Said to be impregnable, the free port city of the Marquoil juts out into the sea at the southernmost tip of the lands of D Erte. Protected from land by a an extinct volcano, and from the sea by a ship-navigable tunnel, the deep water harbor is surrounded by a natural defensive bulwark. Over the centuries, the city grew from a safe haven for pirates as do most of the cities in the Three Seas region, to become a powerful city, both in trade and in strength of its free booter navy. The port became the lock through which all traffic between the Three Seas the mysterious and wild far east must pass.
Besides the natural defenses, the city has been improved by the construction of a mighty fortress overlooking the harbor from its volcanic precipice. Known as the First Lords Bastion, it is home to the most dreaded weapon in the Three Seas – the Fire Bolter, which is an arcane contraption able to hurl fireballs over half a league. The Free Marines man traditional ballistae and catapults on the rocky clifftops overlooking the cove.
A lighthouse guides ships through the treacherous waters and towards the outer docks, where they may seek entrance into the city. The Free Navy billets its many ships along the same wharf, and ships may dock here, or for a greater fee and inspection, they may pass into the inner sanctum. On foot, travellers may pass through the Free Marine Training Grounds to gain entry into the city, but all cargo has to be floated through the tunnel.
Inside the bulwarks, the great safe harbor is a riot of activity. Three long docks extend toward the center of the bay, with all manner of boats and ships docked alongside them, while teetering buidings form a line down the center of the docks. The Larboard, the Leeward, and the Main, these massive constructions are the life blood of the city, and much of the populace of the free city spend their days and nights on these floating docks.
North of the docks is a narrow strip of built up shore where many of the largest market houses were built of the same local sand colored stone. Above them are two plateaus, on the lowest are the estates of many of the wealthiest of the populace while the highest holds the massive First Lords Bastion.
To the left and right of the harbor two long arms stretch out in an embrace that meets at the tunnel. On the Leeward side (the east) rose three stone castles of the Merchant lords. The first was Castle Tallyman, and it guards the eastern approaches to the city. In the center, built upon piles of sea walls was the hulking structure of Castle Crabstone, and the third was Castle Grey. These massive walled keeps were designed to withstand a seige by enemy or by storm, but the many hundreds of hovels, tents, and shacks that spring up around them are periodically swept away by the huricanes that sweep in from the deep oceans.
On the larboard side the wealthiest house of all, House Samarquoil, had its sprawling palace. The merchant lords of House Samarquoil held the rights to all the wealth of the nearby river delta, and surrounding lands. The soft and hardwoods of the forests to the north, as well as the rare and exotic herbs and spices of the river delta were much prized throughout all known realms. House Samarquoil had wealth enough to construct their own floating colonial outpost near the mouth of the delta, which has become an offshoot suburb of Freepot.
Four great merchant houses rose to power in the city, and they formed an alliance which they named the Marquoil Treaty. Since its signing, centuries ago, the four houses have continued to rise in power and prestige to control nearly all shipping in the region. According to the treaty, one lord is voted by the free populace of the city to become the First Lord. The merchant rules for life, and resides in the fortress. He controls the Free Navy, made up of an equal number of ships from each of the four houses, and the Free Marines.
The current first lord is Arnace Tallyman, who has lived in the fortress for many long years. Some say he will never die, but only become richer and richer until the weight of the gold sinks the fortress into the sea.