A small coastal trading town, Al Shabah was built on a promontory above a small beach, with a man-made harbor on the northern side, accessed by stairs. This harbor had a narrow breakwater, likely as a defensive measure. There was a guesthouse near the harbor waterfront, a substantial two-story building. It had shaded balconies and wide doorways and windows on the upper floor. It was also mentioned to have an internal courtyard.
The town itself was surrounded by a low defensive wall, a little over two meters high. There were no torches, beacons, or other lights on the wall, to avoid ruining the sentries’ night vision. A steep path on landward side of the town led to an arched gateway in the wall.
Inside, most, if not all, buildings were made of a white-washed stucco and had flat roofs. They were bunched tightly together, creating narrow streets. There were few windows, balconies, or other openings looking onto the street. Instead, most houses looked inwards, onto shaded central courtyards.
The street accessed from the landward gateway led to the town center, where it opened up into a small square, with the khadif taking up an entire side of the square. Half a dozen other narrow streets opened onto the square as well. These streets were able to be blocked by heavy timber barriers.
The buildings taking up the other three sides of the square consisted of shops, eating houses, and inns. All buildings in the square were colonnaded with deep verandahs that would give shade during the day. However, the khadif was the only two-story building in the square. Additionally, its roof had a decorative facade designed to give an added feeling of dominance to the building. It also had a marble porchway and lockable double doors, made of hardwood and brass.
In the center of the square was a small fountain. Apparently, it was able to be turned on and off at will.
Presumably, Al Shabah arose due to consistent business with sailors and traders. It may have been subject to many raids as a result of its success, leading to the development of a system wherein riches are taken to Mararoc.
After spending quite some time as the Oberjarl of Skandia, Erak decided to go on one last raid. Teaming up with his old crew on The Wolfwind, they decided to target Al Shabah. They bribed an informant for the schedule, which claimed that Al Shabah’s coffers were still full. This was later revealed to have been a fake when the crew were captured by Selethen and his guard.
They were greeted by Selethen, and arranged a meeting with the Wakir for the next day. This meeting turned out to be another setup, revealing Selethen to be the Wakir. Although they reached an agreement for Erak’s return, Selethen admitted that Erak was not in Al Shabah.
Although frustrated, the Araluens agreed to leave Al Shabah to travel with the Arridi and intercept the group transporting Erak.
Al Shabah appeared to be ruled by the local Wakir, Selethen. As the Khadif acted similarly to a town hall or tax house, most business would likely have been conducted here.
As the Wakir, Selethen would only have answered to the Emrikir.
Located in an ideal position on the Arridi coast, Al Shabah’s economy mainly centered around trading. It was one of the towns that provided supplies, equipment, cordage, and canvas to ships entering the Constant Sea.
When ships made their way into the Constant Sea in increasing numbers, they brought with them trade goods from the Southwest Islands in the Endless Ocean. As they came, they stopped at Al Shabah, or one of its sister townships, to replenish water, food, and firewood and to repair any damage caused by storms.
Once the traders sailed out of the harbor, they left behind a small fortune consisting of gold coins and bullion. Every so often, in response to a secret message from the town, an armed caravan from the inland capital of Mararoc would arrive and collect the treasure from the towns, taking it back to the Emrikir’s vaults.
Naturally, the schedule was a closely guarded secret. If potential attackers had no idea whether the treasure had been removed or not, it reduced the risk of attack. This meant that the town did not have to maintain a large and expensive garrison for the entire year. Instead, there was only a small standing garrison of forty.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Erak’s Ransom, Chapter 4, Page 18.
- ↑ Erak’s Ransom, Chapter 15, Page 95.
- ↑ Erak’s Ransom, Chapter 15, Page 101.
- ↑ Erak’s Ransom, Chapter 16, Page 106.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Erak’s Ransom, Chapter 5, Page 25.
- ↑ Erak’s Ransom, Chapter 4, Page 20.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Erak’s Ransom, Chapter 5, Page 26.
- ↑ Erak’s Ransom, Chapter 17, Page 111.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Erak’s Ransom, Chapter 5, Page 27.
- ↑ Erak’s Ransom, Chapter 5, Page 29.
- ↑ Erak’s Ransom, Chapter 5, Page 28.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 Erak’s Ransom, Chapter 4, Page 19.
- ↑ Erak’s Ransom, Chapter 4, Page 18.