Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Colony: Minor Settlements

There are five minor settlements scattered across The Colony. The Balefire Refuge is the smallest, with a year-round population of a little more than 400. During the peak fishing season, from early spring to late fall, the population increases to around 1,300. Westershore, or Paxton, is the largest of the minor settlements. It supports a population near 3,000.

Minor Settlements:

Balefire Refuge: The Refuge lies about 150 miles from the eastern shores of the Hennashores. It is nearly centered in the lake north to south. The Balefire Refuge lies on a set of three islands that are believed to be the remnants of a volcanic plug, similar to Devil's Tower. The Balefire Refuge is the largest, central island in the small chain. The islands were discovered by 3rd Seek Hadrian Simmons in C210 after the arrival of the 4th Expedition. That expedition carried equipment and materials that allowed Simmons to build a ship capable of withstanding the rough waters of the Hennashores. Simmons discovered the waters around the Balefire Refuge were rich with fish and established a fishing village on the central island in C214. The central island is protected on the east side by Sentinel Key, a small island that effectively acts as a seawall to protect vessels in the bay. In 218 the number of vessels on the water increased to a point that a lighthouse was needed for nautical reference. Construction began on a red brick lighthouse on the westernmost key in C219 and was completed in C223. The structure is 150 feet tall with two black brick bands near the top. It is equipped with a first order Fresnel lens. Simmons named the lighthouse Pharos after the Lighthouse of Alexandria on Earth. The small island eventually came to be called Alexandria Key. By C228, the fishing village had grown to a point that it became a town and was named the Balefire Refuge. The island it rests on holds the same name. The Refuge town is the home to about 2,000 people involved in the fishing industry. It was built on the buttes 150 feet above the waterline. At water level there are slips to berth 50 fishing vessels and two supply/passenger ships. An open-air elevator carries people up to the town and back down again. On the north side of the island a 450-foot rope bridge connects The Refuge to Alexandria Key and the Pharos Lighthouse.

Westershore (Paxton): Westershore is the youngest settlement in The Colony and its history will be detailed in the short story Madelyn's Task. Pax planned the settlement and established the first industries, an alligator, bivalve and swamp deer farming. Once the industries were estableshed, Pax opened the area to settlers and in C492 gave 16-year-old Madelyn Nakamura the task of overseeing construction in the settlement and to enact his plan to established a working city government with fire and police services and tax structure. When Madelyn finished the task in 495 the Westershore had an elected government, 24-hour police and fire protection, a public library and medical facility with and emergency skiff landing pad, a public trading grounds, a Skyport with three pads capable of landing any size skiff up to and Expedition Transport, a commercial dock with a gantry crane, a passenger dock and a gondola lift up to a mountain skiing and fishing resort. Westershore industries include a small ship building company, two alligator farms, a swamp deer farm, bivalve processing plant and dozens of bivalve farms scattered throughout the Roddermarsh. Smaller industries include several ski shops, lake and swamp sports fishing outfitters and a riverfront commercial district. The commercial district includes a variety of businesses ranging from a hardware and pharmacy to hotels, bars and strip clubs. To support the fishing industry, the town maintains the Westershore Lighthouse near the docks and Rogue's Point Lighthouse on the edge of Pilferer's Bay. The Seek maintains a large guild hall here. 57 Seek operate out of this guild hall comprising seven Bands. In 498 C! Television opened a beureau. The town also supports it own research center, the Roddermarsh Research Center. The center researches the Roddermarsh and surrounding area. Because of its remoteness, Westershore is a popular tourist destination. Skiing and fishing are the main tourist attractions. Another popular attraction is the Westershore National Park. It includes the cabin Pax lived in when he was exploring the Roddermarsh and surrounding areas, a museum, walking trails, small zoo and petting zoo. The Lost Seek, The Colony's only national monument, is in the town's municipal complex at the center of the trading grounds. The town also has a rapidly growing artist's colony. Some of the best music and art is created in Westershore. Though the town is officially chartered as Westershore, it's more commonly referred to as Paxton.


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