The Wheel Turns...
Far Madding lies at the northern end of the Plains of Maredo. From Far Madding, highways run to Caemlyn, Illian and Tear, and indeed Far Madding sits on the principal land routes between Caemlyn and the other two cities. The city is entered through three gates. The northern Caemlyn Gate offers access to the Ajalon Bridge; the Illian gate, to the Ikane Bridge; and the Tear Gate, to the Goim Bridge. At the mainland ends of the bridges are the satellite towns of Glancor, Daigan and South Bridge.
Although currently an independent city-state, in former days it was the capital of the kingdom of Maredo, and even earlier an important city in other realms.
Far Madding was once known as Aren Mador and was the capital of Essenia, a part of the Ten Nations, after the Breaking of the World. As part of the reconstruction after the Breaking, Ogier built a waygate to Aren Mador.
During the Trolloc Wars, Far Madding was called Fel Moreina.
Society and Customs
While trade flourishes in Far Madding, foreigners may trade at only three of the town’s markets. These three are collectively called the Strangers’ markets, and are named the Nethvin, Amhara, and Avharin Markets, after three important women in Far Madding’s history.
While it is legal to carry weapons in Far Madding, any weapon brought into the town must be “peace bonded”, in a process by which a sword or knife is wrapped in wire mesh while in its sheath, so that the weapon cannot be drawn. Peace bonding costs a small fee, and a peace-bonded weapon must be presented for inspection by the town guard on departure, where any signs of tampering attract a fine. Name lists of visitors and their weapons are distributed to all three gates so that a visitor and his peace bonded weapon may be tracked. Many travelers instead opt to leave their weapons at the guardhouse. To reclaim their weapons, they must then leave by the same gate they originally entered the city.
Far Madding is relatively unusual among the societies of the Westlands, in that it is an openly matriarchal society. Women run the city’s businesses and occupy most Government positions. The city is governed by a committee of 13 women, the Counsels, presided over by the First Counsel, who is “first among equals.” The Counsels meet in the Hall of the Counsels, an imposing building in the Counsels’ Plaza, near the geographic centre of the town. During the events of Winter’s Heart, the First Counsel is Aleis Barsalla.