The Final Scroll
Darkwater Crossing (Small City): Conventional; Alignment Neutral Good; 15,000 gp limit; 400,000 gp total assets; Population 6,692 (Nord 72%, Imperial 10%, Dunmer 8%, Breton 6%, Orc 2%, Other 2%)
Authority Figure: Thane Sarp Redbeard (male nord fighter 9), lord of the city.
Important Characters: Orlenstar Thirthorn (male breton druid 4), caretaker of Gods’ Grove; Katriana Donohar (female redguard cleric 5), leader of Harvest Hall, a temple to Kynareth; Constal Maximanus Tholl (male imperial fighter 5), leader of the local Rift patrols.
As with much of the Rift, Darkwater Crossing experiences short, temperate summers and long, frigid winters, with much precipitation in all seasons. The riverside is foggy and cool, and the hilly lands south and west of the Vast Swamp are perforated with dells and rocky valleys that hide tangled trees and rushing streams.
The people of Darkwater love their province as much as any citizen of Solitude or Windhelm, but their proximity to Riften makes them familiar with smuggling and bribery. Largely hard-working and honest, the folk of Darkwater will nevertheless turn a blind eye toward activities that might elsewhere in the country raise eyebrows—so long as no one seems to be getting hurt. By the same token, the people of Darkwater are always on the lookout for themselves and their neighbors.
The bustling town of Darkwater Crossing confidently straddles the intersection of two significant trade routes into Skyrim’s heartland. Merchant caravans pass through every day along the Darkwater Pass, and most river traffic from the Rift stops here to unload rather than daring the dangers downriver. Then, of course, there is the ever-busy Goldenrock Mine. The rumble of wagon wheels, grunting of laborers, and hollering of dock hands fills the air for much of the day and long into the night.
Lacking town walls or natural barriers, Darkwater Crossing sprawls outward on both sides of the Darkwater River. Its winding streets follow the hilly terrain and the whimsy of builders rather than any real plan. Although the historical center of town is on the south bank, the north bank has been built up steadily over the years, particularly due to the influx of refugees from Morrowind.
Vibrant green roofs cap most of Darkwater Crossing’s businesses and homes, and the green slate has earned the city the nickname of “Jadecap.” The characteristic color of the buildings’ roofs comes from stone drawn from a nearby quarry, which lies not far to the south. The stone is dark green when cut, but brightens with exposure to the Sun.
Few buildings in Darkwater Crossing stand out as particularly glorious or shabby. Whether their homes are crafted from wood, wattle, or stone, residents of Darkwater tend to take pride in them and can often be found at work on them. Many permanent residents of the city have a home that serves double duty as a place of business, and because much of the population works to craft goods, a workshop often also serves as bedroom and kitchen.
The impression one gets walking through Darkwater is of an industrious and prosperous place. Folk always seem to be about their own business, dodging past the drovers and merchant caravans, and hustling to and fro. Few earn riches in Darkwater Crossing, but many who work hard make a good life for themselves and have just enough time and money to enjoy those lives.
Darkwater Crossing began as a mining thorp, but the founders wisely used loose stone from the mine to build a bridge across the river. As trade along Darkwater Pass grew, and particularly once the old Dwarven hoists along the river were refitted by the legion, Darkwater became a true city of industry. Now folk from all over Skyrim know Darkwater Crossing as a source of quality iron, corundum, textiles, pottery, and assorted other goods.
An aging Thane Sarp Redbeard govers Darkwater Crossing. Once famously headstrong and virtually independent of his Jarl, he has mellowed over the years and proved his loyalty to the crown with his steadfast support in trade deals and military efforts. Today Thane Redbeard concentrates on doing what is best for Darkwater, a goal that the city’s nearly 7000 residents respect.
A force of roughly 150 Rift soldiers keep the peace on the surrounding roads, under the leadership of Constal Maximanus Tholl. Young for a captain and somewhat inexperienced, Constal Tholl nevertheless proves his worth to Darkwater time and again due to his keen wit and dedication to the good of Rift Hold. Constal Tholl and Thane Redbeard sometimes disagree about what is best, particularly with regard to the Thane’s sometimes lax approach to taxation and his tendency to look the other way at how much smugglers contribute to the local economy, but Constal Tholl generally concedes to the Thane without much protest.
Three “churches” operate in Darkwater Crossing. The Harvest Hall has a history in town nearly as old as the bridge. A temple to Kynareth, the Harvest Hall has been run by Katriana Donohar since the passing of her father, the famed paladin Harrandave Donohar. The Gods’ Grove, a druidic shrine on the north edge of town, has an even older history. Orlenstar Thirthorn is the shrine’s official caretaker, but many townsfolk keep an eye on the site and help to keep it beautiful, since the grove is a popular picnic and wedding site. The most recent church is the temple of Talos, set in the bluff west of town. Folk don’t quite know what to make of it yet, but Thane Redbeard put his sign of approval on the deal to have it built, so the people have faith that it must be in their best interest.
Temple of Talos – Constructed with astonishing swiftness and dedicated to a controversial but well-loved god, the temple draws many curious people. Most take a look around and return home, their curiosity satisfied. ( map)
Wyvern’s Perch Bridge – With the quantity of river traffic and the number of boats owned by locals, crossing the bridge remains cheap. Each traveler need pay only 1 copper to cross, plus another copper for each horse or wagon.
