The Spine of Ursum
|Ruler:||Lord Reynard Ferrand|
Places of Interest
|Towns:||Bannaventa, Canonium, Condate, Lemanae, Petuaria, Providentia, Sarnia|
|Villages:||Black Sail, Molesworth|
|Hills:||The Barrow Downs, The Crags|
|Forests:||Coates Wood, The Deadwood, The Goblin Wood, The Greenwood, Wyre Forest|
|Swamps:||Darkmoor, Mere Marsh|
|Rivers:||The Wildflow River|
|Ruins:||Brakspear Castle, Ravenspear, The Sunken Fort|
The Spine of Ursum is the central region of the island. This province was historically ruled by House Azure from the imperial capital at Lucar. This part of the continent is mostly now dangerous wilderness. A few points of civilization dot the Spine in places but travel between them is dangerous and not undertaken lightly. It has been so long since the Spine was patrolled that in fact no one really knows what lies in the desolate regions of the centre of the empire. Although this is the geographical centre of the empire it is probably one of the most dangerous and untamed areas in the continent.
Places of Interest
A city in the centre of Ursum, Pontes is located towards the western end of the Spine. Trade routes used to run into and out of this central hub but in the last hundred years trade has dried up to a trickle. Recently, travellers who have made it to the fringes of the Spine from this city tell worrying tales about the rise of an Orc Warlord who has taken over the city. If true this could be a beacon for many evil creatures to flock to his banner.
Known as the City of the Platinum Dragon, this is a shining beacon in a dark world. A group of knights, called the Great Council, rules this city and its streets are clean and well maintained. A huge temple to a dragon aspect of the Light can be found here - the biggest on the continent in fact. Protected on three sides by the Spine of the World mountains and at the end of a long winding valley, Vaceron is well protected from any who would care to attack it. Rumour says that with the recent death of the Emperor, the Great Council has declared Vacheron an independent city state. If true this further damages the Azure House's chances of recovering from the death of their patriarch, as Vacheron was a powerful ally for the Azure House until now.
Nestled in the sheltered northern coast of the Spine, Condate looks out across the Inner Sea. The Old Trade Road connects it to the capital and that is one of the few trade routes still in constant use. Recently however Guild caravans have reported attacks by strange creatures roaming out of the south and the Guild has started to increase protection on its caravans. Rewards have been posted for the recovery of some of the Guild's merchantdise which these creatures have apparently carried off into the wilds.
Providentia is the seat of the Iron House and ancestral home of the current First Consul of the new Republic, Lord Reynard Ferrand. A deep water port, Providentia is a regular stop for Guild ships and traders. It is also connected with the inner city of Vacheron by the Old Gore river which flows out to sea here.
Sarnia lays on the northern coast of the Spine, not far from Lucar. This is the home of the Emperor's extended family and a large palace flying the Imperial Azure standards is built high on a hillside overlooking the port. Local rumours tell that no one has been into or out of the palace since the Emperor's death and it is not certain if the family are in hiding, in mourning or if they have fled the town.
Black Sail harbour is located in the south coast of the Spine of Ursum. Natural fingers of rock have been cunningly extended by man made breakwaters which make for a lovely calm, deep-water harbour which is almost impossible to spot from the sea, unless you know it is there. The village itself sits deep inside the high-cliffed bay, meaning it is also hard to spot from land, and also protected by the Mere Marsh to the north, and its relative seclusion in this part of the world. As such few people even know this place exists and it is not easy to reach.
Black Sail is a haven for black market goods and also has a surprisingly large shipyard which specializes in "adjustments" to ships - often involving changing names and identities of stolen vessels. It was here that Reynard and friends converted the Hammerhead to the Javelin.
Molesworth is a small fishing port. On the bluff overlooking the village is a large fortress, a relic from the Rainbow Empire. This fortress is still maintained and boasts a large number of well armed guards. The owner, self styled "Lord" Armiger, is basically a drug runner. He will buy drugs and poisons from people - at a fairly low price, but without any questions being asked.
These natural hills have been here for a long, long time. Their tops are dotted with man made hummocks, believed to be the tombs of the Old Folk who inhabited these hills even before the Rainbow Empire rose to power. Legend tells that these people possessed ancient and powerful magic and that this magic protects their dead, even to this day. It is certainly the case that people who consider disturbing the barrows in search of ancient treasures are often never seen again. Sometimes the low moans of what sound like ethereal voices can be heard coming from the hill tops. Sensible people give the area a wide berth.
