Regions of Astolat
Heartland of the nation.


Before the nation joined the Empire, the monarchs of Dawn ruled from Astolat. Igraine, Queen of Roses, cemented the territory as the spiritual heart of Dawn when she raised the Castle of Thorns in Withy. One of the most famous events in a history full of glorious deeds took place here - this is where the First Empress performed her test of Mettle, became Queen of Dawn, and brought the nation into the Empire.

Central, well defended, civilized and beautiful, Astolat is the heartland of the nation. It is famous for its rose gardens, and the offering of a single Astolat rose is considered the perfect gift of true love (as in the Dawnish song The Rose Garden). In the north of Astolat, the majestic granite mountains are rich in ore, but occasionally threatened by their proximity to the wild forests which shelter beasts, barbarians, bandits, and twisted vallornspawn. It is easy to fall in love with Astolat. A famous troubadour once described Astolat as "The warmth of amber, the puissance of white ginger and the clarity of verbena, with fresh green grass, lush sage and cleansing droplets of summer rain," and this phrase conjures up the beauty of the territory for many who have visited it. Those born there are sometimes gently mocked for regaling their companions with stories of its splendour at the slightest provocation.

Flowers are everywhere in Astolat. Even beyond the beautifully tended gardens and parks that surround many of the noble estates, every village and farm sets aside a little land for blossoming plants. Roses are common - with rose hips used for everything from soothing tea to wines and liqueurs - but by no means the only plant grown. Wildflowers are everywhere - in some parts of Astolat it is considered bad luck or bad manners to clear them - and they are said to grow in greatest profusion over the graves those who died for love, or glory.

Even more so that in Semmerholm and Weirwater, Astolat enjoys a flourishing culture of troubadours and other performers who move from castle, to manor house, to fayre and village. They trade, sing, perform and pass on news, ensuring that all save the most out-of-the-way settlements are kept abreast of the affairs of the nation and the Empire.

Recent History

In 379YE, the vallorn of Brocéliande stirred, and the miasma spilled out across eastern Astolat. This led to a strange harvest - farms imbued with vis attuned to the Spring realm. Some of the farms still bear the mark of that extrusion today.

Shortly before the Winter Solstice 381YE, the Blood Red Roads were completed, providing merchants and traders easy access to Dawnish luxuries and allowing the yeofolk of Astolat to travel much more easily to some of the wealthiest cities across the Empire.

Major Features

The Castle of Thorns

Seat of the old Dawnish Kings and Queens, in Withy. Given over now to a great park, and almost completely engulfed in rose bushes, the Castle of Thorns serves as an academy for the training of civil servants, and is where most of the day-to-day business of running the Nation takes place. Each Dawnish Senator has apartments within this beautiful edifice, decorated with the produce and images of the territory they represent.

According to legends, the roses that enshroud the Castle of Thorns are the remnants of a magical defence created in pre-Imperial times by the enchanter Queen Jessamy. When the castle was besieged, she wove a great thicket of magically strengthened roses that surrounded the castle and tore the attacking forces to pieces when they tried to press the siege. The thicket lasted for only a season, but bought time for Jessamy's husband and allies to rally and come to her defence. The roses of the castle of Thorns are highly prized to this day as a symbol of enduring love and loyalty.

The River of Sighs runs past the Castle of Thorns. This wide, deep, fast flowing river was the site of the First Empress' legendary leap that won her entry to the house of Cevise. Traditionally set as a challenge for yeofolk who were considered to be seeking to rise above their station, there are still knights-errant today who try to duplicate the Empress' jump, and the majority of those who fail are swept away and drowned.

The Harps of Astolat

The glorious tales of the great victories of 381YE in Weirwater and Semmerholm inspired the people of Astolat no less than they inspired their neighbours. An impromptu summit of enchanters and representatives of Astolat weaver cabals came together at Weaving shortly after the Autumn Equinox to discuss how they could express their pride and aid their nation. In the end they recognised that the witches already supporting the armies were more than a match for the Druj sorcerers - but they needed a ready source of power to wield their magic on the battlefield, or to weave the enchantments that will help the knights achieve victory. Lord Joshua of House Cadence devised an ambitious plan to construct a series of grand aeolian harps at key locations throughout the territory. Commissioned by the Imperial Senate during the Winter Solstice, work was swiftly begun and swiftly completed. Aeolian harps now stand in key locations throughout Astolat.

