River Harbor Freehold
Type: Thorpe (Thorpes are faerie towns, which are rare in this day and age)
Rating: 5 (5 points of Glamour can be gained per night from the freehold’s balefire)
Allies: Chrysallis Corporation
Freeholds take many shapes and forms, from sylvan glens, isles and hillocks to boisterous pubs, town homes, and castles or fortresses. Freeholds are usually built by Changelings rather than found, offering Changelings a place to find respite and refuge from the Banality of a world that disbelieves in their existence. They are home, even if few Changelings actually live inside of one on a permanent basis.
River Harbor Freehold is located on the banks of the Huron River. Mortals see almost nothing of it at all. They see a dock extending from the shore into the water, and at the end, there is a pristine, picturesque lighthouse. Sometimes, they see strange people going in and out, but wards and permanent cantrips cast upon the lighthouse ensure that they soon forget they saw anything at all.
The doorway of the lighthouse is a rath, a portal where Changelings and Enchanted mortals may pass through in order to enter the freehold as it stands within the Near Dreaming.
In short, it’s a magic doorway, and the lighthouse is much, much, much bigger on the inside.
Beyond the doorway, a vaulted archway leads to a freehold that takes the form of a stone fortress, set upon an island within a magnificent, shining, silvery-blue river.
Forest glens, clusters of stone houses, cottages, and a multitude of fountains and tranquil places make up River Harbor freehold. It is all gathered together upon that floating island, and there may be found a wide variety of chimerical creatures and the Changelings of the Barony.
Some would say that River Harbour is rather plain and unremarkable in appearance when compared to the more fantastic and seemingly-impossible freeholds in the Dreaming. Others would say that the River Harbour is a reflection of the world around it as it was meant to be, as it was remembered… a place of green, growing things and clear, blue waters.
But whatever the reason, the thorpe that has grown up around the fortress freehold is alive and bustling, clean and sweet and protected. One may find a smithy or a weaver, an inn or a pub, a workshop or a brewery. A few of the Changelings in the Barony, especially Nockers and Boggans, keep their homes and businesses in the thorpe so that they trade their wares with visitors or residents.
The fortress itself is where the Baron and his court dwell, however. Located in the heart of the thorpe, it is a quiet and peaceful structure beset with graceful archways, pools of water, bridges and open-air courtyards for festivals. The balefire is sheltered within this fortress, and should the Baron favour a Changeling, he or she may be allowed to sleep within its light, dream, and regain Glamour from it.
The fortress is well-guarded. Permanent cantrips have been put into place to hide the balefire from malevolent eyes, while Trolls have been honour-bound into service to keep the grounds secure. Furthermore, five Knights of Sidhe blood (including Sir Gawain ap Fiona and Dame Amelie ni Liam) live within the fortress, acting as enforcers of the Baron’s will.
While visitors may be allotted quarters within the fortress, this usually only happens if they are of Sidhe blood or hold a noble title. Most visiting commoners will find themselves being offered hospitality in one of the many cottages found within the outlying thorpe.