Sunday, November 19, 2023

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States -- Week 46

 Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States -- Week 46

Compiling week 46 of the project, comprised of an additional 7 posts, this week's subject being a deep dive of a location of interest - the Knights of the Borderlands of the City-State of Noldrune:


Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #316 

November 13th, 2023 

  • Number: 316 

  • Name: Deep Dive on an Area of Interest: Knights of the Borderlands – Part 1 

  • Location:  Northwest corner of County Macad in the City-State of Noldrune 

  • Population (approx.): Varies 

  • Brief: Once House Macad decided to join the City-State of Noldrune and then later the borders were settled with the City-States of Ceannar and Taodeas to the east and south, the famed Legionnaires of Macad had, for the first time in years, no wars to fight. Skirmishes continued, along the borders with Ceannar and Taodeas, and the Legions marched to assist Taodeas during the Plainswalker Wars, but the best training grounds for young Knights hoping to serve the County turned out to be hilly borders to the west and north. The hills, ridges, ravines and canyons concealed foes both human and monstrous. The region, commonly called the Borderlands, comprises about half of one of the three Viscounties of County Macad, Viscounty Ember. As House Macad was formed by the three Legionnaires of old, so the County is divided between three Viscounts, each a direct blood relative of the founding warriors. The Borderlands is home to a half-dozen notable small manors, homes to landed Knights in service to Viscount Ember. 

  • Geography: The Borderlands covers about 3,600 square miles of northwest County Macad, bounded by the Tuton Maug to the west and its northeastern spur to the north. The northwestern corner is near Outcrop (#111) the border between Counties Tolland and Macad being just south of the Dwarven village. The southeast corner is generally defined as Hemmeck Hill, which contains a spring, the source of the Ember River whose course leads it south to the Tauoi River. The region features hills mixed with both rough and level terrain, covered in flora ranging from grasslands to dense woods to thin scrub. The flora and fauna are typical for the region. 

  • Next Article: Over the course of this week, we’ll meet six notable landed Knights in service to Viscount Ember and House Macad. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #317 

November 14th, 2023 

  • Number: 317 

  • Name: Deep Dive on an Area of Interest: Knights of the Borderlands – Part 2 

  • Location:  Northwest corner of County Macad in the City-State of Noldrune 

  • Population (approx.): 1922 (Narrowcreek Manor and surrounding tenants) 

  • Brief: The people of County Macad and the City-State of Noldrune, as a whole, are an interesting mix of populations. The bulk of the people migrated from north of the Narrows several millennia ago. A second smaller wave arrived with the exodus of the Ceannar Peoples from the east across the Hethichol Sea and finally, the invasion by the Ta’arnan Empire from the south brought a third smaller still wave to the area. All three mingled with Kin present in the region since before the days of historical records. House Macad’s founding bloodlines are of the north, but the House’s formation is deeply rooted in the military tradition of the Ta’arnan Legions. Many Knights were awarded titles and lands for their skills in battle, potential or realized. One notable line of warriors is the wizards of warfare of Narrowcreek Manor, in service to Macad since its founding five centuries ago. 

  • Damosel Jokalynn (Lynn) Lightsinger, Lady of Narrowcreek Manor, 340, female Elf, leads the Battlemage cohort for Narrowcreek Manor. She is petite and wafer-thin. Her golden hair is short and spiky. Lynn has moss-green eyes and a disarming smile. She wears linen pants and a top covered with runes of protection. Her staff is birch and has an amethyst on top enclosed in gold. Lynn is brave, considerate, and a great leader. 

  • Lynn grew up in Narrowcreek Manor, where her father led the battlemage cohort before her. She is more potent than her father and is looking for new ways to enhance her power. Besides the cohort, Lynn sponsors a small information network for the area. Her friend, Enra Tiphi, 258, male Elf, runs the network and brings her fresh information throughout the day. Enra keeps in contact with the other manors in the area and uses the information to plot the best course for the future of their manor. Information of note is also passed to the NSS as required. 