Six feet tall or more, these harps respond not to the wind but to the currents of mana, producing not only eerie ethereal music - the Music of the spheres - but harnessing, directing, and focusing the flow of magic itself. Each is built of blue-stained weirwood, with strings of polished moonsilver. As long as the central harp at Weaving remains unmolested, their beautiful, haunting music echoes across forest and field alike, weaving the magical currents to channel their power into the mana sites of Astolat.


Famous for its tournament ground, which sets a standard for pageantry that other nations can only envy. Many Dawnish who care for the glory of the duel hold Laroc in their hearts as they fight elsewhere. Here, questing knights and war witches, nobles and yeofolk, clash in glorious bouts, ever eager to prove themselves in the eyes of their peers. Four grand tourneys are held each year, sponsored by noble houses. In between the tourneys are innumerable smaller events - dueling contests, melees, even the occasional yeofolk-only archery competition. It isn't just the mortals of Dawn who are drawn here to watch knights and war-witches clash, or to cheer the archery competitions of the yeofolk. It's an open secret that heralds of several eternals - especially the Kings and Queens of Summer, but also the rulers of the Night Realm - are regular visitors, albeit usually incognito.

The fluted pillars and arches of white granite were once some of the largest non-military constructions in the nation, but over the years they have began to look small in comparison to some of the impressive and Ambitious works other nations have built. In 384YE Senator Cecilia De Gauvain commissioned refurbishments intended to restore the faded glory of what were once the largest tourney grounds in the nation. Work was completed shortly before the start of the Summer Solstice 385YE - just in time for the Grand Tour to celebrate the conquest of the Barrens.

Several miles to the southeast of Laroc lie the Rosered Woods, a stretch of forest with a mysterious reputation said to be aligned in some fashion with one of the night eternals. It is said that anyone who spends a night in the forest will dream of their one true love - whether that be a person or a cause. A short distance from the tourney grounds of Laroc stands the so-called Laroc Cathedral. The grandiose name is a bit of a misnomer as it is closer to a large chapel in size and import, but it is beautifully decorated and dedicated to the virtue of Courage. Laroc is also the site of the Garden of Tiberius' Bequest, built on the crest of a low hill overlooking the town, and overseen by the Healer of Dawn who is charged with using the herbs it produces to support the healers who in turn give succour to those in pursuit of glory.


This town is known throughout Dawn as a centre of learning for ritual magic, and a gathering place for witches and guisers. As a waymeet, Weaving is also a town of many inns, one that draws travellers from across Dawn, Varushka, and Temeschwar. It also sees more than its fair share of questing knights and knights-errant, swapping stories, keen for news of glorious quests that may take them to far-flung places. In this regard, it is also known as a place that welcomes storytellers from other nations and it is said that no visitor from outside of Dawn need ever worry about finding food, drink, or a bed for the night as long as they have plenty of stories about distant lands and potential quests.

Adelmar the Lion, exemplar of Ambition was born here, and a small shrine marks the site where his family once lived. It is also believed by some historians to have been the site where those Dawnishfolk who would go on to found the Marches met, and made their momentous decision to try and cross Miaren rather than head north to Varushka or south to Highguard. There is no monument to mark the event, assuming it even took place; indeed it is accepted wisdom that Weaving itself was not really founded until a century or more after the Marchers had left the territory. All that would have been here when the March took place would have been a crossroads and perhaps an inn, or maybe a Navarr wayhouse.