Wyvern Watch Inn – The Wyvern Watch remains Darkwater’s largest and most successful inn, despite the recent departure of its longtime owner, Buldr Boldeye. Always a patriotic and entrepreneurial spirit, Buldr took money and some of his best staff to build an inn in troubled Winterhold, leaving his two daughters, Asanta and Baerill (female nord commoners 1) to run the inn. Their noisy spats and constant banter have become one of the best forms of entertainment in town. That—and the fact that they forgot to follow their father’s instructions to water down the beer and wine—have made the Wyvern Watch more popular than ever. Close to the water and a stone’s throw from the Darkwater Watch House, Wyvern Watch Inn makes a fine place to stay for rates as low as 1 sp per night.
Darkwater Moothouse – The Moothouse faces the grandeur of Oldstone Hall and serves as the city’s courthouse and meeting hall. A wide stone and timber building, the Moothouse is largely empty of interior walls and furniture to allow for the maximum number of occupants at town meetings.
Lantern Inn and Boathouse – This is the spot to rent a boat any time of day or night and with little fuss, but locals prefer the Wyvern Watch for entertainment. Very large parties often stay at the Lantern because it is equipped to host such groups in a private dining room.
Oldstone Hall – Thane Sarp Redbeard’s home is the grandest edifice in the city. A manor house of palatial proportions, Oldstone Hall has all the earmarks of old money and a long-held sense of entitlement. Its soot-darkened stone and gargoyle-bedecked walls form a home where Imperial battlemages, legion generals, kings’ messengers, and other honored guests stay while in the city, but its warded gates rarely admit anyone else.
Sendever’s Stables – Anyone looking to purchase, sell, or board a horse should see Illumor Sendever (male altmer expert 3). Although somewhat expensive, Sendever and staff take excellent care of animals and never sells an unhealthy horse. On occasion, Sendever has been known to host auctions for more exotic mounts, and will pay well for captured beasts.
Darkwater Watch House – The Watch House serves as prison and barracks for the local guard and militia, and also provides an office for Constal Tholl when he isn’t on the road coordinating with Legion and Rift patrols. Excepting periods of severe winter weather, only about thirty soldiers are likely to be found here at any time—the rest are out patroling, training, or serving in Oldstone Hall. On-duty soldiers are available to hear public complaints.
Haerldoun’s Helms and Shields Albhaera Haerldoun (female redguard wizard 6) runs this shop and a small smithy on the back for custom orders. Once a hot-tempered beauty and the talk of town for her flirtatious ways, this former adventurer has settled into city life and her business—buying and selling armor. Adventurers looking to sell off magical armor are always directed here by locals, with a wink and request to deliver greetings to a favored town character.
Slowtooth’s Weaponry – Albhaera and others sell a few simple weapons, but the workshop of Ugdal Slowtooth (male orsimer expert 5) is Darkwater’s go-to place for real killing equipment. Sellswords and adventurers often hang around Slowtooth’s, drinking his homemade mead and swapping tall tales. That makes this a good spot to pick up hirelings as well as weapons.
Gods’ Grove The people of Darkwater Crossing use this beautiful spot for weddings and picnics, and some use it to worship Kyne. Orlenstar Thirthorn (male breton druid 4) can be found here most daylight hours and keeps to his modest cabin on the premises by night.
Rathool’s Pond – This dirty pond serves as a local fishing hole. Formed from the sinkhole of a collapsed nordic crypt, drinking the water is still thought to cause sickness. Although the human remains have long-since decayed into nothing, their rusting weapons and armor remain and give the water an orange-brown hue. Efforts to clean the pond have long been opposed by the priests of Harvest Hall, who fear awaking angry spirits.
Harvest Hall – This modest church dedicated to Kynareth has served Darkwater’s citizens for generations. As much a meeting place as the Moothouse, Harvest Hall welcomes all warmly and freely, and gives the land’s bounty to Darkwater’s needy during harvest festivals. Katriana Donohar (female redguard cleric 5) has charge over thirteen priests in permanent residence here. Katriana can be found here around the clock, but most of her attendants regularly leave to help farmers in the countryside. Katriana keeps a store of divine scrolls left over from when her father ran the church, and she happily sells them to those she deems will use them for a good purpose.
The Green – Although some folk bury loved ones in private cemeteries on their property, most of the dead find their final rest in the Green. Bordered by a communally owned wooded fence, the Green is also used as grazing land for small herds of livestock owned by a few individuals in the city.
Hanno’s Herbs and Medicines – The smiling Hanno (male bosmer rogue 5) came to Darkwater Crossing from Riften some years back. He doesn’t keep the green pact like most of his fellow bosmer, and freely sells alchemical items, herbs, poutices, and medicines to cure various ailments. He also keeps a decent stock of potions on hand.
Mughar’s Hardware – Shakh Mughar (male orsimer fighter 2/wizard 2) sells rope and wire by the bale to passing merchants who need to tie down their wares if they plan to take a boat any farther downriver, but he also carries just about everything else, from backpacks and wineskins to barge hooks and hair combs. Mughar doesn’t keep much of his stock organized, so finding what you want can be a time-consuming process. He also doesn’t bother with weapons or armor (leaving that business to Slowtooth and Haerldoun).
Basult’s Books – Amnic Basult (male breton commoner 1) is Darkwater’s only bookseller. Beloved by every literate man and woman in town, he benefits from constant support in the famously loud arguments he has with his wife Mela.
Impil Street Warehouse – This warehouse holds goods imported on behalf of the East Empire Company, which makes good coin moving perishable goods into Skyrim during the winter months. They own most of the buildings on Impil Street, along with a private dock and wharf, which are well-guarded by privately-contracted mercenaries.