Wield: In Guided Hands
The world as we know it is ringed by mountains, with the wide expanse of the sea to the south. Expeditions across the sea to the southeast have fallen foul of the monstrous creatures that inhabit the waters – great eels and whales that tear boats apart. The Old Empire sent boats to the southwest, but the records of those few that returned burned when Prima Casa fell.
Much of the world as we know it is covered by forest – barring the great stretches of desert in the south and the unexplored icefloes beyond the northern mountains, where trolls and icebears walk. Cities tend to cling to the river Utter, that stretches for hundreds of miles, from the mountains down to the swamps on the edge of the Serpent’s Head sea and the city of Fang – the largest city in the known world, since Prima Casa fell.
Locations of interest.
On the edges of the ice-floes, far along the northern seas, sits Bjotrnorth, capital city of the northern settlements. In Y490, nearly three hundred years ago, The Iron Empire ended its bitter war of attrition against the North in a grerat battle where the Imperial legions fought alongside a rampaging tide of the Icebear armies. Despite massive casualties, Bjotrnorth held, but it knew it cannot survive a similar attack. The leaders of Bjotrnorth signed a treaty with Prima Casa and it was named the last Citystate of the Empire.
These days, it makes its way on Mining and whaling; sending cargoes of iron ore, whalebone, oil, blubber and fish down to Worldsend, from where it is sent downriver to the cities in the south. Most pertinently, however, what it has is hundreds of other smaller settlements that it remains a hub for – Bjotrnorth is a trade capital for the North.
It is ruled by a council of Lords and Ladies, hereditary rulers on the Council; and often receives Ambassadors from the icebears that live to the northwest. The humans and icebears have an uneasy peace; but trade between the two is sporadic at best – and it would not take much to shake the tenuous agreements between them.
Historically overshadowed by Fang and Prima Casa, Cairnwood is a city built on a lake, at the edge where the forest and the plains meet. The city is encircled by a crumbling stone wall and is a chaotic patchwork of architectural styles. Governance of the city is shared by a consortium of guild-masters known as the Circle of Bells; and a noble aristocrat, Autocrat Snoldo; who eschews the term “Senator” as being “a relic of a bygone age.”
Y462 ( 288 years ago) : The vale city of Calmlakes burns. Hundreds of thousands of citizens flee their homes. It is whispered that the Vatcha violin calling itself The Heat of the Moment had some play in the proceedings.
“As the boat arrives in Fang, the passengers witness the vast flood defenses across the estuary – The Grieving Gates, The Gates of Despair – once known as the Gates of Glory, 300 years ago, in the time of the Iron Empire. Yarn’s pages flutter open and tells the tale of the new name – that 10,000 slaves died to build them; that the bones of dissenters are still interred within the foundations of the gates. The Crown of Kings hotly justifies its decision – that 100,000 fisherfolk have sailed the bay in safety since the gates were built.”
Fang is at the mouth of the Serpent’s Head Sea. When it was conquered by the Iron Empire, it was a small trading port but after the Fall of Prima Casa it became one of the largest cities in the South as survivors fled north. It is a city of big, glorious facades but rotting backgrounds.
Fang nowadays is ruled by crime families. It has two competing police forces, neither of which is particularly effective. Corruption runs rife.
The Grieving Gates lay at the mouth of the river Utter, with Fang on one side. They were created in the time of the Iron Empire, oiled with the blood of 10000 slaves. Many of these slaves were citizens from the Calmlakes area who fled to Fang when that town was all but destroyed by The Lady of the Forest and The Heat of the Moment,
On the surface, hope has an appearance of quiet peace and stillness, almost desolation. The people of Hope are often hubristic and proud. Being a town built on and over a swamp, most of the buildings in Hope are on stilts and connected to each other via a series of bridges. In Hope, the richer you are the higher up you live – further away from the swamp beneath.
Hope is the home of many hags, colloquially known as ‘Hexing Jennies’. These are viewed as a necessary evil by the inhabitants of Hope, a leftover from the gerontocratic Iron Empire when the eldest citizens in an area were held to be the most wise and trusted. The hags are capricious, believing it to be hilarious to murder people for their own amusement, but also terribly unsporting not to at least give someone a fifty-fifty chance to avoid their fate. A common tactic is to leave a hag-gift in an open area. If someone takes the gift, the hag may accuse them of theft and have them put to death; whereas if they do not, the hag may be insulted by their refusal to accept the gift and have them put to death anyway. This tends to make the locals a little paranoid.
Hope has had a series of mayors who have been too cowardly (or too prudent) to question the authority of the hags or challenge the sensation that the lives of every inhabitant is essential on a knife-edge, at the whim of a cabal of murderous, crazy cat ladies.
The Capital city of the Iron Empire, built in Y 0, seven-hundred and fifty years ago, under the guidance of The Crown of Kings , and burned in y541, two-hundred and nine years ago; at the song of The Heat of the Moment.
These days it has no system of government in place, but the ruins are inhabited by all kinds of people, picking their way through the rubble and building their lives. It is a lawless place; and Worldsend and Fang often send groups of soldiers south, to attempt to keep the peace.
A little over a hundred years ago, The Scions of the Golden King arrives in their tall ships; and began to settle the south. Their faith attracted many who were desperate and hungry, and spread like wildfire. Now, Prima Casa is ringed by a half-dozen fortresses, all dedicated to the word of the Golden King. They have occupied a good square mile of the city, and have , in the past 30 years, engaged in rebuilding the ruins.
A frontier town, built on trade up the river – hunting and trapping, the fur trade – also trading silks and textiles from Frittlehold and earthenware and masonry from Outpost. It has a wooden pallisade and watchtowers.
Wolfwater is a little village that sits between Fang and Wildrun. It is run by Captain Clip, who is Toby Clip’s father. It has excellent crops of cabbages.
Worldsend, along with Prima Casa, Cravenburg and the crumbling cityport of Fang, is the last great remnant of the Iron Empire. It is a series of fortresses, high-walled and imposing, standing strong against the forces of the north. It still has much of the political layout that it had two centuries ago; it’s Senators are also military commanders and the logistics of running the city are very much the logistics of running an army. Professional guards, soldiers and mercenaries often train here, and the name Worldsend has become synonymous with military efficiency.