Hurm: History and Rumors
Hurm was named after Galtor Hurm, a fisherman and self-proclaimed pioneer. Galtor led his family and a few of his friends and fellow fisherman's families to the coast where he had been fishing on his own. There were four families in total; together they began to establish a home for themselves. So in the year of 667, the settlement of Hurm began.
For many years, the village was just four small homesteads, a fair distance from each other, along with a dock for small fishing boats. The families lived quietly and helped each other get through tough times. They survived on the fish and the crops they could grow and buy in the nearby areas. For 11 years, this was Hurm, a peaceful life filled with the sound of children's laughter among the hills and the laconic but comfortable companionship of the fisherfolk setting their nets and traps.
Then, in 678, Galtor discovered a great school of flounder living just off the waters. His ship was not big enough to get many of the fish, but he now had a goal. With the help of the other steaders, the dock was expanded further onto the water and a larger boat was constructed using wood gathered from the nearby forests. This new ship, while no modern fishing vessel, had cargo space enough for them to sail out and catch larger nets of fish than ever before.
The village's proximity to the landlocked village of Dalanthar allowed them to supply the locals with a new source of food, and eventually, they worked down the coast to the great city of Prantz. The Hurmites got wealthier still from their new trading partners, and they also became more exposed to the outside world. No more did they rely on each other for food and survival; they could afford to pay for services. People from other villages, especially fisherman, wanted in on the newfound wealth, and so people began to settle in Hurm.
After 10 years, the population jumped from 22 to 800. The dock was extended again deep into the water; thus, large ships could take port there. More docks were built, and the amount of trade able to pass through the port increased greatly. Since it was one of the few ports in northern Dregar, it became essential for many merchants to stop and trade in Hurm; the goods then delivered on foot to surrounding cities. As the trade through Hurm increased, so did the population. An inn was built to house sailors and merchants, guild houses sprang up, and many tradesmen turned their attention toward the growing city.
As the population swelled, Galtor Hurm decided it was time to set laws for the growing town. He called a meeting and, along with representatives of the other three original families, began to create a system to govern. Laws were enacted that allowed merchants to trade easily as well as placing reasonable taxes on all goods going through the city. A system was set up in which a Lord of Hurm would be elected to office for life, and after his or her death, a meeting would be held to elect a new lord. The lord would make major decisions for the town and would pass laws he or she saw fit; however, laws to be enacted would have to be passed on a yea or nay vote in a general town meeting. At the conclusion of that first historic meeting, a vote was held for the first Lord of Hurm, and it was nearly unanimous. Galtor Hurm now led his namesake town.
Galtor was a respected leader, and for the last years of his life, he tried his best to make sure the city would prosper. He enforced laws by creating a town watch, and he encouraged others to move to the now flourishing area. Seventeen years after he was elected, he died of a lung illness. During his lifetime, the population jumped to over 1,300 people. The grandson of Alma Ospret, patriarch of one of the founding families, was then elected to be the second lord.
The subsequent rulers followed as closely to Hurm's plan for the town as they could. They worked to make the city prosperous and dealt with the pirates and smugglers with the resources they had. These Lords of Hurm tried their best not to attract an excess of merchants for fear that they would also draw pirates as well. They wanted Hurm to be a wealthy port of call, but at the same time, they did not want it growing out of control or attracting the wrong type kind of attention. They did their best, and for a long time, they managed to keep Hurm the healthy, prosperous city that it was.
Then Blood returned, and Hurm has never been the same.
Hurm was among the cities to suffer from the initial battles with Blood, and its commerce was hit hard as many merchant ships avoided sailing so close to an area known to be crawling with Bloodstone's forces. Also, the problems with the Forsaken Islands began to occur, and Hurm's proximity caused merchants and travelers to avoid it out of fear that they may become among the unliving.
The town gradually degenerated into a poor community, and only the few merchants who had a good deal of true before Bloodstone still held power. The Lord of Hurm at this time, Xavier Understate, was thrown out of office because of embezzlement and his encouragement of the town watch's protection plans. A new leader was installed, and she tried to spend the town's remaining money on trying to repair the damage dealt by the war. Unfortunately, she never got the chance to spend too much of it. The pirates had become increasingly active around the city's coast during the time the city looked inward to survival and let its navy lapse. Five years after the return of Blood, a powerful gang of pirates managed to overthrow the city's officials, and their leader, Tyler Blacktooth, proclaimed himself the new lord of the beleaguered city. The takeover successful, Tyler became the first Pirate Lord of Hurm.
Since then, the leadership of Hurm has switched numerous times. Coups, counter-coups, and attacks from different pirate groups have caused a revolving door government based on the needs of the moment with no thought to the people. Even the notorious Dread Pirates ruled over the city for a few months. The constant switching of leaders left the city's inhabitants poor and virtually uncared for. Most of the remaining citizens left for Dalanthar or Wymere, sailed to greener pastures, or turned to less respected lifestyles and careers; many joined pirate crews.
