Chapter One: A Visitor's Guide to Stormhome

What the City Offers

To many in Khorvaire, the only reason to go to Stormhome is if one has business with House Lyrandar. There’s much more to this island, however, than the dragonmarked heirs who rule it and the volume of travelers which move through it daily attest to this.

A Civilized Refuge

There are many places in northern Khorvaire where adventurers can disappear for a while, but few are very appealing. Despite their dangerous lifestyles, many adventurers balk at the idea of hiding out in the wilds of the Eldeen Reaches or even the hardscrabble pirate towns of the Lhazaar Principalities. Stormreach, however, has beautiful weather, a cosmopolitan population, and a dedicated security force. It’s not a perfect refuge, however, and criminals rarely find Stormreach a stable place to hide. House Lyrandar may be willing to offer sanctuary to those wanting to put distance between themselves and enemies, but it is not willing to damage relations with any governments or even powerful organizations by refusing to extradite criminals.

Base of Operations

While it can be an expensive place to own property, Stormhome offers many exciting opportunities for adventuring parties who want to make it their home. Travel to and from the island is readily available and potential patrons abound. In this respect, operating out of Stormhome is even better than more centrally-located cities if one can afford the fare. Alternatively, many airship or sea captains leaving from Stormhome look for mercenaries to hire for single voyages carrying precious cargo. Adventurers willing to put their life on the line as they travel to Sharn or Korth can travel at reduced prices or even for free.

Crossroads of the World

Like Stormreach, the island city of Stormhome is extremely small considering its importance in the politics of Khorvaire. Nobles and leaders of all sorts frequent the island and yet it has a population which is a sixth that of major cities like Korth or Fairhaven. This means that capable adventurers have the opportunity to impress some major players very quickly. Corruption and violence are controlled by the Sheltering Storm but in a place the size of Stormhome a group of adventurers could easily find itself in the right place at the right time. Even those just passing through may find themselves fortuitously able to help a Khorvairian noble in the streets of Stormhome and be able to parley that aide into some benefits back home.

History of the City

Festivals and Diversions

Stormhome officially celebrates the festivals of the Sovereign Host, though other faiths' holy days are also observed by the faithful. Notably, the city all but shuts down on the few holy days of Sela's Path, the official religion of the house. Like other cities in the Five Nations, open worship of the Dark Six is officially illegal though this policy is only infrequently enforced. Blatant celebration of Dark Six festivals will demand action from the Harborguard but patrol members will rarely stop someone with the hexagram displayed. In a place as cosmopolitan as Stormhome, it takes something very striking to make people take notice.

