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Hanadel Primer

Page history last edited by Paul Wolfe 10 years, 6 months ago

Hanadel is a small county within the greater Kingdom of Reiddich that has seen much turmoil over the last few hundred years. Far removed from the capital on the coast of Greydurn Bay, Hanadel was never a rich holding. Since the times of troubles about two hundred years ago, the entire region has been in decline.

 

 

History of the Area

About two hundred years ago, a colony of strange gnomes moved into the area, made contact with the countess of Hanadel, Loridana, and her paramour, the hero knight Vainbrin. The gnomes offered much: surveyed areas of the nearby hills known to hold gemstones, new farming methods that increased production and even martial protection for the historically poor holding. Loridana, a decadent and disconnected ruler, gave the gnomes free reign to “assist” her people. The trouble started soon after that, with villagers and even the freeholder (mayor) of the only merchant town disappearing inexplicably. Much was blamed on the plains tribesmen that moved through the region seasonally, but soon the mysterious disappearances were traced to the gnomes. Vainbrin gathered a small army of soldiers as well as the mage, Thurvil and his entourage of strange heroes. The knight’s army confronted the sheinfey, as they had come to be known, at Bradeck’s Ford just north of the village of Wigburn and were quickly destroyed by the gnome’s potent illusionary magic. Fighting at their sides were massive creatures composed of living rock and earth, as well as, some said, voracious demons.

The countess was distraught, having lost her paramour and champion, as well as a sizable fraction of her standing army. She sent messages downriver to the capital, and even sent an envoy, to no avail. A militant order of priests and knights answered her call – The Chosen of the Emerald. Though the order’s reputation was one of excessive violence and even rumors of human sacrifice, Loridana accepted their allegiance without trepidation. The Knights Chosen waded into battle almost immediately, while the priests set up open-air temples on the nearby flat-topped hillocks overlooking Wigburn. What came out of those temples few remember, though legend has it, to this day, that the creatures were worse than the sheinfey and all their minions. In a series of desperate battles, the Knights Chosen and Loridana’s standing army fought the gnome army to a standstill – though through a bold gambit the fey burrowed into Hanadel castle, captured and then murdered the countess. The sheinfey disappeared soon after the battles leaving behind a devastated county and the militants of the Chosen in control.

The king in Reiddich outlawed the Chosen after a few years and his forces drove the cultists from the region, however many around Hanadel still sympathize with the order, since they were the only ones to answer the countess’ call.

 

Hanadel Today

 

 

The County of Hanadel today is a labor poor, resource rich area. Recently, King Gerrick IV assumed the throne and has urged his nobles to settle the area, even granting tax breaks and other support. Though only a few pioneers have taken him up on it, others plan to survey the land and determine if the area is viable.

 

The current residents of Hanadel are a suspicious and backward lot. They have lived for several generations without strong kingdom rule and are sure to resent increased pressure from Reiddich. In addition, the current countess of Hanadel, Ruby Filion, is a youngster (8) living in poverty in a Reiddich mansion on the sea. Her steward, great-grandson of Vainbrin, seeks in vain to reclaim his charge’s property and titles.

The most recent expeditions to Hanadel were led by a half-mad druid named Vihref. Believed to have been in the king’s dungeons for a time, the druid managed to convince a small group of lords to “lend” him their peasants to found a town in the Hanadel region. He and his folks arrived in the dead of winter two years ago, holing up in the remnants of the region’s only town, Feinhelf. After the spring thaws, Vihref led his people to the site of an ancient stone spike in the center of the Emerald Run and founded the village of Stoyburgh. Two years on, Stoyburgh has barely subsisted and has attracted no other immigrants to the area.

The Hanadel Region
The county of Hanadel is situated in the middle of the Great Soraki Plains about 100 miles north-northwest from the capital of Reiddich. Though the land is well drained and generally arable, the region experiences seemingly bi-annual weather events (droughts, major floods, and other disasters) that seem to keep the populace of the area sparse and poor.

