Thieves & Kings
The Shadow Dragon's Realm (The Shadow Dragon's Remnant)
Dragonstone Castle, Heart of the Shadow Dragon’s Remnant
Originally an outpost for travelling merchants and the occasional vessel in need of repairs, the fortress and city of Seareach Castle has since developed into a prosperous trade center for hides, timber and house crafts that occupy the local Ninn hillmen. Baron Millthorn, the founder of this realm, claimed the title by seizing the city with an army of bandits and mercenaries (the “Shadow Dragons” ), and ruled the domain with an iron fist for over 40 years. Millthorn was rumored to be a renegade Phaedran mage, and is best known for his intense hatred of The Principality of Shem, mages who claim ties with the Kingdom of Phaedra, and all non-human races, elves in particular. Other than timber, its smoky “Shadow Dragon Ale”, its bronze coinage and simple weaponry, Seareach Castle has no appreciable exports, and generally avoids contact with the outside world.
The present ruler of Seareach Castle, and its lands and people, is Lady Um-Jasmina bint-Ajami, a beautiful sorceress and bard, who has long since been accepted as the daughter and heir of the fallen Shadow Dragon. She has cemented ties to her kin in Hepekeria, and ensured her realm’s hold over the distant lands of the Scimitar Isles, an important restocking port for any who attempt to penetrate into the Aglothani Ocean, in search of fabled markets and lands rumored to lie in the far south and west.
Most of the people of Seareach are humans. Native Ninn tribes are in the overwhelming majority, with Phaedran and Hepekerian settlers in the diminishing minority. Traders from more distant lands have settled here, including the Iberian City-States, and even the Vulhakara of Vulcanir. Some smaller humanoid tribes have been assimilated into the heartlands of Seareach, mostly serving the local military in some fashion.
Most of Seareach is stony moor, hills and forests, with a rough mountain highland dominating the core of the peninsula. Most of the population are located in isolated clusters throughout Land’s End, namely the Lowheathers, the stony moorland around Ebonbourne, and the eastern point of the Stonecrowns at the capital.
Place names are often confusing, displaying the region’s origins as once m]part of two seperate Ogre kingdoms, the Stonecrown Ogres, and the Shadowwood Ogres. Languages commonly spoken are invariably Common, Giant and Goblin, as well as Elvish among the more isolated village communities. Phaedran influences have brought other influences, such as Draconic among the landed and wealthy clans.
Seareach Castle : Capital of the realm, and positioned on the far eastern point of Land’s End, this community is a large town of 6000 merchants, transients, and the full force of the Shadow Dragon’s military. It sits next to a small, but deep-water port, and has been used for centuries as a fishing port and resupply station for trade ships. Most of the realm’s civilized population live within a days ride of the town, including the massive fortress built by the Shadow Dragon himself, several miles away on the ridges over-looking the entire peninsula. The community provides cloth, ale and craft goods.
Ebonbourne : A lone remaining barony of the Sun Kingdom, this sizable town supports a border fort and is considered the western outpost of the realm. Serving as a market for the region, it includes numerous old villages to the east, but has little of real worth, beyond its fort and support of trade across the moors.
Esset : A walled market town, the community of Esset provides services to support the local copper and tin mines, as well as a fur and charcoal trade. Ruled by the infamous Lady Barinna Clay, the locals are well-known for their archery skills with heavy great bows and a strong independent streak.
The Dragonstone Prosper, Lands of the Shadow Dragon
The first inhabitants of the region have called it “Belerian”, or more commonly, ’Land’s End", so named from its inhabitants intercourse with foreign merchants. Traditional Ninn, smelting tin and copper, and carefully working the earth in old, traditional ways. It is supposed silver was also extracted in ancient days from the copper ores, but not in recent memory.
The earliest records of the region refer to the growing might of the “Sun Kingdom”, a small monarchy centered on the Moorcrofts. The “Annals of Shem” (or the “Shemite Chronicle”, written in TR 899 by King Aelfric of Mornhaven), states that in TR 814, one King Crushbone, the ogre king of the Stormcrowns “…laid waste to the eastern margins of the Grandwood…”. In TR 825, a battle was fought between the Ogres of Land’s End and an expeditionary force out of the Kingdom of Mercia and the Sun Kingdom, culminating some 13 years later in TR 838 with the final defeat of the united Ogre clans of the region.
By the 880s, the Sun King’s forces, assisted by the mercenary strength of Mercia, gained control of the Bowland region from the humanoid tribes, and after building a strong fortress to watch over the pass through Bowland into the heart of the Moorcrofts, stopped further Ogre raids into the northern lands. By TR 924, during the reign of King Athelstan of Mercia, the borders of Land’s End was settled as being from the Moorcrofts east to the sea.
The Sun Kingdom ruled the western margins of Land’s End with a firm grip for nearly 400 years, but the eastern portions with their open steppes remained a borderland wilderness for much of that period. The Lowheathers and the Moorcrofts, were both claimed by small Ninn clans and the surviving orc and ogre bands , primarily the Stonecrown Ogres in the Lowheathers. Eventually, the Sun Kingdom faltered and fell into in-fighting, and as the banners of the Wardukes rose in the remnants of the Kingdom of Mercia, the banner of the Sun Kingdom fell to those of the Shadow Dragon, during the rebellion of TR 1021. The remaining lands of the Moorcrofts were ravaged by the Shadow Dragon, with only Ebonbourne and various isolated villages holding out after the wars.
Presently, most of Land’s End is what one might consider a borderland, with small pockets of villages protected by various local warlords, and tribes of semi-nomadic orcs and ogres wandering the wilderness between the towns. The Shadow Dragon has managed to unite the eastern-most villages, protecting limited trade and often employing humanoid mercenaries in its armies. The former heartlands of the the Sun Kingdom, once semi-independent villages and towns, have become accumulated under the banners of the Ravensgaarde Republic. Shadow Dragon and Shemite armies both move among the northern hills, seeking to eliminate the ogre and orc bands, and claim the region once and for all.