In 1406, the city fell under the control of Saviar Morgansen, owner of the Seven Swords Merchants' Guild. He used influence, money, rumors, and clever manipulation to eliminate most of the Black River Pirates that formerly held sway, and he virtually monopolized trade in Hurm. Saviar did not make many friends after he bought his way to his position, but he made himself very wealthy'until the Black Plague.
Most of the civilized kingdoms of Layonara know of the heroes who went to battle the dusky black swamp dragon rumored to hunker in the bowels of the Moss Crypts, and how they marched into the soft, moss-matted walls of that ancient burial ground deep in the swamp of the Sinister Forest on a drizzling Freas, 20 Decilar 1407. Most know of the results of this intent to remove a darkness from the world: the powerful rush of wings, the destruction and screams of dying men, women, and children all over Hurm with disease wasting away the remaining denizens. The great winged death known as Black Plague, and two other, unnamed swamp dragons, took vengeance for the attempt by the heroes to remove them, and with mighty sweeps of their thickly muscled tails and curved, razor-sharp claws, they destroyed half the town's buildings. Eye witnesses speak also of the dragons spewing forth a black cloud that caused gagging, retching, and deep pain when breathed in.
From a report gathered by the Rofireinite Church:
Twas the biggest livin' thing I've ever seen. Had ter be twice the size of the courthouse. Black as night an' the head of a snake an' wings that made this soft flappin' sound you know? Like sails, twer strange how common it sounded. Came in with two littler ones behind, they flew round once, went away. We all stood an' stared like, no one talked. Bout few heartbeats after they left, we all let out our breath an' that's when they come back. Smashin' an' breathin' out that dark, dead-smellin' smoke an' callin ta each other, sounded like devils screamin'. It twern't long, mebbe as long as it takes ta walk from here ta that inn yonder. They just smashed whatever was handy, twern't seemin' ta be with a target in mind. What I 'member most was Licia and her babe, little girl only born since harvest, standin' right there. She was under yon arch, an' didn't move that whole time, an' bless the Lord Protector they both lived. But Licia didn't say a word an' neither did her babe cry, they just stood there like if they didn't move they couldn't be seen. Twer strange, she had this look, like eyes open wide, standin' like a statue, babe center on her chest, mouth closed tight. I'll never ferget her look, even if I ever do ferget the day them thrice-damned dragons paid a visit.
History has not recounted how the heroes then tried to undo what had been done. They immediately began relief efforts, and the cure was found largely through their swift action'but for the people of Hurm, it was cold comfort. Regnant Morgansen, for all his faults, moved swiftly to repair the damages. He lost a son in that blitzing attack, and despite his callous core, his grief was genuine. He humbled himself to accept the aid that came in, asked Angelica for reinforcements, and hired builders using his own fortune. With a show of true loyalty to Hurm, he rallied the remaining people and set to work. A cure was quickly found for the plague, and with the citizens on the mend, a report brought on the merchant ship Mephit's Wind had this to say:
Word is now coming out of Hurm since the mercantile sea trade has once more been allowed to continue its business. Recently, the notable figures that had helped in the city to prevent the spread of the plague and saved many lives were seen being escorted by armed guards onto a ship to be deported back to their original lands. It seems the crowd that had gathered to see them go was quite hostile, throwing fruit and curses at the heroes as they left.
After this, several large warlike frigates all bearing the flags of the Red Bear sailed into the harbor and hundreds of sailors poured into Hurm taking up positions around the city. Hurm was locked down tight for 3 days, while the city's leader Saviar Morgensen met on board the Red Bear's flagship. Once the discussions had finished, Savier was reported as returning to his residence in a thoughtful but upbeat mood. The next day the Red Bear's ships took on provisions and left the harbor once more. However, at least a hundred of the Red Bear men remained behind to bolster the cities own militia.
Saviar himself has been seen in recent days walking about the city and directing re-construction of damaged buildings and more importantly issuing orders to reinforce the outer defenses and in particular the port defenses. It has been widely made known that he has called in Dorandite priests and artisans as well as other dwarven craftsman to look at building sea walls and barricades into the harbor.
Furthermore, eyewitnesses have said that a great swamp dragon attacked a pirate vessel off the coast of Liwich. There is talk of a deal being struck with the dragon to leave Hurm out of any of the dragon's future vengeances.
From this and other reports, it seems Hurm is working hard to regain its status as a major port town, and all indications are that Saviar himself is being accorded a new respect from his people. He has also followed Angelica's lead and most of his dwarven artisans and builders are Redfernites, which has made the Red Council friendlier to him.