Thieves & Kings
Amberlore Manor is an isolated lordship of the Forest Kingdom, located in a sheltered valley about twelve (12) miles south of Seville. A lordship, it holds control over several small thorps, including the villages of Fireoak and Haycane, located along the Forest Walk, which is all most visitors ever see of the lands. Since early in the TR 1000s, the manor has hosted a wizard’s academy, the legacy of Lady Shankira Silvershard’s early residence in the estate, and still rumored to be allied to her today.
Amberlore Manor is a typical noble’s estate, with fields, a small lake and extensive parklands. Built of fieldstone, the manor and its numerous supporting buildings are covered in purple-flowering ivy, and bears a unique style and design construction that is found nowhere else in the realm. Its windows are narrow, iron-shuttered slits, located only in the upper levels, and the entrance, heavy portals of oak and iron. Above the doors lay the crest of the land, a black chevron painted on a gold field.
Supporting the manor itself, are several large houses, barns and other outbuildings. Fields of vegetables and fruit orchards lie within easy reach of these buildings, and an open area provides pasture for the manor’s few flocks of sheep and herds of cattle and horses. An extensive, stone-walled herb garden lies to the west of the manor, filled with rare medicinal herbs and other arcane herbs and plants. The gardens grow flowering herbs for brewing and wine, with hops, sage, heather, myrtleberry, thyme, parsley, and dandelion.
The orchards are a mix of apples and pears, and another of plums. The fields raise beans, peas, rye and barley, and sometimes experiment in other crops when they become available; sometimes from journeys by its members far afield in the world.
The lake bears many reeds and lilies, and is heavily silted. Ducks, geese and even swans are kept here, and a small stone pier reaches into the lake, providing a means to use the small coracles stored nearby in a shed. The parklands that surround the lake are filled with short grass and wildflowers, and disguise a small shrine dedicated to Magos, attended by students as part of their religious training. Located some miles east of the manor is a large stone hunting cabin, that is used on field trips among the students where they learn about the forests and beasts that inhabit the Grandwood.
The estates of Amberlore are watched over by Lady Erihn “Brighteyes” Despana, the matron of Amberlore Manor, and leader of its small school of wizards. The manor follows the general principles of The Shek-Pvar, and is broken into three “houses”; Tree, Beast, and Well, representing its three years of studies to learn the basics of magic philosophy. Students come from many origins, but almost exclusively are from Shem and its noble families.
A handful of semi-retired Mavari (or “Masters”) of magic teach these three “houses”, teaching herbology, animal handling, and elemental magic, giving the students of the school an edge on most young wizards. Most graduates find work with various noble houses as instructors or work for the Crown in its 2nd Army, serving the nation as mage-soldiers on their northern border, operating out of Fort Threshold in the Barony of Archenshield. The remainder often go onto successful adventurer’s careers.
Students study all the practical things one might expect, but also spend much of their time learning actual crafts, such as carpentry, glassblowing and farming. That graduates are capable craftsmen, and sometimes take a divergent path in their studies to specialize in a specific craft that captures their attention. All teachers at the school are credited masters in their crafts, and do take on apprentices who don’t do well at their arcane studies.
As expected of the only school of magic anywhere in or near the Grandwood, it holds a far more important position in the politics of the realm, than expected of an isolated manor so close to the capital. The fact it is loosely affiliated with the Archdruid of Korg, doesn’t help matters, and while no one would openly suggest its influence, the fact remains.
The Freestead of Amberlore
Led by Lady Despana, the lands of Amberlore are not wealthy, but are rich with several small thorps. Candleshoe is the name of the small thorp that supplies the manor with its produce and livestock, though the students look after the manor’s herb gardens and orchards. Tarnfire is perched on the edge of the large Fire Marsh, a broad wetland several leagues long that stretches below the Grand Escarpment to the west. 2-3 miles into the northern forest is Haystone, a fairly typical forest thorp with a handful of hunters, and north of that lies Stonehaven, a notable village, boasting about a hundred villagers, several basic craftsmen, an inn called “The Rock”, and a shrine dedicated to Lady Luck “Hippogriff Hall”, built and maintained by Constantius Shadowborn, one of Shankira’s old adventuring companions. Many of the settlers are former refugees who have settled here in the wake of the Shatter.
The village of Haycane is located along the Forest Walk, watching over a small stone bridge and nestled against the southern bank of the Ambarin River. Another fair-sized village with its own craftsmen, it also supports the river trade with a few fishermen and small dockyards. The village boasts an inn, The Dark Rune, built by a former student, who often houses visitors to the manor. Access to the manor is exclusively through this village, and everyone stops here before travelling into the woods, seeking directions.
To the south, above the Grand Escarpment and many miles deep in the forest, lies the village of Ninton. Ninton, an isolated and ancient village boasting many craftsmen, an inn “The Cackling Gargoyle”, and a stone tower keep “Rook Hill Manor”. The village had been an independent lordship for decades, but after being taken over by “pod people”, was rescued by the founding adventurers from Amberlore, and taken over by them, with the death of its ruling family. Today, the village is largely left alone, but still pays taxes to Amberlore, while its keep remains abandoned.