Sunstone Seahold's badge: tenne an anchor or in full, per pale sarcelle
Hold Life: General Information
Maps and Floorplans
Much has happened at Sunstone since the advent of my last report.
Most importantly, Lord Bryvin has married Lady Asaile whom he appears to cherish. The sweet Lady has also born him a daughter in a very difficult labor which has left her in ill health.
The Lord's cousin Steward Wirnan has been courting the children's Foster Mother who appears to return his affection. However, when he applied to Bryvin for permission to marry her, he was reminded of his connection and responsibilities to the Blood of Amethyst Cliff. His conversation with Suynie did not go well and she has resolved to leave Sunstone and so she informed the Headwoman.
Lorican has been promoted to Master and established his forge at Sunstone along with his family. His wife, Lusilk, was invited to meet the Lady Holder and Lady Brina, Lord Bryvin's sister.
Lady Brina seems to be enjoying the attentions of one of the Ship Captain's. Trayger is an old friend of her brother and sometimes partner in some of his undertakings.
Let's see where all this is going!!
Written by Suzee as L1 on March 8th 2022
When the South was first being settled, safe harbors where new settlers could come ashore and make their way inland were a necessity. One such safe haven was found north of where River Bluff Weyr now stands. It was named Sunstone Bay after two large stones that jutted out of the water, between which the sun would rise during the winter months. The bay was protected from large waves coming off the wide ocean by a large island protecting its entrance. The area well known as a place where people could land in the South, supply and move inland. However, it was a place were people passed through, not necessarily settled. As such, as the number of immigrants dwindled and larger, more important Holds were established along the coast with links to important trading routes, the area became more and more isolated so there were just scattered pockets of population left.
The Plague had managed to find the few small remaining holds, decimating them rather quickly, and making the people fearful of contact with each other and the outside world. As such, when a young stranger named Morin found his way into Sun Stone Bay in a small sailing vessel and seemed intent on staying, he was first met with suspicion and distrust. However he quickly earned their respect by proving himself a hard worker, known for being reliable and always willing to lend his neighbors a hand. He brought with him too a vision that he shared with only a select few at first. Morin saw incredible potential in the small community, encouraging the young people to dream big for it's future.
Morin's popularity among the young and eager grew. The older folks, of which there were many, liked their home the way it was, and change was not welcome. However, more and more people looked to Morin, with his new ideas and natural leadership. He began reaching out to the smaller communities as well, encouraging them all to work together for their mutual benefit. Again, it was the younger members who embraced his vision of change while the older generations balked at the idea. But the elders were dying off, and Morin knew it was only a matter of time.
When the leadership of Sun Stones opened up, it seemed Morin was the obvious and popular choice. Change came quickly and he easily took the reigns. He convinced the smaller cotholders to band together, to cooperate and pool their resources, bringing disconnected cotholds together to form the beginnings of small minor holds, not only along the coast, but inland as well. They worked together to build new roads to connect the communities to one main hub, Sunstone Seahold. He encouraged each to take advantage of the natural resources around them to make trade goods. He also would venture out away from the Hold and actively recruited new settlers and craftsmen to come to his Hold, not only to increase the population, but also the productivity.
No trading caravans came to their Hold, so they made their own on the high seas. In Sunstone Seahold he made the bold venture to construct a shipyard where they could not only build their own ships for trade with outside communities, but he spread the word that it was also an ideal place to stop off for repairs and resupply. By using their Hold as a jumping off point, ships could shave precious time off their voyages to Jade Harbor and Coral Bay Holds by avoiding the Weyr and sailing across the open water in a straight line rather than hugging the coast.
Sunstone Seahold has now reached the point where it is as large, or larger, than many post-Plague Holds. Morin finally took his place as a true Lord Holder, with all the honors that are afforded them. But even as Sunstone flourished a sudden storm brought his end. His ship was smashed on the rocks up the coast from the Hold and he was buried with all honors.
