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Niytyole Island--Arena 33

Niytyole Island (pronounced Nee-ah-TOE-lee, Niatoli, those elves have strange ideas of spelling) is thought to have once been the site of an elvish shrine. Though no one knows for sure, the shrine is said to have been to a sea and/or weather goddess named Niytyole. The remains of the shrine are on the highest hill on the island. The shrine may well have doubled as a lighthouse if it was dedicated to a sailors' goddess.

The hill on which the shrine stands is about a mile inland from the coast behind the port town. It rises to about six hundred feet above sea level, though it is steep enough to feel higher if you're climbing it. A narrow crooked path leads up to the remains of the shrine. All that is visible is a floor of cracked marble half covered in drifted dirt and a few tumbled columns of the same pale marble. From the top you can see Monuntial across the water fifteen miles to the south. On a good day, you can also see the coast near Chimlevtal twenty-five miles off to the west. To the east and north is the glacially-fed freshwater Storm Sea with a few small, low islands scattered in the seemingly endless waters.

The island as a whole is ringed by tricky shoals and rocks. It is roughly triangular, ten miles on the longest dimension and about five miles across the other way. The island is hilly and forested for the most part, though there are meadows here and there. The town is in the middle of the long, south-facing side.

The town is small and unpretentious, two thousand people at the most. The buildings are of plain wood, mostly unpainted. The arena is just about the sturdiest looking building in town. There are three main roads, not good roads, but something you could take a wagon down if you were so inclined. One road runs along the waterfront and on around the island, at least part way. One goes off at a right angle from the waterfront, cutting inland to the foot of the hill (the path to the top is a continuation of the road). The third also starts at the main landing on the water front. It heads off at an angle into the woods.

The junction of the three roads at the waterfront forms something approximating a market square. Here you will find merchants from newly arrived ships selling their cargo. You will also find the residents of the island engaged in selling everything from fish and cheese to firewood. Like any market, the basic idea seems to be that the loudest person there makes the best profit.

Most of the town's businesses are clustered around the market. There are grocers, dry goods, ship chandlers, smiths, leather workers, an apothecary, a sail maker, a smokehouse reeking of fish (that is farther along the waterfront, at the edge of town), a couple of small shrines, and, of course, half a dozen inns and taverns.

Despite the reputation of the town, it is not such a poor place. People don't live in temporary hovels, subsisting from one wreck or piracy to the next. In fact, they live as well as or better than people do on some islands with better reputations.

The arena is constructed of a mix of wood and stone--stone for the main walls, wood for the roof and partition walls. The building rises forty feed from the base, with four tiers of arches with windows in them. The fighting floor is the regulation one hundred feet across, but the stands have fewer tiers than some people expect. Still, there are seats enough for everyone on the island.

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Published on: 2002-07-15 (1285 reads)

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