The small county has fewer than 2000 souls, though tribes of Soraki wander the plains, often trading with those of Hanadel. Though there have been occasional raids, and even a major confrontation with the King’s army a decade ago, the Soraki generally live in peace with the citizens of Hanadel and Reiddich.

The flora and fauna of the region are diverse and plentiful. Herds of viri (a large antelope) along with flocks of tassel, a flightless bird about the size of a goat, dominate the plains, hunted by spotted lions, hrugrim (a large jackal), and other smaller predators. Though sparse, small forests are scattered along riverbanks, marshes and the numerous small lakes that dot the plains.

 

The majority of the Soraki Plains are flat and featureless, though the occasional rocky rise juts as a lonely landmark in a seemingly barren place. Within sight of Feinhelf, the area’s only sizable town, stand the Dead Lovers, twin rocky hills named after Hanadel’s erstwhile countess and her knight lover. Overshadowing these hills is a single craggy mountain called Urven-Shzail, said to be named after a mythical dragon that came to the aid of Vainbrin in his last hour. Some say the dragon sleeps under the mountain, but none have ever seen it or evidence of it all these long years since the fall of the countess and her armies.

The Emerald Run, a wide and sluggish river, runs from the faraway mountains to the north down to Greyburn Bay and Reiddich Castle. Though navigable by large craft, no barge or other river traffic frequents the area.

Settlements

Settlements in the county are generally small, poor, and insular. The village of Granton is the exception, supplying the entire county with vegetables, fruit, beef and pork. Granton is ruled by a wise and benevolent farmer with noble heritage and peopled by his descendants and other relatives.

The only sizable settlement that could be called a town is Feinhelf. Other than a few stone buildings left over from the county’s “heyday,” the town is a collection of huts and shanties along the Green, a tributary to the Emerald Run. Feinhelfers generally subsist on hunting viri and tassel on the plains (there is a huntsman's guild, of sorts, that supply the town. This is led by the half-Soraki ranger Tenbear), fishing the river and by cultivating fireroot, a spicy protein-rich tuber that grows along the Green and Emerald Run. There is little industry in the town, though the town boasts an armor smith, jeweler, and half a dozen other merchants either in the small marketplace or the few shops. A single inn, the only one in the region in fact, sits in one of the stone buildings in the town center and a rude crock-house has sprung up among the shanties along the river. Oddly, a magical academy has recently been founded in Feinhelf. The headmaster, Thain Worgin, a magician of some power, inexplicably seeks to turn the remote academy into a premier school of magical thought.

Wigburn, on the Emerald Run, is the basest village with hardly a soul that seems to do more than drag massive catfish from the river and sit on ramshackle porches and smoke. It was here that the Chosen of the Emerald made their headquarters and many whisper that those of Wigburn still consort with the demons that the Chosen summoned. A Chosen temple still sits on the outskirts of the village and, in fact, a high priest and circle of adherents still perform the forbidden rites daily.

The growing village of Stoyburgh was recently founded just a mile upstream from Wigburn by the druid Vihref and a group of pilgrims. Drawn to the area by the great stone spire in the center of the Emerald Run, Vihref sees it as a relic of an older druidic age. The residents of Stoyburgh do little for their own betterment – engaging in fishing and gathering of herbs and tubers to supply themselves with food and keeping a few half-starved sheep for food and clothing. However, the entire village of 500 greet the dawn on the small rocky island where the stone spire resides; the village standing “sky-clad” as the sun breaks over Mount Urven-Shzail.

The thorps of Bend, Leitel and Woad are nothing more than collections of like-minded or related locals attempting to eke out an existence in the difficult area. The peasants of Lietel, situated on the slopes of the Dead Lovers, have constructed a small walled fort to protect the iron and, some say, gold mines that they dug from the twin hills. Bend is a simple collective hall ruled by a priest to some long forgotten nature spirit – simple farmers, they are. Woad is a collection of small huts housing woodcutters and their families.

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