Bryvin, the Steward was then confirmed by the Conclave as the new Lord Holder. His claim was not strong but by marrying a blooded Lady he solidified their support for his bid. He is now taking up where his former Lord left off. Bryvin intends to make the Hold very prosperous.
Sunstone Seahold is located roughly 1000 miles north-northwest of River Bluff Weyr. It is under that Weyr's protection.
As it's name suggests, the main Hold is located on the sea coast, as are several of it's minor holdings. Others are located further inland. While it is now connected to a major trade route over land, it's main avenue of transportation is by sea. Depending on the season and weather, the journey from the Hold to the Weyr averages just over a sevenday. It is roughly a two sevenday sail to the mouth of the river leading to the Sea of Azov and a four sevenday sail to Coral Bay Hold, which allows ships to resupply at the Seahold and reach their destination without having to hug the coast and resupply at River Bluff Weyr or Jade Harbor Seahold. This means traders and passengers can shave precious days off their journey.
The weather is subtropical, meaning it is humid and prone to hurricanes. The humidity averages between 60% and 80% throughout the Turn. The average temperature in the summer can reach 90F (32C), while in winter it can dip down to 40F at night (4C). Snow is almost unheard of, except in the higher mountain Minor Holds. When it does fall in the main Hold, it quickly melts before it can stick to the ground. In the beginning of the summer months, there is a period of monsoon rains which can last as few as two sevendays all the way to a month. It is not constant rain, or even daily rain, but rain and thunderstorms are common and in the course of a month up to 18" of rain can fall.
There are currently two buildings which make up Sunstone Hold. Both are located on adjacent hills close to the harbor. They were built on those hills to protect them from potential flooding during the large storms that pass over every turn. Even the cots that surround the hills have been erected on artificially built on terraces to help keep the inhabitants safe from high water. Such flooding is rare, but the holders would rather be safe than unprepared. The devastation in Topaz Seahold only confirmed in their minds that such precautions were worth the extra expense.
The first building on the smaller of the two hills is barely the size of a Minor Hold, which Sun Stone was up until recently. While this building has all the amenities of a small Hold, it no longer can support the booming population, which necessitated in the building of the cots that now surround the hills to house many of the Holders and craftsmen. Lord Morin began to look at the taller neighboring hill with it's conveniently flat top as a possible location for a larger Hold building to be constructed. Sending a team up to gauge the feasibility of building on the hilltop, they made an unexpected discovery.
There was some evidence when the trees were cleared back a bit that the original settlers of the area had built their original Hold on that very spot. Indeed, it seemed the hill was not naturally flat, as the present-day Holders had always assumed, but had in fact been leveled by settlers during the last Pass. A gently inclining road had once wound it's way around the hill to service the Hold, though it had been hidden for centuries under rock slides and the advance of nature. The road has been rebuilt and the original building foundations were found, repaired, and serve again as the base of the building. They are trying to follow the plan for the first floor as closely as they can surmise to the original structure, with the kitchens and entrance being in the exact same spot. Though there is no way of knowing just how many floors had been built originally, Morin believed a three storied building, would serve his Hold's needs.
It is as yet unfinished, but once it is complete, it will hold the main hall, main kitchens, all staff offices, guard house, storage facilities, and the larger apartments for the Lord Holder and important staff. That will free up the first building to be used almost completely as residences. With most Holders being housed in the two main buildings, the cots can be converted for use by crafters as homes and workshops. The two buildings are connected by a covered bridge that spans the gap between the two hills and leads to a tunnel painstakingly carved into the rock of the hill itself which leads directly into a wing of the new building to make for easier access. When it is finally complete, both buildings and the cots will be supplied with electricity, though that day is still turns away.
At the moment, the Hold's technological level is rather primitive. As a new Hold, the residents do not have the luxury of ancient technology that has been in place for generations. However, Lord Morin has been sending his crafters around the Southern Continent to learn what they can of different methods of electrical generation, from wind, to water to geothermal power. Once a source of power has been decided upon and a
generator has been built, he intends to provide every luxury to his Hold. It is his hope to make Sunstone Seahold a paragon of modernity.
