Jan 24, 2012

Locations in Axrew

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17:15 Sile's Pass - A fortified town (pop. 3500) under the command of Roger, Count of Sile (the surrounding area), it guards the two main northern passes into Axrew. Roger's sons are both crusaders in the Knights of Naral, and both are current prisoners of the Dakons. He has begun charging steep tolls to travelers through the passes to raise their ransoms. Many claim he has also turned to banditry, though nothing has been proven.

17:18 Naral Manor - One of the greatest castles in Axrew, Naral Manor is owned by the Militant Order of St. Aemer, and is the preferred staging ground for expeditions into the Northern Marches. At any given time, up to 250 knights and their retinues (an additional 2500 men) may be here, along with the grandmasters of the order and other religious pilgrims to St. Aemer. Naral County, held in trust by the grandmasters of the order, is known for its fine apples and cider.

21:22 The Leprosarium - The dry climate of Axrew is thought to be particularly amenable to leprosy and other wasting diseases, and many who find themselves afflicted by these diseases head for the Leprosarium, a segregated complex of villages in the middle of the desert meant to house them (pop ~5000). It is a place outside the normal restrictions of Moragnian society, with sexual morality relaxed, sumptuary laws ineffective, and social class abolished. Though leprosy is curable through magic, it is a low priority for the church of the Hidden God compared to the more infectious and mortal diseases rampaging through the major cities. A small chapterhouse of the Dombatian monastic order is slowly trying to cure all the lepers, but only a few priests capable of divine healing are present. The Dombatians administer the Leprosarium, and own the land on which it is built, and they make quite a lot of money from encouraging the lepers' trades.

23:19 The Moot - The castle of the Duke of Axrew, currently occupied by Robert Lameleg. Often besieged by angry vassals, it is one of the most imposing structures in Axrew, its motte raising it nearly eighty feet off the plain surrounding it. It is built on the site of a battle between Thern and Morags during the conquest. The area around the castle is dotted with caves and warrens where Thernish peasants and soldiers attempted to hide after Weallan, Earl of Axrew was defeated. The victorious Morags butchered everyone they could lay their hands on and dumped the bodies further in the caves while searching for the earl's lost wealth. The mass death led to the caves being infested with uneasy spirits and undead abominations, which periodically emerge to ravage the countryside.

26:17 Rockwood Shire - The shire is the site of a bloody conflict between freeholders and local barons. The freeholders hold much of Rockwood Shire in allod, and make a fine living harvesting and processing timber. As allodial freeholders, they pay taxes directly to the crown through Gordon of Earlingshire, the sheriff. The local barons and knights charge the freeholders with extortion because of the high prices they charge for the timber, which the barons use in the construction of castles. They also accuse Gordon of denying them the right to buy land in Rockwood to exploit for their own use (he does do this, with the support of the local franchisers). In recent years, the barons (particularly Robert of Amark and Robert of Gonton, who hold lands in 25:17) have taken up arms on several occasions to force the issue, and only a lack of coordination has prevented them from overunning the shire. As it stands, Rockwood is a shire besieged, with Gordon forced to hire mercenaries to protect visiting merchants from southern Axrew.

29:17 Redfriar Abbey - The largest Sesquinard abbey in Moragne, the Redfriar abbey gets its name from the deep red-brown robes its members wear. Of Lacallian origin in the city of Sesquin, the Sesquinards in Moragne are the King's bankers of choice. They also run a highly esteemed scriptorium that produces illustrated psalters on commission. Finally, they also serve as neutral ground for the other sects of the church to meet on, and Redfriar Abbey is traditionally where conclaves, councils of Moragnian bishops and abbots, and theological debates take place. The abbey itself is a sprawling enclosed compound built atop a massive motte that stretches for nearly a mile, and is surrounded by smaller fortifications staffed by client knights of the Sesquinards. Years of donatives mean the monks own everything a man can see from the abbey's tallest tower, and the abbot, Morse Remla (from Narbonika) is known more for his nous and business sense than his theological skill.

30:23 Remeldag - A thriving city long before the Revelation of the Hidden God, Remeldag has been a ruin for nearly a millennium, after the immortal sorcerer queen of the Vellings slew its half-demon sorcerer-king, Remel I. The city was barraged with powerful curses that transformed its inhabitants into half-bestial half-demonic abominations, and which enchanted the city so that it is impossible to find by ordinary means, though its lights can be seen at night during the rare times when the desert and surrounding wasteland will support a fog. Nearly a thousand of the original inhabitants remain under the rulership of Remel II, the son of the original sorcerer and a powerful wizard in his own right. He calls himself the Count of Remel, and pays a yearly tribute of 1,000 lbs. of silver to King Harold to be left in peace. Where he gets the silver from is unknown.