  • Lynn is married to Quinris Lightsinger, 350, male Elf, and they are grandparents many times over. Some of her grandchildren are part of the cohort, and others work for the information network. Lynn and Quinris rarely see each other during the week with their busy schedules. Sunday night has become family night, and all the Lightsinger family members and their significant others gather in the manor and catch up on what is happening in the family. 

  • Geography: Narrowcreek Manor (location 1 see below) is located in the northeast corner of the Borderlands. The titular creek rises in the Tuton Maug Spur to the north and flows southeastward to join the Florum River which empties into Red Water Bay. The Manor controls over 200 square miles and collects tithes from the population, a mix of farmers, loggers, miners and the connected merchants and traders. Damosel Lightsinger is on good terms with Viscount Ember and nearby Knights and Lords as her cohort is powerful but only used in support of the County and City-State. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #318 

November 15th, 2023 

  • Number: 318 

  • Name: Deep Dive on an Area of Interest: Knights of the Borderlands – Part 3 

  • Location:  Northwest corner of County Macad in the City-State of Noldrune 

  • Population (approx.): 3137 (Peace Blossom Manor and surrounding tenants) 

  • Brief: Most manors in the City-State of Noldrune pass quietly from the deceased Lord or Knight to the eldest capable living relative, who then journeys to the castle of Viscount Ember in Emberton to present themselves at court and have their credentials acknowledged, formalizing the transition. There are rare instances when a manor is left without a suitable heir, and it falls to the Viscount to fill the position. They may grant the title to a notable or unlanded Knight with a significant service record, or perhaps one with great martial or magical potential or in this case, to a master craftsman with years of service and a rather specific secret set of skills greatly desired by the Viscount. 

  • Sir Tohim Fecklemickle, Lord of Peace Blossom Manor, 43, is a male Forest Gnome and a gifted tinkerer. He is short and has a thin body. His hands are small and delicate. Tohim has light brown skin, pointy ears, and burnt-orange hair. His eyes are coal black, and he wears glasses for close-up work. Tohim has a tattoo of a pair of dice on his left arm. He usually wears tan leggings, colorful jerkins, and a black tool belt. He wears a bandolier of several throwing daggers if he thinks there will be trouble. 

  • Tohim used to own The Dapper Tinkerer, a toy and gift shop in Emberton, the Royal seat of the Viscounty. Currently, he only takes special commissions from other nobility as approved by the Viscount. He became a lord of the Peace Blossom Manor because of his skill in creating toys. Most people don't know that Tohim works for House Macad making alchemical explosives.  

  • Tohim lives in the manor with his new wife, Daphiza, 40, female Gnome. Daphiza works as a seamstress and takes commissions from wealthy gnomes to make various types of clothes. Tohim has a secret complex of rooms in the depths of the manor house for building bombs that even Daphiza doesn't know about. He mainly works after she goes to sleep. A tunnel accessed by a trap door in the lowest level leads to the edge of his property. Materials come in, and explosives go out through the trap door. 

  • Geography: Peace Blossom Manor (location 2 see below) is just south and west of Narrowcreek Manor. It sits on the south shore of Blossom Brook which flows east into the Narrowcreek. The Lord’s estate is surrounded by the growing village of Brookview and covers about 360 square miles. Several years ago, the prior Lord, a Dwarf master miner, died without an heir. The land and the ornate and elaborately constructed Lord’s Manor House, with its substantial secret underground levels, was the perfect place for Sir Fecklemickle to continue his works in support of Viscount Ember. The sublevels and secret entrance are known only to the Knight, his mechanical apprentices and his contacts in the Noldrune Scouting Service (NSS). 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #319 

November 16th, 2023 

  • Number: 319 

  • Name: Deep Dive on an Area of Interest: Knights of the Borderlands - Part 4 

  • Location: Northwest corner of County Macad in the City-State of Noldrune 

  • Population (approx.): 1738 (Stormview Estate and surrounding tenants) 

