A Game of Dice
Southaven, the last civilised stronghold before the endless expanse of sea to the south of the Aelarian Isles, is quite unlike most Aelarian cities. It shares more with the coastal cities of the Silver Coast than with the capital but remains unique in one particular way: its law.
The Valley is separated from the rest of Aelaria by a good amount of land, mountains and rivers (not to mention orcs at Orcfort, and the things that reside in the mountains), and emissaries from the Capital rarely visit. This is partly to do with the geographical difficulties of making such a visit, but more to do with the careful hold Lady Snyden holds over the city and the region.
Crime in Aelaris is punishable by public trial and imprisonment, with the worst case being death. Crime in Southaven is punishable by arena combat.
What that means for Southaven is not a low crime rate, but a carefully balanced ecosystem with Snyden sitting at the top. Those that survive and are returned to the city, and in turn learn what not to do to get caught again. The toughest and cleverest survive and thrive in the shadows of the city, where the criminal underworld is left alone by the guards. It’s dog eat dog, and with good reason: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and in Southaven the strong do well.