Duchy of Everwatch
# Draconic, “The stars incline; they do not determine”
Everwatch is a resurgent border province of the Divine Empire that was very recently on the edge of collapse and conquest by humanoid invaders. Only the leadership of her duchess and the heroics of brave adventurers saved the lands from destruction. Now the Duchy of Everwatch is a dynamic regional power in the Western Empire with the Earl of Aelfshaw offering fealty and newly liberated lands in Harmonias Province. The Duchy also has new found respect and a higher standing in wider civilised lands. The Ducal Army is a tested force with recent hard fighting experience forging it in to an effective weapon. The leadership and supporting Knights Ducal have given solid direction to the forces and are capable and confident. The cause of Everwatch has become a popular one and many have rallied to her banner of honour and decency.
Prior to the Higher Wars a watch tower was established by the Western Elves to observe the actions of their neighbouring Orcs. The watch tower was called Everwatch and the Orcs resident of what is now the March of Harmonias. The region was of little real interest save to the Elves of Gor’Vanim, which is now the Folly Wood but was then called the ‘Flowering Beauty’. When Kaegor rebelled the garrison of Everwatch declared for him and the tower fell to the humans. Under Kaegor the area was made a Duchy and given to his loyal follower Boniface Balder whose family ruled for close to two hundred years. The Balders developed their duchy well but fought for Emperor Kaegor XIII against Innocence in the popular revolt of 202 I.Y. When Divine Emperor Innocence was crowned he disposed the Balders and appointed his low born but gifted lieutenant Jeremy Vadild as Duke of Everwatch. The Vadilds have ruled Everwatch for over 150 years but almost lost the province on the last day of 359 I.Y. to a suprise humanoid attack.
On the night of the New Year'd Eve celebrations the Orcs used subterfuge and even, it is said, plain treachery to storm the defences of Everwatch Castle. It was a pyrrhic victory for the Orcs who suffered awful casualties but it also shattered the Duchy’s defences. Duke Rocco and all his family where in the castle when it fell with only his youngest daughter, Katalin, absent. The Orcs where from Fallen Haemonias across the southern border and they set about burning and looting the lands around the castle. They failed to press on and allowed the last remaining Vadild to return and take control. Though young and inexperienced Lady Katalin rallied the remaining forces and persuaded the Knights Heroic of Heironeous and the Divine Marines of the Imperial Navy to come to her aid. The famous Gilded Blade adventurers brought part of the 13th Legion from Helgorforth to go on unofficial leave and join her. Lord Oyston from the Earldom Aelfshaw organised a crusade and supplied both men and money. Her alliance of disparate forces held out.
In late spring of 360 I.Y. the Orcs where attacked to the south of Everwatch and Lady Katalin’s first victory was won. This turned the tide and put the Orcs on the defensive and made her famous through out the Divine Empire. Other provinces sent aid and the momentum changed. It was then that another adventuring band led by Douglas and Daemagil of the Gilded Blades entered the Screaming Forest to seek the Elven Crown of Ancients. What occurred there is uncertain but what is known is that it lifted the magical curse that kept the goblinoid horde imprisoned with the woods. The horde spewed forth attacking all around the Screaming Forest. The 13th Legion at Helgoforth took heavy casualties and Glory Field Abbey withheld the enemy at a cost. The forces of the Duchy of Everwatch were warned by Estrildis, the famed beautiful bard, and had time to rally. They joined with a cohort of men from the Barony of Maelfasan on their way to help Lady Katalin. At the Battle of Heroes’ Folly the goblinoids were defeated and driven back to their old prison wood. Less than two weeks later Lady Katalin and her allies fought the Battle of Galgortha at Orc’s Cleft were her forces when again victorious. Only the interference of a newly arriving Imperial Adjudicator prevented her from assaulting the City of Galgortha. However the adjudicator did bring approval of Katalin’s position as Duchess of Everatch and the human troops did slaughter many humanoids encamped around the city.
