For other uses of 'White Gryphon,' see the disambiguation page.
White Gryphon is the city Kaled'a'in and Tantaran refugees built along the western continental coast after the Mage Wars. Knowing they were losing the war to Ma'ar, Urtho began evacuating his people from Tantara. Most of the Kaled'a'ain clans evacuated together, the exception being Clan k'Leshya. They went through not one, but two magical Gates with Urtho's gryphons.
When the Cataclysm erupted, k'Leshya, the gryphons, Urtho's Fifth Army and assorted other survivors were cut off from the other evacuees. They struck out west and south, away from the devastation of their homeland. Eventually the reached the white, seaside cliffs on the western edge of the continent, just barely inside what the Haighlei Empire considered to be the northern border of the member Kmbata Empire.
General Judeth, who was not alone in wanting a highly defensible home, was the first to realize that the stone of the cliff face was both tough enough to bear a city through natural disasters, but soft enough to carve. She persuaded the others to carve a series of terraces into the cliff, building limestone buildings along them, rather than building on the plain on top of the cliff. The terraces have defensive walls built in, and the streets are paved with crushed oyster shells. Between the limestone and the shell, the city gleams bright white in sunlight.
The terraces were sculpted by magic during the first six months, while the refugees camped on the plain above. The mages put in every terrace the cliffs could hold, then cut in a water and sewer system sufficient for the maximum population the terraces could accommodate. Water was supplied by a spring and transported to various parts of the city through small tunnels cut into the rock. Every path path leading either up or down into the city was carefully engineered to allow a single defender with a bow to hold off an entire army. They were also cut in such a way as to channel any objects thrown from the top of the cliff, such as boulders, to the outer edges of the city to fall harmlessly away. By the time the shock waves from the Cataclysm destabilized magic, leaving it unreliable to work with, the major building effort was done. The refugees moved into the central city and began shaping the buildings into comfortable shops and homes.
The plain at the top of the cliff is all meadow and farmland up to the edges of the thick forest, allowing for grazing of herds and food production. Though the farmers originally lived in the cliff dwellings and climbed the trail each day to work in the fields, twelve years later they had built themselves a comfortable village on the rim instead, with farmhouses, barns, pens for the herds and a few warehouses and workshops. Food and other supplies were lowered to the city using a system of pulleys and wooden platforms, carefully engineered to be easy to destroy in case of invasion.
The stockade of the Silver Gryphons is also located in the second village on the rim. As most crime in the city consists of theft and minor damage, the prisoners are put to work in the fields, their pay going to recompense their victims.
The city is governed by a representative Council that meets in the Council Hall. The original Council was composed of Judeth representing the Silver Gryphons, Snowstar representing the mages, Cinnabar representing the Healers, Skandranon representing the non-humans, and Amberdrake as the chief of services, encompassing things such as city utilities and roadways. The Silver Gryphons, organized and commanded by Judeth, served as a paramilitary police force, patrolling the city and lands. Every official had an office with regular office hours, at the combined and vaguely threatening insistence of Winterhart and the wife of Lionwind, the k'Leshya Clan Chief.