Thieves & Kings
Due to its location within the southern stretch of the Smoke Woods, it still falls within the territory that Thornkeep claims control of , and so once a year, a contingent of troops with a clerk arrives in the thorp, and pays a handful of coins and various produce for that distant lord’s “protection”. It is usually the only time its master (or most anyone) pays any attention to it.
In addition to a handful of wood-cutters from the Timberwright’s and Charcoaler’s Guilds, the thorp is home to three independent huntsmen who guide them and make their living from the forests, a shrine of Sarrok – The Gray Slayer, a shrine dedicated to Amalthea – Bringer of Life Renewed, which also serves as a hospice for the gravely ill. There are no other services or craftsmen available.
Temple (“Gerse’s Fall”) : Temple of Sarrok – The Gray Slayer : While dedicated to Sarrok, it is also the site of a fallen warrior and devout worshiper of that war god, Gerse Battlesword. Gerse was a Vulcanir warrior who fought and died during the final invasions of that people into the lands around Mornhaven, in TR 955. A king of his people, they built this shrine as a dedication to his works, on the very site of his death following poisoned wounds caused by Aivnec the Dreaded, a large green dragon that he slew. The shrine also acts as the local meeting place during village moots.
This old stone building has a single level, but is rather tall and lofty. White-washed and plastered on the inside, it is roofed with magnificent oak timbers and blue-painted wood tiles. More than a hundred years-old, it is “T”-shaped, with the forward portion sealed by an ornately carved timber double door set with cold-iron bands, and removable oak screens sealing off the back “T” ritual chamber. The front portion is ornately painted and carved, depicting scenes from Gerse’s life and legends, particularly the slaughter of the dragon Aivnec the Dreaded. The front area also has oak benches along the walls, allowing the central area to remain open for meetings and tales. The back portion contains the actual shrine of Sarrock, 30’-wide and 20’-long, with the stone altar of blackened limestone topped by a stylized sword talisman, known as the “Gerseboroc”. High windows light this section of the building, and a wooden shelf along the west wall holds scrolls and books (mostly local history and tales, including mention of Gerse ), and a handful of tools and implements for worship purposes (candles, flasks of oil, cloths and sharpening stones).
The Gerseboroc is an obscure relic from Gerse’s life, that the local priest claims is a forgotten icon of Sarrok, depicting a stylized sword. It does, however, lend the shrine a sense of urgency and is commonly noted to glow red in the presence of honorable combat dedicated in the name of Sarrok. It marks the place that Gerse was buried beneath the altar in a carved stone sarcophagus. Rumor persists that he was buried in full battle regalia, including various personal treasures. Attempts to rob the place are common, and met with fierce resistance by Whitehelm, but no one has yet to desecrate the altar; most ascribe the Gerseboroc with an ability to defend the tomb.
The shrine is looked over by Rogan Whitehelm, whose house located next to the shrine is linked to the shrine by a timber walkway. A small two-level affair, it is built like a townhouse from Mornhaven, and seems out of place in the sleepy little village. Warpriest Whitehelm is rarely present at the shrine, leaving its care to Raonaild, his ancient “companion” and servant. The house has a front commons area, two bedrooms, a kitchen, stable for two horses and a storeroom. Whitehelm often travels to both Mornhaven and Thornkeep, keeping in contact with the priests of Sarrok from those communities. He is also known to go harrying off on quests for treasure at the drop of a hat, though he still ensures the shrine is well-maintained. Whitehelm is quite willing to heal warriors while they regale him with tales of their prowess, provided they grant the shrine a suitable offering.
The House of Healing Hands
Temple (“House of the Healing Hands”) : Shrine to Amalthea – Bringer of Life Renewed : Odelard the White lives in this large stone manse, built like a townhouse from Mornhaven. The lower level serves as a hospice, with several beds close to a central hearth, and a small apothecary area for preparing herbs and potions. There is a large stable and byre out back for a handful of hogs and chickens, a couple goats, a milk cow and a few horses, but it is well-maintained and clean. The whole place looks very new.
