Apr 10, 2013

Barony of Henn and the City of Shadows

Henn is the name of a barony in the northern parts of the Rising Land region.  The capitol city is also known as the City of Shadows, and has a population of 18,000.  The Barony, and the city, are both about 1200 years old.

The city of Henn has three major trade towns associated with it.  These are located on roads going to nearby Baronies.

The first, Aldrop (pop. 6,000) is located on the road southwest to Scallen.  The road stops at the Two-Moon River at the independent town of Riverport, but about a third of the way between Henn and Riverport stands the town of Aldrop.  Aldrop is known for the strange community of Gnome herbalists (the Leaf Guild of Mika) that live in the outskirts of the town, and also for the very old (over 1000 years old, almost as old as the City of Shadows itself) Shrine of the Seasons.  This is a a Lass Indol shrine that venerates all four of the Lass Indol demigoddesses, Neuvirra Oss (demigoddess of Spring and Planting), Elongar Suu (demigoddess of Summer and Growth), Olimo Vis (demigoddess of Autumn and the Harvest), and Frigia Nor (demigoddess of Winter and of Feasting).  Even though these four have long been brought into the Westron Church, the community that lives at the Shrine of the Seasons has a distinctive Lass Indol feel to it - preferring to wear the clothing and eat the cuisine of the ancient Lass Indol, when they were part of the Olmert Empire.  Given the nature of the Shrine, there are often visiting clergy that are dedicated to Kyclos present in Aldrop.

The second town, in the Barony, is along the road that goes north and then east to Huygen the City of Light.  This town, Tor Alis (pop. 4,000), is built on a tall, bald hill at the foot of the Jazzan Mountains.  The Huygen Road there passes around the base of the hill, but there is considerable traffic up to the heights of the town.  The town of Tor Alis (named for Alis hill) is in site of Mount Soluto, where the hermitage of the Eagles of Jazzan is located.  Because of its proximity, it is often a meeting place for members of the Eagles order, and also others who would have dealings in the lands surrounding the Jazzan mountains.

The third town of the Barony is Octoris (pop. 3,500) located on the road south to Pellorix.  It is located along the Pellorix Road, about half way between the City of Shadows, and the northern edge of the Redsmoke Woods.  The town is known for two main reasons. The first is the monastery (the Harmonious Reflectory of Order) located inside some curious crystalline caves, just outside of town, that is run by an order of St. Ermo.  These monks have dedicated their lives to the study of mathematics.  For some reason, the monastery have attracted a lot of retired soldiers and masons who have chosen to make a study of the philosophy of numbers.  The monastery is rare in that it is in fairly frequent communication with the Archivists of Parn Tandalorn.  The second thing that Octoris is known for is School of Bonbonis - a school for training young persons of worth, and wealthier men at arms, the fine art of Archery.  It was originally established by Bonbonis, a woodsman of exceptional skill with the bow, from the Redsmoke Forest.  On his retirement from the life of a Woodsman, he had acquired a fair amount of wealth, was annointed officially as a Lord by the Baron of Henn, and settled in Octoris (rather than constructing a castle or keep, Bonbonis instead built the School for archery).  He was joined by a number of his compatriots and companions from his early life as an adventurer and woodsman.

In addition to the population of the dependent towns, there are approximately another ten or twelve thousand people, mostly farmers and members of very small nameless villages, that make up the Barony.

The capitol city of Henn itself is the seat of the branch of the Church, under the division of Nadene, that venerates St. Jaspar.  The great Earthroot Cathedral is here, built out of a very large stone formation that makes up the western edge of the City.  The stone, called the Earthroot, has legendary properties, and is supposedly a ward against the return of the elemental gods of the Old Ones.  The Church, in its official position on the elemental gods, has chosen not to recognize this, and instead considers the stone to have been placed here, far from the Jazzan Mountains, by a band of prescient Storm Giants, that foresaw the coming of Jaspar Wilderman, and his ability to make stone alive, and work it by the gifts of his great strength ('like that of a Storm Giant' it is said).  It is not known if this story, or the one about the ward against the elemental gods is true, but the second is the position officially taken by the Archivists of Parn Tandalorn, and the former is the position taken by the Church.  One of the more visible of the properties of the Earthroot is the presence of the Thousand Sons of the Earthroot.

The capitol is called the City of Shadows for the reason of the fantastic shadows that the city is always in.  These shadows are cast by a cloud of great stones, ranging in size of a small farm pig, on up to the size of a massive windmill, or castle keep.  These float on the air, and rotate, slowly but irregularly, in a circular pattern around the Earthroot, at a height of approximately 500-1000 feet.  It is not known what keeps the stones up, as experiments by magic users from the eight Schools of Magic have not revealed the nature of the magic.  Due to the rigorous nature of the experiments, however, most feel sure that the stones are not going to fall.  They rotate in a radius of approximately a mile or so, but the larger stones are closer to the center.  The movement of these causes a constant shifting pattern of shadows to dance all across the city, hence the name "City of Shadows".

The largest of the stones rotating around the Earthroot, are the Thousand Sons.  There are many more than a thousand of these stones, but the larger ones (the named ones) are called the Thousand Sons. One of the more interesting, Aqualith (the Water Stone) has a small spring of water located on it, and it is constantly producing a fresh gurgling of water up out of it.  This water gathers in small pools on the upper surface of Aqualith, a stone of perhaps 20 yards across the long face, and 5 yards wide, and which is floating lengthwise upright.  However, the water, since it is constantly being produced, is always trickling down as a waterfall down the side of Aqualith.  Once it falls the hundreds of feet to the city, it has mostly dispersed into a fine misting drizzle, however it is enough water to keep the city incredibly lush, and full of the most bountiful trees and gardens.

The current ruler of the city is Lendara Astern of the Moontusk family.  The Moontusk family has been involved as one of the leading families of Henn since they came out of the Olmert Empire, approximately 500 years ago (in a later wave of colonisation).  Her full title is Majestrix Lendara Astern, Baroness of Henn, Queenchief of the Moontusk Diamond, and Protector of the Earthroot.

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