Valnort (tentative name) Hold is a settlement on the outskirts of a forest in a fantasy world. It is meant to be one of several locations which delineate a relatively safe area for civilized folks and the wilds of the nation of Ranyk. In this case, the town outside of the hold itself was designed by a superstitious architect who felt that including a protective spell in the arrangement of the city would help repel invaders , and so he designated the places where houses could and could not be built, resulting in a particularly confusing layout for the housing in the western residential quarter. Being in favor with the duke who was granted the territory of Valnort, the architect's design was followed and, what was not built during the initial construction was mandated under ducal law -- any homes built must fit into a prescribed space and shape for the sake of the spell. Those who've lived there for long know their way around, but as the smaller streets in this district are unnamed, visitors often wind up confused as they hunt down a friend or an address.
At its greatest spans, the city stretches only 840 feet (900 if including the outer edges of the towers) east to west, and while the hold itself protrudes to the south, the city alone spans not more than 750 feet (810 with the towers) north to south. Including the protrusion of the keep, the territory does fill square dimensions -- the exterior of the southern wall is used by stables and for solid waste disposal. The city walls are 20 feet high, with the towers rising 10 feet higher, for a total of 30 feet high at each tower.
Valnort Hold is divided into five districts: the Ducal Hold, the residential district, the public district, the miller's quarter, and the merchant's quarter. Dividing the districts from the quarters is the main avenue, along which are several prominent businesses including the Healing Hand Physicians, Trent & Son's Clothing, and the Ducal Bank. The residential district, in the west and along the interior of the southern wall, is crowded except along the main avenue leading from the main gate to the Ducal Hold. The architect's superstition has not failed the town yet, so the occasional building sticking out into the middle of the rue premiere is tolerated of the Residential District is tolerated. The central district, the public district, has several taverns as well as a temple of faith, a non-denominational sect which attempts to nurture peaceful relations by allowing all with any faith to worship their deity of choice within a single temple. Also notable is the flophouse opposite the Ducal Bank, where closets can be rented for lower rates than an inn or tavern room.
In the north is the Millers' Quarter, where lumber brought in from Valnort Forest is cut and stored and sold. The lumberjacks receive their pay from the DeWarl's Mill as they bring in lengths of tree and bundles of well suited scrap from the trees. A number of lumberjacks live in this district, but the Miller's Quarter is kept clear so carters can easily bring the processed lumber from the mill warehouses to their carts. In the east is the Merchants' Quarter, largely dominated by the Manuscript Collection, a library, book store, and scribe hall, but being home to the Wolfram Tanner and Pozzel's Smythy attracts numerous adventurers and members of the Guild of the Many Talented. Most buildings in this district sell something, even the small ones nearest the walls or the main avenue.
The Ducal Hold is open to citizens from dawn to dusk six days a week, provided you don't want to enter the hold itself. The grounds serve as a market for residents of the city, where farmers of the Valnort region come to sell their vegetables or freshest kills, as well as housing the Ducal Guard Barracks, where members of the Ducal Guard can grab a meal or tools. The southern branch of the ducal hold's grounds has a garden maintained by the duchess and anyone else who cares to aid in keeping the garden lovely. To enter the hold requires approval by the Ducal Guard or a personal invitation from a resident of the hold, such as the Duke, Duchess, or the butler. The hold stands 40 feet tall by 300 feet along each direction, and in the center of the courtyard for the hold is an elaborate sunsphere raised to 50 feet high on a flagpole, which catches and gleams in the sunlight, and lights up the city during the dusk hours during the winter months.