Main Page » Anuire » Dhoesone » Soniele
Resources: Maple syrup, pigs, lumber, warped freaks of nature, goblin raiders.
Soniele is a highland province, a plateau between the moors of the Northbyrn valley and the lush forests of the Ruide valley. The upland forests vary somewhat in the types of trees that grow here, compared to the lower lands of Sidhuire or Ruidewash. While oaks, maples, and birches are still in great abundance, more pines, firs, and spruces grow in these woods. Even so the yellow birch is more common than the white birch, and the sugar maples grow here where they do not grow in the southern lands.
The people of Soniele represent a combination of Rjurik and Anuirean traits and lifeways. A curious blend of holidays, diet and clothing alerts the traveler that he is neither in Anuire nor Rjurik, at least not entirely. Among the Anuirean habits that prosper here is the settlement pattern. The few people in Soniele are townsfolk, not only for the benefits offered by large towns, but for defense as well, as the towns here are fortified against danger. The deeper forests of Soniele are almost empty of human settlements, particularly since several of the villages took to nomadic ways under the guidance of the Sons of Hjalsone. A few families of elves wander the forests, as do many goblin clans, particularly near the Grimpen Mire in the heart of the province.
The Sons of Hjalsone wander through the northern half of the forest and consider the forest sacred. Their newly nomadic ways are slowly starving their people however, for the Sons have yet to learn the age old wisdom of the Rjurik nomads and often hunt and forage an area to depletion before moving on, some of the nomads have begun to question their ways, and seek guidance from Rjurik traders and wandering druids, but Father Pais still holds an iron grip over most of his flock and more starve every winter.
The worship of Erik predominates with a strong reverence for Avani, his wife as well. The druids often employ such phrases as, "The Old Father of the Forests, warmed by His loving wife, has bestowed great bounty from the land." The patronage of the Count, Daeric Dhoesone (a follower of Avani) has been influential in bringing out her role in the Oaken Grove's teaching here. The Druid, Roger Callton even joined Count Daeric in a pilgrimage to Elinie to honor the Lady of Light in the great cathedral at Ansien.
The yuletide, the summer solstice and the day of enlightenment are all celebrated here with great enthusiasm. In most other respects, the druids' faith is as you might expect it in Mhoried or the towns of Stjordvik, focused on the great stone circles just outside the towns. The druids here work closely with the Count to insure that the forests are protected and not abused by the guilds and their rapacious foresters. In response to the rising power of the guild]s, the Count has recently tightened his control over the forests and given management of them to his Warden, Snorri Rosling, a ranger. However, the guilds have a friend in High Judge Gaerith Evaerlin, who is the brother-in-law of Gaelin Thuried.
Even so, Gaelin and his Upper Anuire Traders tread lightly here to retain the good graces of the count, who successfully contested the holdings of the Northlands Exchange and threw them out of the province. The Upper Anuire Traders do no forestry here, this being controlled by the Count, but does mill the wood and tend to the carpenter's guild here. Otherwise the guild mostly imports craft goods from Nolien and exports maple syrup, an important industry in Soniele.
The Count himself is the son of Aartric Dhoesone, the old baron's older son who accepted the county of Soniele in exchange for relinquishing his claims to the barony when Fhiele Dhoesone, Aartric's sister, announced she was returning to reclaim her birthright with the support of Tuarhievel. He's very much a traditional Anuirean aristocrat, with a strong ethic of service to his people, duty to his office and stewardship of his holdings. Daeric often makes the journey to Sonnelind to advise his aunt, the Baroness, and to supervise the establishment of the College of Dhoesone, which Daeric has undertaken as Court Academician of Dhoesone.
Home to the count, the town of Rotherham in the southern part of the province is noted for the Rotherham Black, a pig breed noted for its marbled meat and tasty flesh, several sub-breeds are kept in the town and stud boars are prized highly. To protect breeding sows from wild boars, the town mayor offers a premium for boar-meat. Rotherham is also noted for particularly strong beers and for being home to particularly brawny folk prone to rowdiness.
Count Daeric has tried to introduce 'some signs of culture' into his town and a number of sculptors have graced the town with their products, so far these appear more likely to attract the rude attentions of drunks than bards but the count is ever hopeful. Far more popular are the irregular boar hunts the count arranges, with noble attendees from across the province, these hunts are common during the mating season or when one of the great alothere boars is spotted - for no peasant will dare the legendary temper of the powerful brutes.
