Gardens of High Chalcis
The Gardens of High Chalcis are a wonder to behold - a great open park that spreads across the hills of Chalcis Mount where once the settlement of High Chalcis stood. While much of the land is given over to the cultivation of herbs, there are also three beautiful gardens of remembrance dedicated to those who died in the Druj invasion, during the occupation, and during the liberation.
While all five of the powerful magical herbs are grown here, the crop of Imperial Roseweald is expected to be particularly fine - perhaps appropriately so given its usefulness in treating the effects of venom and poisons. There are also areas given over to the propagation of more mundane herbs, as well as a young orchard and several small gardens exclusively given over to the cultivation of flowering plants.
In addition a large number of Highborn tending the gardens, there is a significant population of Navarr herbalists and physicks mostly from the steading of Peakedge Song in Therunin. Some people are already half-seriously referring to "the steading of High Chalcis". This combination of Highborn and Navarr expertise has made great leaps in translating some of the Druj herb lore captured during the liberation of Reikos.
The beauty of the gardens is a balm for the spirit, but there are also facilities for tending to the bodies of those who suffered at the hands of the orcs. While the majority of the patients are survivors of the occupation, or soldiers injured during the liberation, the hospitals of High Chalcis are open to anyone who needs the expertise of the healers gathering there.
Coupled with the coronation message of Empress Lisabetta (and in the wake of the Spring magic that washed over the territory in early 380YE), the establishment of the gardens has been seen as a "call to arms" for many of the Empire's healers. A number of physicians, chirurgeons, herbalists, and apothecaries, btoh from Highguard and across the wider Empire, have relocated to Reikos to help in the rebuilding - and in establishing the territory as the centre for the healing arts in the Empire.
Said to contain every kind of flower, fruit and herb in the known world, this walled sanctuary was once a haven of tranquillity and the study of the healing arts. While much of the gardens were given over to the study of healing herbs, it was also maintained as a conservatory where examples of plants brought from all over the world were cultivated and studied. When High Chalcis fell to the Druj in 367YE, the gardens were been gutted and enslaved Highborn forced to toil to produce herbs and poisons for use by the barbarian invaders.
The Stone Toad orcs built a great fortification out of the town which they called Urith Barath. When the liberation began in earnest in 379YE, the orcs withdrew into their citadel and sealed the gates, fighting a slow war of attrition against Imperial forces. The citadel finally fell in Autumn 379YE, and shortly after the remaining Stone Toad forces were routed. The fortification was largely destroyed in the process, but the gardens survived - albeit in a form unrecognizable to the former gardeners. The subsequent rejuvenating magic, and the powerful enchantment placed on the Empire at the same time, served to both remove the remaining ruins and encourage the growth and spread of the herb gardens. The herb gardens the Druj had built swiftly burst from their enclosures and claimed much of the area that had once been High Chalcis.
Distasteful as it is to admit, the Empire was able to learn several lessons from the study of Druj herb lore. Indeed, investigation of the Stone Toad gardens has already lead directly to the development of new potions such as Black Star and Sorrow's Mask. The people of Peakedge Stead in Therunin expressed a particular interest in making Chalcis Mount flower again. As well as Highborn exiles eager to return home, the move was supported by Navarr who wished to express their gratitude to the Highborn following their role in the defense of the steading when the Druj attempted to invade the territory from Reikos.
In Summer 380YE, Rhesa of the Scions of Ravensfell, then acting as Highguard's Civilian Commissioner, oversaw the process of "taming" the wild Druj gardens and restoring them to some semblance of their original splendor.Work was finally completed shortly before the Winter Solstice 380YE.
In 381YE the Imperial Senate voted to amend the use of the Gardens of High Chalcis to allow the herbs to be redistributed to the orcs of the Great Forest resident in Therunin. For a year, the Gardens provided no benefit to the herb gardens of Reikos, but provided the orcs with a great bounty of herbs more than sufficient to meet their needs.
The Gardens of High Chalcis are a great work. Each season, they create a bounty of herbs that is distributed equally between every herb garden resource in Reikos owned by a Highborn character who attended the previous event.