  • First Day (1 Zarantyr): Most communities in Khorvaire celebrate the start of a new year, but the celebrations in Stormhome go beyond the calendar. According to the traditions of Sela's Path, the first day of Zarantyr is the day when Lyran and Selavash first manifested their Marks of the Storm and it is on this day that their heirs celebrate the legacy that has guided their bloodline from that day forward. Outsiders often find the story a little convenient and historians find no mention of the celebration until after the month of Zarantyr was associated with the Mark of the Storm, just after the War of the Mark. On midnight in the morning of First Day, however, visitors find that the half-elves of House Lyrandar take the legend very seriously. Streamers line all the streets and ice sculptors are created in all corners of the city depicting Lyran, Selavash, or both in various heroic positions. Khorovar in the city, even those not related to Lyrandar and even those of House Medani sometimes treat the holiday as a celebration of their race and overlook the religious aspects of the day. Traditional markings of paste ground from a northern berry are worn by half-elves on their forehead, and the paste is mildly irritating to the skin and results in a slight heat for several hours. The priests of Sela's Path say that this represents the driving zeal in the half-elf race to push boundaries and test themselves, something which House Lyrandar certainly represents well.
  • Sun's Blessing (15 Therendor): The feast of Dol Arrah in Stormhome is celebrated along the noisy waterfronts of Whirlwind Inlet. In the pre-dawn hours, people make their way down to the docks with bright pennants and long wooden horns for blowing, gathering to see a line of ships assembled by the docks. At the first rays of the sun's light a Lyrandar mage, often one of the arcanists from Lyran's Gift, standing in Blue Square releases a bright flare and the ships take off out to sea. The first one to make a circuit around a distant buoy and back to the docks wins the race, becoming the Sun King for a day. Various celebrations take place throughout the city at this point, from a spiritual ceremony on the upper slopes of the Peak in Pinnacle to competing songs sung across the swinging bridges of the [[| Nestway]], finally ending with a feast at dusk presided over by the Sun King.
  • Aureon's Crown (26 Dravago): To honor Aureon, the Sovereign of Law and Lore, the people of Stormhome hold a large festival in Maelstrom to celebrate the many cultures that meet in the island port, their customs, and their peoples. Representatives from across Khorvaire are invited and exotic foods, music, and dances can be seen throughout the ward and the rest of the city. This celebration is certainly atypical of most traditions for Aureon's Crown, as the Scion is normally depicted as a stoic and dignified figure. Sailors know, however, that when the salt breeze hits one's face and the clouds part to reveal a brilliant sky, even the most reserved of men can be moved to celebration and laughter. Indeed, looking around Stormhome, depictions of Aureon are much more lively and free than in other cities.
  • Brightblade (12 Nymm): On the feast day of Dol Dorn, Sovereign of Strength and Steel, the sailors of Stormhome show their courage in a new way. Athletic competitions are common throughout the city but the one the city is looking forward to most is the Nestway Climb up the steep sides of Cliffwash. The wooden walkways of the Nestway are tricky at times but in order to impress the stalwart Dol Dorn, atheletes scale the cliffs of the park district barehanded in a race for the top. Magic is illegal during the competition and only the most prepared are encouraged to participate as deaths are not uncommon in the history of the competition. Mages from Lyran's Gift watch from the sides, but they are no rescue crew and there's no guarantee of safety during the climb.
  • The Hunt (5 Barrakas): While the race on Sun's Blessing is a serious competition for skilled sailors, many consider the Seaspray Chase on Balinor's feast day to be more technically challenging. Nearly the opposite of a race, this competition requires participating ships to attach extra spars to their rigging, one on either side of the vessel. Long pennants made from several yards of colorful ribbon are strung from the spars and on the start of the Chase, other ships try to pull the ribbons off of the spars. Ships sweep past each other in a mad swarm in the harbor until only one ship remains with penants flying. The victor receives a hefty purse but the danger of this competition is far greater than a straightforward race and every year at least one ship is disabled from collision. If anything, of course, this draws an even larger crowd than on a race day.
  • Boldrei's Feast (9 Rhaan): The half-elves of Stormhome know how to host a welcome feast. Khorovar hold the feast day of Boldrei very sacred and House Lyrandar holds a large feast welcoming all guests to come partake. Unity wine is poured for everyone to create a city-wide community on this day and wealthy residents seek to outdo each other for hospitality. Most interestingly to the common visitor, however, is the Grand Raffle that takes place where each attendee of the feast enters their name and a winner is drawn at random to receive a free round-trip airship ticket to a city of their choice anywhere on the continent. House Lyrandar is happy to foot the bill but the ticket is for the recipient only; those seeking to sell the trip will be reminded that they were chosen by the Firstborn to be welcomed into another community and that the House of the Storm is a business after all.
  • Feast of Storms (18-19 Sypheros): The celebration of Wildnight is a contentious event every year that makes many in the Five Nations uncomfortable. From sunset to sunrise, it is said, people's passions grow stronger and fiercer under the influence of the Fury, the uncontrollable goddess of the Dark Six. Some worshippers of the Sovereign Host find it heretical to celebrate one of those shadowy gods and refuse to participate, others let themselves go wild and throw caution to the wind, fueling the first group's criticism. In Stormhome, however, it is a non-issue as the priests of Sela's Path have rededicated the night to the Tempestuous Sea. On this night, no attempt is made to placate the fickle ocean and instead its wild and untamed nature is celebrated by the city that makes its fortune most at sea.
  • Tide's Eve (Full Moon of Each Month): On the full moon of each month, there is a celebration of the Tide's Power led by priests of Sela's Path. At the zenith of the full moon, a small ceremony is held at the docks in the Captains district where the priests pour a bottle of unity wine into the ocean. This wine, created through a special ritual by half-elf communities, is imbued with spells of friendship and alliance as a traditional gift for visiting travelers. In "sharing" it with the ocean, then, the priests of Lyrandar promise their friendship towards the natural force which is their livelihood. After this solemn ceremony, a more lively evening of drinking ensues in the nearby taverns of Linshir where sailors toast each other to good fortune on the high seas. The most important Tide's Eve, of course, takes place during the month of Zarantyr when the moon associated with the Mark of the Storm is full. Occurring two weeks after the First Day (see above) the celebration after the ceremony on this day includes a tart cider made from local apples and water from the melted ice sculptures of the First Day celebration. Though barely done fermenting and unpalatable to many, the Tide's Cider is a sign of extreme good luck and sailors concoct far-fetched plans to get one of the limited bottles every year.
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