“127 bridges, on most days,” the saying goes. Here’s a few of the bridges that make that saying true.
1) Floataway Bridge
Formally known as the Fishermonger’s Bridge, Floataway is a pontoon bridge that stretches across the upper portion of the Aris. During especially heavy spring floods, it’s prone to break away from it’s moorings and drift downriver. The effort to return it to its proper place usually results in an impromptu festival, with games, food vendors and crowds of wagering spectators.
2) Little Furzon Bridge
Contructed of rope and wood, Little Furzon hangs suspended from the underside of the Great Furzon Bridge, providing quicker access between the lower levels of the city. As an unauthorized bridge, it is perodically removed by the City Watch, only to reappear again in a few weeks or months.
3) The Stepstones
The northern-most (upstream) bridge on the Aris, the Stepstones is a more elaborate construction than its name implies. The string of stepping stones, each about 2 feet in diameter, float on the surface of the water. The stones are anchored in the riverbed and to each other to ensure stability, but this bridge is only accessible when the river is running low, typically in the late summer and early autumn.
4) Bridge of Boats
Various city fesitvals ofen include a bridge of boats, wherein participants line their boats up across the river and connect them with planks. They’re usually decorated, depending on the theme of the event, and offer refreshements to partiers traveling back and forth across the “bridge.”
5) The Boys’ Bridge
Every three years, boys between 12 and 15 participate in a city-wide bridge building competition with two teams, Guilds versus Houses. The goal is to build, in one day, a temporary bridge across the river (the location changes each year) that must be sturdy enough to support the weight of someone walking across it. The bridges are removed when the event is completed. In the most memorable instance of this competition, the boys of the House team created a bridge with their own bodies, linking arms and legs with one another in the water while someone walked across their backs.
1) Tob’s Fort Bridge
Tob’s Fort is a huge rock that sits in the middle of the Cille, just before the joining with the Aris river. A series of caves riddles the rock, some too perfectly shaped to be entirely natural. Legend has it that it was setteld by survivors of the Calamity that reshaped the world 1000 years ago or more. The bridge that connects it to Shinetower Stair (the large promontory at the confluence of the two rivers) was built by city rulers during the Age of Kings, to prevent accidental deaths among those who tried to land their boats on the rock for sight-seeing or other purposes. Though it’s patrolled regularly by the City Watch, it’s not considered a particularly safe place.
2) The Gatehouse
Every city, town and hamlet in the Surviving Lands has a Gatehouse, but Corregal has the only one that spans a river gorge. The Gatehouse is the western-most (upriver) bridge across the Cille, and is topped by a massive basilica that acts as a spiritual center for the city, and also houses the many people who serve there. Bridge and basilica are both built of gold-flecked granite, with a single 150-foot-high arch anchored in a tower on either bank. Both towers are accesible by boats on the river, but the main level of the bridge is along Cille Street on the south, and a series of stairways down from the High Bank on the north. The Gatehouse is more than just a place of worship: the Gates regulate the flow of spiritual/magical energies into the world. Without the Gates, the world would wither and die. Without the Gatehouses to monitor and control the Gates, the energies would flow unrestricted, (potentially) leading to a second Great Calamity.
(In a bit of synchronicity, the day I decided to write this post, one of my favorite blogs posted an article about an actual basilica built on a bridge.)
Daena was the twin sister of Evreme’s King Dynmor, but they argued and she departed the royal capital of Averest and took up residence in Corregal, then only a regional center (with a few dozen bridges). A fierce warrior with aspirations towards the Gatehouse Wardens, she refused Dynmor’s summons to return to court and marry the southern warlord princeling with whom he wished to make an alliance. The prince, taking her refusal as an insult, set out to capture her for himself, and set siege to Corregal. In a final battle on the bridge that now bears her name, Daena faced and defeated the prince, but took a mortal wound and died. In grief, King Dynmor made it law that thereafter no women would be permitted to bear bladed weapons. The bridge itself is closed to traffic, except for the anniversary of Daena’s death, on which the women of the city lay a tribute of flowers across it.
4) Great Furzon Bridge
The Tazan Empire conquered Evreme approximately 200 years ago, obliterating Averest and the royal line. They established their provincial headquarters in Corregal. Trying to win the support of the local population, while asserting their mastery at the same time, they began the monumental construction of the Great Furzon Bridge, the highest and longest bridge in the city at the time. Its wide span, lined with shops and businesses, remains a center of economic activity even after the revolution lead by Sieur Eristan Fleuracy ended the Imperial dominion 20 years ago. That the bridge was not torn down following the revolution. despite it’s constant reminder of their former subjucation, is a testament to the population’s respect for their bridges and bridge builders.
5) The Broken Bridge
Vallen’s Sun Bridge was the first major construction begun in the years following the revolution. Larger even then the Great Furzon Bridge, it would have dominated the riverscape and increased the prestige of the Vallen family a hundred fold. After ten years of construction it was nearly complete when a magical explosion tore it apart, killing over one hundred workers and three members of the Vallen family who were there on inspection. The culprit was discovered to be Sieur Javar Aderen, head of a rival House. Javar killed himself before he could be apprehended, and all that remains of Sun Bridge are the ruined abutments on either shore.