Bloodright : Rise of the Border Princes
Land of the Two Princes
Nestled between the River Sceptre and the edge of the Northern Beast Shards (a region known as the “Trackless Wastes”), is a war-torn realm centered by the free town of Brightwater – City of Coins, whose folk are too busy making coins to concern themselves wiht the romantic foolishness that drives their nation; the “crazed” war of the Two Princes. The realm is a pleasantly rolling country of orchards, small farms, and ruined keeps (called “Strongholds”, though also “Follies”) with good roads and a prosperous folk. It occupies the southern-most
Both Revelry Keep and Eartholt stand on cliffs overlooking rivers, and are the ornate “show palaces” of the like formerly found in the Coranik Empire. The realm’s main trade road (linking the trade city of Noblehold on the north banks of the Scpetre River) north of Eartholt, runs diagonally to Brightwater – City of Coins and then back up to the river in a “V” to Revelry Keep., with all the realm’s primary hamlets along it. The large villages of Bucklegrim, Starshroud, Appletree and Orinar’s Belt are along this road, comprise the majority of the realm’s population, and remain stoically indifferent to the realm’s incessant wars, knowing they are safe from harm.
The realm was founded by two Imperial knights from Coranik who were exiled together for rebellion during the Salt War, in TR 729. Together, they brought their followers and slew or drove the other lordlings from these border lands, assisting each other in establishing their own holdings at either end of their new realms – and promptly quarreled, unable to agree on which should rule, or even the name they should give their land. A year-long war of skirmishes “ended” when they slew each other at the battle of Appletree in TR 736.
The new rival families, Earthlion (Gold Lion on Crimson) and Misthart (Silver Hart on Black) eventually agreed that contention for rulership should continue only under strict conditions; no family member shall draw weapon or cast spell against the citizens of their realm, nor against the castles of either family. Strife between the present rivals is limited to open skirmishes and rulership of the realm is guaranteed upon control over every part of the land, excepting the rivals primary fortress and the city of Brightwater. Furthermore, they must have captive both the living noble ruler and their living designated heir. Losers of the conflict are guaranteed safe-passage from the realm; the winner gains outright rulership.
Generations have passed as the endless skirmishes of knights thundering across the hills and fields progress. Crops and property are despoiled as little as possible, and there is little danger to travelling merchants or traders within the realm, or any others not “…in the Hunt for the Crown”. The unspoken agreement results in odd situations; knights hacking at each other will pause to ride around farmers and their carts, only to resume once more when they have cleared the traveller. It remains popular opinion that the nobility of the realm are insane; but they are fondly respected nonetheless.
Most nobles of the realm are lazy, while their hire-swords slaughter each other across the realm. It is required for all “committed” hirelings of either side to bear the arms of their respective clans. Known now as the “House of the Lion” and the “House of the Stag”, anyone not so marked but engaged in fighting in the realm is fated to a swift execution.
Known as “The Great Hunt” by locals, these lands attract many mercenaries and those who don’t become committed to one side or the other and survive, often depart the realm richly rewarded. Warriors can win mounts, weapons, armor and coin from their fallen foes, while titles to lands are freely distributed. Mounted bands of warriors thunder across the lands, assaulting the “Follies” which dot the crowns of every defensible hilltop in the realm. Many are ruins littered with bones and rusted arms, haunted by the undead or brigands, or filled with monsters. Local children often play at the game – using the local folly near their village and tripping into a lost cache of coins and arms. There are over a hundred such strongholds, with typical names like : the Sunset Wall, Malcoth’s Turret, Eram’s Hold and the Stormpost. The most famous are Ghoul’s Castle, a ruined shell keep north of Brightwater where caravan’s often camp for the night; Watchfire Keep, a haunted fort of tumbled stones near Appletree; and Blackstone Hall, a fort north of Revelry Keep, that is cloaked in persistent rumors of treasure in its deepest cellars.
The church of Sarrock is popular in the realm, and its priests often accompany bands to provide healing, training, and smithing. The coins they earn support numerous shrines across the realm.
The nobility of the realm often engage in merchant activities to both support their constant skirmishes and to ensure the comfort of their respective families.