Caer Faucon

Perhaps the most prosperous settlement in Coombe is the village of Caer Faucon, which stands near the southern border. The seat of House de Gauvain, it has risen to prominence in recent years partly due to the presence of the House of the Proffered Hand. The Lady of the Proffered Hand is charged with supporting the mission of the House - to provide shelter, sanctuary and physical and emotional healing to anyone who has been recently freed from enslavement. This includes guidance and teaching in the Way for any who have been deprived, or never had the opportunity to learn about it. It also has a wider mission to educate Imperial citizens, especially by providing advice about how best to help friends or family who have been rescued from slavery. In 384YE, a large number of former Asavean former slaves, exiled during their recent civil war, were invited to find new homes in Caer Faucon, although their adherence to a peculiar version of the Way has proved problematic.


The Chase

The Chase is known primarily for three things; the town of Laroc, the fine wood harvested from the forests by skilled woodsfolk, and hunting. Despite the wide swathes of woodland, the Chase remains reasonably civilised and accessible thanks to wide and well maintained roads connecting the manors and scattered villages with the rest of the territory. The forest here is generally safe, apart from the occasional wild boar, angry lion, or short-lived outlaw band whose appearance is generally welcomed as an opportunity to put a hunt together. Only as one approaches the border with Brocéliande do the woods become particularly dangerous.

One reason so much of the forest here remains untouched is the presence of several places with magical or mystical significance that date back to the first days of the Dawnish on the shores of the Bay of Catazar. One example is Kethry's Glade, a glade dedicated to the paragon Kethry, said to be where Makin once courted her. It is often used by the Dawnish as a place of vigil for those who follow Pride, and those troubled in heart who sleep here beneath the stars and the trees are said to experience visionary dreams that help them find their way again.


  • Quality: Forest

Even more so than the Chase, Coombe is heavily forested. Eastern Coombe rises toward granite mountains, which are home to some of the richest mines in Dawn, but even there the hills and slopes are covered in trees. There are no large settlements here - the most prestigious is probably Caer Faucon along the southern border. The noble households of Coombe have a not-undeserved reputation for being a little more "rustic" and "woodwise" than their neighbours elsewhere in Astolat. There is a wildness at the heart of Coombe that speaks to something in those nobles who call the woodlands their home, and several deep dells are known to hold regio connected to the realms of Night and Spring. As one heads westward, the woods become wilder and more dangerous. Those houses near the border with Brocéliande make a point to maintain regular patrols of doughty knights and savvy yeofolk in the darker parts of the wood. These patrols serve the dual purpose of redirecting errant travellers back to safer parts of the Chase, and occasionally venture into the vallorn-haunted woods to deal with a particularly egregious threat.

Once upon a time, this was the route that Highborn and Dawnish armies alike would use to attempt to invade one another. There are several old battlefields here, long since swallowed up by the forests, where the dead are said to occasionally walk, and there are several stories of adventurous types returning from the southern woods with wide eyes and an unexpectedly magical weapon, enchanted shield, or horrible curse. For the most part though the people of Coombe leave the battlefields to the dead - the world has moved on since knight and cataphract would clash gloriously on the fields of Coombe.


There was a time when Grovesyard was riven by war; long before the Empire was founded the people of Dawn and the Marches would clash here from time to time. The gentle woods of Grovesyard are known both for their beauty, and the bounty of dragonbone that can be gathered here. There are a great many orchards here, and many Dawnish consider the apples of Grovesyard to be superior to anything produced in the Marches. Several communities in Grovesyard have become wealthy through the distillation and fermentation of fruit brandies and prestigious ciders. Despite their excellence, the produce of the Grovesyard orchards are not especially well known outside of Dawn, and among some connoisseurs. A few consider this injustice to be down to the jealousy of Marchers, keen to promote their own apple-derivatives over those of their distant cousins. In the past this has led to the yeofolk of Grovesyard being particularly keen to take part in Brock's Toll, seeking "payback" for perceived historical slights.

To most, then, the region is best known for its herb gardens. Several of the noble houses of Grovesyard pride themselves on their mastery of the apothecary arts, often flavouring their elixirs with apple juice or using distilled apple spirits as a base for their tinctures. Traditionally the knightly orders of Astolat have made a point of visiting Grovesyard before they set off on a particularly harrowing quests, keen to secure some vital healing potions or a Philtre of Strength,.

