Koren is a smaller city of around 17,000 souls who dwell in the great City; once a Fire Citadel that long ago belonged to the Flame Elves, it was lost to them over massive wizardly duals some years ago in the Remyrukh wars. Now it stands as a place of meetings where ambassadors of various types and kinds meet to discuss the future of their races. Koren is a great and beautiful site, the old houses of the original Flame Elven quarters are gaily decorated and bare amazing copper tiled roofs. Around the city multi hued flame pools spew their incandescent charges over the city causing no harm to the general populace but light up the sky at certain times of the year with the living grace of fire.
Koren holds position about three quarters of the way along the Koren pass; standing as a gateway between the Great Desert and the Royal basin. When it was created by the Flame Elves it was not the fortified city it is now, Korens Great walls stretch from one side of the pass to the other. During the Flame Elven days the city was much smaller, built mainly to accommodate the Salt Road that still runs through it. Despite its presence Koren has never been a massively important trade town, instead its significance comes from its military value of controlling Koren Pass.
The Southern quarter of Koren is dominated by barracks, towers and temples, all geared towards the purpose of battle and war. Troops of soldiers are constantly training in Koren and during times of peace the area is often used as a staging ground for military manoeuvres in the desert. Indeed on many occasions the military presence in Koren outnumbers the general populace. Despite this the folk of Koren manage to maintain a fairly easy go lucky attitude although it always seems to feel as though War looms just around the corner if you dwell in Koren.
Koren’s community is made up mainly of Flame Elven Nomads and humans of the Basin although the dialects spoken in Koren do lean towards the language of the Egarian people of the Southern desert. The Nomads tend not to settle but many of them rent accommodation or stay in one of Korens many inns. The other large racial dominance in Koren are the Wood Elves of the Harthalian Woods; during the Mandragoran crisis large portions of the Wood Elven community fled South and settled here. The Wood Elves of Koren are very different to their colleagues still living in the Harthalian Woods however; their spirit was broken long ago and now they appear as a drab and downtrodden group dwelling in the slum areas of Koren. These slum areas have recently been invaded by nomad refugees from the great desert who, fearing that an ancient evil stirs in the heart of the Desert, have moved into Koren in the hope of finding refuge in the Basin itself.
Once Koren was a thriving industry; intersecting the Salt road on its journey into the basin it also met the smaller Southern Trade road that leads down onto the coast. Most of the Desert traders, the orient trade and the coastal trade came into Koren first and it was here that the biggest deals were to be struck. Koren is built around numerous marketplaces, cattle pens, silos, coach houses and inns all of which were designed to cater for the once heaving trade that pushed its way along the streets. With the coming of not only the war but the threat from the Desert itself the trade of Koren has been hit significantly leaving many destitute and bankrupting a large number of independent traders and hostellers.
Despite the dip in trade a great number of the houses and families related to commerce still remain in operation in Koren, refusing to leave after an indeterminable amount of years spent ruling over the trade here; The Nine Stars, The Eagles Wing Trading Coster, Nightstar Trading and the trading families of Phyphor, Sung and Garalanis hold seat here and have continued to bolster their position through the shifting of funds from more lucrative areas. No doubt they await the day when the heores of the land have put down whatever threat ails the land and the trade returns. They have gone a long way to assist the King in funding the construction and garrisoning of Fort Northman which guards the pass from any potential dangers that may threaten Koren from the desert.
Lady Silverlight is the popular and efficient Lady of Koren. For many years her father envisioned his task as being to create a safe environment for the growth of trade and business and he did an excellent job. The younger Silverlight (May) has had a more troublesome burden in protecting Koren from newer and more magically dangerous threats: Aside from Fort Northman Koren has also seen the growth of its defences quite significantly over the past two years; The walls of Koren have been bolstered and both archer and mage towers have been added to provide extra security. Two full garrisons of Battle Mages and Royal Clergy Regiment have been allocated to the city along with 5,000 Silver Saints. Heading the Silver Saints is Baroness Yillya Winter, the Kings Cousin and warden of the Koren Pass, affiliated to the Wooded Ways and Duke Cyruss.
Yillya has also taken responsibility for the militia in Koren, effectively declaring martial law after the increase in immigrants from the desert. Crime has been rife for the past few years and Yillya is keen to stamp it out. She is aided by a retired army Grakarn called Selvo Rifaca, a Half-Orc who pertains to be from the North. The two have an excellent working relationship and despite a well known viscous streak Rifaca is also renowned as a sleuth and investigator who always gets his man. Despite this, and Rifaca’s effective position of Chief of police, Silverlight prefers to deal with Yillya over the half-orc. Existing alongside the militia and the army is a band of adventurers called the Silver Brotherhood, they have an excellent relationship with the authorities of Koren and the folk of Fort Northman. Their primary objective seems to be to deal with the threat from the desert but their repeated actions have saved Koren on a number of occasions and have made them local folk heroes.
Inns and taverns dominate Koren although many now are derelict and empty due to the threats and lack of commerce that have been generated by the force from the desert. The largest and commonly most popular of these at the moment is the Shield of the Desert; a large and accommodating building that was once a barracks for an older warriors guild. Its defensiveness makes it one of the safest places to be during any of the attacks that have been coming out of the desert.
The Flame pools and the Copper Towers: Long years past the Flame Elves of Koren where the most renowned Remyrukh’s and Zmyoks the land had seen; true masters of their element they spent many years creating displays of their power around Koren. The flame pools are magnificently huge hollows housed in great copper towers. The Hollows are filled with “liquid Flame” that dances and flickers for all to see. Whilst hot the flames are safe to enter and an hour within their warming caress is said to heal many wounds, both physical and emotional.
