Songs of Varen
Pevad is a southern semi-arid city of festivals and markets. The food is always fresh and the local spices are hot. A few vineyards occupy the surrounding countryside. The buildings are of clay, the people dark-skinned, lively, and young. This city is primarily occupied by halflings, which refer to themselves as the Pevadii, but no race is uncommon here.
This city is one of the most active cities at night. It is cool and dry during the evening, in contrast to the extremely hot days, so this is when most people are found walking about. This city’s most famous delicacy is its wine. Open-air cafes and taverns litter the streets, and between 8 and 10, they are all packed with locals having herb-crusted snake (to name one of the many delicacies) baked with rosemary and saffron and enjoying a glass of white wine.
Among the most well-known vineyards is Amia’s Three-Crown Winery, said to be so named because it is the favored wine of the past three kings of Pevad in a row. It is expensive (a bottle costs 50-250+ gp), but is talked about worldwide. Its owner, the Pevadii named Amia (and her husband Jannis), has a young face, plucky demeanor, and an unquenchable passion for wine. These two live in an estate on a hill south of the city, and their vineyard sprawls outward from there.
Pevad was once part of the Republic of Ebos, but a few decades ago, split from them to pursue a more individualized, local government. Pevad contains a half dozen noble houses, each of which have established reputation and renown in some way or another. At any time, Pevad is ruled by a king and queen from one of the houses, but the other houses can, at any time, call for a vote of no confidence. This vote requires all the houses of Pevad unanimously choose the successor (so it rarely happens), but if it passes, the current king and queen relinquish the throne to the chosen replacement. An outsider may find it curious that one can cease being the king or queen, or simply become one from the matriarch/patriarch of a noble house, but this tradition is based in a confusing line of succession that occurred 400 years ago. At this point, Pevad’s king died without leaving behind a son or daughter and there appeared two houses that both claimed to have the rightful heir. A few generations later, and after much bloodshed, the number of houses that claimed to have the rightful heir grew to six. Pevad’s population at the time decided they would cease keeping track of the rightful heir and simply keep rulership alternating between those with a claim to the throne. (A famous halfing recordkeeper claimed that the appeals were equally legitimate!)
Pevad is currently ruled by a king and queen, and succession ignores gender (however, the heir must be natural-born Pevadii). The current rulers are Queen Emiril Telethir and King Bixiban, of House Telethir.