Part 10: 1408-The Kingdom of BloodrockThe Kingdom of Bloodrock
The year of 1408 opened with settlers establishing homes and farms around Snowy Point, bringing dwarven civilisation to the southernmost reaches of Dvergursheim. Work began to cultivate those lands for themselves and their families.
Meanwhile, Vigny Rolfsdottir, whose scouts had been hardened by the battles to tame Dvergursheim and conquer the towns of southern Osterland, set forth to explore the yet undiscovered reaches of Osterland. In Thirdmonth, while exploring past the northern boundries of the Desert of Fangs, she met a convoy of dark elven settlers, who recieved commands by magic from a remote source to charge upon her team of scouts to permit the wizard who was their master to call down fire upon her scouts' heads. She survived the experience, there to see the settlers scatter lost into the wilderness and lose their way. Shortly after, Queen Dagmaer recieved a communication from Sss'ra, the mad dragonkin king of the elven kingdom of Bloodrock, sent by magical means- "I see that I am not the only wizard of true skill in the world. I suppose I shall offer you a deal. Should you surrender yourself and your kingdom and present yourself to me at my palace, I shall make it easy for you, and you'll not even miss your crown. If you choose to defy me, I shall have to bring you before me willing or no."
The Queen, repulsed by this communication, did respond. "I shall not surrender my crown to you merely for the asking, nor shall I give myself up that I shall be any person's thrall." And with that she did sever her communications with Sss'ra for the time, and ensured that Vigny did scout out the lands near Bloodrock and note that great armies of fiery wolves or hounds brought forth by Sss'ra's power as a wizard of Chaos did defend these territories.
Queen Dagmaer's work as a wizard continued. Seeing the might of Sss'ra in the powers of Chaos, she did lay enchantments upon Vigny's scouts and upon the dwarves of the Royal Army gathered in Fangrock, calling upon the Righteous Queen to protect them against the fiery magics of Sss'ra, then sent the army forth once Vigny was returned unto them and all were defended by the power of the Righteous Queen. She did also succeed in Sixthmonth in reconstructing how the magics laid upon a region might be reversed and unravelled, that evil enchantments laid by other wizards might be put to naught.
In Seventhmonth, Sss'ra did inform Queen Dagmaer of his intent to lay all her works to waste, even as the Royal Army did reach the outlying districts of the town of Bloodrock. They advanced to the grim mountain Bloodrock upon which the town was built, seeing all about them in the district the marks of a people that groaned under Sss'ra's tyranny, haunted by bandits and rebels.
Bloodrock has three units of rebel population, a garrison of nine companies of hellhounds, a shrine, and a population of nine units. Rebels eat one unit of food just like farmers and workers do, but produce no food, production, or taxes, being entirely a drain on the economy. Every two standard units garrisoning a town will suppress a single rebel, but hellhounds are not standard units. The shrine will also suppress one rebel. This means that Sss'ra's tax rates must make for four rebels in a population of 9, which is only consistent with the 45% unrest rate of 2 gold/population taxes. Sss'ra's taxes are four times heavier than ours, and despite racial tensions between dark elves and dwarves, our total unrest rate is still only 40% in dark elven towns- we'll actually reduce the base unrest rate by conquering Bloodrock, before even applying the effects of our Just Cause.
The Royal Army continued its march to the town itself, there to be met by hundreds of the fiery hounds of Sss'ra. Although fearsome in appearance, no mere wolf, however fiery, was a match to the hardened veterans of the Royal Army, who further were protected by the divine blessing of Righteous Queen.
The white aura around our troops indicates that they are enchanted by a Life spell- in this case Bless.
The hounds of Chaos surged forward, crashing against the advancing dwarven infantry in great waves, while from a distance Vigny's scouts did carefully pick off the hounds with sure and accurate shots from their crossbows. The armor and the divine protection guarding the infantry did mostly preserve them from harm, and when one company of infantry was hard-pressed Queen Dagmaer did expend her power that their injuries were closed and their fallen returned to battle. When the battle ended, a mere two dwarves-at-arms had fallen, with nine more across the three companies having suffered various unhealed burns or bites.
