This peak lies in the vast mountain range of Tethic-Ry, the Shadow lands, to the North bordering the land of Danar. This mountain is rumoured to be riddled with a honeycomb of tunnels delving deep into the bowels of the earth. Drow and other denizens of the earth have been seen around the area. A tribe of nomads have dwelt amongst the crags etching a living from the harsh terrain. Travellers along the trade routes rarely see the Ironwalkers and only during the coldest winters do they venture down into the valleys for food.
RUINS OF MAYENE AT HAMBROOK
This village’s only claim to fame was the small but dedicated church to Luthien that stood next to one of the orchards near the Village Square. This claim was short lived, however, when a group of Quartak fanatics murdered the worshipful Brother Mayere and his acolyte and attempted to open a gateway to a place of evil. This ritual was disrupted by a group of travellers, one of who met his death at the hands of diabolic entities. All that now remains of the village are the broken walls and debris of the church and huts.
Port and commercial town, home to the Northern Order of the Knights of the Lance. Right at the harbour mouth lays an enormous granite statue of a humanoid beast with the face of an ape, the wings of a dragon and the claws of a tiger. Legend has it that this statue was constructed by a powerful enchanter to act as a warning to those who were thinking to attack the port, showing them what was protecting its inhabitants. It is centuries old and covered in moss and vegetation. Legend has it that in the Port’s time of most need, it will rise up and defend the town. Directly North is the Karid Bay where lies the now infamous Siren’s Isle. Now completely submerged, this sunken isle brings Quartak followers from all over the land to glimpse the area where their Lord was given his divine gift.
A large (ish) farming town overseen by the noble Lord Evan Warhorse, a veteran soldier whom is strict but fair to his people. Beneath him are three magistrates who look after the day to day civil and criminal matters. A small group of enlisted militia (of no great importance) is the town’s main garrison. Moresidge’s mainly produces lamb, wool, beef and tanning leather.
This small hamlet lies to the South of the land, West of Tethic Vorrin, East of the Great Mere. An area of farmland and natural beauty, this region seemed to avoid much of the devastation of the Undead War.
It is famous for is the great stone circle situated outside the local hostelry, The Olde Stew Pot. Three druids who perform the annual ritual of the Festival of Light, which is enacted to protect the land from harm and ensure a fruitful harvest, tend this circle. This ceremony lasts over a weekend and is the scene of much merriment and frolicking! Events included Morris dancing, drinking, the Burning of the Harvest Man (a large wooden constructed figure) and games of various sorts. The whole weekend culminates in the traditional Ritual of the Brave, nicknamed Siren’s Balls by the locals. Only those who have played in this game can have any idea of the rules!
Market town and home to the Northern order of the Knights of the Flame. This sleepy hollow is a quiet and respectable town inhabited by farmers and traders who earn an honest days pay. The Order of the Flame recruits many of their new Knights from the locals due to their strength and dedication to their work. A proud, but somewhat elitist group, this Order always seems to be in the thick of it, helping those who require their help.
VILLAGE OF OAKHAM
On the outskirts of the forest of Vorrin lies the rapidly expanding village of Oakham (pronounced Orc ‘em). Ruled by a council of five elders, the village is notable for several reasons.
First is its extreme devotion to the village’s one hero, Thomas Archer. According to legend, when the village was young, it was terrorised by a strange and terrible beast. The council of elders declared the region unsafe and was about to abandon the village when a young man named Thomas volunteered to track down and slay the beast. Taking his bow and axe, he set off. It is told that four days after Thomas set off, the sound of terrible battle could be heard in the forest. A week after setting out, Thomas returned, wounded, but in good spirits. Now every year the village celebrates the day of his return (Thomas’ day), and in his honour, the first-born child of every family (be they boy or girl) is named Thomas Archer and trained in the use of the bow from an early age.
The second notable feature of the village is its production of strong drink. Cider, ale, and the formidable ‘Scumble’ are all readily available (and consumed) in Oakham. The village inn (unsurprising named ‘The Thomas Archer’ ) is renowned for miles around for its obsidian bar (actually made from the remains of an enchanted door) and incredibly strong brews.