The Temple of All Gods: This recently converted temple of Yarrianne now stands as a monument to all of the Gods of both the basin and the Great Desert; despite the fact that there are no actual priests the temple is a popular and much used building that is dominated by the sounds of the faithful within chanting various prayers to many different deities. The place has been examined by many actual Priests and is said to be the most “un-magical” temple that they have come across.
The Silver Brotherhood: The Silver Brotherhood are an adventuring band that have been operating out of Koren for the past four years. They have a dedicated goal that revolves around stopping the source of evil that lurks in the heart of the Great Desert. Originally the group consisted of the following members: Battik the Redeemer, the only Redeemer within the Church of Tiberius; a clansman from the Mohandis region of the Razorback mountains not only was the leader of the Brotherhood a powerful Priest of his God he was also a renowned strategist and pugilist. Al-Rasheed was a stalwart if somewhat barbaric companion, another Priest of Tiberius Al-Rasheed was rumoured to be a “Baserak”; a man possessed of a Berserk spirit that would cause him to fly into rages of anger and commence in fits of violence and slaughter. Kasumi “The Whirlwind” is a ferocious Wu Jen from the Orient; Kasumi’s name springs from his tendency to concentrate his “chi” in such a manner that he blurs across the field of battle appearing to be nothing more then a spinning mesh of blades and silk. Seshepenmehit of Ourus; is a Holy Warrior of Ourus of the Desert; a God akin to Tiberius, a singularly brave man who has sworn himself both bodily and spiritually to the cause of the brotherhood, so strong is his resolve that no force has so far shaken him. Finally the Great Sage Masa Aki Saki finishes their core group; a monk also from the Orient who has honed his mind to such a level that few can understand its powers and portents. Masa is also a master of many martial weapons and has learned to be little troubled by the onslaughts of his enemies.
Much has happened to the brotherhood over the years, in the last eighteen months they have been aided by none other then the powers of both Catagore Cotageish and Imravin of the Elemental Courts. Duke Jarmak Steelheart and the Squire DeGrave have also been seen travelling the Deserts with this band as have Princess Rowan of the Pumpkin house and Sir Ding, the master Scout. During their early years the group also considered Bronwyn of Naed, Flagg, Bremmen Steelhorn, Melina Valraynne, Azir, Volkazz, Reyn of Tiberius and Count Bakerton to be members of their group. Recently however they have lost both Battik the Redeemer and Al-Rasheed to the void, whilst the mourning period will be long the Brotherhood will be ready to fight against the darkness once more; this time under the leadership of Kasumi the Whirlwind.
Selvo Rifaca: This redoubtable half-orc is a veteran of most of the recent wars that have plagued Vaklam bar the most recent Codex battles. Rifaca is more Orc then human and has a particularly surly and often vicious temperament; this is well held in check however Rifaca does not have a reputation as thug or bully. Rifaca moves through the streets of Koren with purpose and intent and has built up considerable contacts throughout the city and the surrounding area. He has been responsible for the arrests of both the Harthalian Boys and the Nine Stroke Slasher in recent years and his resume boasts a comprehensive list of similar collars. It is well known that Yillya Winter holds Selvo in the highest regard and allows him free reign without impunity; this makes Rifaca a figure of particular fear throughout the diminishing criminal communities of Koren. Silverlight however has little like of the Half-Orc and has attempted to oust him publicly from the position on no fewer then six occasions. Her reasons for such action is not a publicly known thing.
Yillya Winter: Tough, resourceful and adaptable are three phrases that have been used time and again to describe Yillya Winter. Overlooked time and again for military duty Yillya joined the Silver Saints and fast tracked her way to promotion with several courageous and often reckless actions; she managed to hold twelve streets in Maryat against the Undead Horde with only fifty two men. Her assignment to the walls of Koren have proved to be her toughest so far but she has risen to them beautifully; with the community falling about around Silverlights ears Yillya has bought the criminal elements to heel and arranged the thinning of racial segregation that was causing so much tension.
May Silverlight: Whilst popular and efficient Lady Silverlight is not a warrior; she has turned over the running of the cities military and policing needs to Yillya Winter. Lady Silverlight is a mistress of economies, trading and understanding the communities problems and needs and despite the weight of these problems in the area her training has shined through. However she has made it quite clear in court that she fears for the safety of the people of Koren and that more comprehensive plans for evacuation should be lain down in case of dire emergency. Like her cousin Daniella Silverlight of Gamtha May faces many problems with the power of the merchant families of Koren and despite their receding strengths they still hold a dominant sway over the area.
The Religion of Koren is a difficult affair, whilst all of the mainstream Gods of Vaklam are followed there are still pockets of the egarian Gods that are worshipped, especially by the nomads and flame elves of the desert who have moved in over the years. The Nature Gods have also found a niche after the arrival of the Wood elves making Koren a multi-religious centre of criss-crossed temples and shrines.
Koren was founded by the Flame Elves as the last outpost of their society; based against the crass civilisation of the Basin, the hidden beauties of the Wood Elves of Harthalian and the Egarian Humans of the Desert. Over the years the Flame Elves prospered at Koren and it has remained what it initially was hundreds of years ago; a centre for commerce. However the city was stolen from the Flame Elves during the Remyrukh wars and despite several actions has remained un-reclaimed by the Elves of the Desert who have come to regard it as the truly the last outpost: No other city of the Elves stands, the rest having fallen to catastrophe and war, the flame elves have become a nomad nation existing across the realms of the desert.