is said that the last dragon to fall in the war died in Dragonfall.
Care must be taken to distinguish between the Free City of Dragonfall, the political entity, and Dragonfall Island, the island that the Free City is located on. It is also important to keep in mind that the Free City of Dragonfall covers the entire island, not just the urban port.
The island of Dragonfall is in the western part of Orthon. Because of wind and ocean current patterns in Orthon, most sailing ships end up passing close to Dragonfall as part of a round trip around the super-archipelago.
Urban Dragonfall covers the eastern-most part of the island. The rest of the island, while not part of the city proper, is nevertheless a part of the Free City. Urban Dragonfall is a mixed-race metropolis. The population is only about 60% human. Non-humans have full rights there. Even orcs, goblins, kobolds and the like are allowed to participate in society, assuming they can abide by Dragonfall’s laws.
To the west of urban Dragonfall is Mount Elric, an inactive volcano. Roads curve around the volcano to the north and south. On the eastern slope of the volcano itself is the Abbey of St. Amici, home of the Brothers of the Blue Rose. The abbey is normally open to visitors.
West of Mount Elric, the northern and southern roads merge at Ripkarn Village. Continuing on, the road crosses a fairly narrow land bridge and opens up onto an area called the Gazebos. Most of the Gazebos is criss-crossed by farms. Farming in the Gazebos can difficult, due to few sources of fresh water. Apart from rain, a major source of water is hot springs, which dot the Gazebos.
Knotbark Wood is a very old forest that used to cover all of the Gazebos. Over many long years, it has been reduced to merely the northern part. The trees of Knotbark make excellent wood for sailing ships.
Finally, at the southwestern tip of the Gazebos is a port town called Mariana, which is also technically part of the Free City of Dragonfall. The waters near Mariana are quite shallow, but an artificial harbor is under construction there. Farmers from the Gazebos usually find it easier to travel to Mariana with their wares and sail from there to urban Dragonfall, rather than travel the road and go around Mount Elric.
Dragonfall is ruled by an absolute, hereditary monarchy. The current ruler is Queen Beryl II of House of Adzo, currently age 82. Queen Beryl’s has declared her granddaughter Juniper to be her heir, though her son Mahan also has a claim.
The Queen is aided in her administration of Dragonfall by the Privy Council, a body of experienced administrators. The privy councilors wield great power in the day-to-day running of Dragonfall, but they serve entirely at the Queen’s pleasure and can be replaced at any time by Her Majesty.
Dragonfall’s population is about 60% human, but members of other races are common. Visitors from other islands are also very common. The natives of Dragonfall are relatively welcoming to outsiders. At the very least, strangers are given the benefit of the doubt.
Although Dragonfall has a royal family, there is no specific aristocracy. Instead, the upper class are mainly the fantastically rich families that control trading and banking out of the city, as well as the priests and leaders of the more powerful guilds. As such, rules about who the monarch and her relatives may marry are lax.
The middle class in Dragonfall are merchants, crafters, professionals, performers, and landowning farmers from the Gazebos. They take pride in Dragonfall’s reputation as a “Free” island. Compared with the Empire of Gard and the Holy Episcopate, Dragonfall offers rather more opportunity for people of the middle class.
However, newcomers and poorer people often find it difficult to break into the middle class. Slavery is illegal in Dragonfall, but the poor are not usually accepted into the merchant guilds or crafting guilds, even as apprentices. Many lower class people join one of Dragonfall’s mercenary or privateer companies, or hope to make their fortune in the difficult life of merchant sailors.
Law and order in Dragonfall is maintained by the Constabulary. There are not that many constables. They are generally well-liked by the other locals, but have a reputation for taking bribes. The Royal Palace is not guarded by the Constabulary, but by the Royal Guard. Many of Dragonfall’s wealthier families also hire private guards rather than rely on the Constabulary for protection.
Dragonfall’s navy is impressively powerful considering that the kingdom, unlike the Empire of Gard and Holy Episcopate, consists only of one island. The Royal Navy defends the island from all attackers. It also defends merchant ships flying the Dragonfall flag, assuming their owners can pay for such protection. The main base of the Dragonfall navy is Fort Saoirse.
The main religion in Dragonfall, as elsewhere in Orthon, is Celestialism. Locals also revere the Ascendants. Navy sailors venerate Zari above all other gods, considering her their specific patron. And the Abbey of St. Amici on the slopes of Mount Elric is home to an order of priests and monks devoted to both Exene and Lazulum.