Freedom Throughout the Ages
The Founding of Freedom: The 1600’s
Freedom City began with the quest for independence, when Puritan colonists from England and the Netherlands arrived in the New World in 1630. They founded a small, walled town at the confluence of two rivers on a great bay and named it Freedom. They began to trade with the local Native American tribes like the Happanuk. Eventually, the settlers came into conflict with the natives as Freedom grew, and they fought a number of skirmishes. The settlement proved successful, leading more people to make the hard ocean crossing from Europe, and bringing trouble along with them.
In the late 1600s, Freedom was home to the Reverend Elijah Prophet, a famous “monster hunter” and “witch finder.” Prophet was the driving force behind a witch-hunt in Freedom in 1694 that lasted for nearly two years.
Among the accused was Henri “Lupus” LeBlanc, a Frenchman accused of being a lycanthrope, who supposedly fled the authorities with the aid of “demons and evil spirits.”
Although LeBlanc was never captured, a dozen other people were tried and hanged for witchcraft and consorting with the Devil. Prosecutor Lucius Cabot argued eloquently and forcefully to convict the accused, although historians believe the victims were entirely innocent. Thankfully, Freedom’s witch hysteria burned itself out by the turn of the century, and Elijah Prophet moved on to other places, and other hunts.
Wind’s of Change: The 1700’s
By the mid-1700s, Freedom had grown considerably, the original settlement expanding along with additional settlements in the area like Bayview, Hanover, Kingston, and Port Regal. Today, the area has become a focus for anti-British sentiment among the colonists. The most famous even is the Kingston Tea Party, a show of solidarity to their Bostonian brothers, in 1773.
Colonial-era Freedom—not yet a City—is home to the rich, landed upper class descendants of its Puritan and Dutch founders and to a growing working class made up of more recent immigrants. The new arrivals hail from all over Europe, but the majority trace their roots back to the British Isles. Nearby, lives the Happanuk Indians, geographically close but culturally distant from the Freedonians.
Areas like Bayview, Hanover, and Kingston are independent settlements. This separation is more a legality than anything else, inconvenient only to those in quick need of a physician, barrister, or some other rarified big-town trade. Much to the dismay of travelers to these outlying areas, a hard rain easily changes the prevalent dirt roads to mud bogs.
Life in Freedom
The flavor of Colonial-era Freedom is best imparted by how it greets the senses. It pleases the eyes with plenty of “charm”: cobblestone streets, grand mansions, quaint cottages, tri-corner hats, and powdered wigs. Things are a little rougher on the nose since most everything is animal-or man-powered, so a healthy tolerance for the fragrances of nature is a must.
Mozart, Haydn, and hymns of all kinds soothe the ears as well as the soul, and the fiery church sermons try to literally scare the Hell out of people. Taste must make do with simpler fare like unadorned meats, potatoes, and porridge, livened up with the occasional beer, whiskey, or tobacco.
It is a time where slavery and cousin marriage were widely accepted practices, and the career choices for most were “farmer” or “laborer.” Virtually everything is handmade (often by the user themselves), and the highlight of everyone’s week is church. Bleeding diseased patients is literally the cutting edge of medicine, and the intellectual elite are the few who could actually read and write.
Location and Landmarks
Freedom proper lays at the confluence of two rivers; the Wading River to the north and the aptly named South River to the south. These exit into the Great Bay, making Freedom a harbor town and one that see plenty of ships. To the west, up gently slopping hills lies deep forests, home to the Happanuk natives and some say the ancient nature spirits they worship.
To the south, across the river lies the settlement of Bayview, a simple settlement of mostly farmland. Across the Wading River to the north lies Hanover and Kingston, two more affluent settlements rife with extravagant plantations. Finally, to the east, along the edge of the Great Bay is Port Regal, a settlement that deal with the loading and unloading of most of the simpler goods that enter or leave Freedom via ship.
There are but two well known (even to those outside the settlement) locations in Freedom as the rest of the settlement is pretty plain by colonial standards.
Cabot, Cunningham, & Crowley is one of the most well know law-firms in the colonies. Founded in 1766, it is most well known for it’s viscous and tenacious prosecutor (and co-founder), Lucius Cabot. Cabot made a name for himself in the late 1600’s by being a staunch supporter of the Prophet’s Crusade. Cabot sent a dozen women to the gallows then, all accused of being witches.
Located atop a hill in the western edge of Freedom, St. Stephen’s Church is already considered a landmark to the people of Freedom. Established in 1742, the church is a tall, narrow building with high, thin stained glass windows and a tall steeple. The church is well attended by nearly all who live in Freedom and many of the surrounding settlements as well, especially among the plantation owners in Hanover and Kingston.