Thieves & Kings
Eylea Abbey is a lordship held by the Order of the Winged Lion, granted first to the church of the Celestial Paladin in TR 881, by Queen Eylea, of the Kingdom of Mercia. The lands hled by the order are extensive, and support numerous shrines and temples across the regions of southern Argoth, and also include a fighting-order, the Knights of Avarkiel.
Located roughly twenty miles east of Seville, along the Long Road, a trade road connecting the Forest Kingdom with the Shadow Dragon’s Remnant. The lands are a semi-domesticated region of forests and fields, through which pass caravans and trade east to more wild lands. This steady flow of trade has promoted settlements west along the road to Seville, and craftsmen have found the region a safe enough place to live and work, with many ready resources. Within a mile or two of the Long Road, are many farmers and craftsmen, and many a fine inn with sturdy walls to provide travellers with good food, warm fires and safe places to rest.
In addition to trade and craftsmen, the local farms and pastures have produced grain, livestock, poultry, apples, hops and ship them to the capital and the poorer regions east. Few people become rich through farming, but the locals are able to support themselves well enough, and find their valley steadings to be safe places to raise their young and strengthen their clans.
The very nature of the region is dominated by the fact it is a church holding; while they owe taxes to the Crown, and are ultimately responsible as nobles of the realm, the clerics of Eylea Abbey are nonetheless religious adherents of the church of Larani, and so the creed of the Celestial Paladin overwhelms all local aspects of law and justice. In many ways, this has led to a lawful and well-protected people, who do not fear for their livelihoods or personal lives, as some might be in other realms. The sect does not, however, have much popular opinion among the farmers, as they are more practical, and still hold rituals to the Father of the Fields on a daily basis, paying just dues to Larani and her clerics as the protectors, if not the providers, of the land.
Eylea Abbey itself has been an important stop along the Long Road for generations, at least for two centuries. Originally known as Larch, the village was renamed when the clerics of Larani were granted it by Lady Eylea, the queen of Mercia, who had converted to their religion, and petitioned her husband, King Aelfrik to grant them lands. The clerics promptly set about establishing order to their new realm, and over the centuries built-up the local region and develop its largely over-looked resources. The abbey itself was developed over a fresh-water spring, that provides the abbey with its running water and baths, maintained by a chapter-house of Amalthea, who reside in a private wing of the extensive and sprawling abbey.
The local stands of timber were quickly exploited, and in recent years, stone quarries have also been exploited to build the abbey and local town into a beautiful reflection of Larani’s own realm of Tirithor, the ethereal kingdom in which Larani herself dwells. The great slabs of marble have gone far to assist in these efforts, and visitors to the town are immediately stricken with the otherworldly appearance of the town, as its large new buildings and ancient edifices are rebuilt. Even the most rude farmhouse has been built with fine marble cobbles, that shine in the moonlight. Slate is also quarried locally, much of which finds trade west into the capital and across central Ambarin.
The lands held by the Order include a lightly settled valley, known as Destiny Vale, a region of trade towns, isolated steadings, and uninhabited wilderness to the north and south, a borderlands region along the eastern edge of the Barony of Ambarin, and only a couple days journey from the capital itself. Nothing of note has happened in these lands for centuries, since the founding of the abbey, which for most inhabitants, is a good thing, leaving it a quiet backwater littered with the ruins of the Amber Mages. These days, the land has little in common with the “savage frontier” most view the Grandwood to be, but the winters can still be hard, and hordes of hungry orcs are only held at bay by its neighboring realm of Brightwall March.
The Temple of the Winged Lion is a large complex of gleaming marble walls, halls and towers with high slate roofs, and possessing walled gardens and several wings, located some distance south of town along a low ridge. In addition to the government of the clerical order, which controls many shrines and temples across southern and eastern Argoth, it is also the local lordship which holds a swath of more than fifty square miles of forest, fields and quarries. There are no other sizable communities, though villages such as Near Delve, Far Delve, Smidge and Cartwarden provide basic services to their inhabitants, and are largely self-sufficient steadings.
The Swinging Sword is the premier inn of Eylea, with The Helm at Highsun across the road offering less stellar, but cheap, service. Vale Sundries provides chandler’s services with a little bit of everything for sale to caravans, while all other possible craftsfolk also operate in town, with woodworkers, clothiers, hideworkers, metalsmiths and a mason all providing capable services.
The local market is a stone-flagged open area in the center of town, and once every ten-day is a crowded market for local farmers and travelling merchants seeking cheap supplies. Farmers from across the district come to sell all manner of in-season produce, cheese, cider, and cider vinegar, and even last year’s pickled produce in crocks. The small office operated by the local Mangai is located at the end of the market, next to The Salty Grin, a local simpleton salter who sells pickled beans and salt pork from his small shop, from which everyone seems to buy something on their way through town. He greets everyone equally well with a large smile and a friendly attitude, no matter how he is treated in return; but travellers are rudely treated by locals if they do not return his greeting.