Shield guards the League’s eastern boundary. Poor in iron and agriculture both, the city’s name is almost a joke. The League spends more to hold the place against the Tear Eaters, the dead from the Fortress of Crimson Ice and the icewalkers than the city has ever generated in taxes or tribute. The cliff walls sheltering the greenfield are low and heavily eroded, and the wind batters the landscape incessantly — stripping away topsoil here, burying gardens in grit and dust there.

5,000 live within the small curtain of badly built wall, most of whom are artisans and bronze-workers who trade with the nearby tribes (Bronze production is one of the major industries here). Within sight of the city walls, 20,000 people grow potatoes and rye, collect shellfish and mine copper and tin from the surrounding hills. Another 100,000 farm the surrounding emeralds, fish in the eastern White Sea or herd in the Outwall. Divisions between greenfield, emerald and Outwall are thin here: for example, elk eat grass from what might have recently been a farmer’s potato patch.

The city tholos stands within a park of wind-bent oak trees, and the flame of the public hearth within gutters incessantly. Most of the houses are only one or two stories tall. The tallest structure in Shield actually lies two miles outside the walls, a Guild caravanserai. Its three stories provide the largest single source of revenue to Shield. The Guild thus remains tolerated despite precipitating the Gethamane War 182 years ago.

Despite their poverty, Shield’s citizens think they are more free and more independent than other Haslanti. Though the Wind Fleet and the Ice Squadron use Shield as a base, personnel from the military rarely interact much with the Shieldings. Tribal ways thus remain stable and steady here, much more so than in Icehome or even Tuskstad.

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