Grovesyard is also the site of Brightway, a peaceful settlement in the glades on the edge of Miaren. Famed for Aurelie's Rest, a Dawnish centre of healing. Here physics and chirurgeons do what they can to aid those who are crippled or seem beyond cure - in Brightway they may find rest for a while. Nearby lies Aurelie's Garden, a series of beautiful herb gardens overseen by the Keeper of Aurelie's Garden - a sinecure that is the focus of friendly rivalry between the Dawnish and the Navarr neighbours.


Winterbourne is known for its rich farmland, dotted with noble manors and small villages. According to history, It is also the site of the town of Weaving, known equally for its cabals of magicians and its many inns. The magicians of Weaving are sometimes consulted by yeofolk who are having difficulty with magical entities. There are apparently several regio connected to the Autumn realm scattered across the region. Occasionally peculiar creatures emerge who offer their assistance or blessing to farmers prepared to bargain with them - though it pays to be very careful that one understands the exact nature of such a bargain before one accepts it.

As one heads west, the land becomes a little wilder. In the far west is Boar's Hollow. In a small hollow stands a great statue of a boar, fully twenty hands high, moss covered and inscribed with writings believed to be of Terunael origin. Once it watched the border with Varushka; now it faces the League territory of Temeschwar border. Regardless of its purpose, troubadours and yeofolk alike consider it a site infused with magical fertility, and those having difficulty conceiving a child will sometimes make a pilgrimage here.


Site of the Castle of Thorns, Withy is mostly farmland, dotted with carefully cultivated forest preserves and orchards. It is also known for having many streams, many of which feed into the River of Sighs, and beautiful pools and lakes.

The small town of Oldheart is found in southern Withy, on the banks of one of the larger lakes. An ancient town, Oldheart is famed for its juniper bushes and the fine fruit brandies distilled from the red berries. Several of the weaver cabals here weave with willow withies, rather than cloth and are known both for their beautiful mage armour and their fine woven rods, wands, and staves. Mundane craftsfolk are known for their fine wicker baskets - and it is a common belief that the willow trees near Oldheart have a particular provenance that makes them especially flexible when they are being worked and almost indestructible once they have been shaped. A popular tale about the Dawnish folk hero Ragonde o'the Rushes tells how she once fought a murderous beast from the Winter Realm armed only with a willow switch and a wicker shield, sending the creature howling back to its malignant master the Queen of the Snows (believed in most versions of the tale to be either the unpopular Penni the White, or the eternal Skathe).

Spring Equinox 385YEBohemond De Rondell
Winter Solstice 384YECecilia De Gauvain
Winter Solstice 383YEBohemond De Rondell
Winter Solstice 382YEBohemond De Rondell
Winter Solstice 381YEBohemond De Rondell
Winter Solstice 380YEBohemond De Rondell
Winter Solstice 379YEBohemond De Rondell
Summer Solstice 379YEEarl Gregoire De Gauvain
Winter Solstice 378YEHector de Rondell
Winter Solstice 377YEBohemond De Rondell
Winter Solstice 376YEBohemond De Rondell

Recent Senate Elections

As an Imperial territory, Astolat is represented by a senator elected in the Winter. This title is currently held by Bohemond De Rondell; it will be reelected at the next summit. The table to the right shows the citizens who have been elected to hold this title in the years since Empress Britta died.

OOC Notes

  • Each region of Astolat is under the control of the Dawnish (and by extension, the Empire), making this a staunchly Imperial territory.
  • The Castle of Thorns is a rank three fortification.
  • Businesses in the territory benefit from both the Tournament Grounds of Laroc and the Blood Red Roads and produce an extra 72 rings each season.
  • Farms in the territory benefit from the Blood Red Roads and produce an extra 36 rings each season.
  • Mana sites in the territory benefit from the The Harps of Astolat and produce an extra mana crystal each season.