Illustration: From The Battle for Wesnoth (http://www.wesnoth.org/) used under General Public License
As mid-summer approached Duchess Katalin took her closest friends and companions in to the heart of the old Screaming Forest to an ancient old lore site from the time before the coming of the Elves. There a great conclave of druids met and tested Katalin’s worth in their eyes where she is said to have sacrificed herself to the old ways. Little else is known save that the druids declared for her and cast magics turning the woods to a more benign manner and making it a poor sanctuary for the humanoids. Duchess Katalin and her companions left the wood and none have talked of matters since.
The conquest of much of the March of Harmonias by the Ducal Forces is explained in the March of Harmonias section but by the end of the year the City of Galgortha has been conquered and renamed Harmonia, its original name.
Small Town: Alignment: NG, Population: 1,400, Mixed (95% human, 3% dwarf, 2% other.). Authority figure: Bishop Oriforth of Pelor (human male, cleric) and Kynith Dovian (human, male, merchant).
Nestled in the heart of the province, Bonran was a sleepy market town with a ramshackle ivy covered town wall and a reputation for good inns and friendly folk. The personal holding of the Vadild family it has a solid keep and comfortable barracks for the garrison. For a brief time the duchess moved her court her but with the recapture of Everwatch this ended as did the influx of refugees following the recent humanoid defeats. Happily Bonran is slowly returning to its old comfortable and peaceful ways. At the centre of the town is the market square with the impressive Cathedral of St Jalnir the Gentle, a temple an infirmary to the healing god Pelor. Next to the cathedral is a rather large shrine to the commerce god Zilchus whose clergy run and promote the weekly markets. In the North West part of Bonran is the temple complex to Berei the farmer’s god with extensive barns and warehouses. There are three excellent Inns, Mermadors shop of ‘magicks and the like’, and a small but boisterous community of Dwarven alchemists. A company of heavy infantry, The 1st Ducal Spear, occupies the Valdild Keep and barracks. Bonram is also home to a small but thriving merchant guild led by Kynith Dovian. He is the patron of Bonran’s respectable town library and the sponsor of several adventuring bands that act to aid the Duchess Katalin’s cause. The Gilded Blades are the most successful of these adventurers.
Small City: Alignment: LN, Population: 7,200, (85% human, 5% half-elf, 5% dwarf, 3% elf, 2% half-humanoid). Authority figures: Admiral Amarii (human, male, military-governor).
Osendon is home to the 2nd Squadron of the Western Divine Fleet under Admiral Amarii. It is the most cosmopolitan of settlements in the Duchy with an ornate temple to Osprem, the LN goddess of sea voyages, ships & sailors and a large market run by the followers of Zilchus the commerce god. The City is controlled by Admiral Amarii, an aged and veteran sailor with years of experience and enough common sense and ambition to support Duchess Katalin. The Admiral used his marines and sailors to declare martial law and thrice fought successfully against the humanoids. With the return of peace to the province he has offered to return control of Osendon to the citizens but they have declined as he enjoys such high popularity. A regiment of Divine Marines defend Osendon with two sleek war galleasses at anchor in the harbour, when not patrolling the coast to deter pirates and Blood Isler raiders. For a while it was rumoured that Duchess Katalin might marry his son, Lazlo, a dashing officer, but his death at the Battle of Naugard and her marriage to Wulfram Amali changed matters. Since the death of his son Admiral Amarii his become a more sombre person, still dedicated to his men and the citizens of Osendon but also bitter towards Lord Douglas of Stonehaven whom he believes fled the field of battle leaving Lazlo and his men to their doom. As Lord Douglas is also building his own fleet it is likely that the two may well clash in the future.
Small Town: Alignment: NG, Population: 1,550 (85% human, 8% halfling, 5% dwarf, 3% half-orc, 2% gnome, 6% half-elf), Authority figure: Baroness Gerda af Staller (human female, aristrocat)
Milton is a prosperous agricultural town near the border with Aelfshaw. Milton has a temple to Berei, the NG goddess of agriculture, family, and home. The recent humanoid war has been a major drain on the town and the nearby area as many of the most able bodied men where sent south to fight for Duchess Katalin. With peace they have returned home and the town and surroundings are recovering. It is the home of the Staller family who are loyal supporters of the Vadilds. Baron Jasper Staller was a life long friend of the late Duke Rocco and is devoted to supporting his old friend’s heir. Baron Jasper successfully led the ducal forces at the Battle of Heroes Folly against invading goblinoids. He would have liked to have seen his eldest son Hyatt marry Duchess Katalin but is still a loyal vassal and has been appointed Governor-General of Harmonias.