The most famous town in Soniele is Evaerlin, indeed it is frequently described as the county town of the province. Evaerlin is noted for its strong walls and 'the belltower' - a tall watchtower in the north-east of the town. The Tower has been rebuilt dozens of times after it was destroyed in one raid or another. Evaerlin is the center of the maple syrup industry in Soniele, and the 'tapsmen' eagerly await the blessing of the druids to pen the tapping season each spring.
In the out season the townsfolk tend their crops - 'with hoe in one hand and spear in the other' as the local saying goes. Generally the menfolk form work-gangs of at least half a dozen, whether to log trees or to tend to a field - few locals are fool enough to travel alone beyond sight of the town.
'The Bells of Evaerlin', a famous ballad written a century ago by the half elven bard Idele Rhannach was written in celebration of the repulsion of a particularly fierce goblin raid generations ago. The ballad is the unofficial anthem of the province, refrains from it are commonly used by hunting parties and troops from the province.
Once a sleepy village known for restorative spa waters, a few years ago an enterprising guildsman thought to prospect for the minerals that provided the village with its tonic waters. Now known as Happenstance, the village is now bustling and wealthy from its mining activity, the Grove has urged them to set aside some of their wealth to deal with the growing hill formed from the mine tailings before it becomes unstable but to no avail - the druids fear tragedy in the spring melts but the locals see only the druids trying to take away their new-found wealth.
Garodd's Hollow is a tree town of the Red Fist goblin clan. While the goblins do not answer to the crown, they are relatively outgoing for the secretive goblins and have traded with the Dhoesoneans for years supplying furs, herbs and other fruits of the forest in return for crafted goods, though like the rest of their bizarre clan they disdain iron goods.
This boggy dell at the heart of the province is perpetually swathed in mist and long considered accursed by the inhabitants of Soniele. No human or elven folk live or pass within 3 leagues of the dell for fear of its evil. Elven legends say that the Mire was where the first goblin sorcerers learned magic from spirits of the Shadow World. The goblin sorcerers were annihilated long before humans came to the land by the Horned King, an ancient elven sorcerer of awesome power. So catastrophic were the magics unleashed by the Horned King that the race of goblins was afflicted forever and few ever after learned the skills of sorcery.
The elves shun the mire for its grim history believing that it is inhabited by the spirits of the massacred goblins and that the mebhaighl of the land has yet to heal from the Horned King's spells. The Horned King was later banished by the elves for 'wracking of the world' and even today his name is not spoken by the sidhe.
The mire is a potent source of mebhaighl for the wizard brave enough to dare its treacherous depths, but without acceptance by the goblin spirits within it no wizard can fully tap the mebhaighl of the mire. Over the years many wizards have been driven mad, misshapen, or died in attempts to tame the mire, but a handful have achieved greatness by winning its acceptance.
Foul and warped beasts often struggle from the mire, frequently either monstrously large or misshapen versions of natural fauna, sometimes bizarre amalgamations of two or more animals, or freakish things without any clear similarity to existing wildlife. Women in the who pass within several miles of the dell while pregnant often miscarry, or give birth to 'twistlings' and so no village lies within 3 leagues of the site. Twistlings frequently have goblinoid features (or bestial traits) and have a grim reputation. Even goblins find their children are oddly colored and often possessed of a feral wit. Most goblin chieftains (near all barring those of the Red Fist clan) fear such 'wild birth' children and kill them at birth, but a few of these goblin children have survived to become infamous sorcerers down the centuries.
DM secret: To win the acceptance of the spirits of the Mire (mostly ancient goblin sorcerers and would-be claimants to their power) requires a diplomacy check to persuade them to accept the wizard, or a great deal of will to force them to bend to the wizards will. The Mire increases the maximum source level of the province by 2 if a wizard controls it. The beasts make monstrous random events common, while the notorious effect of the mire on birth makes ruling the province not only double the normal cost but adds 5 to the DC. Any attempt to increase the province level beyond 3 increases the cost multiple to triple the norm, and increases the DC of the rule action to 8 more than usual.
These small brightly colored birds were once common, but were hunted almost to extinction long ago. Long associated with the local elves the fine taste of their meat tempts few nowadays - the count banned hunting the robins on the day he was granted rule of the province and has refused to consider any requests to overturn the ban. In this he follows the same edict as the infamous sorcerer Laak and as a result several rumors have spread about the reason for the bird's protection.
, 01-13-2009 at 12:18 AM|
Last edited by , 09-14-2013 at 11:33 AM
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