The village has been self-sufficient in the past but, with the attraction of it’s famous bar and brews, is now rapidly expanding to become a town and traders, entertainers and visitors are becoming increasingly familiar sights in Oakham. Bows, arrows, strong ale, cider and scumble, as well as farming produce and forestry are the main exports of the village. There is no militia as such (there is no need when every villager from the age of 5 upwards can use the bow – many expertly – and many every day tools serve) and law and order is maintained by peacekeepers appointed by the council on a rotating schedule.
The people of Oakham (generally referred to as the Thomases) are simple, earthy country folk who enjoy nothing more than a damned good drink and to show off their skill with a bow. They are not stupid, but most have had little exposure to life outside the village and tend to be rather naive and ignorant of the world outside . However, as the village is expanding and attracting more visitors, so are the Thomases increasingly venturing out of Oakham and experiencing the outside world. A small number of Thomases were present at the Festival of Light in Heath Vale a few years ago and one Thomas Archer even served a short stint in the militia in the Moresidge garrison. Love them or hate them, you always know when there’s a Thomas around. If you need to find one, just try the local watering hole!
Granite Jaw commands the Deep Earth guild from the great dwarf mine at Emerald Gap to the North East of the land. It is here and only here that the priceless Dragon’s Eye gem is mined. It takes years of hard labour and experience to find even a small piece of this unique mineral.
One of the greatest battles of the Necromantic war was fought here. Some say that it was that battle that turned the tide and gave hope to many. Countless numbers of Quartak’s children (Grim Walkers) poured against the walls of the great city. As hope was fading fast, it is said that the remnants of General Siren’s vanguard appeared from literally nowhere and fell upon the enemy. The legions of Undead gave way under the onslaught and victory was clawed back from the brink of certain defeat.
The large town of Velian lies to North of Nod Gorin, the land of the Grey Bear. The town itself is run by an elected council of 5 local dignitaries or respected members of the community and is thought to be a society of knowledge and reason with little or no crime. This is in part because of the lack of any form of Scathlock and Sil Tek temples in the vicinity.
The Libraries of Musee at Velian are constantly in use with teachers, scholars, scribes and other academics busy collecting data and other snippets of knowledge to wet their appetites. The immense Diamond Hall is one of the most famous vaults of knowledge in the known world. Within its walls it holds the entire history (as recorded by its keepers) of Velian and its neighbouring area. Damrodel, the Master Archivist, has been supervising the library for more than 40 years. His thirst for knowledge has led him to obtain tomes that some would have considered destroyed or merely a legend. Parts of this great complex are off limits to most of the populace. These areas mainly contain information that has been deemed valuable, dangerous or of a nature that the Master Archivist has decreed is not in the public interest. Special permission may be granted upon request to view such information, but only with a valid reason. There is also a smaller restricted section that contains methods, procedures and practices of the enchanter’s art. This is even more tightly restricted than the other section and access is only allowed to those of the art and in the presence of the Master Archivist. In its entire history, there has never been a theft from the great library. This is not from want of trying! The local Scathlock church has turned into a challenge for their members to steal just one book from the ‘ restricted reading ‘ area. As well as ‘ just a collection of old books ‘; the library is also used by Gideon followers as a place of worship. The euphoric feeling of peace and tranquillity in the Hall of Meditation is one not to be missed. Built from the finest white marble, the Hall stands to the south of the main building. It is open to all who wish to enter and be at peace. It is said that if anyone should enter with chaotic or disruptive thoughts they are immediately struck down and gibber quietly on the floor until removed by ushers! One important piece of work sits in the restricted area of the library. The Scrolls of St. Petra were said to have been written by the ancient Gideon monk Petra in his final years. It chronicles the life of a peasant who was later revered as the mortal avatar of Gideon. It shows his humble beginnings as the son of a blacksmith, his interest in the local politics and his eventual persecution and execution by the corrupt council of Elders of whom he attempted to expose as frauds and liars.
Velian escaped much of the Blood War of Quartak and its Drune temple still stands to the east of the town. However, the temple saw much blood shed with the disappearance of its High Mystic, Daigarth, shortly after the Festival of Light in Tethic Vorrin. Reports say that shortly after dispatching acolytes to the celebrations, screams were heard coming from within. Upon the acolytes’ return, the temple was found empty save for a few small pools of blood near to the altar. Nothing had been disturbed or stolen and to this day, none know the whereabouts of Daigarth.