State of the Cormanthor, Early 1376 DR

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State of the Cormanthor, Early 1376 DR
« on: February 08, 2019, 04:42:15 PM »
The latter months of 1375 DR were tumultous, and 1376 DR began and brought its own troubles...

In the central Dales...


The past year has been the worst of several bad years in Battledale's history. Not only has the dale suffered brigandry along its roads, but it has seen desertions from the Lord's Men, mysterious snake cults, and outbreaks of undeath, all capped off by the murder of the Dale's beloved Lord, Ilmeth Wyvernblade.

But as the shadow of the past year lifts, light is cast once more on Battledale's thick woodland and rolling farmlands.

A new lord has led to a new sense of stability amongst the common folk, the Abbey of the Sword report increased interest in their faith thanks to the new Lord's former position as their First Sword, and merchants are hiring more strong-arms to guard their caravans - leading to a lot of young men and women taking up arms and seeing more of the Dales. The Lord's Men, though depleted, are stable - even as the Mailed Mantle and its strange ghosts begin recruiting elite adventurers. Has the restored-blood of old King Aencar on Battledale's throne injected fresh vigour into the dale's spirit? Many feel it is so.

Yet there are still worries - some still view the Guild of Alchemists with suspicion for unknowingly harbouring a Sharran cell, outlying farmers report minor thefts of animals and grain, and there is talk of strangers abroad on the roads -unfriendly but not hostile, shipping wagons of goods hither and thither- and a few Essembran folk describe the feeling of being followed through the streets but they cannot place by whom or what.


Blessedly, the winter thus far has been gentle and Mistledale's copious grainstores are well-stocked from a fine summer and a bountiful harvest season -and with no sign of real raiders thus far, Mistrans are breathing a sigh of relief and look forward to a prosperous spring and whole of 1376 ahead.

The Dale's woes have paled in comparison to Battledale's the past year, but they have still suffered mysterious happenings in Glen, secret slaving rings hiding out in their small, far hamlets, and strange fires in the sky. The notorious Silent Chapel remains peaceful for now - though when adventurers will begin to poke at ancient horrors once more is a topic that worries Mistrans who farmstead that far out into the hinterlands. Those folk have long memories and know that little good comes from picking at scabs.


Along the river, Featherdale is peaceful under the rule of Johann d'Edoras of Cormyr. Few have cause to dislike him - while he has consolidated control of Feather Falls and the other towns and villages, he has not presented himself as a tyrant. Given that many of Featherdale's farmsteaders and merchants are ex-adventurers and mercenaries themselves, he receives a grudging respect at worst and admiration at best.

The woes of Featherdale are in its hinterlands; farmers with strange troubles, forgotten tombs that spit unlife and other strangeness, and ne'er do wells trying their luck where they think they can get away with it. Mistfall House remains a frightening enigma to Feather Falls' residents and a draw to adventurers seeking Leiran treasures and the rumours riches of the elves in their lost catacombs deep below. While many adventurers do not come back, some do and have begun to settle with their coin in Featherdale's smallholdings. 

Elsewhere in the Dales...


The forest-dale ever struggles with Drow incursions into its ancient elven holdings, but the residents of Highmoon are pleased that the long under construction walls are finally complete and the town feels much more secure. Elves returning from the Retreat or coming back to the homeland of their ancestors continue to pass through and remain for a time in this dale - most Deepingfolk do not mind the cultural flood, but whether the rest of the dales will take so well to it is another story.


Since the death of Ilmeth of Battledale, news (and trade) from Shadowdale has slowed to a trickle. Mercenary companies line the streets of its largest town and fill up the inns of villages and hamlets alike. Rumours abound that these seemingly disparate bands may answer to a common master -or be so swayed for the right price- but the tide of armed men and women has been so slow that locals barely noticed it until they had all but filled the place up.


Suffering from drow and lycanthrope attacks of late at many of its borders, the northern lands of Daggerdale seemingly cannot hold onto peace for long. While the dale is ever-wary of Zhent encroachment, it too has seen a rise in mercenary bands and adventuring troupes taking up residence. These bands are happy to deal with the woes of the dale by typically at great monetary cost.


In the east, Harrowdale has seen sickness begin to afflict its fields and farm beasts, with many worried that the Shaking Plague of Scardale has broken its quarantine - though the symptoms certainly do not match. Others report that the Cold Fields are particularly active this winter -more so than usual- with armies of ghosts marching into never-ending battles and luring the foolish and unwary to their doom.


While the flood of refugees (and escapees) from quarantined Scardale has slowed in the years since the Shaking Plague struck, the villages of the dale have struggled to cope with the increases in their population. Bands of thugs -former city-dwellers with nothing to lose and no skills to offer the rural communities- turn to banditry and intimidation, while the Dale's ruling council struggles to find and organise resources to keep the peace and contain the plague.


The Mairshar and her men keep order in Tasseldale, even with an increase in Sembian activity in their dale the place is at peace. Reports abound that the Dun Hills have seen more strangers poking around of late - particularly interested in the Abbey between Tasseldale and Featherdale, but the abbey is staffed by strong-faithed Tyrrans who welcome pilgrims.


As ever, this dale prepares for a war that may never come - sometimes to its people's cost. With nearby High Dale struggling with food supply, many in Archendale have taken to hoarding their grain or selling it at inflated prices. An influx of money brings with it more and more Sembian merchants looking to expand their markets and gain new clientele, and it is this slowly growing presence that worries many Archenfolk.

The High Dale

Isolated by geography, the High Dale has suffered shortages of food thanks to increasing numbers of monsters - such as orcs and giantkin - and bandits in its hills and craggy peaks. Rumour has it that a few very young red dragons - perhaps the brood of the late Thraxata the Red - have been sighted just outside of bow range, but many locals are dubious about this for no dragonfire has assailed the lowland farms or mountain logging villages just yet.

In the forests...

The druids, few in number and 'led' by Grand Druid Mirrinda Miritar, have been working tirelessly to fend off ever-increasing predations of the servants of Malar. In some quarters, the druids have been concerned with disease, while others have focussed on the wellbeing and balance of communities that dwell within or close to their beloved woodlands. Those tasked with protecting sacred places have steadily been forced to draw back their borders - and most agree that there are too few druids, rangers, and priests of woodland deities to properly keep the Cormanthor protected from things that would shift the balance toward darkness and destruction.

In the ruined city of Myth Drannor

With the Elven Retreat ended and the Return in full swing, numbers of elven and other adventuring bands making sorties into the ruins have increased greatly in recent years - yet few of these adventurers return. Those who do? They speak of monsters and foul fiends, and even bands of well-supplied armed humans fortifying buildings. What remains plain is the fact that the city is in no way safe after the ravages of time, and all rag-tag attempts at reclamation have so far met with death.
Her skin is pale, her eyes are red,
Her leaden voice commands the dead,
To rise and stand beside their dreadful queen.
No mortal power escapes her thrall,
Her hunger will consume us all,
And even now I hear her call: Jolene