Saturday, February 12, 2011

Regional Overview

The Telstara Region of the Valadian Empire is so named because of the port city of Telstara, the largest and most important city within many miles. Situated on the coast of the Mære Ocean, Telstara is an important trade city with many Imports and Exports leaving its docks nearly every hour of every day.

To the north, the great Ellengæst Peaks rise majestically along the city's horizon. Once pocketed with several dwarven strongholds, they were abandoned as the dwarf populations dwindled in the face of their mysterious curse. Now, many people of the Empire have begun to explore the strongholds, seeking out lost treasures and veins of precious metals. Forge's Claim is the first mining town to grow around such a claim, but are more are sure to follow. These mountains are surrounded by the Hebban Highlands, a hilly region left relatively undeveloped in the west. It is here that several tribes of monstrous races call home and occasionally head out to prey on the good peoples of the Empire.

To the east and west, two great forests stretch on for miles, much of which has been unexplored. The woods grow thick and dark the deeper one travels within and rumors of fae, elves, and far worse keep most people out and dissuade the establishment of any towns on the forests' edge. Lone woodsmen or small groups may establish a few camps along their borders, but the last long term settlement attempted to be established was razed to the ground soon after completion by large group of halflings. It was here the people of the region learned that those halflings left abandoned to the woods have banded together and formed some semblance of a community. Many cursed with halfling births now killed their child quickly, but there are still those that cannot bring themselves to such actions and continue to leave their deformed children along the wood's edge, hoping they'll taken in by those that live in the woods. Thus, the halfling bands continue to grow.

Two great rivers, along with their branches, wind their way though much of the grasslands of the region, providing many nutrients as well as irrigation opportunities to the land. This, along with the temperate climate and ample rainfall coming off the ocean, means there is a great amount of agricultural development around the city. Vast farmlands, dotted by occasional farmhouses, water mills, and barns and stables can be seen for miles around the city itself. While the occasional several storm coming off the ocean and being trapped in the region by the mountains may wreck havoc on the farms, the people are hardy and swiftly rebuild and carry on their lives, making the region very prosperous. Telstara is mostly self sustaining and relies on few imports, meaning it prospers from the taxes of the amount of goods coming out of and into the city that they don't need themselves.

The importance of the city as a trade port meant the Empire commissioned a great road, the Telstara Run, to connect Telstara to the rest of the Empire in the north. This two wagon wide, cobble stone paved road is well maintained and patrolled, making it one of the safest and smoothest roads in the Empire. Fort Renault sits in a hilly region of the road, flanked by treacherous, mountainous terrain to the west and a tangled swath of forest to the east making it highly defensible. From here, riders head out along the road to keep it clear of highwaymen, ravenous beasts, and monstrous creatures. It is also the only viable land route into Telstara for trade caravans, giving the soldiers an opportunity to check traders for illegal cargo as well as impose a tax for passing through the fort, much to the chagrin of traders and the joy of Imperial coffers.

The only other places of note in the region is Ashencor and the Tel'ur'Rath. Ashencor a small village situated on the banks of the Nædre River and nestled in a valley between two hills. Generations ago this was a sacred site, a monastic order built a monastery atop one of the hills that has long since been abandoned. The village continues to live on however, offering a good resting point for those traveling the Run, and sitting in the shadow of the old abandoned monastery. The ruins of an ancient fortress, Tel'ur'Rath sits along the southern edge of the Grénian Forest. Much of it has been explored by Imperial scholars, though their are rumors that there are entrances to areas beneath the ruins not yet discovered. The name comes from a bastardization of the elven words for Old Tower, after the scholars noted much of the architectural design is similar to that of the elves. Those elves who have seen the ruins say that, while their are similarities, the actual design and fading decorative work is not truly elven design but something different.

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