Diobel

Diobel is the smaller of Absalom’s two vassal-cities, and is located on the western coast of the Isle of Kortos. Diobel is primarily a fishing town, as the shallow waters that surround it make for excellent fishing and oyster gathering. Indeed, the oysters of Diobel are so numerous that a small pearl-farming economy has sprung up in recent generations (with most of the pearls bought by the Arcanamirium in Absalom). The shallows also prevent large ships from getting close to shore, which is Diobel’s primary defense against pirates and sea monsters.

For centuries, smugglers and food traders have preferred to bring goods in and out of Diobel using flat barges to get cargo off large ships and caravans to carry it to Absalom proper, mainly to avoid the larger city’s harbor taxes. Seeing how Absalom protected its harbor with a series of wrecked ships and other debris, eventually Diobel augmented its own shallow waters with a similar defense (which led to many disparaging comments in Absalom describing Diobelians as following the trends set by its more famous neighbor). Fortunately, these defenses had little effect on barge traffic, and as a result there are always a few caravans trekking between Diobel and Absalom. Many of these are perfectly innocent business ventures trying to avoid Absalom’s harbor taxes and the criminal element common near the docks, but the route has also been used to smuggle slaves into collar-free zones in Absalom, transport drugs and spies forbidden by the primarch, or move stolen goods too hot to fence within Absalom out of the city. Diobel natives ignore such crimes as long as the smugglers make no trouble within Diobel, and the f low of goods is so minor compared to the docks that Absalom considers it beneath official notice.

Small, independent farms of the Isle of Kortos also trade with these caravans, selling even more food to take to Absalom. As a result, a large portion of Absalom’s food supply comes from the overland caravans. Of course, much of Kortos is still wild, and such processions require guards to protect them. Diobel also exports some goods, mostly furs and timber from the island’s interior. Many of the trapper families in Diobel are of Kellid descent, and Hallit is used as often as Common to communicate with them. Some trapper families avoid the cities as much as possible, and visit Diobel only a few times a year to trade. Such groups are called “inlanders,” and are only slightly more trusted than the minotaurs or harpies native to the island.

Because it is “the Back Door of Absalom,” control of Diobel is a hotly contested political position. The unquestioned ruler of the city has the title of teriarch, and though the position is granted by the Grand Council of Absalom it cannot later be removed. The current teriarch is Scion Lord Aven of House Arnsen, an Absalom native of Taldan blood. Lord Aven and Lord Gyr were childhood friends, and plotted their rise into the ranks of Absalom high society together. When Lord Gyr was voted primarch, he used his influence to name Lord Avid teriarch of Diobel. Lord Gyr considered that ample payment for Lord Avid’s aid over the decades, while the teriarch saw it as a small beginning at most. As a result, Lords Gyr and Avid are now political enemies, with factions that oppose the primarch often finding Diobel a safe haven from which to plot. All such groups promise Scion Lord Aven great power in the new regime once they control Absalom, but the teriarch takes such promises with a healthy grain of salt. His main local opponent for control of the city is the Kortos Consortium, a guild of merchants that controls much of the trade going in and out of Diobel, and may have designs on extending its grasp to Absalom.

Diobel

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