Bloodright : Rise of the Border Princes
Stonefist - Gateway to The Mark
Chief fortress of the Realm of the Mark - "The Stone"
At the foot of the pass leading into The Mark, lies a castle perched overlooking all approaches, known as Stonefist to most folk, or simply, The Stone to those familiar with the area. Built to guard the approaches to Snowreach Pass and controlling trade into and out of The Mark – Land of the Iron Dragon. It does this job very well; nothing and no one can get through the pass without either flying or walking within bowshot of the walls.
The road from the northern pass loops around Stonefist by curving to the east before continuing southeast and on towards the capital of Gallorna by the coast. The southern side of the castle looms overhead up a sheer 200’ cliff. After the road rounds the promontory, under the shadow of the great tower, it crosses a small mountain stream that runs through a pear-apple orchard south of the road to disappear into a dark pine forest on the north. The road then reaches the ruins of the castle village, a stone-walled collection of workshops and houses that once supported the noble clan that protected the pass.
The approach to the castle is a steep and rocky track with a pine forest covering the hill’s lower slopes. A ditch guards the castle along the gatehouse wall, and sheer cliffs cover all other approaches to the fortress.
While the Castle Bailey is rather simple in design and function, the Great Tower is elaborate, self-supporting and impregnable by standard means. There has proven to be a substantial under-croft, with ruins pre-dating modern civilization in origin. Some suspect they might be “Naga” in origin…
Presently, the castle is a working fortification, with servants and denizens that are impressive for the short time period it has remained in Fierce Creature control.
Originally built with the intent to protect the valley from invasion along the trade road, The Stone is an important fortress in the realm of The Mark. It was ruled by a local knight, whose position in the realm was important enough to grant the clan possession of the valuable fortress.
In 1042 TR, the fortress came under a massive siege by orkan and other humanoid tribes, and in the summer heat, fell to their combined forces, with the noble family itself even dying-off. The ruins have long since become known as the haunt of trolls and worse, and as the first landmark in the realm reminds visitors of all that has been lost in the fall of The Mark to the mountain tribes.
In 1048 TR, the ruins were taken under the control of Lord Urrevor Koth and his band of mercenaries. After months of raiding and plunder, he and his troops were taken unawares by the Fierce Creatures, when they slipped in through the lower levels and slaughtered the lord in his own great tower. As of the end of Hammer, 1049 TR, the castle, and its extensive cellars, lay under the Fierce Creatures’ control.
On Flamos 21st, 1049 TR, the Fierce Creatures entered a Shadow Gate leading to the Courts of the Shadow Elves, returning a year and a day later on the 22nd of Flamos, 1050 TR. During their absence, their lieutenants did much to maintain matters, carefully protecting what had been built, and watching to ensure their paid mercenaries, The Band of the Red Hand didn’t try anything dangerous. Keeping the mercenaries busy with raids against their enemy the orcish tribes of Fort Bloodthorn, Sir Roderick the Green did his best to keep everything under his control, despite Winter’s harsh grasp on the land. In the end, the things that saved his people, was the large treasury they had left in his care, with which he was able to gain supplies from the northern villages and across the western pass, and continue to buy off the mercenaries, as well as the surprising boon of Norish Apples left behind before the Fierce Creatures disappeared. With his usual loyalty, he was able to keep the legacy of his employers intact, and ready for their return.