Although a volatile business atmosphere has encouraged most of Nephalia’s Merchant Houses to keep their headquarters in private redoubts scattered amongst the islands, the city of Stromkirk is the largest centre of trade and commerce in all of Nordvia, and serves as the (sometimes literal) battleground for their constant and heated rivalry.
Stromkirk is carved into the cliffs and grottos of a natural harbour, causing it to be naturally divided into five main districts. The Stormkissed and Foamgather grottos are both open to the sea, though nonetheless well shielded, and a cavernous channel allows ship passage between the two.
Foamgather grotto leads into Fishbelly grotto. These are the least affluent districts, and together are home to most of Stromkirk’s working and lower classes. From Fishbelly a narrow channel allows only small craft to squeeze into Dragonmaw grotto.
Stormkissed grotto is in fact largely open to the sky, and its rear face is dominated by the ancient Temple of Storms. It is considered the primary entrance of Stromkirk, as beyond it lie the Tide Hollow and Dragonmaw grottos. The gaping entrances to these anterior districts lie to the left and right of the Temple of Storms respectively, and they in turn are joined at the rear. The Stormkissed district is home to several inns and is naturally the busiest area of Stromkirk, seeing as it is effectively an immense marketplace. Trade occurs on the docks, at various bazaars along the cliff-face, and even from ship to ship.
Tide Hollow is home to Stromkirk’s merchant elite, and given that it is narrower and less suited to heavy traffic than any of the other grottos, it is therefore usually the quietest.
Dragonmaw grotto is the most cavernous district and is where most of the higher-tier business is conducted. Consisting mostly of offices and warehouses belonging to various Merchant Houses, Dragonmaw has recently been likened to its namesake in terms of the comparable danger both present to one who would stick his nose where it ought not to be.
The Temple of Storms is an ancient cathedral jutting from and carved into the living rock. It is devoted simultaneously to Kord and Melora, and features many carvings and bas-reliefs of the two gods at once wracking seas and sparing the pious. It has always been considered extremely bad luck to conduct any form of business in the Temple, and therefore it is usually rather desolate but for its caretakers. Since the advent of the Owlish Council, however, it has served as the seat of government for Stromkirk, although druids have always been most at home in the Temple than anywhere else in the city.