The Northern Lands

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The Northern Lands as seen through the eyes of the Falsduran run from the Great Ice (aka Angrelid) all the way down to the Edeldale (known to the Falsdurans as “The Six Kingdoms of the Lie”). Their perception of the lower central kingdoms is based on their belief of dragons. They reject that Herras was the vanquisher of all dragons, since there is an ancient white dragon living in the Angrelid, who’s breath continues to push the ice south.

While there are not actually any “nation states”, each Jarl running their own village, there are two distinct regions populated by men: The Falsdur and the Gamhald. The Falsdur consists of mostly farms and agrarian Northmen, while the Gamhald is a bit wilder and incorporates the fishermen of the West Coast.

Beyond there are the great mountains of the Gallendaag, where Hill, Stone, Cloud and Storm giants roam as well as communities of Goliaths. Beneath, in the deep earth, are the Fire giants. The most trouble comes from bands of raiding Hill giants, errant groups of Stone giants and occasionally the Fire giants who brave the surface.

Farther East is the Huldvastan, where wild men and elves roam. Further still are the Rastlud, magical islands where a number of warlocks have carved out as their own territory.

Festival Days

While each religion has it’s own specific days associated with worship, there are some universal days that are celebrated in the Edeldale.

BRIGHTFEAST – Origin; Davanic worship
On the First day of Lightsong, a festival celebrating the light returning to the world is held across every major holding. From the highest lord to the lowest born, each family lights a multitude of white candles (in lieu of any magical lighting, torches or lamplight) at sundown and partakes in a meal of four courses; the Bland, the Bright, the Hot and the Tepid. This represents coming from darkness to light, the brightness of the sun (or Dava’s countenance), the warmth of the sun, and a reminder what it is to be without it.

Traditionally the meal begins with a type of round bread (davanloaf), followed by a lightly spiced meal (varies by culture), followed by peppers and a cold soup. At the end of the meal, candles are all extinguished and generally, the darkness of the night is filled with quiet song.

CHAMPION’S WEEK – Origin; Spectacle of the Many Tribes
In further days, the Spearfolk were more autonomous, but lived closely together. Each tribe would elect a champion to compete in what they referred to as “The Spectacle”; a massive series of games and contests to determine the Champion of the Folk. The festival usually begins on the 16th of Newgraze, but over the years has been held at different times due to war or tragedy. In any case, it’s always begins and ends on a Chorseday.

During the week, in memory of the original spectacle, there are contests of strength, games of skill and in the more urban areas, tournaments of magic and wit. During the week, several events will be hosted and culminates on the following Choresday. Champions may hold temporary title, be awarded a great prize or just retain the title and status of Champion until the following year. In all cases, the Champion is given some red mark or article of clothing to show their status.

DRAGONSBLOODOrigin; Herras’ slaying of the last red dragon
In the spirit of Champion’s Week, on the 30th of Newgraze is Dragonsblood (or Dragon’s Eve in some communities). On that night there are reenactments of Herras’ deeds. Children often wear dragon masks and attempt to scare adults (who usually laughingly comply). The festival usually is a night of great boasting and tale telling. At the end of the evening, a large bull’s heart is served and an effigy of the King (or in the case of Glimring, the King himself) is spattered with blood.

THE NIGHT OF HARD BISCUITS – Origin; The Dwarves entry into Edeldale
It is said that all the best brews mature by the month of Lightsong. So on any given Settlesday of that month a city, community or even a humble Dwarven outpost, hosts a NIGHT OF HARD BISCUITS (Sometimes called “Toast’s Night” and other times, just “Biscuits”). The timing varies, as rumor has it, because the ancient kings didn’t want ALL of their vassals to be incapacitated by drink in a single evening. So it was decreed that each region or village would be authorized to have a night of drunken revelry in accordance with a set schedule.

The name of the event dates back to Men’s first encounter with the Dwarves. They exchanged goods and cursed the almost rock-like biscuits the Dwarves gave in trade. That was until the first or Uli’s envoys came down from the mountain to drink and the humans realized that the the biscuits were in fact, designed to only be eaten after being dunked into heavy Dwarven stout. While the two peoples had previous a very formal and indifferent relationship, this drunken feast fostered immense goodwill and was responsible for the alliance the Dwarves and Men now have.

GRANDFEASTOrigin; farm tradition and possibly, Aerthan tradition
At or near the end of harvest, a great feast begins on Choresday through Settlesday. The actual timing is based on the the amount of harvest taken in. But this three day festival features agrarian tokens and traditions. No matter how poor, each community contributes a portion of the harvest to this event. In some towns it may be little more than three days of donated goods to be redistributed among the farmers. But in larger towns and cities it’s 3 nights of bountiful eating and drinking. There are songs that date back hundreds of years, showing of livestock and sharing of rustic traditions.

