The Howling

Ride to Glory, Ride to Ruin

Description:

A craggy, impassable highland between both The Dark Fence to the east, and The Hellfurnaces to the west. The region is best known as the site of the only seasonal pass from Cygnus – The Swan Kingdom into The Mark – Land of the Iron Dragon. Running nearly twenty-one miles from west to east, switch-backs and a steep, narrow trail, however, mean passage can take several days by caravan.

Sometimes listed in ancient texts as Snowreach Pass, the rough trail is dominated by the five mountain peaks that surround it, and the tall, ruined watch tower located at its summit, known as Summit Tower. Originally once the site of a deep silver mine located near its summit, the delvings and forges have long been abandoned. Today, the area is often the lair of small bands of goblins and orcs, who raid caravans on a regular basis. “The Howling” is named for the howls of orcs and worse, that echo throughout the narrow pass as they raid north into the Kingdom of Cygnus.

Immediately south-east of the pass is Stonefist – Gateway to The Mark, in a long, narrow valley of orchards and fields, long abandoned. This section of the pass is well-watered with numerous ponds, streams and other means to make the land rich and fertile. In particular, its pearapple orchards once produced ample ales that were widely traded.

On its western fringes, lies the Tir Feldar, the manor village of the ruins of Stonefist, once had a fortification and knight of its own, but lost both during the Hateful Wars of 1042 TR. Both the castle and the village’s temple are burnt shells, and are often plundered for worked stone to improve the village and local roadways. In addition to a traveler’s inn, the village boasts many basic resource buildings, and is known for its pottery and wool exports.

Snowreach Pass is subject to winter closure, due to high snowfall, normally from around the end of Shorn (October) until the end of Larane (May) the following year, though these dates are subject to considerable variation. In heavy snow years, the road usually closes in early-Shorn and could open as late as mid-Flamos. In light snow years, the road could be closed in Echos and open as soon as Nolus.

The Howling is the only regular pass between the two nations of Cyguns and The Mark, and is important to maintaining both trade and contact between peoples of both realms. Its metaled roads, originally built by dwarven masons, remain in remarkably good condition.

Bio:

The Howling

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