Blackstone

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  • Population: 12,248 (75% Anari, 20% Saxa, 3% engro, 2% frostborn)
  • Ruler: Regent Orol Drakestaff, acting on behalf of Baron Pendel ap-Godwin
  • Religion: Ertha, Hothar, Maera
  • Imports: Clothing, fruit, grain, vegetables, pottery, timber, wine
  • Exports: Iron, stone, wool

Background

Blackstone is an independent barony, ruled by hereditary nobles since shortly after the Blizzard War. For all the talk of Anari oppression of the Saxa during their conquest of the western Hearthlands, those Saxa tribes in what are now Ostmark and Veerkmark traded with their Anari neighbors peacefully. Much of the true oppression occurred far to the west.

Blackstone was founded during the Blizzard War. Hounded by the Hellfrost armies, Anari fled east across the mountains into Saxa-dominated lands. Unwilling to slaughter innocent women and children, the Saxa instead forced them into a single area far from their centers of power and trade.

After the Blizzard War ended, the citizens of Blackstone were given their freedom and allowed to remain in their homes. This magnanimous gesture was far from charitable, for the region was ill-suited for farming, and the Anari were largely dependent on the Saxa for aid. Blackstone became as Saxa protectorate, ruled by a baron appointed by the Saxa but still bound to Veermark and subject to its laws.

During the Saxa revolts between 140 and 160 IR, the citizens sent troops to aid the Saxa in return for a promise of its continued survival as an independent barony whose rulers would be accorded full rights according to their title, something the Saxa were only too happy to accept in return for extra manpower. Still technically a noble estate in the modern age (the Saxa of Veermark never wanted to live here), the domain is currently ruled by a regent. The previous lord died before his only son reached his majority.

Few travelers pass through the land. Most prefer to avoid its drab architecture and skirt along Oakwood into northern Veermark. Orcs rarely seem to bother raiding the realm, though a few lumbering cliff giants have made trouble in the past few years. Common gossip tells that Blackstone has harsh but fair laws and that crime is minimal compared to other towns of similar size. The truth, however, is completely different. Taxation is high, dissenters who speak out against the regent disappear from their homes at night, and heavily armed soldiers patrol the streets.

Minor infractions of the law are swiftly punished, yet the jails are surprisingly empty. Regent Drakestaff claims that criminals are outlawed “for the good of society and to protect Lord Pendel’s realm,” but they are secretly sent to slave mines in the Brokentail, forced to work under harsh conditions until the day they die. Those sentenced to jail in Blackstone are never freed while their heart beats.

The villages around Blackstone, which account for a full quarter of the population of the small realm, are ruled over by “knights” appointed by Drakestaff. Supposed guardians of the land, they are little more than robber knights, growing rich off the high taxes and profits from the slave mines. Worse still, Drakestaff has made secret deals with orcs and goblins. They secretly mass in caves in the Brokentail, ready for the day Drakestaff plans to unleash them against the western Veermark, lands he has long coveted for the good soil.

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Blackstone

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