Of Kings and Dragons
Nestled among three rugged basalt crags, Bildt is Aegos’s only natural harbor. In the Linnorm Kingdoms, the city is second only to Kalsgard in the quality of its shipyards. Unlike southern port cities that focus on deep harbors and extensive dock infrastructure, Bildt features flat, gravelly strands on which longboats are beached when not in use. Ulfen longboats usually need less than a fathom of draft, so the only deep part of the harbor is reserved for foreign trading vessels, although the inhabitants of Bildt see fewer of such ships as their reputation for violence grows. The town itself is dense and crowded along the shore, since almost everyone here makes a living from the sea. The nicest houses overlook the harbor, while cheaper housing squeezes in behind them on muddy, ill-maintained roads. When not at sea, the young Ulfen who crew the longboats and fishing vessels tend to live in large communal halls called hearths. The typical hearth houses 20 people, keeping the density of the city up and the walks to the harbor short.
Non-Ulfen visitors to Bildt can expect an unfriendly welcome at best, especially from the young Ulfen who make up the raiding parties. Bildt’s notorious bar fights and brawls can swiftly turn deadly when foreigners are involved. Much of this danger dissipates in the face of impressive displays of prowess or ruthlessness, however, and parties planning to spend much time in the city might want to slay a monster or defeat and befriend an important brawler, just to be on the safe side. The weather in Bildt is also unfriendly to visitors—Bildt fronts on the Steaming Sea, and storms roll in frequently. The harbor is protected from the violent winds and squalls, but the higher reaches of the city are more exposed. A weathered, windblown look marks the longtime residents of Bildt, and anybody whose face isn’t chapped by the salty winds is regarded as an outsider.