Travel Series: New Thalos (Part I)
First of a two-part story on New Thalos, the famous Mesolarian trading post
New Thalos (Code: WTH)
Almost directly south of Aylor, at the end of the Old Thalos Road, sits the somewhat ironic New Thalos. Once named as the successor to a city now buried deep in the annals of Andolorian history, the port town on the southern coast of Mesolar is in many ways a throwback to older, murkier days.
Because traders from foreign lands favoured the safety of the seas over the risks of the roads, New Thalos grew from a small sleepy outpost to a bustling city in next to no time. Many people think it was always so, but history was not always on the side of the Thalosians.
The Sultan, the sixteenth in the current line, knows about the darker days of Valkur's raids on Andolor only from his history books.
"Those were horrible days," offers the ruler of New Thalos, after overcoming his initial surprise at my entry. "Even the public baths in our glorious Old Thalos were overrun by demons, and blood flowed more freely than water. But I forget the rest, those lessons were boring anyway. Maybe you should ask someone else."
The hereditary ruler fidgets on his dais and cocks his head to one side. A servant boy springs to life, running down the corridor. Moments later, he reappears, followed closely by a tall dark-skinned maiden smelling strongly of lavender and honey... and something else.
She narrows her eyes as she passes me on her way to the dais, and I decide it would probably be a good time to make my exit. I walk out past the relieved guards, spying a sleeping beggar out of the corner of my eye.
The "I've got to hire a new tax man now, huh," sighs the Sultan. "Sit in with me, this could take a while,"market square is built in a strange style, expansive and yet somehow compact. The way the vendors have arranged their stalls seems to have cut the square in half, probably a uniquely Thalosian trick. Or it could have been that something in her perfume that has left me a little light-headed.
The world around me wobbles, and I barely make it to the cool marble of the statue in the centre of the square before it all goes black... and when I come to, a sultan's guard is nudging at me with the hilt of his scabbard. While waving his sword at a nearby vulture.
I pull myself to my feet with the aid of the statue, and the guard tells me that he's seen the effects of Nichole's perfume way too often. "Knocks you off your feet, doesn't it," he drawls in slightly-accented Aylorian.
I nod, smile, and push myself off the statue, heading east. Stepping around another beggar sprawled in the dust - is this Snooky's influence? - I walk in the direction my notes indicate a tradesman's alley should lie.
The first building on Guildsman's Row is a small museum with statues in likenesses of the Greater Gods. Nothing much is explained here, so I move on. Passing the weavers, tanners, masons and fletchers, I head north past the end of Guildsman's Row onto the Casbah. It was less interesting than I had thought, and most of the artisans were too busy to chat with me.
I was told the prisons were to the west, and the library to the east. Finding neither of interest at the moment, I headed back towards the Palace, and turned south to the Dancing Daemon Inn for a drink.
Head back for more!