Heartwood of the Great Vale
The heartwood of the Great Vale is located in is in northern Summersend in the Navarr territory of Hercynia. Custodianship of the Heartwood grants an Imperial title; a seat on the Imperial Bourse; and a seasonal bounty of valuable weirwood
The Great Vale in Hercynia contains large areas of precious weirwood. Located in northern Summersend, the area came under threat from Thule barbarians during the occupation of Skarsind, but tthe Empire maintained control of the Heartwood - albeit barely. Even when the barbarians occupied the Glen of Shadows the production of weirwood was uninterrupted.
The Heartwood is an Imperial, rather than Navarr national resource. Unlike with the Golden Trees of Seren, there was comparatively little argument with this decision. The forest here has a bad reputation. Sometimes, when a tree has been felled and the stump excavated, the workers find a corpse. Sometimes the corpse is just bones amongst the roots, and sometimes it looks fresh enough to have just stopped breathing. No-one knows who they were, or how they got there (especially the fresher looking corpses). By tradition, any remains are handed to the Navarr, who inter them in a corpse glade set aside for the purpose. The priests who tend the glade have a reputation for being dour and odd.
Attempts to use magic such as An Echo of Life Remains reveal nothing - as if the dead had no names. Likewise, there is every indication that the dead died violently - many bear obviously fatal wounds. Their garb is strange - fur and leather, and very little iron or steel. The accepted explanation for the remains is that the Heartwood grows atop an ancient battlefield - but there are no convincing theories as to why the dead were allowed to lie undisturbed for long enough for a forest of weirwood to cover their remains. Some of the oldest trees are estimated to be more than a thousand years old, adding to speculation that the corpses belong to people who pre-date the Terunael.
To add further mystery to the Heartwood, there have been repeated sightings of a grim phantom in the forests. Called the Valewoman, the spirit appears to be that of an old woman wrapped in white fur. Stories of encounters tend to follow the same pattern; a figure appears in the distance, far away enough for detail to be obscured. She usually stands and watches, but occasionally she is seen to gesture or beckon. Whenever a witness comes closer, however, she vanishes. Despite countless attempts, no person has ever managed to get close to the Valewoman, never mind speak to her. Very occasionally, a lumberjack is found lying dead among the trees - dead without any sign of violence. Such deaths are generally attributed to the grim wraith, and as a consequence many workers view her with a mixture of awe and dread.
It is no surprise that, mentally at least, the workers of Heartwood are some of the toughest in the Empire. If they know anything, they stopped bothering to talk of it generations ago.
The Bourse Seat
The Seat has no particular responsibilities; they simply receive a bounty of weirwood which is theirs to do with as they will. If the Heartwood of the Great Vale were to be threatened in any way, it would be the responsibility of the Seat to deal with those threats. Likewise, if any particular opportunity were to arise related to the Heartwood of the Great Vale, the Seat would expect to be consulted as to how that opportunity might be resolved.
Seat on the Bourse
Custodianship of the Heartwood of the Great Vale comes with a seat on the Imperial Bourse. For the most part, this Seat comes with no additional responsibilities. It is an Imperial title that grants the right to participate on the rare occasion when the Imperial Bourse as a body is required to make a decision.
Bounty of weirwood
The Seat has control of a source of weirwood and receives Bourse certificates to represent that control. They can dispense this resource as they choose. Production is 25 Imperial wains of weirwood every season.
As with all weirwood Bourse seats, the holder of the title is determined during the Winter Solstice. As an Imperial seat, any Imperial citizen may participate in the auction and hold the title.
|Winter Solstice 2019||Bastard Tom|
|Winter Solstice 2018||Matilda Reaper|
|Winter Solstice 2017||Landon of Longridge|
|Winter Solstice 2016||Landon of Longridge|
|Winter Solstice 2015||Horsa Tyrshalt|
|Winter Solstice 2014||Landon of Longridge|
|Winter Solstice 2013||Landon of Longridge|
This title is currently vacant. The table to the right shows the citizens who have been elected to hold this title in the years since Empress Britta died.