Battledale: A Traveller's Primer

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Druie

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Battledale: A Traveller's Primer
« on: April 08, 2011, 09:56:47 PM »
Battledale

Battledale's fierce name isn't a reflection on its character or its foreign policy - it's an indication of the dale's geographic position in the middle of the best invasion routes through the Dalelands. Historically, the biggest local battles have been fought in Battledale's rolling meadows, though Battledale's people have not always been the ones doing the fighting.

Not all outlanders who arrive in Battledale come to fight. Over the centuries, Battledale has grown into its role as a meeting place and refuge for an odd mix of warriors, adventurers, and traders from all over Faerun and the well-travelled sometimes claim that the sprawling but sparsely-populated dale is just as diverse as cosmopolitan Waterdeep. Battledale's capital, Essembra, has even historically been on friendly terms with the elves of Cormanthor - surrounded by the ancient forest as it is - with most of the town's half-elves claiming decidedly local lineage.

Essembra

It has been a turbulent few years. Riots and dissent against the ruling Lord Ilmeth - fueled by Zhentarim agents - troubled the town in 1373, but such schemes were put to a stop by adventurers. Then, the foul green dragon, Xalathros the Twisted, sought a powerful artefact held by adventurers, and attacked the town with his miasmic breath in his bid to retrieve it. The town lat thick with a disease-bearing fog for a tenday that decimated the population in 1374. The town had only began to recover by the summer of 1375, when betrayal came. While many feared the predations of the so-called Black Archer on the roads, a Shar cultist in hiding among the Guild of Alchemists assassinated Lord Ilmeth and plunged the town into 24 hours of unnatural night. Without an heir, the lordship remained unclaimed until Jarath Burlisk - Champion of the Abbey of the Sword - was able to prove his blood-connection to Aencar, the Mantled King, and take his place by right as Lord of Battledale.

The new lord has yet to make his mark. Though he is a strong warrior and remains allied to the Abbey of the Sword, he now takes the counsel of Peacemarshal Fiosane - as Ilmeth once did - and a cadre of ghosts from the days of Aencar. These ghosts form the beginning of the new Mailed Mantle - a rebirth of Aencar's once-famed mercenary company-turned-royal guard. Perhaps the new Lord seeks to solidify his position, or perhaps he has ambitions much like his ancestor - the people of Battledale are mostly content, now, that the stability they need will come from this strong and vital new lord, though other Dales watch and wait.

The town itself owes much to the Abbey of the Sword, through its associated ministry at Swordspoint Shrine, but also to the House of Gond, where an elderly priest oversees the patronage of Essembra's many talented craftsmen that support an economy struggling to grow in limited ground. Some say the truth is that Essembra's economy is built upon its festhalls and alehouses for they are numerous and several in particular are of a quality rarely matched in the Dales. Perhaps it is Essembra's status as the 'crossroads of the Dales' that contribute to their great success, or perhaps it is simply Essembran tastes, but the town does know how to have a party and seems, at times, doggedly determined to remain cheerful in the face of adversity.

The Dale & People

Since many Sembians abandoned their country estates in the miles south of the town, the ruined houses have become home to bandits that the Lord's Men simply cannot put down with their limited numbers. The drow that assailed the forest over the past few decades seem to have multiplied drastically, almost slaughtering the population of the Abbey of the Sword only a few short years ago, and the elves no longer dwell in the forest with the numbers they used to - they took a heavy blow in the winter of 1373 when a red dragon from Cormanthor's depths destroyed an entire swathe of woodland that had, it seemed, housed an elven village. A new dawn perhaps comes for the elves, though, with the re-establishment of a watchtower at Shadowtop Eyrie in 1374, and druids of Elven heritage coming and going in the woods once more.

The rest of the dale simply endures, often having the adventurers who so often travel up and down the roads and trails to thank for the turning of their fortunes. The Golden Company of the Lord's Men patrols to the villages and hamlets that dot the landscape - Oaknoll and Hap being most significant of those, lending some degree of safety to the people and those who travel the roads for trade. Yet still, these towns often keep old, nigh rusty, weapons pegged at their doors in case a herald rides by with the message that their Lord calls men and woman of Battledale to take up arms to defend Essembra and defend the land. It is no longer required of them, of course, but the commonfolk value tradition and generally look after their own. Even the Abbey of the Sword counts the new Lord Jarath Burlisk as their ally, as he served among them as their First Sword and Champion for years, and as such, the Abbey is likely to come to the aid of Essembra if they can - though they have not been without their own difficulties in recent years.

Battledarrans stick together, through thick and thin, and they have done so beyond living human memory. Even Aencar, the Mantled King, was born of Battledale, and he returned to his people from his ventures to bring them both fair justice and great prosperity. That anyone can plant their feet in the ground and claim that, by the Mantle, he will spill his own blood to protect Battledale if she asks it of him, and thus be called a fellow Battledarran by his new neighbours, is only a testament to the welcoming spirit of Battledale. Even Scardarrans, once reviled, are welcomed (though some veterans still pull their noses up at any man who admits to being from that 'accursed Dale' in their company).

The last couple of years have been hard for all dales, but perhaps by far the worst for Battledale. As 1375 slowly draws to a close, most Battledarrans are quietly optimistic - things can only get better, can't they?



Further information about Battledale, Essembra, and other Battledale settlements, is available on the wiki.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2018, 01:04:18 PM by Druie »
"Just like old times. Well, except for the torture and all."