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Decades after the race wars, tensions between the dwarves in the north and the general population in the flatlands thawed and trade routes were established. While formal treaties and trade negotiations were signed, old prejudices remained and the dwarves were as loath to travel into the south as the southerners were to travel north. As such, a formal trade meet was established twice yearly in the abandoned hills roughly halfway between the dwarven lands and the large cities of the south. As gold, silver, weapons & armor flowed south and food, wood & cloth went north, less formal trade was established and the location of the trade meet became a permanent settlement named Hillrock.
While the location of Hillrock was ideal for the trade meet, it is geographically and atmospherically a difficult place to live. Clinging to the rocky hillside, the settlement grew slowly, but like it's inhabitants, Hillrock was determined to grow. The wind is constant, the weather terrible, constantly buffeted by storms from the north and the south. Winter lasts half the year, no crops will grow and there are no native products, the sole exception being hard alcohol which the resident's of Hillrock are both proud and fond of.
Now a well established town, Hillrock has a permanent population of several hundred citizens and still hosts a Spring and Fall trade meet every year that continues to grow in popularity, despite the remote location it is held in. The center of the town itself, in an attempt to fight the elements, is almost entirely covered. Some areas have formal high roofs, other areas a covered by just planks and tarps. Additionally, most of the structures in town abut, making many informal lanes and passageways to travel without ever having to expose oneself to the elements. This portion of Hillrock is home to most of the shops and dwellings and is often referred to as the Hive.
Frelik: Although you have rarely seen him, this halfling controls most of the trade in town. He arrived in Hillrock about a decade ago, according to rumor he had only the cloths on his back. But in short order after his arrival he purchased the last large lot of land on the west side of town and quickly had the trees lumbered into his current mansion and warehouses. All trade goes through Frelik's estate now. When wagons from the south were unable to get through the center of town, Frelik had a new road built, Frenetic Way, wending its way through the south side and up to his warehouses.
AlGen: At the center of town is The Gem and AlGen is the owner. He has lived in town for the longest of anyone else you can think of. He has a vicious reputation for those who cross him.
Seth: Hillrock's lawrunner, Seth works for Alice, maintaining peace in the town.
Alice: The town's Mayor, her estate is on the south end of town, overlooking the cliffs. She own's many of the establishments in HIllrock.
Ed: Hillrock's messenger, handyman and know it all, Ed is a youngster with whom you are all familiar.
SoQue: A recluse, SoQue is a wizard that has a tiny shack on the Northeast side of town, it bumps up with cliffs to the north and the Crooked forest to the east. He is rarely seen in town, when he is, it is generally at The Gem.
Liza arrived at Hillrock attached to a caravan from the south. She was barely thirteen and lost and fell under the auspices of Algen, like they all do.
Al took her in and let her work in the kitchen, for a day, or a week, or a month, or a year, everyone tells it a different way, but Al was taken with her, everyone agrees. It was her eyes, sleepy grey eyes.
Liza worked for Al, and worked For Al as his favorite.
But Al's favorites never last for long and Liza eventually found herself in the working pool of women at the Gem and never had many return clients. While she had an attractive, blond, exterior, she had a bitter interior. Her sleepy grey eyes were penetrating and judging.
Which did her no good, and one evening one of her clients got her away from the Gem and beat her nearly to death, except that Seth was nearby and shot him through his left eye directly into his brain killing him instantly.
No one argues this bit of the story. When Seth raises his crossbow, someone dies.
SoQue took her in, nursing her back to health, but it was a slow and long process. Finally she began to help him as he tended to those ailing in Hillrock. A local brewmaster became enthralled with her and eventually took her in.
Quickly after she was heavy with baby, working at the various Inns and Pubs around town and helping her husband in the brewery.
Finally happy and settled she produced four children, almost as quickly as they could come out.
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