At last the ship arrives in Seagull’s Wharf. You were skeptical of the scorn and bad reputation of the city, but now you wonder if it is accurate. As you exit the flea-bitten harbor, you see chipped and mud-slicked roads, townhouses crammed together and even lurching over the street, and poor beggars at each corner. Most overwhelming is the stench of tanneries and human waste dumped into the street. Yet this is the center of Zarube civilization; the crown city of the Northern World.
The city is divided into two sections: the poor Outer City on the south bank of the River Zaros where the vast majority of the population lives and the wealthy Inner City built throughout the river delta and connected via large bridges. The weather, like most of western Zarubain, is mild and rainy.
Beyond the Outer City’s limits lies a small walled area where the ratlings live. They are not permitted to enter Zarubad. North of the river lies the heavily-forested region of Westwood where the king hunts and has a summer estate.
The king and his court live in a large palace built on the central islet, Royal Isle. There is no bridge to the Royal Castle; it can only be accessed by riverboats, which are banned in the city except for a narrow trade route where merchant ships may go.
Much of the nobility lives in Emerald Isle, which is connected to the rest of the city via a heavily-guarded bridge.
Zarubad’s all-female priesthood has its main headquarters in the Lady’s Cathedral, a massive building that took 40 years to complete.
A burgeoning middle class exists in Zarubad. Though not of noble title, an increasing number of savvy merchants have collected vast sums of wealth and built estates that rival those of the nobles. The unlanded gentry, disenfranchised nobles, have nothing but hatred for them. Alongside the bourgeoisie lives a less wealthy, but still prosperous group, the bottom tier of the middle class. They are craftsmen, shopkeepers, and artisans.
The rest of the population lives in destitute poverty. The poor work in the docks, hire themselves out as servants, or perform manual labor — but most often beg. Most elves—all, by law, slaves — work in the country, but there are a handful who work in Zarubad. These lower classes always live in the shadow of the Royal Castle’s lofty turrets and blue flags and can see it through the sprawl of low-lying hovels, shanties, and shops. They are forbidden to bear arms and held in check by the town guards. In times of war, these lower classes are compelled to serve as footmen under the supervision of more powerful knights of the realm.