The town of Haryld’s Ferry lies a couple days south and downstream from Minersford. Upstream from Haryld’s Ferry, the river is too narrow and fast for safe transport, so the town serves as a link between overland and barge traffic. The Ferry itself is at the north end of town, just upstream from the “Folly Rock”, a large boulder in the middle of the river. Local community leaders tried to build a bridge over the river at this point, but the project was plagued with setbacks, and several attempts at bridges collapsed into the river after traffic started across, if not before. Folly Rock was manouvered here (at great cost to two merchant families, one of which is now bankrupt) in an attempt to create a firm foundation for a bridge. But finally it was determined that the soil on the west bank was too soft to hold the bridge pilings securely for very long and the idea was abandoned entirely. Folly Rock and some mouldering pilings are all that are left of the scheme and now serve as great sources of entertainment for the local children as a place to swim and set challenges for each other.
The river also takes a jog to the east here, and the relatively flat terrain, combined with the quick current running south have produced a significant and swampy wetlands, known as the Bargewoe Fens, on the outside of the bend. On the south east bank of the river a swampy forest has grown up, and is rumored to be haunted by travelers who got lost and drowned there. The inside of the bend has a more sturdy bank and is reinforced with stone from a quarry a day’s ride west of town. Most of the buildings have stone foundations from this quarry as well.
The road west joins with a road north to Minersford. The eastern road follows the river, turning south again, and leads to a larger city in that direction. With the swampy wetlands to the south and west, and the rocky gorge upstream to the north, the Ferry is the last crossing before reaching Minersford a day’s travel north up the road on the west side of the river.
Barges travel in both directions downriver from the town; cargo needing to go further west or north from here is typically transferred to wagons for the overland trip. The docks are owned by the three ranking merchant families. A member from each family, along with a Haryld scion and a representative from the garrison fort make up the town council.
The town has three inns, several warehouses, a temple, garrison fort, and a thriving market square. The only reason the town has not grown larger is due to the lack of quality farmland in the area. Most of the town’s income comes from taxing the barges and caravans that come through, and from fishing and hunting in the wetlands.
Important people in Haryld’s Ferry are:
- Robert Haryld (human), the current head of the family running the Ferry. Robert is quite old, and most of the day to day Ferry business as well as Town Council business is handled by his son, Martin, and grandsons. Robert is still a force to be reckoned with, and is probably running the show, given the apparent ineptness of Martin.
- Allisandre Goldsand (human), the current face of the Goldsand merchant family. The Goldsand family rose to prominence about 75 years ago, when Allisandre’s great-grandfather staked a claim on a goldmine in the hills to the northeast, and used his newfound wealth to finance a lucrative trading business.
- Hamish Fielding (halfling) sits on the town council for his family, which controls much of the grain and domestic animal trade in the area. Hamish is the grandson of the patriarch of the family, which is based in a larger city to the east.
- Corvalla Oresmith (dwarf), represents the dwarven miners and metalsmiths on the Town Council.
- Thomas Warden is one of the lieutenants of the Garrison Fort on the hill, and represents the Garrison on the Town Council.
- Matthew “Mayor” Cheswithe (human) runs the Staff and Wheel Inn on the Market Square. While he holds no official position in town, he knows almost everyone in town, remembers pretty much any traveler he encounters, and is a font of “down home” wisdom.
- A drowned man has washed downstream and snagged in the Ferry lines overnight. He wears a signet ring from a merchant family based in the city to the east, but not represented in Haryld’s Ferry.
- One of the barges tied at a dock came loose from its moorings in a late night storm. It was found the next day grounded on the edge of the wetlands with what appear to be bite and claw marks on its sides. The cargo has disappeared.
- Matthew Cheswithe recognizes a PC, in town for the first time, as a guard for a merchant caravan that disappeared on the road north several months ago.