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Otherplaces – Rokalan, Sandship Port of (A to Z Challenge, R)

18 April, 2012

Rokalan, once a city decorated in beautiful colorful tiles, the Peacock Port is was called, now the sand and dust make the exterior of every building a uniform khaki.  The tiles have all been moved inside, but even there, dust gets in.

Sandship Port of Rokalan

Once an important and prosperous port on the far edge of a great ocean, Rokalan is now surrounded by desert on all sides and for miles and miles.  It was a natural disaster or a curse or a spectacularly failed wizard’s spell or a joke of the gods or all of them that moved the ocean from Rokalan.  Had the sorcerer-shipwrights not developed the techniques for allowing ships to sail through the sand as though it were water, Rokalan would surely have vanished into the sands.

The city always had an extensive set of rain collecting cisterns and water storage, though they are now exceptional careful in their use of water, and there are a few deep wells nearby that provide a reserve in times of need (and are guarded).   Rokalan now is the hub of trade with the peoples of the desert and of the exotic resources that can be found there.  Strange desert plants, slaves, camels, unusual gems, ancient knowledge, all pass through the markets here but their most valuable items, the sandships, are never sold.  Rarely, one is given as a gift and even more rarely one is capture or stolen.  But a man can become extremely wealthy by returning a ‘lost’ sandship to Rokalan.

The sandships are build of wood, bronze, brass and copper with sails of canvas.  The smaller one skim along the surface of the desert and area exceptionally fast serving as scouts and couriers, the larger ships plow through the sands as though it was water, even so far as leaving a moving wave of sand as they go.  Most are merchant vessels but a small number of warships are maintained by the city to chase off monsters and marauders.

Those who remain in Rokalan are hard, the sand and the heat have worn all softness from them, while not cruel they are harsh.  They have survived the drying of the land, attack by monsters of the desert and marauding desert armies, so they are naturally cautious but once you have made a Rokalana your friend, they are loyal unto death, and expect the same.

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