Large Town: Alignment: LN, Population: 5,250, (95% human, 5% others), Authority figure: Darcy Farseer (human, male, governor)
Volingdorf is a prosperous fishing and agricultural centre with its own modest boat yard. It has several merchant guilds that also make it a thriving commercial town along with a newly open temple to Zilchus the LN god of prestige, money & business. Volingdorf was home to the Balder family that ruled the Duchy before House Vadild and their influence remained in the town. After the collapse of the border a cartel of merchants fronted by Henry Balder refused to accept the authority of Duchess Katalin. Henry Balder was a professed priest of Trithereon, the CG god of individuality, liberty, retribution, self-defence, but in fact used charm magics to enslave the bulk of the populace. Only after Balder was killed and the town’s folk freed by the some Crusader adventurers did the truth come out. In fact Henry was not only a priest of Erythnul, the CE god of hate, malice, panic & slaughter, but he was also masquerading as a member of the Balder family. Duchess Katalin appointed the Honourable D’arcy Farseer, 3rd son of Sage-Lord Brisius Farseer of the Athenaeum of Haden, as governor to Volingdorf to repair the economic and social damage wrought on the town. He has re-opened the Zilchus temple and has done his utmost to boost the local economy and trade while sending troops to aid Katalin.
Small Town: Alignment: NG, Population: 1,100; Mixed (79% human, 9% halfling, 4% half-elf, 3% dwarf, 2% gnome, 2% half-humanoid, 1% elf), Authority figure: Radiant Mother Dorika (half-orc, female, cleric)
Ima is home to a temple retreat dedicated to St. Obethiah the Tranquil, a saint for all those who place their trust in Pelor through silence and prayer. It was a peaceful and serene place of prayer and contemplation with a mixed and kind population of followers of St. Obethiah and his god Pelor. With the war the settlement has expanded from a village to a town and the temple now has a large infirmary for the treatment of the injured. Ima is run by the Church of Pelor to care for the poor, sick and destitute. Ima is a peaceful and tranquil place.
Glory Field Abbey
Village: Alignment: LG, Population: 800, (95% human, 5% others), Authority figure: Abbot Bysel (human, male, cleric)
Glory Field is the site of a preceptory-abbey of Heironeous, the LG god of chivalry, justice, honour & war. This fortified temple complex is the home to the Knights Heroic, their retainers and followers. It is a self-sufficient community dedicated to fielding the bravest holy warriors in the Divine Empire and beyond. Though the Valdilds were not declared worshipper of Heironeous they always treated the god and his abbey with respect and courtesy. In return Glory Field Abbey has offered full support and has performed great daring deeds smiting the Orcs before them. Glory Field Abbey itself was attacked while the Knights Heroic where serving with Duchess Katalin to the south. Subjected to a desperate goblinoid assault the Abbey was only saved by selfless the actions of Helayn Roseheart, a visiting Knight Vigilant from Provius Preceptory in Veston Vale. She led the counter attack that drove the goblins back over the walls but the brave paladin paid for it with her life. The Knights Heroic have enhanced their reputation throughout the recent war and Glory Field has more pilgrims than ever worshipping Heironeous in its fortress chapel. Sadly the rise of a Hextor supported regime in Harmonias to the south was a cause for great worry for the Abbott and his flock. Appeals for aid to liberate the slaves of Harmonias province by the new rulers had been refused but caused much angst in the ranks. With the departure of the Hextor worshippers the Knights keenly rejoined the liberation. Even with rumours of Duchess Katalin’s druidic practices it seems likely that Glory Field Abbey will remain a firm and honoured ally of hers.
