Monday, 13 January 2014

Pinecliff

Founded by the Dragonlords over a thousand years ago when relations with the Dwarves were more cordial, Pinecliff lies high in the Western Axeblades on the banks of the Green River. It is ruled by the Skylark family who have for centuries been loyal vassals of the Elves, providing a trading centre with the peoples of the surrounding region and sending their sons to fight in the Elven armies. Since the Death, the Skylarks have had to strike out on their own as their former masters have fallen to evil.

Pinecliff

Lying in a narrow valley, Pinecliff's architecture has developed a unique look of its own with what little space there is to build upon literally covered in multi story buildings, seemingly thrown up at random with houses, workshops, bakeries and all manner of dwellings jammed in together. Much of the towns food comes from the river and fishing while extensive use of terracing above the town has provided enough space to produce a decent crop and hunters often venture into the surrounding woods to trap and stalk game for their pelts and meat. 

Side channel of the Green River, known as the Street of Lanterns

Fortunately, the town lies in a sheltered valley which has protected it from the worst of the Death but the new world the humans find themselves in is an unforgiving one. Pinecliff is surrounded to the North, East and South by near impenetrable mountain peaks and broken cliffs while to the West, the Green River flows down a series of steep canyons before flowing out into the ruins of the Elven domains.

The Axeblades seen from Pinecliff

In times past, Pinecliff was a frontier town between the Elves and the Dwarves and the skies were once filled with skyships and blimps transporting goods and valuables back and forth but the glory days are past. The docking pylons were demolished in one of the many earthquakes that followed the Death and trade has almost dried up.

Ruined Pylons

Similarly, the great cyclopian gates to the Dwarven realm have been sealed at the headwaters of the Green River but trade has begun on a limited scale between the Dwarves and Humans by using the high forested paths that lead deep into the mountains.

The Skylarks are currently ruled by Augustinia, the widow of the last lord Marius. Although no warrior, she has a shrewd business sense and is desperate to form a more permanent alliance with her mountain neighbours as she is fully aware that the meagre army under her control is no match for the many foes her people now face in the post Death world.

Hidden Dell near the Dwarven realms

The Dwarves, always a taciturn race, have been slow to respond to her overtures as they still mistrust the Humans, especially those who followed the Elves but common sense has led several of the local Dwarven Lords to send caravans West to trade their mineral wealth for food and agricultural supplies and the Skylarks have dealt with them honourably. No doubt come the thawing of the snows, fresh caravans will begin wending their way along the hidden pathways between the two peoples.

In response, the Skylarks have sent a larger expedition to Kareth Dull and have wintered there having been trapped by the onset of winter having delivered a sizable supply of grain to the Dwarves. 

The pathways themselves have become increasingly dangerous to travel following the Death and the Skylarks have formed the Ranger Corps, a regiment of woodsmen who travel its shadowy ways in small groups to keep it clear of the various wild beasts and monstrous creatures that inhabit the surrounding mountains. It is a dangerous job but one the Rangers take great pride in.

 One of the forest routes linking Pinecliff with the outside world

The Skylarks have faced many tribulations over the last two centuries but have adapted well to Aeroths strange new state remarkably well but at great personal cost. Marius was killed a decade ago in a skirmish between his ranger militia and a raiding party of Elven slavers who had infiltrated the remote land. Similarly both of Augustinia's sons have died in battle but the formidable matriarch has thus far held her people together by sheer force of will. 

A Ranger navigates the pine forests above Pinecliff

Following the attack, a pair of fortified towers now guard the towns Western approach. Named Skylark and Earhdell, they are constantly manned and sport a number of light ballistas of Dwarven manufacture have been installed to dissuade further raids.

The Green River just to the west of Pinecliff

The towns defences are separated into several small regiments, each with their own names and traditions and all fanatically loyal to the town and the Skylarks. Other than the Ranger Corps, the towns best warriors are the Order of Helm. Numbering only a dozen or so, these templars are the descendants of a group of Knights of the Eternal Light who were once stationed in the town before the Death and swore an oath to protect the town and its people until the Angry god returns. Over two centuries later, these stalwart knights still uphold their ancestors oath.

Pinecliff Militia

In times of need, the population of the town will also rally to the call to defend their homes and it is almost unheard of for any of the population to be seen unarmed.

  

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