While it’s just considered a great culinary event in the cities, most who worship Aerthas, treat this as a festival of Thanks and end the evening of Settlesday in prayer and worship.

[more to come]

The Dancing Maiden

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As one enters Glimring from the StoneGate, the first district encountered is the Traveler’s District. No surprise then, that many who have traveled into the Capital from this gate end up at the Dancing Maiden.

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Just off Courage Alley, its entrance is tucked into a small walkway opposite a fairly austere manor (the home of a local noble, who never seems to be home). The drainage canal just beyond rarely causes a problem until the hot summer months. Courage Alley occasionally is patrolled by the King’s Guard, but is rarely the site of civil disturbance.

Inside, the inn is primarily a long, stone drinking hall with a grand fireplace in the middle. At one end is the entrance to the kitchen and bar, at the other, a stage where young performers ply their trade. Virtually all of them are students who are practicing their craft before performing in the Entertainer’s district.

A set of stairs near the kitchen leads up to a smoking and sleeping room. At the end of that chamber is a locked door for parties requiring a more private stay. To sleep in the bar costs a mere 2 copper, upstairs 1 silver and the private room costs a gold piece per night. The only enforcement here is by the bar owner, Baldren the Wheezer, an older human with a pronounced rattle when he breathes.

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The Dancing Maiden surrounds an old courtyard which has seen better days, closed in by a number of private residences. Across Courage Alley lies a tumble of apartments and small shops catering to the needs of its itinerant guests.

Notable patrons include Pillut Dilt, the alchemist who runs his shop just next door, Lord Aren Bellsweight (the owner of the manor across the way), and a dwarven tinker called Vandholm. Both Pillut and Vanholm own shops within the courtyard.

The Blackblades

Very little is known about the underworld in the Capital City of Glimring. Magical obfuscation and a potentially corrupt city guard have given rise to a number of small, influential gangs. The most notorious of these are the Blackblades.

Rumored to be a haven of demon worshippers and wererats, the Blackblades have terrorized the poorer sections of the city as well as the sewer system. The original meaning of “blackblade” was a knife poisoned by sewer water or sewage. The current crop of the Blackblades freely ascribes to poisoned weapons (a number of them practice as assassins). No one knows who the leader is, but the Crown would pay premium reward for information or best, elimination.

The former leader, Bellur, was recently killed and no one has stepped up to claim his role as leader of the infamous band.

The Brev

Brev and Tender

Brevs are native to the lower grasslands and have been around as long as the recorded history. Their sturdy nature and heavy fur indicate that may have originated at Worldtop and some even speculate these were originally bred as pets for the Giantkin.

The Brev is a massive beast, standing nearly 12 feet at the top of its fatty hump. They are general docile, chewing on the great longrass of the Wheatsea, with their short, solid beaks. Physically they resemble a sort of tawny, fluffy buffalo with the solid legs of a massive tortoise. In the wild they roam in packs of 2-4 adults and usually have 1 or 2 calves in tow. Because of their size, they have few natural enemies on the plains, but the dragons thinned their numbers so greatly, it was thought they might go extinct. More and more are being seen in the past few years and this is seen as a victory over the dragons.

Brevs have been used along the plains as transport and those who are kept in a domesticated state are sheared during the warm months. Their fur is thick and oily, which provides a natural repellant to rain and snow. It’s not uncommon to find warm tunics, trousers and vests made of their wool worn by many races in the Edlerend.

Land barges hauling raw materials from the south are often pulled by a single Brev as it eats less often than other draft animals and can hauls loads for far longer than the more conventional stock. Owning a Brev in the Kingdoms must be authorized by the King’s Forester so to conserve those that remain.

The Brev is considered good luck, and often if they are pulling goods to larger cities you will see them surrounded by loving crowds trying to give it a lucky pat.

Longbridge – Inns and Pubs

 

INNS (licensed to charge overnight guests):

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Woodfriend’s Inn:

One of the first large inns licensed in Longbridge, this well worn established building is home away from home for many a northern barbarian who travelled into the city. It has a large common room filled with a variety of stuffed beasts.

Tinker’s Timepiece:

A newer establishment, this was owned by a gnome until his untimely disappearance only recently. It’s currently in the hands of the local craftsmen’s guild, but is up for sale. The accommodations are small but comfortable and there are a number of upgrades worth the price (indoor plumbing for one).

