Creedo: History and Rumors
Built in 712, rebuilt in 1051, rebuilt in 1222, and again (most recently) in 1411, Creedo has a history of reinventing itself. One of the few places where farming isn't a full-time occupation for many of the inhabitants, the town is the largest port in Bilkan now that Yarali has slid to near obscurity.
Creedo began life when a ship of halflings crashed into the beach along the Bay of Peace. Where they were bound has been lost to history, but the path now knows as the Brazier Way existed even then as a water-carved natural road sloping to the beach. The surviving members of the shipwreck walked to the top of that hill and found a rippled terrace wide enough for a city. Rock mounds poked from the dirt and trees, forming a curving, flowing landscape that appealed to the two hundred and six halfling men and women left to gaze upon it. With no hope of repairing the shattered remains of the ship and a third of the crew dead they decided to make the best of it and construction of shelters began under the watchful eye of John Creedo, a halfing priest of Prunilla. The citizens of this new homestead found enough soil on the land past the beaches to grow crops, and John personally blessed each planting until his death. The homestead became a town, called simply Creedo, and eventually a city.
After Brax Strongheart united the cities and towns south of the Spine Mountains and formed Bilkan, the city celebrated the new Kingdom as only Creedoans can -- with a week-long playoff of Shintee, a game using a small ball hit with curved sticks into netted goals, in the then-new Amphitheater. The final game of that celebration represents the first recording of winners and scores, with the all-halfling team the Stouts matched against the mixed-race Crows, and the final score being fifteen goals Crows to eleven Stouts. Brax Strongheart was in attendance for each game and it became a tradition for the Mido of Bilkan to attend any championship game.
Ironically, it was at such a playoff that the first disaster struck Creedo. A processional heading to the Amphitheater poured oil along the flush stone path, so children could pretend to "skate" along with the players as they were driven by cart to the field. Winds were strong that day, and halfway through the game with the majority of the city in attendance, the oil was lit by flaming coals blown out of a brazier. The fire raced along the oily path back to the city and the first wooden building and from there it gorged itself on the densely packed town, which at that time was building to building with nary an alleyway between most of them. By the time the horrified Shintee fans made it back to the city it was half ablaze. Still, the forests in Bilkan were thick, and casualties were estimated at less than ten, and so the resourceful Creedoans rebuilt, leaving more space between buildings this time. Future processions to the sporting field used flower petals instead of oil.
The town continued in boisterous prosperity, trading, growing, and competing with Yarali for shipping lanes until 1222 when a devastating pirate attack set the town ablaze again. Little is known of this; the only reason all the records of the city were not lost is that a good portion of it was by now kept in Bilkan Castle. What is known is a coordinated attack by at least five shiploads of heavily armed men and women ended with many, many dead Creedoans, three quarters of the city burned, and a warehouse of some shipment that was never identified stolen. The pirates had their plan well rehearsed and got away cleanly, never to be found. The city burned its dead with the post-harvest field clearing, as was the custom, and rebuilt, adding some defensive capacity along the Brazier Way.
Fully rebuilt, Creedo was still predominantly halfling with humans the next most populous race. This continued until Bloodstone trampled the island; his stop in Creedo was lengthy, and he left a low ranking general behind when he moved on. The townsfolk were set to slavery with a significant percent of them sacrificed in blood sports in the Amphitheater for no other reason that it amused General Szabo. Upon his departure from the city, he had several meteor showers dropped on the halfling-influenced architecture and left the city to burn yet again.
Recovery was slow. Resources so abundant before were gone, and what was eeked from the charred and raped land was often stolen by someone with the means to take it. Many heroes came at this time, but few stayed to see things out. The Dark Ages passed with widespread starvation, as the city was and still is largely dependent on food imported from deeper in the Kingdom or abroad. Still, the people of Creedo, once out from under the threat of Bloodstone, laced up their boots and got building again. Creedo now stands as a city more influenced by those who came to aid it than the original builders, with tall cross-timber buildings set well apart. The buildings are often built to house livestock underneath and multiple families above, a reflection of the limited materials for barns and living space. The old Amphitheater, stained with the blood of just under half of the city's prior inhabitants, was burned clean and the ground consecrated by a solemn gathering of good-aligned priests.
The first Shintee game after Bloodstone's invasion was shaken off was held in the spring of 1412. Regarding spirituality, most people jokingly say Creedo has two major religions; Deliar, and Shinball. The amphitheater acts as the temple to Shinball; a temple to Deliar was erected in 722 as the first (and for many centuries, only) stone building. The temple survived each disaster visited on the city until Bloodstone's rampage, and it was rebuilt using as much original stone as possible during the last reconstruction. A temple to Branderback is rumored, and this rumor is partially substantiated but the location isn't known by Techu Tzau, something she intends to rectify before she dies. Rumors have fingered the Inn of the Dodgy Path, run by the sharp-eyed halfling Nando, as the meeting place for the children of the Black Hound; but no search of this stately, rambling building has yet found secret rooms or passageways. Shadonites run a very rowdy playhouse (conservatively called the Creedo Theater) near the merchant district, which doubles as a temple -- the town guard keeps a very close watch on this group, whose plays and acts are either riotous or humiliating, depending on which side of the subject matter a viewer is on. Parties at the Creedo Theater have been known to end in rivers of beer running down the streets and any number of party-goers waking the next morning with, in addition to a stunning hangover, hair in colors not found in nature or dressed in clothing usually found on the exact opposite gender -- or both.
One other place most adventurers will not want to miss is Zacci's Shop O' Goods, run by the remarkable, indomitable and flirtatious Zacci. This halfling's wild hair and flaming red outfits match her outrageous manner -- indeed, Zacci is often found onstage at the Creedo Theater, lending her already dramatic personality to plays and skits. However, her eye for trade goods is impeccable and she has a good number of specialty items in an invitation-only back room of her shop...and anything she doesn't have, she knows how to get if her price is met.
Shinball - Shinball is the national game of Bilkan -- if you ask a Creedoan. The rest of the kingdom is less enthusiastic, with only two teams fielded from areas outside the city. The game was brought to Creedo by settlers from Mistone, the game being a favorite in the long-gone city these humans originated from. The people of Creedo took to the game immediately. Shinball is played by two teams of nine players, each wearing special leather armor designed for movement with extra padding and metal plating over the knees. A leather ball is batted around the field using long wooden paddles, curved at one end, until a goal is scored into one of the netted goals; one point per goal is awarded unless the goal is scored by bouncing the ball off the knees. This special goal is call a "shin ball" and is worth three points. Two runs of thirty minutes each are played, with a break in the middle for healing, and the team with the most goals wins. Tripping is permitted with the paddles. Shinball players tend to be very dexterous on their feet as a result.