Until then, though, it's floors and baths heated by great wood fires, cooled by open windows in the hopes of a summer breeze, glow baskets, hand-pumped water, and under-ground refrigeration.
Sunstone Seahold maintains a strict adherence to Southern tradition. Women are valued members of the community and are not allowed to be mistreated by their husbands. Arranged marriages are common, but women are not allowed to be married against their will. They are expected to have children, and to care for those children and maintain their husband or family's household. Unwed mothers, or those who find themselves single, are encouraged to marry quickly as there are very few jobs available to women that could support a family. Otherwise, they would become a burden on their parents or relatives.
Female crafters are not allowed at the Seahold. Though it is accepted that female dolphineers and other female crafters will, from time to time, arrive on ships in their ports, they cannot wear their crafter knots off ship. While they may acknowledge their craft, if a complaint is raised against a female crafter that she is encouraging young women to leave their traditional roles for a craft, she may be escorted back to her ship and asked to remain there for the duration of their ship's stay. She may further be denied land privileges on future visits, though this can be reviewed by request.
Population and Plague Effects
Because the Hold in it's present incarnation is so young, it cannot be said that it's population was directly effected by the Plague. However, the cots and Minor Holds in the area at the time were devastated, some to the point of extinction. Especially in the more isolated areas, there was no where they could go to escape the illness that swept through their population, leaving far too few survivors in it's wake.
However, the Sunstone area has not only regained the previous population, but can rival it! With all the survivors collected into larger Holdings, their resources pooled and new immigrants coming in a steady stream, Sun Stone Seahold is thriving while many far older and more established Holds are still trying to recover. The Hold itself houses over 500 inhabitants with another 250 housed in cots surrounding it. Including all the Minor Holds under it's protection, the population is quickly increasing and is nearing the 10,000 inhabitant mark. This is a triumph considering only fifty turns before, the same area housed only one-third the population.
The main economy of Sunstone Seahold, of course, revolves around the sea. Shipbuilding is a major industry, with the timber provided by Minor Holds further inland. Fishing is perhaps even more important as it provides a large part of their tithe to the Weyr and dried fish and seaweed is one of their larger exports. Other exports include rivergrains, which are produced throughout the area, as well as citrus fruits. Tea is also grown, and their rivergrain wine is gaining quite a reputation.
Crafters are encouraged to trade their products with the ships that came through the harbor. The Hold sells high quality ceramics as inexpensive ballast which can later be sold when it's no longer needed. Porcine leather products are readily available. Though gold has never been found in the area, copper and small amounts of silver are, as well as pearls and a few semi-precious stones.
Another important industry for the Hold is the resupply of the ships which come through their harbor. Many are looking for fresh stores and take advantage of the local produce. Though fish is the main meat in their diet, porcine, avian and geese are also readily available. The porcine can be made into bacon which can last a long time in ship stores, and they often pick up a fresh supply of eggs as well. Because of the climate, fresh vegetables are available in all seasons and are a welcome relief during a long voyage.
Despite the availability of a variety of food, bovine is rather rare. Though a family with a larger holding might have one or two for milk, most is produced by caprine. Wheat is also not generally grown in the area since the humid climate makes it prone to rot, so any flour they use to make bread with is either imported, or more often mixed with
rivergrain or tuber flour. Winter barley can be grown in certain areas.
There is one road into Sunstone that links it to a minor over-land trading route, and therefore the rest of the southern continent, but it is not the preferred route. The main form of transportation in and out of the Hold is by water. Almost all outside visitors come boat over the sea lanes. The river and it's tributaries link Sunstone Seahold to many of it's Minor Holds. While there are roads that now link it to all Minor Holds as well, especially to some of the higher mountain Holds, the most convenient routes are still by water.