32:19 Harken - Harken (pop. 10,000) is the seat of the Moragnian king and his court, as it was of the Thernish kings before him. The current king is Harold II, grandson of Harold I "the Builder". About a third of the population of Harken is employed by the state or the court in one capacity or another, and the city receives many immigrants from across Moragne who have come to make their fortune in politics. Harken is more of a cosmopolitan city than Carlaw or the rest of Axrew, with Vellings, Morags, Therns, and Einermen mixing freely and creating a uniquely "Moragnian" culture.

33:20 Carlaw - The great commercial crossroads of Moragne, Carlaw (pop. 20,000) houses the Royal Mint, the Eastern Tower (the royal armoury), the largest brick and iron works in Moragne, and the University of Carlaw and its associated colleges. The city was built on land belonging to the archbishop of Carlaw, and he remains its feudatory lord, though city government is a run by a council of burghers and gentlemen. Armies are equipped in Carlaw, cannons cast, and sutlers, sumpters and merchants abound. Almost every religious order in Moragne keeps at least a chapterhouse here, due to the city's reputation for piety. Famously, it produces the Twelve Men of Carlaw every year rather than ordinary scutage or levies (though it does possess a well-equipped and trained militia for civil defense).

34:17 Wyrmbone - The site of the famous battle where Jack Dragonkiller (aka Sir John Weaver of Carlaw) slew the dragon in the time of Harold the Builder. A small village (pop. 200) has grown up that makes a living off of pilgrims, who come to touch the bones and dried blood of the great wyrm which stretch for nearly half a kilometre. It is claimed that any sword plunged hilt deep into one of the scabbed pools of blood becomes capable of cutting anything, but no one outside Jack Dragonkiller's line has ever succeeded in doing so. His grand-daughter, Countess Margaret Weaver of Wyrmbone (aka the Woman), has a nearby manor and title to the lands, but she appears to mainly use it as a cottage for suitor-pilgrims and is rarely found there.

34:26 The Heronage - One of the true prizes of Moragne in the eyes of the Church. The Heronage is a sacred location where it is possible to cross the Veil and enter the divine presence of the Hidden God and his various emanations, the runes. It is used for heroquesting. It is guarded by the Fraternity of St. Gerrard, a monastic order who prevent the unworthy from abusing the location, and protect the hermits who live in the surrounding valley. The Heronage is named after the local wildlife, which includes a colony of blue-black herons unique to the area whose plumage exactly mimics the colouration of angelic wings. Brother Ruget, widely considered to be a living saint and perhaps the most holy man in Moragne, is the leader of the brotherhood and it is he who administers the tests that determine whether a visitor is worthy to enter the church itself. Its monks wear blue-black robes in the same shade as the herons' feathers.

35:24 Aemeth County - Aemeth County is an extremely large county controlled by Ogoth the Dog. It is naturally well-fortified, has rich soil, good timber, and several mines that supply it with silver and iron in great abundance. It produces extremely fine wines and fruit, and is significantly wetter than much of the rest of Axrew. However, Ogoth is greedy, and he has taken the opportunity of his excommunication and used it as an excuse to prosecute war and plunder against his neighbours. This has led to the mountains being flooded with free companies on both sides of the conflict. Because he has been excommunicated, the local clergy has risen up against him, and is encouraging the peasants to revolt and flee to more pious masters. The Coiners are proselytising, as are several other heresies, and religious hysterics claim to see the Great Beast lurking behind every tree and stone. Only Ogoth's soldiers and his success in battle are keeping things from exploding into civil war.

37:15 Athelshall - Athelshall (called Affeldag by its former inhabitants) is another pre-Thernish city. It is known in legend as the Great Sinful City, and was destroyed by Estan the Pure, the king who oversaw the conversion of the Kingdom of Therne, at the behest of St. Jerse of Narbonika. The city was looted, its walls dismantled, its inhabitants put to the sword, and the fields salted. No one has ever resettled the land. However, the city has over time become home to several different heretic sects, including Coiners, Whites, and the followers of Barry Nearn, as well as more mundane bandits. Though each thinks they are the true faith and the others vile schismatics, they have set aside their differences to concentrate on banditry, raiding the merchant trade from Harken to Lanarth and Moragland.

37:13 Woodwell - The southernmost settlement in the Einerwood, Woodwell is a walled village built on one side of a ravine with a well-made wooden manor from which William, Baron of Woodwell rules. The town is rich in lumber, and serves the carrying trade with carts, hitches, barrels, chests and lumber. He is currently imprisoned by the Dakons, and his wife, Gertrude of Woodwell, has increased taxes and excises to pay his ransom. This is highly unpopular with the local freeholders and cottars, and the entire barony is on the brink of revolt.