Village: Alignment: NG, Population: 420; Mixed (95% human, 5% others), Authority figure: Duchess Katalin (human, female, aristocrat-fighter), Sir Aedgar Wyktham (human, male, fighter)
Once a large sprawling fortress, the castle has seen better days since it fell to the humanoids. The ruins where re-captured and the core keep intact but much of the outer walls and buildings are destroyed. The outer gate keep that was the undead court of Duke Rocco has had to be exorcised, blessed and demolished due to the evil imbibed in the walls. The Duchess has moved her court her from Bonran and is slowly but surely repairing the castle. As with Telchion and Stonehaven half-humanoid refugees have crossed over in to Everwatch to escape the Hextor led slaughters but they are moved on to either of the other border settlements and are not permitted to reside at Everwatch.
Village: Alignment: LN, Pop: 480; Mixed (60% human, 35% half-humanoid, 5% others), Authority figure: Sir Aran Dendrick (human, male, fighter) and Krayvan Sankari (half-hobgoblin male, ranger)
Telchion was an old human castle that had fallen to the Hobgoblins and Orcs decades ago to be then known as Fal’n’fort. It was home to the fierce Kal-Varzt Hobgoblins who used it to raid Everwatch and the other humanoid tribes of Fallen Harmonias province. They were led by Geznem a wily old hobgoblin with a sordid taste for human female concubines through whom he sired at least twenty acknowledged male offspring. Though arrogant Geznem was crafty and limited his raids on the Duchy of Everwatch in case he became too much of a nuisance and caused a punitive raid in response. Indeed some half-bloods and hobgoblins enlisted in the Ducal Scouts and served the Duchy on the border. The tribe rebelled against Geznem for not taking part in the 'great attack' on Everwatch but his replacement, his own half-hobgoblin son Mulabarsh, was also secretly in the pay the Duchy. Early in the following liberation war, Fal’n’fort was captured by mercenaries led by Lord Rufus Renfrew, the godfather of the Duchess. Internal fighting and squabbling led the once proud Kal-Varzt Hobgoblins to flee without a token of a fight while others surrendered and enlisted in the Ducal Scouts.
The captured castle was in a poor condition after a long occupation by the hobgoblins and needed urgent repairs. Lord Rufus and his men worked hard to make it defendable as the war temporarily lulled. When the City of Harmonias launched a Hextor inspired genocidal attack on her humanoid blooded inhabitants many half-bloods fled to Telchion for the protection Lord Rufus offered. A thoroughly practical man, he cared nothing save his people worked hard and obeyed the laws; what they were meant little to him. Rufus established his ‘Duur Dhuugaan’, or work force, of labourers whom he clothed, fed and protected well. His stipend payments were not as generous but with the commonplace killing of humanoid bloods going on in the province, few complained. They steadily rebuilt the Castle of Telchion and the hamlet around it. Rufus and his men continued to fight in the south with great success displaying fierce loyalty and diligence to the Duchess. When the final victory was achieved, having all the remaining humanoids defeated, captured or fled, Rufus was richly rewarded with his own Southern Barony of Redwardine. Wishing to solely concentrate on his newer and richer lands, Rufus took his leave of Telchion taking his men and the bulk of the Duur Dhuugaan with him.
Sir Arran Dendrick was a new and rather junior Ducal Knight but he had performed his duties with skill and dedication while also being fluent in the customs and language of goblinoids. Telchion stood at the northern end of the Orc’s cleft, a chasm from which humanoids has sporadically erupted. The area needed to be garrisoned and watch kept on both the Cleft and the Folly Forest to the north, Sir Arran was appointed as the Master of Telchion. Working with him is Krayvan Sankari the leader of the Ducal Scouts and the half-hobgoblin son of Geznem, the old Kal-Varzt chieftain. The settlement has some of the Duur Dhuugaan labourers who remained behind to establish roots at Telchion along with a good number of humans who are too used to hobgoblin ways or have kin with them. The 2nd company of the Ducal Scouts are here guarding the border. Telchion is a rough and ready place but one full of energy and an acceptance of all.