The Crags are a series of high hills, almost small mountains. Rugged and barren, they are made mostly from granite and are sharp and craggy. The rock here is too hard for humans to shape and mine, but dwarves live in their halls under the hillside, their mining skills capable of shaping homes and dwellings in the impermeable rock. The dwarven king is old and his first born son is well known in the region for being an aggressive and violet soul. The locals fear what will happen when the old king dies and his son takes the dwarven crown.
Coates was an old warrior who bought this woodland from the Azure House when he retired from the his adventuring life about ten years ago. Apparently the old warrior disappeared into the wood and has not been seen since. It is assumed he perished in there. The wood has an evil reputation and is left alone, but occasionally passers by tell of seeing a giant shaggy bear on the fringes of the wood. It is widely assumed that Coates met his end to that bear. It is also believed that Coates was a rich man and his fortune must be in the wood somewhere.
The Deadwood was once called the Oakwood, named for the huge oaks which dominate it. It was the site of a great massacre, over a hundred years ago. A minor noble house called the Oak House, rose up in revolt against the Azure House and were ruthlessly and efficiently put down. The local Azure noble put every member of the Oak House to death, crucifying them in the Oakwood from which they took their name. The Oakwood was cursed that day and the spirits of the crucified have never found rest. Now the Deadwood is infested with the restless spirits of those who were put to death here.
Despite its name, no goblins live here any longer. This was once home to a large and aggressive band of goblinoids but they were hunted down and destroyed by the soldiers of the Azure House nearly twenty years ago. The forest is still avoided by most folk and who knows what may have taken up residence in their since the goblins were vanquished.
The Greenwood is a leafy, sylvan wood, full of pretty streams and open fern beds. This is the home of a large band of elves who keep intruders from passing too deeply into their domain.
A pleasant, open and deciduous wood, this place is light and spacious. It appears for all the world to be a safe and pleasant forest.
The Darkmoor is a desolate place, with wild moorland rising into craggy hillsides and dropping into deep trackless mires with equal frequency. The occasional ruined settlement dots the drier areas of this moor and humanoids and other fouler creatures are said to make their homes there. No civilized folk are likely to ever wish to wander there.
Mere Marsh is a small expanse of wetland, home to many brightly coloured birds and chirping insects. Large alligators dwell in the depths, feeding off who-knows-what. It is said that some of the alligators have evolved and walk on two legs, and that these lizardfolk make crude huts and shelters in the marsh. Travellers who have ventured into its edges report wooden bridges crossing the deeper parts of the mire.
The Wildflow runs down to the Southern Ocean where it spills gently out into a deep bay. The Wildflow is only in any way wild in its headwaters. For the most part the river meanders gently down through the lowlands. The lower reaches of the river are known to be the homeland of many halflings who live in their burrows alongside the winding river. Many halflings live and make their livings on the river itself. Their brightly coloured barges can always be seen travelling up and down the Wildflow. They are great traders and merchants.
Brakspear Castle was once a prominent and vital part of the defenses of the Rainbow Empire. Over seven hundred years old, it is not certain when it fell into disuse, but it was certainly still in use when the Lucarcian Empire rose from the ashes of the Rainbow Empire. The castle itself is still tall and imposing, although much of it has crumbled to ruins, and what still stands is not safe; likely to collapse at any time. It is rumoured that a large series of caverns and dungeons lay under Brakspear Castle and of course the legends tell of the huge amounts of lost Rainbow Empire treasure which lays ready to be discovered here.
The ancient town of Ravenspear is still partially standing. An old relic of the Rainbow Empire, the wooden timbers of the houses in this town are all over eight hundred years old. Recently a group of bandits have taken up residence in the ruins.
Off the northern coast of the Spine of Ursum lay the ruins of a Rainbow Empire castle which collapsed into the Inner Sea when the Empire was sundered five hundred years ago. Its name has been lost into history. Now it is just called the Sunken Fort. At extremely low tides the very top of the tallest remaining tower in the castle becomes visible, some hundred feet out to sea. Some brave souls swim out to it, although the currents around it are strong and dangerous. People who have swum out to it tell that on a calm day with the right light it is possible to see an entire castle below the sea. Rumours persist of a band of merfolk who now reside there, enjoying the benefits of all the ancient magics and treasures of the Rainbow Empire which were lost in its collapse.