Anuire » Eastern Marches » Eastern Marches
Travelers trying to describe their visit to the Eastern Marches generally can’t do the job without using the word diverse. Unpredictable usually comes up, too.
To the north in the Marches lies the Sielwode, a savage forest never tempered by the hand of man. Massive herds tended by a couple of landrunners graze in the central portion of the Eastern region. Wild horses race across its southern plains, which gradually give way to wetlands, where a traveler can find himself mired in swamps and quicksand before he realizes what’s happened. The thick canopy of leaves prevents light from reaching the sodden ground, and fierce storms occasionally lash the land, breaking what will not bend.
These Eastern lands, positioned on the shores of the Gulf of Coeranys, form a bridge between Anuire and the rest of Cerilia. They hold the few known land-based routes into Brechtur and Khinasi, though traversing the passes presents more risks than most traders care to bear. The Sielwode blocks passage to Brechtur, and the Chimaera’s lands encompass the pass to the Khinasi. It’s not hard to see why Anuirean traders have taken to the waters. It’s also not hard to see why the rest of Anuire has left the Eastern Marches mostly to their own devices.
Some say the Eastern Marches appear the least "Anuirean" of all Anuire’s lands. Perhaps it’s because of the Khinasi influence drifting in from farther east, or simply because Eastern regents tend not to display the back-stabbing tactics so favored by the other rulers of the land. The regents of this area seem more inclined toward nonaggression and diplomacy, rather than brute force and huge armies.
The people of the East echo this attitude. They seem even tempered, hard to provoke, and generally act friendly toward strangers. Of course, this is not to say they let others push them around; it’s just that they remain pleasant as they refuse an outsider’s dictates. These individualists, though less rugged than Northern Marchers, are civilized and more artistically inclined than other Anuireans. Despite the fact that the area offers precious little wood or stone, the greatest crafters in the history of the land have hailed from the Eastern Marches.
The main industry of the East is the raising and selling of horses and cattle. Stallions from the kingdom of Coeranys fetch high prices across Anuire; horses trained by the regent’s own staff bring in even more. Naturally, these horses become prime targets for raids by elves or human bandits, and Coeranian herders remain hard-pressed to keep the raiders at bay. Some herders will give their lives to protect their livelihood -- dozens die each year in skirmishes with horse thieves.
The swamps of the East are poorly mapped and little known. The area’s major swamps number only three: Hope’s Demise in Elinie, the Sunken Lands on the border of Osoerde and Coeranys, and Spiritsend in Osoerde. Some say witches call these swamps home, luring people in to consume them and their spirits. Others think the legendary dragon Swampsblood constitutes the true danger of the swamps, though no one has spotted the reptile for years. Regardless, all Easterners consider the swamps places of danger and ill omen to avoid at all costs.
Today in the Eastern Marches
- Well, not all locals avoid the swamps. Some fearless individuals make their livings venturing there to collect rare herbs and wood, so scarce on the Eastern plains. Escaped criminals sometimes find learning to live off the swamps preferable to swinging from the gallows pole. Still others work as guides and scouts, leading hunters and treasure seekers into the swamps in search of big game or riches.
- The greatest threats in the East come from the Chimaera living nearby and from Khinasi raiders. Ghoere’s expansionist urges make that domain to the west an ever-present threat, too. Finally, elves still carry on the gheallie Sidhe from the safety of their Sielwode homeland.
- The elves, meanwhile, have to contend with the goblins of Markazor and the dwarves of Mur-Kilad, both of whom grow steadily bolder with each passing season. The elf knights can not hope to keep all these armies in check. Some folks whisper that goblin forces have nearly penetrated the heart of the Sielwode, so the woodland demihumans might seek even human support soon.
- The dwarven kingdoms of the East face their own dangers, as well. The dwarves of Baruk-Azhik maintain their ancient vigil on the orog beneath the Iron Peaks, working ever harder to contain the brutish humanoids under the earth, so they can not threaten surface dwellers. Every year, the orogs mount another expedition to reach the world above, and lately their growing strength has been taxing the dwarves unduly. Soon they may not be able to continue withstanding their staggering annual losses.