- Andrew M. Trauger
The City of Westmeade
Located in the northwestern part of Alikon, Westmeade is situated on the Rae Belshar in the midst of endless farms and ranches. Though it is primarily a farming town populated by country folk, it is so far removed from most other population centers in Alikon that it boasts an unusual variety of offerings for a town its size.
Westmeade has roughly five thousand inhabitants within its walls, which makes it a large town and easily self-sufficient. But several factors and a unique history have helped to provide a number of surprises to the passing traveler.
Westmeade is the primary settlement of any notable size between Cer Halcyon and Cer Cannaid, making it an automatic stop-over for anyone traveling that route south of The Deepening and through the Grottoes. The town began as a simple military outpost centered upon a singular tower originally known as Wilderness Tower. "Wilder" Tower, as it became known, soon needed a permanent regiment dispatched to its calling as guardian of the west, and so a castle was built a half-mile away, and stone wall erected to surround the two structures at opposite ends.
Because of the extremely lush and fertile land surrounding Westmeade, the town served as a hub for farmers and ranchers to exhibit and sell their wares. Markets quickly arose to deal with both local trade and to establish national trade routes. This burgeoning trade eventually led to the rise of "side" markets, both constructive and, well, less honorable. Gambling houses, brothels, a thriving thieves' guild, and other "dens of iniquity" were commonplace and existed alongside merchants, carpenters, haberdashers, and tradesmen of every kind.
In the midst of this riotous era, the Brewer's Consortium was birthed, which was, in its infancy, simply a massive couple of debauched weeks of drunken revelry. The Duke of Alikon, upon hearing reports that his military contingency in Westmeade was lapsing into a sprawling slough of drunken sots, organized a massive effort to reshape the town into something respectable. He ousted the regiment stationed there, stripping the town of any military presence, and in its place established an elected Council--the first of its kind. The original members were his choice, but future replacements would be elected by the people. Rather than remove the Brewer's Consortium, the Duke organized it into a "trade day" of taste testing, recipe sharing, and award winning for best "drink of the field." Over time, this day grew into a weeklong event that drew in hundreds of brewers from all over the continent, establishing Westmeade as the "Ale Capital of the World."
One of the members of the Trithemius, Boedy Drackip, lives in a small community just a few miles outside of Westmeade, lending significant legitimacy to the town's reputation as a good place to live. Most recently, Artus Calloway, famed explorer and collector, relocated his Emporium to Westmeade, converting a warehouse into a fortress of collectables--all of which are for sale at prices not a single person in Westmeade could possibly afford in a dozen lifetimes. Yet, he seems always to be buying and selling pricy items to wealthy patrons from all over Arelatha, which draws considerable interest to the country town.
Finally, the Company of Dragonslayers has taken up residence here. Not purposefully, since they were literally confined within the city walls for a year as a sentence for burning out the top two floors of Wilder Tower. But as the Dragonslayers find out, there is more going on in this little "backwoods" town than meets the eye.