Bloodright : Rise of the Border Princes
Sabre River - Mountain Lordship
Gateway to the Swan Kingdom
The fiefdom of Sabre River lies on the southernmost limit of the Land of the Two Princes sphere of control. Beyond its borders the mountain passes teem with goblins and other humanoids waiting to murder anyone foolhardy enough to enter their domain.
Not passive foes, humanoid raiding typically consists of incursions by small bands of creatures seeking to waylay lone travellers or attack isolated homesteads. However, from time to time, a unifying warlord emerges to lead a much larger and more determined series of attacks. The Lordship of Sabre River has thus served as a bulwark against humanoid forays into the more densely populated areas to the north.
The Lordship is sparsely populated by an assortment of frontiersmen engaged in dairying, stock raising, lumbering, trapping and mining. Though most are hearty souls and proficient in arms, they remain too few in number to secure the territory completely. Lord Sandus Rainford was originally deployed with the “Lynx Legion” of the Second Coranik Empire, to ensure the defense of the passes leading south into Cygnus – The Swan Kingdom, and east into Westwind. The Legion fell under his direct control with the fall of the Second Coranik Empire, and its troopers have become popular among the populace of the Lordship for their armed presence and the hard currency they spend freely.
Placer deposits of gold and silver are commonly found along the Sabre River, which has attracted a number of prospectors despite the danger. While gold has been rare, silver has been flowing into the local economy in great amounts. Most miners are tight-lipped about their finds, understandably fearful of having their sites robbed by bandits. Many have resorted to using intermediaries to barter their hoard.
Although independent from other powers in the region, The Lordship receives regular support from both Brightwater – City of Coins and Westwind – The Emerald Realm, to ensure it continues to keep the humanoid menace at bay.
Sabre River (Pop – 469) : The first community of the Lordship is its former capital, Sabre River. A lightly stone-walled settlement situated on a fork of the Sabre and Greathelm Rivers, both are navigable to boat trading , making Sabre River a popular stop for traders moving along the waterways. Built on the ruins of an ancient Coranik trade settlement, many of its inhabitants (a mixed community of farmers, herdsmen and craftsmen) exhibit the olive complexion of “Common Man”, typical of the former Coranik Empire and its satellite nations.
The village grew around a military outpost, though its stone fort became redundant when Frandor’s Keep was completed, and soon thereafter the garrison established in the village dispersed elsewhere. Sabre River’s population declined to half almost overnight and remained in a gradual state of decline for many years. Almost destroyed about a decade ago in a sudden uprising by an orc tribe, the village was saved by its stone walls, and by the locals who stubbornly refused to abandon their home. Seemingly invigorated by fresh purpose, the village has since begun prospering.
Home to mostly dairy farmers and herdsmen, many recent settlers have been retiring soldiers from Frandor’s Keep, who were granted lands as part of their retirement. Fur trappers and miners have begun frequenting the area, the latter founding a steady copper mine. The locals are well-known for their woodworking skills and produce barrels, trade wagons and travel chests to merchants. Dairy, pork, mutton and surpluses of vegetables are also traded locally.
A local town council of important merchants collect the requisite taxes, and negotiate trade with Frandor’s Keep and west into The Land of Two Princes. The locals are happy with their leadership, and live in relative peace, though memories of their near destruction by orcs is always on their minds. The charred walls and grass-covered burial mounds leading to the village are another constant reminder.
Yew (Pop – 609) : Though also laid under siege during the orc uprising a decade ago, the village remains intact, and has become even larger and more prosperous. Like its sister town of Sabre River, a stone wall surrounds the village.
The village lies a day’s journey up the pass towards Frandor’s Keep from Sabre River, and its resurgence is due primarily to the success of that fortress. Many of its traders and farmers are directly involved in providing logistics to support the fortress. Farmers raise pigs, chickens and dairy, plant barley and winter wheat. Mountain whitefish and trout are abundant in the river and fishermen routinely bring in a good catch. There are an unusual number of craftsmen for a village this size, with several metalworkers, woodworkers, leather workers and a water-driven sawmill along the river owned by the Timberwright’s Guild. Village merchants can sell most anything a traveller might seek, and the village’s location makes it a popular furlough site for garrison troops from Frandor’s Keep hoping to escape the gloom and threat of death found in that distant locale. The Grey Griffon Inn and North Road Tavern are both popular establishments – the latter having the only regional brewery.
Yew hosts a small detachment from Frandor’s Keep, helping to patrol the Borderland Road leading to The Keep, and escorts both merchants and travellers in trade convoys. Lord Sandus Rainford maintains a small manor at the village about a mile north, overseen by a knight in his employ, and who acts as defacto lord of the village.
Way Stations : Travel between Yew and Frandor’s Keep can take a day or two on a good horse, but in foul weather and in a caravan under armed guard, the trip could take a ten-day. Three way stations have been established along the Borderland Road to assist travellers with food, water and other comforts, offer patrols a change of horses and a hot meal, and make a safe place to camp available along the rough road.
Each way station is a large, low building made of stone and timber, equipped with a kitchen, dining area and common sleeping room. Each is overseen by a local “Watchman” and his family, and traditionally a detachment of a hand of troops from either the garrison at Yew or Frandor’s Keep. Manpower realities, however, often limit this to as few as two. A handful of horses are also available to swap-out injured mounts for patrols.
The three way-stations are Kar Darkan, Kar Mandri, and Kar Vestul. Kar Darkan is run by Ealon Puffer, a man known for the quality of his table to visitors; typically fresh game, and simple but spicy vegetables. Kar Mandri lies at the mid-point between Yew and Frandor’s Keep, and is popular for its inclusion of Hepekerian dancing girls! Run by a man named Doten Weisz, his three handsome daughters dance for locals in traditional Hepekerian garb, and provide ample wine (both good and cheap), though his wife’s stew is barely palatable. The last way-station, Kar Vesbul is the last way-station, and is run by Ol’ Jaes Mason, who looks after the place with his wife, Mildreg. Food is cheap and good, usually a stew of local game and a piece of rye bread for a single copper. They have a son in the garrison at Frandor’s Keep, and treat all the guards like their own children.
Watch Towers : An additional protection for the region, are a hand of watch towers that encircle the wastelands around Frandor’s Keep, and keep watch over the passes. Manned by rotating guards from The Keep, each is equipped with a massive bronze signal cauldron on a wooden platform, and positioned to be seen by The Keep, should it come under attack.
The five towers are officially named; Bard’s Tower, Tartan Tower, Crossbow Tower, Vesper Tower, and Wolf Tower. Captured during the orc uprising a decade ago, Wolf Tower is a now a gutted ruin and abandoned.