Highport is the most populous city in the so-called Orcish Empire of the Pomarj. A squalid, stinking port of some 15,000 souls, it is the gateway to the northern plains of the Pomarj and the fearsome Drachensgrab Hills. Highport has long been a haven for pirates, slavers and scum of all sorts. Cold-blooded mercenaries offer their sword arms to the highest bidder here, while privateer captains gamble away their ill-gotten gold, stained as it is with the blood of innocents. By day, unscrupulous traders throng its markets, trafficking in slaves and contraband. By night, orcs, goblinkin and some say even the ebon-skinned drow make the streets their own. Temples to fell gods such as Nerull, Incabulos, Gruumsh and the enigmatic Earth Dragon thrive here. Life in the City of Chains is often short, brutal and – above all – cheap. Highport was founded in 305 CY when the Poor March (as the Pomarj was then known) was a possession of the Kingdom of Keoland. The sundry barons of the March were vassals of the Dwur Prince of Ulek. Distant from the affairs of the Court of the Lion Throne, the human nobility chafed under a dwarven liege lord. Thus, when Prince Corrond of Ulek broke with Keoland in 461 CY, the barons in turn declared themselves the Free Lords of the Poor March in 463 CY. Highport became capital of the loose confederation of petty fiefs. For half a century, it flourished under the rule of the House of Bilarro, its merchants growing fat on the trade that mineral wealth of the Drachensgrabs and the decadent tastes of the Marcher lords attracted.

In 513 CY, Highport’s good times came to an abrupt end. Hordes of orcs, goblins and giant kin, driven from the Lortmil Mountains in the wake of the Hateful Wars, descended on Highport. The city’s defenders fought valiantly – throwing back no less than five assaults before the sixth shattered the gates and carried the walls. The slaughter that followed came to be called the Night of Bloody Spears, after the victorious orcs decorated the walls with the impaled bodies of the defenders.

For 60 years, loose coalitions of orcs and humans ruled the city, re-establishing a semblance of order after the slaughter. In these years, Highport acquired a fell reputation. Where once merchantmen thronged its quays, pirate ships now jostled for berths. In the late 570s CY, the port was home to the yellow-sailed vessels of the Slavelords. Slaves became the lifeblood of the city’s economy.

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