Agleburg is the largest settlement in the Cambrian Vale; indeed, it is the only settlement large enough to be considered a proper city.
Not much of its history is known from before the Rho’Vann occupied the area and built the town up to be a central base of operations in the area. While the rest of the Vale is spotted with old Rho’Vann keeps and fortresses, Agleburg is the only town they fortified.
According to legend, the town was originally a camp for the first Rho’vann expedition in the area. They immediately recognized the strategic potential of occupying the hill looming over their landing place and built a keep there, which they named for the eagles that roosted on the rocky cliff sides. The town that sprung up around the keep was similarly named.
A major reason for Agleburg’s success is its location: the farthest inland that the Cambria river is navigable. Beyond the town’s three falls, the river becomes too shallow, rocky, or channeled to make river traffic possible. During the imperial expansion, supply ships traveled upriver to resupply the garrisons in the area, which was much faster and safer than shipping the supplies overland through the passes.
After the Rho’Vann Empire went into decline, Agleburg remained the primary point of contact between residents of the Vale and the outside world. Despite the remote location, the Vale does produce several goods that are in demand elsewhere. Most notably are the cloud peppers, which only grow on steep slopes wreathed in fog. Other primary exports include granite, iron, and some marble. In the shadows, there is a thriving black market in ancient magical artifacts and a narcotic distilled from a species of lily that grows along the watercourses in the area.
The town is currently administered by Lord Natael, the descendant of the last Rho’Vann governor appointed. His primary focus is on keeping the town walls and gates manned with trained men, while sending patrols to check on the various townships in the area. He leaves much of the internal affairs of Agleburg to the city council, whose nine members are elected three at a time for terms of three years. Each council member represents a major trade or citizen faction in the city, and are elected by acknowledged members of that trade. For instance, only tavern owners, innkeepers, and their employees can vote in the election for the Hospitality Council Seat, and only merchants in good standing with the guild may vote in the election for the Merchant Council Seat.
Agleburg is built at a bend in the Cambria River where it turns around the hill Aglekeep is built on and drops in a series of two large waterfalls. This naturally splits the city into three distinct districts, each with their own character. For several miles outside the town wall, the land is quilted with farms, providing food (and liquor) for the town.
The Docks are the lowest and southernmost terrace of the city, where the Cuprum River flows into the broader Cambria River. There are many cheap inns and taverns mixed in among the warehouses at the water front. While the docks are kept clean and orderly by Agleburg Dock Authority, the rest of the district is crowded and smelly. Farther away from the docks, warehouses, inns, and taverns give way to tenement buildings. The district is bordered on three sides by the town wall with the River Gate and the Fish Gate opening on the west and east sides of the river, respectively. Where the wall intersects the river, large chains can be raised to deny access to ships, and the deep water and high piers defend against any foolish enough to try to infiltrate the city without a ship. This district has no bridges over the river, but there are several ferry services as well as a road cut behind the falls, which also branches into a tunnel that leads to the middle terrace. In addition to that underground route, there are also two roads cut into the cliff side that lead to the middle terrace.
The Flats are what Agleburg citizens call the second, broadest terrace. Most of the craftsmen in the city can be found in the Flats, along with their houses and those of successful, but not wealthy, merchants and farmers. Several adventuring companies have their offices on this terrace, as do many of the guilds in the city. The district only has one gate, the Legion Gate in the western wall, and it has three bridges over the river, as well as a path and tunnel similar to the one in the Dock district. In addition, there is a large island in this section of the river which houses a tall, slender tower. The upper exit of the tunnel to Hightown is under constant guard, as are the two roads cut into the cliff.
Hightown is the section of the city on the uppermost terrace. It is bordered on the north and west by the town wall, and on the east by the Aglekeep. It has no gates, but all points of entry from the Flats are under constant guard by the city watch. This region is the wealthiest, and contains only a tenth of the total population of Agleburg. Much of this district is taken up by parks and gardens, and the houses are large manors staffed with swarms of servants. In addition, there is a library of considerable size.
The keep occupies the top of the hill and commands a view over much of the Vale. The only approach for large groups of people is by a steep, straight road from Hightown, guarded by seven checkpoints, though during peacetime visitors to the keep are not delayed too long at these checkpoints. The Keep has its own wall, well, and garden. Beneath it, much of the hill has been hollowed out and filled with provision against a siege or hard winter. Lord Natael holds court for one hour every Endweek afternoon, and he will gladly see anyone who makes an appointment. There are rumors that the hill is riddled with secret passages and tunnels that allow Lord Natael’s spies to come and go into the town and countryside as they please.
In addition to all else, Agleburg has one major oddity that has puzzled scholars for many years. Within the city walls are nine slender towers, including one in the keep itself. According to legend, they were there when the Rho’Vann Legions first arrived, and, while they’ve been repaired and occupied from time to time since, no one has ever discovered their true purpose.
The towers are considered to be the property of Lord Natael, but he will rent them out to petitioners who make good argument for why they should occupy them. His primary payment is to be informed of any arcane discoveries the tenants make, as well as any discoveries into the true nature of the Towers.
Currently only three towers are occupied, and none have been opened up above the fifth floor. The Island Tower is currently the abode of Verin Mathwin, a kind and brilliant, if absent-minded, human wizard. The Dusk Tower, at the foot of the hill on a small rise overlooking the Flats, is the lair of an Eladrin wizard named Ardan; he is rarely seen outside the tower, and when he is, he is disdainful and hurried. The third tower, the Eagle Tower in the keep, is maintained by the Watch, who use it primarily as a watchtower.