The upper level has rooms for Odelard’s apprentices, her own chambers, a bright “day room” for sewing or private study with a small library of scrolls and texts for reference, a kitchen, a bathing room, and numerous small store rooms. An extensive herb garden is planted all around the house, sheltered by a low stone wall, along with some fruit trees still growing and various succulent vegetables.
Odelard the White is often absent foraging for herbs ion the nearby forests, but there are always one of her two apprentices present at all times. A middle-aged, kindly woman of thirty or so, her imposing height, bright smile, coal-black hair and grey eyes mark her as a noblewoman of some breeding. Hailing from Phaedra, she lost her parents to a disease at the young age of nine, she was apprenticed to a cousin and made a journeyman apothecary in a few short years. Eventually, coming into her inheritance, she sold everything, donated some to various charities, and moved to this obscure site led by sign, and founded her hospice on the site. Although unsure of her intentions, the locals quickly learned her value, and accepted her. In addition to being a skilled apothecary, she is also a budding priest of Amalthea, capable of many small healing abilities granted by that goddess.
Training two young local girls in her arts, she also treats any who come to her seeking aid. Usually tending ailing huntsmen or their families, she also treats the occasional merchant or bandit of their ailments. She gives freely of all that she has, and never asks for anything, but welcomes gifts of rare healing herbs and magic. Even the local bandits tend to leave her alone, since she heals them and never questions the source of the wounds. In one recent instance, a band of brigands slaughtered a pair of murderous rapists in nearby Daggermark, when the pair boasted of planning to rape and pillage the “… White Dove and her little nestlings…”. Their corpses were left to rot in the village square for a week as a warning to anyone else that might want to harm her or her young wards.
Timberwright : ### $$$ : Alveric Wolfsbane is a man of fair speech and fair dealings, and well-liked by the locals. His father Waleslag was also a timberwright, and Alveric intends for his eldest son, Thaneslag to follow the family tradition. The clan maintains a fair-sized yard for storage of timber and sheds for storing the charcoal and firewood collected by the Charcoaler’s Guild, who share his facilities. Charcoal (2 sp per 30-lbs bushel) and firewood (4 sp per hundred) are available through the guild, but their primary export is raw timber, usually in pine or cedar (25 sp per log) and oak (50 sp per log).
Born of Vulcanir ancestors who settled here following the great migration wars, his family were in place long before the arrival of the Sarrok shrine. A man of fierce strength born of hewing trees and his personal blood heritage, Alveric wields a mighty battleaxe that is known to be magical and blessed by the gods, a massive two-handed affair that cleaves trees as easily as it might men. He rules the local wood-cutters with gentle persuasion and influence, and his position far from the politics of Hexwater has allowed him a fairly free reign in his activities, provided he meets his quotas and pays his dues. The arrival of Odelard the White has only reinforced this attitude, and the two see very closely in local village moots.
The Huntsmen : Aelfward “the Ranger” leads the local band of Huntsmen. A steel-eyed 6’4" brute with a scar across his left jaw, he is a former army scout. He grew weary of garrison duty and struck out on his own after two years in the crown’s service, seeking adventure, fame and fortune. He wound up here. He now wanders the countryside, often with the local pair of young Huntsmen in tow, harrying after rumors of lost wagons and dragon gold.
Aelfward willingly joins any adventurers who visit the little community, bending his fellows to help in light tasks, such as providing caravan guards, or scouting for the local wood-cutters, as long as fair pay and profit are offered. He considers himself a born skald, always singing and dancing and playing his lute, even if his voice is untrained and a bit rough. And he is notorious with the ladies and local maids. His fee, is an equal share of whatever the group might find, or he will provide guide services for 5 sp per day, plus expenses.
While the thorp of Dour has been here for more than four hundred years, its location in the middle of nowhere has kept it from ever attracting a noble’s attention, beyond passing taxes and the need to house visiting bands of wood-cutters.
Today, it is becoming known for the local hospice, and the flowers and herbs that locals are learning to grow. Once a mean little dive of a community, the last few years have turned the village around, and locals have a certain pride in their actions and a spring in their steps.