  • Brief: The western edge and the northwest corner of County Macad acquired the nickname “the Interior Frontier” soon after the Counties of Noldrune were organized and initial borders drawn. The hills of the Tuton Maug and the eastern spur were attractive to enemies “of the state” both humanoid and otherwise. Smugglers and bandits were common foes encountered in the west particularly along Smuggler’s Way. Viscount Ember’s predecessors sought to build a “wall of swords” to keep the bandits away from the riches of the lowlands south and east. To that end, they built an estate atop Stormview, a northern hilltop, and awarded the lands to a quite able, wide-ranging and loyal tribe of Centaurs who have watched the Interior Frontier ever since. 

  • Lady Vedet Yewborne, Lady of Stormview Estate, 23, female Centaur, is an archer who leads the cohort of Centaurs. She is tall, well over six feet. The horse's part of her anatomy is chestnut-colored with a dark brown tail. Her human face is lovely, with matching chestnut hair she wears in pigtails. Her china-blue eyes are gentle pools of liquid, which are easy to get lost in. Vedet enjoys wearing frilly things and is an expert on makeup and apparel. Her favorite weapon is a bow made of hickory that has a magical bonus to precision. She is also a skilled fletcher. 

  • Vedet's route to Knighthood came from several noble deeds she performed over several years. At age ten, she rescued a baby that had fallen into the river. As an eighteen-year-old, she rushed into a burning building and saved a family. Two years ago, she diplomatically stopped a skirmish from happening between forces of County Tolland and County Macad. Vedet takes her new role as a leader seriously. She runs drills during the week and requires everyone in her cohort to know how to make arrows.  

  • Vedet lives in Stormview Estate, a large hilltop manor designed especially for centaurs. She is dating Khokin Elmcrest, male Centaur 25, a famous sculptor. He lives in a pasture nearby, and they spend most evenings together. Vedet is best friends with Olivia Cliffstriker, who is 20 and Human. The two love to gallop on the local trails and are also part of a reading group. 

  • Geography: Stormview Estate (location 3 see below) is 25 miles west of Peace Blossom Manor (location 2) on the southern slopes of the Tuton Maug Spur. It was built upon and dug into a hilltop with a commanding view of the southern slopes and northern hills of the Spur. The Centaur tribe lives in a village just below the Estate. Tenant farms and ranches dot the lands throughout the 300 square miles of the manor. Roads lead east to Peace Blossom and south to Gracewood Chateau and Homestead Mansion. The cohort regularly patrols to the west as far as Smuggler’s Way (#5) and has engaged local ne'er-do-wells including members of the Baron’s Bastards (#123). 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #320 

November 17th, 2023 

  • Number: 320 

  • Name: Deep Dive on an Area of Interest: Knights of the Borderlands - Part 5 

  • Location: Northwest corner of County Macad in the City-State of Noldrune 

  • Population (approx.): 1586 (Mapleview Manor and surrounding tenants) 

  • Brief: The western half of the Interior Frontier was heavily wooded hence requiring a different style of defense and defender. Mapleview Manor was established in the depths of the forest, the Lord of the Manor leading a cohort of Knight Bachelors (unlanded and the lowest rung of Nobles in the City-State's ranks of nobility) supported by rangers and archers. The Knights of the Western Wood had years of success keeping the bandits, beasts and Baron’s Bastards contained west of Smuggler's Way until one winter three years ago when some villain or villains caught the Lady of the Manor unawares at her home, burning most of it to the ground, killing her, her family and several worthy warriors. Viscount Ember vowed revenge, sending new Knights led by one of the best House Macad has to offer. 

