North Neck

See also Kitaminato and the Shogunate

Situated just northward of the Mantle Peaks, North Neck is a city of fifteen thousand men and women that farm the surrounding Great Berm. The low lands of the long northern peninsula make for excellent farmland, and the sea is close enough to make water transport practical for transport. Most such trade goes down the coast to pool at North Neck before making the more dangerous coastal voyage southwest, to Highgate. While the business and farming interests of the town are significant, it still seems rather sleepy in comparison to the splendors of Xian or the tropical decadence of Tien Lung. Many of the daifu families of North Neck are of Kueh descent, with the excellent fishing waters to attract their fisherman ancestors.

Trade ships often prefer to make the western approach along the Great Berm, as the broad, open expanses of water make it easier to avoid pirates. Cargo landed at North Neck then makes an eight-mile overland trek east to a small transshipment settlement called Low Port before heading south down the coast towards Xian. Low Port is a jumble of warehouses and shabby tenements, more a stopover than a real town. Anyone who can afford it prefers to live in North Neck itself, and only the poor longshoremen and dockworkers of Low Port willingly reside there.

Increasingly, there is quiet concern in Xian over the comfortable independence of the grandees of North Neck. The land routes to the city skirt the dangerous edges of the Mantle Peaks, so little direct overland commerce exists with the city, and the rich farmlands are encouraging the locals to view Xian's rule as a practical and necessary state of affairs rather than as an ordained certitude. No one is so foolish as to talk open defiance of the Mandarin, but some local nobles are testing the prudence of a studied laxity in obedience.

Update: 4/24/04

A recent magical disaster has swept over North Neck and its surrounding settlements. A shockwave of brilliant green energy burst from a site near the neighboring town of Low Port to sweep over almost the entirety of the isthmus, visiting a terrible change on a tenth of the population. These victims were contorted into demonic shapes and filled with terrible urges, desires which not all were strong enough to resist. These accursed ones exhibited powers more in line with those warlocks specially damned by infernal heritage, and massive riots have broken out throughout the peninsula as those that retain their self-control fight to contain those that have gone completely berserk. Some say that this is the work of the Red Tide, yet others blame the Hell Kings. A growing number are blaming the Mandarin for the change, saying that it was an agent of his that triggered the effect by destroying the Tide-cursed blue crystal that had recently appeared in a leprosarium outside North Neck. Many of these say that the effect was neither unanticipated nor unwanted by the Mandarin.

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