A Brief History
Located at the southern tip of the Enlightened Realms, Insomnia enjoys a mild, cool climate throughout most of the year. Moon Bay lies to the south and much of its port is sheltered from the harsh north-eastern winds by white chalk cliffs. To the north, there is very dense vegetation comprising mainly yew trees originally planted by ancient dwellers as they passed through the Realms. Further beyond the Whispering Yew Forest, the Phrygian Plains stretch for miles.
To the west of Insomnia, there is a series of low, undulating hills very lightly wooded with deciduous trees. The valleys in this area are extraordinarily fertile and suitable for the cultivation of Mediterranean fruit trees. The coasts of the southern portion of the Realms are mostly rocky, with numerous salient promontories.
A Brief History
Insomnia was founded many centuries ago by ancient settlers who first arrived at the Realms from Tarantia. It was known as the 'Town That Never Sleeps' for its active nightlife and the unique brands of entertainment it offered. During the violent Amazon Revolution, most of Old Insomnia was reduced to rubble or burned to the ground by fleeing settlers. The mayor Selene rebuilt the western portion of the town and made it a center for high culture and the arts. Parts of Old Insomnia can still be seen in the Woolf Street area; however most of the houses and buildings here are derelict and marked for demolition.
Insomnia prospers as an artistic and cultural centre for the Enlightened Realms. Many visitors come from all over the Realms during festive seasons, and Insomnia is also a gathering place for many of the region's intellectuals who enjoy its sidewalk cafes and bustling nightlife. Although tourism is Insomnia's principle industry, a significant portion of its revenue is also derived from the export of fine white wines from the surrounding areas, particularly the north-western valleys where vineyards are cultivated by monks and commercial growers. A heavy tax is imposed on exported wine and in recent years this has encouraged bootlegging and smuggling of alcoholic drinks. Further west of Insomnia, market gardening is also fairly important as this town produces much of its own food. Cabbages, mushrooms and cauliflower are grown in vast fields owned by individual farmers.
Insomnia is also famous for its craftsmen, who mostly hail from the Whispering Yew Forest to the north. They make statuettes, amulets, ornaments, trinkets and sometimes simple weaponry from the yew wood and sell them at marketplaces scattered throughout the southern Realms.
Most of Insomnia's inhabitants are human although there are plenty of elves, nymphs, hobbits and orcs who have assimilated quite well. Not surprisingly, Farsi is the main language spoken in Insomnia, although if one wanders around the town, one may hear smatterings of Eltherian or Nymal. The largest ethnic group in downtown Insomnia is the kobold race, but they are concentrated mostly in the seedy Kobold Quarter, a lively place at night but also a place where the crime rate is far higher than average. Selene's latest moves to encourage small businesses by lowering certain tax rates have also seen the migration of settlers from surrounding countryside areas to the town to make money. Many students also come from far and wide to study at Insomnia's famed Ecole des Beaux Arts.
Insomnia's patron goddess is the Celtic Rhiannon although some other pagan religions also exist and thrive. There is a temple dedicated to Rhiannon in the town centre, but in the surrounding forests, there live tree-worshipping Druids as well as members of obscure Christian sects. A Christian Abbey, the Abbey of the Moaning Monks is located somewhere in the wooded hills of the northwest and there is talk of a Convent for similarly pious females somewhere in the southern coastal region.
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