The damage to our troops was trivial. None of our units had lost a figure, by the time the battle was done.
The dwarves-at-arms advanced into the town, which was clutched by rioting and lawlessness in the wake of its defenders falling. There, they seized control of the royal palace, where Vigny shot the cornered Sss'ra before he could perform any act of magic that might threaten the troops in the palace. As Sss'ra perished, the former Queen of Bloodrock and the High Priestess of the Great Lady of Beauty in Bloodrock, who had been enthralled by Sss'ra's sorcery and made to marry him, returned to their senses as his death broke his spells. As the exits to the palace were blockaded by dwarves-at-arms, they were swiftly captured.
Vigny's scouts were sent forth, after this victory, to survey the rest of the kingdom of Bloodrock, which had grown in size as Sss'ra's magic helped to exterminate the monsters threatening Osterland. Two other major towns lay nestled about the mighty drainage valley of the Crimson River, which was dotted by farmsteads and farming villages tilling the soil about the great river. In the town of Darkhold to the north, Vigny noted two companies of militia, now under command of a local noble, and moved on, but in Leer to the west, all the defenses had been provided by Sss'ra's summoned creatures, and Vigny rode in in Ninthmonth and exacted pledges of loyalty from the local nobility.
The following month, she returned to Darkhold, ready to trust the valor and skill of her small band of scouts against twelve times as many militia elves. Although her scouts were peppered by magic, suffering many injuries, the marksmanship of Vigny's band was lethal, and the militia defending Darkhold were shattered. With the fall of Darkhold, the entire kingdom of Bloodrock was under the control of Queen Dagmaer and of Greater Dvergursheim.
The year had also seen great efforts by Dagmaer's puppet-spirit and by dwarven seafarers, pushing out the boundries of knowledge on the map of Myrror. The land that held the kingdom of Bantanu was entirely charted, while dwarven seafarers came to the shores of the fabled Great Southern Wasteland, a bitter frozen land written of in ancient lore, harsh and lethal.
The northern and southern edges of the map are always fringed by a narrow strip of tundra.
The Kingdom of Greater Dvergursheim as of Twelfthmonth 1408
In Goldwash, two new steam cannon and their crews have been commissioned, while Queen Dagmaer has had a small temple with statues of the Four Bright Gods commissioned at the crown's expense to honor them for their blessings to the kingdom. The bustling town serves as a great market for the riches of Dvergursheim and of southern Osterland, with great opportunity for those who come to seek their fortune there.
With Stonegate's continued growth, it has seen an increase in tax revenues, relieving the pressure it has placed on the crown's finances. Savants and alchemists have nearly completed the construction of great foundries and workshops, which will serve to enchant the steel forged in the town and supply the Queen with more materials to fuel her magical works.
Ironbridge, though it has sent forth settlers earlier in the year, is nonetheless slightly larger than it was a year ago. A new library helps collect lore and learning in the town, and provides easy access to books for the general population. The surrounding district is beginning to work to employ steam-driven pumps in its mines and steam-driven river barges, hoping to enjoy an expansion in mining outputs and ability to handle large freight loads.
The red '1/2' on one of the squares around Ironbridge indicates that it is sharing that square's output with another town (in this case Snowy Point), and only half of that square's output is provided to Ironbridge.
With better development of the cultivation in the farming villages near Stony Peak and with the markets, slaughterhouses, and breweries to handle this bounty in the town, Stony Peak has seen a great boom in size, and now enjoys an important position as a trade stop and exporter of iron to the rest of Dvergursheim. A program of copying books to a new library in Stony Peak is under way, and the documents found in surrounding ruins are being carefully recopied to preserve the literature and lore that was in them.
The small village of Snowy Point is little more than the largest of several farming or timbering villages in the surrounding district, which is yet a thinly-peopled frontier area on the edges of Dvergursheim civilisation.