  • Sir Justyn Rapidgleam, Lord of Mapleview Manor, 32, male Human, is the leader of the cohort of the Knights of the Western Woods. He is tall and barrel-chested, with thick arms and an intimidating face. He has black hair, which he wears long and in a braided ponytail. Justyn has obsidian eyes that he uses to significant effect when he stares down the other knights. A long scar on his left cheek adds to the effect. Justyn wears leggings and a tunic when he is off duty. In his official capacity, he wears a full suit of chainmail. His entire cohort uses long swords and crossbows. 

  • Justyn was born poor and lived by his wits for a few years after his parents died in a carriage accident. He saved the life of a young woman who choked on a soup bone. Later, Lady Camilla Basnum, 55, Human noticed Justyn's skill with the long sword and invited him to work on her estate (Gracewood Chateau) as a private guard. Justyn saved Lady Camilla from death by bringing her medicine made by Justyn's aunt. These things helped Justyn come to the attention of Viscount Ember, become a landed Knight and the proud owner of Mapleview Mansion. 

  • Justyn doesn't have any family but has many friends. His most trusted advisor is Sir Martin Grayshout, 30, male Human Knight Bachelor and his 2nd in command. Martin started on the streets with Justyn, and the two campaigned together for years. Justyn is also courting Ayla Ninthrift, 25, female Human and hopes to propose to her soon. 

  • Geography: Mapleview Manor (location 4 see below) is 27 miles southwest of Stormview Estate (location 3) within the Western Wood which, as the Manor’s name suggests, is mostly maple trees. The Mansion, recently rebuilt since the winter fire of three years ago, sits on a raised area of ground surrounded by wood and stone fortifications (also rebuilt and reinforced). A palisade encloses a small village adjacent to the Manor house. Similar small, protected settlements, farms and hunting lodges can be found throughout the 300 square miles of the Lord of Mapleview’s lands. A single main forest trail leads east from Mapleview Manor to the neighboring Gracewood Chateau. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #321 

November 18th, 2023 

  • Number: 321 

  • Name: Deep Dive on an Area of Interest: Knights of the Borderlands - Part 6 

  • Location: Northwest corner of County Macad in the City-State of Noldrune 

  • Population (approx.): 5110 (Gracewood Chateau and surrounding tenants) 

  • Brief:  Although the three ex-Ta'arnan Legionnaires who founded House Macad over 5 centuries ago were not members of one of the long-standing noble Houses of Noldrune, the three new bloodlines, led by the Viscounts Ember, Tinder and Coal, forged early alliances with existing noble families large and small. Some proudly traced their lineage to Houses, of the Swords of the Night, who made the great migration from the far north to settle the Narrows and northern lands of the southern continent Sudeben. One of those families, House Basnum, makes their home in Viscounty Ember at Gracewood Chateau. 

  • Damosel Camilla Basnum, Lady of Gracewood Chateau, 55, female Human, is a bard known for her songs and gifted voice. She is petite and has auburn hair, which she wears long and plaited. Her forest green eyes are wide and filled with wonder. Camilla loves a good party or any excuse to play her lute and sing. She also loves to dress in exotic clothes and will sometimes change outfits between sets to amplify the mood of the next group of songs. Camilla can also play various instruments and is always ready to try a new one. As a practical person, she is very skilled with daggers. 

  • Camilla's parents were nobility, and she grew up without a care in the world. One of her nannies taught her to play the lute and many songs. When Camilla was eighteen, and her parents wanted her to marry an older man, she rebelled. Camilla became a bard and worked in a variety of distant taverns. One day, Denise Raventide, one of Count Macan’s advisors, heard Camilla singing in a Far Harbor inn and thought her voice might sway the diplomats of the Ceannar Peoples to sign a particularly contentious trade agreement. It worked, and as a reward Camilla became a Lady in her own right and returned home to gracefully inherit Gracewood Chateau. 

  • Camilla is married to Sir Reed Ashcut, 57, male Human, warrior and tracker. They have two children, Hope, female 28, and Seth, male 25. They also have three grandchildren: Hope’s children Tucker, boy 8; Buckley, boy 6; and Seth’s child Merla, girl 3. They all get together once a month at the chateau and spend the weekend regaling one another with stories and eating good food. 

