At the Doors of Shattered Mountain
The Wilds of the Northmarch
Looking out over the Northmarch from the city walls reveals only trackless moors, rolling hills, and the occasional bright spot of a grassy pasture. At the height of the Empire’s strength, the Northmarch was populated. Towns and temples dotted its expanse, herds of cattle and sheep grazed on the pastures beyond a patchwork of farms.
Now, the emptiness of the land presses unpleasantly on the eye. The people of Four Hills prefer to not look at the Northmarch at all, turning their gaze instead to the Southwest, to the King’s Road and the farming vales that lie there.
A few stubborn people still cling to their homes in this region, but where once many towns stood, only a single town and three tiny villages remain. Every year the town and its villages shrink, as young people leave the lonely march in favor of the city, or opportunities further inside the Empire’s borders. No guards or soldiers patrol the land at all anymore, to step into the Northmarch is to step into a lawless land filled with brigands. Goblins have been sighted near the town of Trammel’s Rest, and no move has been made to oppose them, so long as they do not approach the Count’s city.
Trammel’s Rest: This town was named for the tomb of a long-dead hero named Trammel. Whatever he did that was heroic has long been forgotten, even by the bards. It is tradition to weave his name into nearly any ancient story that is told in the town. Trammel’s Rest has a population of less than three thousand, kept more or less steady only because some of those that leave the nearby villages come here to live. It sits on a hill, overlooking a river where a watermill grinds grain for the town and its villages. Once, this mill supplied almost half the Northmarch with flour, working day and night. Now, it is active only a few days each week.
Forks: Situated at a fork in the river, upstream from Trammel’s Rest, this is the largest of the villages, but still has a population of only four hundred. Forks was once a town, the houses of the village sit among the crumbling ruins of many buildings, its wall fallen long ago and now no more than a rocky rise that encircles the crumbling buildings. Forks was a trade town, but the villagers have no one to trade with, any longer. Farm life dominates Forks, and the people are a suspicious and rowdy sort. The Northmarch has become too rough for peaceful people to last long.
Elmdale: Situated near an Elm grove, this village was once the home of famous horse breeders and trainers. The inhabitants still deal in horses, but no longer have the resources to maintain large stables. Instead, they capture the area’s wild horses and train them, to sell in Four Hills. The people of Elmdale lasted well enough against the bandits, but now that goblins have moved into the area, the population is shrinking fast. Less than two hundred people now live here.
Bald Hill: This tiny village sits below a hill topped with craggy granite. The people of of this village are only those who’s families have lived here so long that they cannot imagine abandoning their land. Even so, children who do not inherit move away, so the village grows small indeed. Twenty two families make up this village, with a population barely over one hundred.
Locations of Note
The Dead Grove: A copse of trees that have lain blasted and dead for hundreds of years. The grove is more than just haunted, it is known to be the home of a substantial number of vicious undead. For some reason, the dead never venture beyond the grove, so the locals merely avoid the place.
Encounter 1: Not yet found.
Encounter 2: Not yet found.
Encounter 3: Not yet found.
Encounter 4: Not yet found.
Encounter 5: Not yet found.