Mills, granaries, and improved cultivation in the district around Blademarsh have helped better secure bread for its people, and a militia formed of two companies of former thralls armed with simple spears and armored in heavy layers of quilted cloth patrols the town and its district to keep order. Ad hoc markets in the town are being expanded, and the use of coin in trade in the town and its district is slowly expanding. Queen Dagmaer has appointed the dark elven priestess Idanaia as the permanent governor of the town, with a small council of dwarven magistrates with the right to veto her actions to preserve dwarven law set as her advisors. Although there are resentments that simmer beneath the surface of the town, particularly amongst its nobility, order and justice is maintained here.
The Council of Five in Fangrock levied its own local militia in response to the threat from the kingdom of Bloodrock, before seeing to the completion of the improvements in cultivation that had been planned in the town. They now are further expanding the militia, and it is said they plan to establish a formal monastery for the meditative priests of the town before much time has passed, regardless of any dwarven desire for other projects.
The Royal Army is directly administering Bloodrock at this time, attempting to ensure order amongst the conquered elves. Although the people of Bloodrock find Dagmaer's yoke lighter than was Sss'ra's, there is still turmoil and uncertainty with many of their gods suppressed and the thralls freed. The old Queen, Elaissea, has been sent to Goldwash as a permanent guest of Queen Dagmaer, while the High Priestess of the Lady in Bloodrock, Aelaia, has remained in the town to continue her sacred duties.
Bloodrock is the largest town of Osterland, enjoying well-cultivated farmland in the surrounding district and a small, if finely-appointed, shrine to the Lady as site for her sacred rites. Smiths and builders help supply the town and the district. Still, the pace of local commerce is sleepy, and much of the business of the district is still conducted in barter and in kind.
Leer nestles on the western coast of Osterland, south of the southern mouths of the Crimson River. Its surrounding farming villages have improved their cultivation less than have the farmlands about Bloodrock itself, but it too supports a fine shrine to the Lady with many priests. A strong armory was erected by local nobles in its brief independence, and smiths and builders ensure the town enjoys the basics of civilisation. A local militia is being mustered of former thralls in the name of Queen Dagmaer.
The town of Darkhold rests in a sheltered harbor in the frozen wastes north of the Crimson River valley. Despite its inhospitable location, it rests near enough to the fertile valley itself to be well-supplied by the produce of its outlying farming villages. Unlike in most dark elven towns, the dwellings are not built in trees in Darkhold, but rather are well-built structures of wood half-buried in sod for insulation against the bitter cold. Skilled builders attend to the construction of such houses and workshops, but beyond that the town enjoys few amenities. As in Leer, a local militia is being raised before any other task is attended to.
Despite the renown she has won with the conquest of Bloodrock and the defeat of Sss'ra, the kingdom of Bloodrock is actually a net drain on the crown's finances. Her growing fame secures the loyalty of the Royal Army and draws new recruits, but the commission of two new cannon has proved a great strain on the royal finances, and further expansion of the Royal Army is on hold.
On the other hand, the many elves of the kingdom of Bloodrock and the efforts of the temples in Bloodrock and in Goldwash have provided a wealth of magical power for the use of the Queen. Her work as a wizard should proceed more swiftly with these new resources.
With the southern end of Dvergursheim now being settled, now only the western cape of that land and the furthest reaches of the Red Desert lie beyond the edges of dwarven society.
The Royal Engineers have relocated to Osterland, where they work steadily to extend the roads on that land. The hilly country in the southwest of Osterland enjoys rich deposits of mithril and of coal, which has drawn dwarven settlers seeking to exploit these riches.
The former kingdom of Bloodrock can be said to be a kingdom whose lifeblood is the mighty Crimson River. This huge, slow river branches and meanders with many tributaries, creating a vast fertile valley well-settled by the elves, who work the land for rich harvests. Beyond the land watered and nourished by the river, the northernmost stretches of Osterland are a frozen waste, unsuitable for dwarf or elf. Mount Bloodrock is the southeastern peak of the Frostwreath Mountains, from which the wellsprings of the Crimson River flow.
1408 has been a year of famous victory, one which has brought the whole of Osterland under the rule of Greater Dvergursheim's crown. Who knows what glories await in the year to come?