Echoes and Shadows
Briston is a small township near the western border of Zheit. The river Wyo flows southward past the town toward its confluence with the Jol some two-hundred miles to the south and east. Nestled in the foothills of the Boundary Mountains, Briston is the last settlement of any size before the Break. As such, it is the Break’s chief supplier of foodstuffs.
Briston is primarily an agricultural community. The cool climate and elevation make for excellent orchards, and the hills outside of town are covered with groves of apples, almonds, cherries, oranges, and avocados. A Briston spring is something to be experienced, when the air is giddying with the perfume from ten-thousand flowering trees and the hills are flocked with white and pale pink blossoms like clouds descended to earth. Most of Briston’s eight-hundred residents are involved with the tending of these orchards.
The ethnic composition of Briston is typical of that of most communities in the kingdom of Kolis. Fast-breeding and short-lived humans represent a slim majority, followed by sizable minorities of half-elves and halflings. The ethnic composition of Briston is atypical in that, given its close proximity to the Break, the township sports a fairly large resident population of half-orcs. There are also a goodly number of dwarves who have come to live within the borders of Briston, emigres from Kubil-Ar, the dwarven city that lies deep within the Boundary Mountains to the northwest. These thirty dwarves are all from Clan Steelsong, and they have proved quite reticent to discuss the reasons for leaving their own city. However, they have adapted reasonably well to their new home, establishing a quarry in the nearby hills and producing high-quality concrete for exportation, as well as modifying elements of advanced dwarven technology to agricultural use. And if the Harvest Festivals have taken on a slightly more feverish tenor when it comes time for the dwarves and half-orcs to compete in contests of athleticism or singing or dancing, well, so be it.
Like most towns in Zheit, Briston is largely autonomous. It is governed by a nine-member elected council and a mayor. At present, the mayor is Ben Kohlson, who rose to the position after being an organizer among the orchard workers. Barring some crisis, Kohlson and the council seldom feel the need to interfere in the affairs of the township. Religion in Briston is also fairly relaxed; a church of All Gods stands near the town center