They rode up and down several streets, all of them paved with cobbles, while Pen gaped at the high houses, the well-dressed men and women, the bright markets, stately merchants and hurrying servants, fine fountains in squares crowded with laundresses, elegant or clever wrought-iron signs for artisans' shops and guildhalls, windows of stained glass with pictures. - Penric's first impression of Martensbridge - "Penric's Demon"Martensbridge is a large royal free town of the Cantons, located along the river Linnet and a large lake. It is ruled by a princess-archdivine, by long tradition a daughter of the Hallowed King of the Weald. Martensbridge is beholden only to the Hallowed King, but maintains treaties with nearby cities with more varied allegiances. Wealdean is spoken in the area.
The most plausible origin of the city's name is that an earlier lord of kin Marten built the first bridge across the Linnet. The improved roads caused the city to grow, but kin Marten lost control of the area to a distant prince of the Weald.
Upon acquiring its royal charter, Martensbridge became a centre of trade. The city is noted for its glasswork, and has recently become a centre of silk-making. At the time of "Penric's Demon", the surrounding area has been troubled by local lords who have taken to robbing merchants. The guilds of the city have combined with the princess-archdivine's troops to destroy the nests they couldn't buy out. Castle Martenden is one of the few remaining hold-outs.
Martensbridge contains the head house of the Bastard's Order in the Cantons.