Song Stone:

There’s no question this common room is the most packed of any city inn, mostly because it draws a large number of famous performers. It’s tall stone walls stand out among the other buildings around it and it’s not cheap, but travelers say it’s worth the coin.

Traveler House:

This average priced inn is a favorite among merchants and other travelers due to it’s covered stable for horses. It’s common room is cramped, but most prefer to cross the street to get their drinks and food at the Mariner’s Roost.

Lord’s Watch:

Subsidized by the Lord Longbridge, this expensive and nearly exclusive inn caters to the rich who visit the city. It has a full stable and mews with handlers, the finest dining in the area and provides 24 hour security to it’s guests. It even has private rooms for longer term rental.

Netmender’s Inn:

When Dwarves ride out of Firdeng hauling goods on the barges, they tend to stay at Netmender’s. It’s an old inn, one of the first in the city, and has fallen into disrepair, but it is cheap by comparison to the other inns.

PUBS (licensed to sell food and drink):

The Portly Pieman:

Just outside the Market Gate on the SW bank of the Strongwater, this pub isn’t technically inside the city’s limits, but serves so many of it’s locals it’s counted among the number of Longbridge pubs.

Mariner’s Roost:

Sporting a large, open porch overlooking the river and city beyond, Mariner’s Roost is quite popular in the warmer months. It has a friendly staff and is used to the rowdy sailors that frequent it’s walls.

The Flying Tome:

A quiet, cramped and smoky pub, this establishment is the drinking place for scholars, wizards and any who call the District Arcantis their home. A number of cantrips are always in effect here and can startle the uninitiated.

The Trout in Amber:

A small, almost non-descript bar at the back of Fishermen’s Alley, this small, rough hewn bar has a fine number of spirits and is an excellent source of rumors. It’s also the haunt of several of the smaller folk.

Iron Fists:

A large, spartan bar that occasionally sponsors fights in its large, recessed common area. It is the local favorite of soldiers, diplomats and anyone looking for muscle. It’s a safe enough pub, but it’s barfights are legendarily bloody.

The Clever Quail:

A quiet but bustling pub with a good menu. It’s location makes it prime for the more affluent in the area, but it doesn’t necessarily cater to them. Any hour it’s open you may see sailors mingling with bankers, sorcerers mingling with diplomats.

Banker’s Folly:

Once a shrine, this pub has drawn the ire of the temple district, since it’s just off of Pilgrim’s alley. While it doesn’t serve hard spirits, it’s trying to fend off the bad feelings of it’s neighbors by providing sacramental wine and beer to the members of the temple nearby.

Coin and Anchor:

A classic public house frequented by many. It’s afternoon pies are what most remember but it also has it’s own beer, crafted in Firdeng by Dwarven brewers. Most recent incursions of “Thunderbrew” from Greenfields has stirred up a bit of ill will.

Serpent’s Sail:

Little more than a fish & chips stand that serves ale. It’s selection is limited, it’s open to the elements and smells of old fish, but the sailors who frequent it swear by the price.

The Drunken Otter:

This busy place was most recently a den of thieves. Illegal gambling and other nefarious activities were prevalent.  And the clientele could sniff out new blood almost immediately.  However, after a brave intervention of a group of Dwarves and Halflings of Greenfields, the ‘Otter may be making a turn around. Added to their taps is the local favorite “Thunderbrew”, a heavy dwarven stout which is gaining popularity quickly.

Longbridge Public House:

One of the oldest pubs in the city, this sits on the original trading post when furriers came down from the barbarian lands. It spans the distance between Westbridge Street and Five Hearts Way in a massive building. It’s long tables can accommodate large groups and it’s meals are always served family style.

Mask & Heart:

An up and coming pub, this was built by the owners of the Song Stone to handle it’s overflow. While it doesn’t have the more famous talent, it has an open stage where anyone can play for 5 cp. Any tips are split with the house, but a talented musician or performer can make their money back quickly.

The Broken Needle:

Originally the site of the Tailor’s Guildhouse (absorbed into the craftsman’s guild) it has since been renovated and is popular amongst the guildsmen. It opens much earlier than the others in the area and serves a very hearty breakfast.

The Twisted Belt:

A rough and tumble place, the ‘Belt has a reputation for rough customers and even rougher staff. While the food is not much to talk about, they do have a porter imported from Goldring that cause many to risk the tough talk and danger that it might hold.

Barrel & Bucket:

Before leaving Marketwalk, almost every farmer, tinker or craftsman has a pint at the Barrel & Bucket before leaving Longbridge. It has a large outdoor area behind it which is filled with drinkers in the summers and firepits in the in the winter. It’s position on the Lower Walls affords it a view like no other.