Greystone Valley: The Great City

Clock TowerListen for the clock chimes in the Great City…When the clock strikes midnight, count the bells and make a wish. If the chime rings thirteen times instead of twelve, your wish will come true.

Most of the communities in Greystone Valley are small towns and villages where those trapped in the valley along with a scattering of natives farm out a living. The Great City is an exception to that rule, with a bustling population and a number of tall buildings. It stands in the center of the valley and seems quite out of place with the otherwise pastoral landscape.

The Great City does have a name of its own, though the inhabitants choose not to call it by its original name. Its true name is Choronzon, and it is rumored that it is named after a demon that lies imprisoned somewhere deep beneath the streets. Supposedly, the demon was necessary for the Wizard of the valley to weave the spells needed to protect the land from the dangers beyond the mountains. Saying the name Choronzon out loud in the city causes the demon to start to stir and is believed to cause bad luck or even tragedy. As a result, most people just refer to the place as the Great City.

Thanks to the Great City’s stature as the largest community in the valley, it has resources for virtually anybody. The walled city is home to merchants who deal with goods brought from worlds beyond the valley as well as sages and wizards who can provide magical services. Magic runs through the city, allowing the lanterns that serve as streetlights to burn brightly without the addition of oil and ensuring that the clock tower at the center of the city is always perfectly on time. Some people think that this magic is a result not of the Wizard’s spells but of the demon that lives below the city and have a number of superstitions to protect themselves just in case. Seeing somebody spit and turn in a circle before crossing by a lamppost or walking backwards for half a block is commonplace in the Great City.

The Great City was once home to many thieves and assassins as well, and some people still regard it as a den of corruption. However, the Emerald Enchantress managed to defeat the leaders of the criminal underworld many years ago, and the city has been more or less peaceful since then. Whether the streets are truly free of crime or whether the criminals are just biding their time and regaining their strength is anybody’s guess.

Image: Tower Clock, by Vera Kratochvil

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