  • Geography: Graceview Chateau (location 5 see below) is about 20 miles east of Mapleview Manor (location 4) and 28 miles southeast of Stormview Estate (location 3), connected to both by country roads. The Chateau is a large and elegant mansion, surrounded by beautiful gardens featuring several intricate hedge mazes. The building pre-dates the Ta’arnan occupation and was restored to its prior Noldrunean style northern Amthorian architecture after the Empire fell. Graceview Chateau was built on a small rise overlooking the town of Grace to the south. A touch of Amthor can be found in villages, homes and churches throughout the over 300 square miles of farmlands, orchards and small woods comprising Basnum lands. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #322 

November 19th, 2023 

  • Number: 322 

  • Name: Deep Dive on an Area of Interest: Knights of the Borderlands - Part 7 

  • Location: Northwest corner of County Macad in the City-State of Noldrune 

  • Population (approx.): 4812 (Homestead Manor and surrounding tenants) 

  • Brief: The hopes and dreams of any noble family is to pass the title from the current ruler to a worthy heir and continue the bloodline and legacy. This can be interrupted by all manner of causes, most commonly warfare, accident, tragedy and of course, politics. Fortunately, the northern half of Viscounty Ember, the frontier, has been relatively immune to politics both within and without the City-State. County Macad, having borders to both neighboring City-States; Ceannar to the east and Taodeas to the south, has played a relatively strong political game relying upon the strength of her Legions to protect the borders. Thus, the three Viscounts expect their peerage to be “all in” when service to the realm is required. It is rumored that some form of service was required of the prior Lord of Homestead Manor, they refused and subsequently the Knight vanished, leaving no suitable heir to the title. 

  • Sir Nornam, Lord of Homestead Manor, 46, male Half-Elf, is the author of many popular books. He is of average height and has a thick waist. His head is bald, and his boulder-gray eyes are distant. Nornam walks with a limp that he got from an arrow in his knee on a battlefield ten years ago. Nornam wears leather pants, a white shirt, and a green vest. He uses a wooden cane made from twisted ash and has an amethyst on top. He refuses to fight anymore but, in a pinch, can use the cane. 

  • Nornam writes funny books for children that always teach moral lessons. One of his stories caught the eye of Lady Camilla Basnum. Camilla spread the word of all of Nornam's books, and they quickly sold out. She suggested in Viscount Ember's ear that Nornam would make a great leader and be the moral center for the next generation. Granted a peerage, Nornam is now the Lord of Homestead Manor (the prior Knight had disappeared under mysterious circumstances several years ago). 

  • Nornam's family comprises three brothers: Falril, 55, Barrill, 48, and Xanben, 40. He also has one sister, Aurora, 32. They all live in the manor with him and their families. Nornam's best friend is Admure Hardale, 100, male Dwarf. They get together each week to drink ale and play chess. Nornam is quite the ladies' man and is dating three women: Belle, 32, Human; Alysa, 40, Human; and Dorphanis, 65, Half-Elf. 

  • Geography: Homestead Manor (location 6 see below) fills out the Interior Frontier the northern half of Viscount Ember’s lands. It sits at a crossroads east of Graceview Chateau (location 5) and south of Peace Blossom Manor (location 2). The Lord’s Keep sits on the northwest slope of Hemmeck Hill, which contains a spring, the source of the Ember River that flows south to the Tauoi River (and forms the eastern border of the Viscounty). Originally a single watchtower overlooking the frontier to west and north, it has been expanded to include the Lord’s house and gardens enclosed by a curtain wall dotted with additional towers. Sir Nornam is in the process of adding a third floor to the main building for a library and reading room. Homestead Manor, whose buildings have a similar Amthorian style to those of Graceview Chateau, covers about 300 square miles of farms and small thorps. 


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