The central plaza of Helm’s Hold is Heartward, a marketplace arrayed around a hangman’s scaffold. Food and gold are both scarce here. Brawls break out between merchants and customers who feel cheated. Captain Dunfield’s Mintarn soldiers keep watch from the perimeter, while town criers declaim the words of the Prophet, particularly when she has foretold something particularly wonderful or dire. The pronouncements are entertainment as well as news, since people love debating exactly what her portents mean.
The Heartward’s chief notoriety is a haunting that fills the plaza on certain nights when the clouds obscure the waning moon. Luminous shapes appear, a gathering of ghosts that go about the business of the living. Phantom vendors sell ephemeral apples at empty stands, ghost children run happily through the streets, and spirits hang one another at the scaffold. Some of the scenes appear to be reenactments of past events, whereas others have not occurred — or at least, not yet. The ghosts speak mostly nonsense, but some of what they say might offer clues to past or future happenings.
The plaza’s name comes from a small shrine on the edge of the marketplace devoted to Sune, the goddess of love and beauty. It is a favorite meeting place for young lovers. On haunted nights, couples gather at the shrine, hoping for a thrill.
|Nym Calaudra Merchant|
|Roberc Starnhap Merchant|
|Jalana Thilsacar Mintarn Mercenary|
|Mera Corynian Priestess of Sune|