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Regions of Hordalant

Overview

Hordalant is a Jotun territory that lies to the west of Bregasland and Liathaven. Its climate is comparable to that of Bregasland and Upwold - there are cold winds and heavy snows during the Winter, but Summers are comparatively warm and pleasant. The Jotun appear largely unfazed by the weather except when it is at its most violent.

The population is overwhelmingly Jotun orc, and there while the majority of those living here are thralls there are many warriors to protect them. The northern borders of the territory open onto the Gullet – the sea between the kingdoms of southern Narkyst and northern Kalsea, on whose shores the town of Meade also stands. To the south lies further Jotun territory. There are many Jotun settlements here. They tend to be reasonably fortified with palisades and low stone walls. Many of the larger settlements here appear to be concerned with trade or agriculture.

Hordalant is relatively rich. There is a great deal of mineral wealth in the Ash Mountains, and the fields of Kalmar, Alsterbo, and Sigla provide a great deal of both grain and meat to the jarls of Álftanes and Alsterbo. The land is worked exclusively by thralls, overseen by scattered halls belonging to favoured Jotun warriors loyal to their respective jarls. The Kings' Road and the South Road see a great deal of traffic – including great heavily guarded caravans transporting mithril south from Kierheim and white granite north from the Jotun to the south. Exports see wagonloads of grain, ore, and crates of green iron, orichalcum, and tempest jade transported north and south – indeed a great deal of the grain raised here is exported, with many local thralls living on steady diets of fish (which is harder to transport).

Gudmundur Arason, King of Narkyst, He Who Calls Himself Jarl-of-Jarls, Who is Chieftain of the Southern Tribes technically rules here but in practice he does so as “first among equals” - the powerful Jarls of Álftanes and Alsterbo wield the majority of political power here.

During the reign of Emperor Guntherm, Imperial forces seized parts of eastern Hordalant. They claimed the marshes of Blutgahn and the plains of Ashahon. For several years adventurous Marcher settlers attempted to carve out homesteads here under the watchful eye of Imperial forces and the fortification of the Nail in Ashahon. The occupation did not last - when the famous ceasefire with the Jotun ended in 248YE, the would-be settlers retreated back into Bregasland and the Jotun ultimately captured the Nail.

The Marcher armies headed down the southern coast of the Gullet, into Narkyst, and made a spirited attempt to capture the territory named Hordalant on the border of Bregasland; they successfully overran the marshes of Blutgahn and the plains of Ashahon but were incapable of making further progress.

These actions enabled the Empire to recapture a great many prisoners taken from Wintermark and the Marches during the recent Jotun invasion, but there is plenty of evidence that efforts to liberate the humans of Kalsea and Narkyst did not go so well.

The local thralls were found to be almost fanatically loyal to their Jotun masters, and slowed the advance and capture of Jotun territory; those that had taken up the offer of citizenship were convicted of treason in unprecedented numbers, and the local population was essentially wiped out in Imperial-controlled regions, being replaced by settlers from Wintermark and the Marches respectively.

While this offensive was being undertaken, the rest of the Imperial armies were engaged with the Thule in Miekarova and Volodmartz - indeed, there was some considerable unrest that Guntherm and those loyal to him were engaging in military adventures along the coast of the Gullet when long-held Imperial territories were endangered.

The Campaigns of Emperor Guntherm

Recent History

In Spring 379YE a spy network was commissioned by the Imperial Senate in Hordalant, but it was not until the Winter of 379YE that a significant force of Imperial scouts was assigned to cautiously explore this prosperous Jotun territory. The Wintermark scouts (assisted by Navarr explorers) were able to prepare a map of the territory including some details of the main settlements, but the information they uncovered during the particularly harsh winter of 379YE was patchy at best. The details of this exploratory force can be found on the Imperial Roll of Honour.

Hordalant has been invaded by Imperial forces on more than one occasion - the most recent, and most successful, invasion took place during the reign of Emperor Guntherm. A more recent attempted invasion took place in Summer 381YE. The Black Thorns under general Ulric Y'Basden evaded a Jotun trap in Liathaven by crossing the border to the west; their short-lived attempt at conquest was handily repulsed by the orcs.

After the Summer Solstice 381YE, significant Imperial forces were assigned to the spy network in Hordalant. Primarily from Wintermark, with the aid of a few courageous Imperial Orcs, they were able to significantly update information about the territory, as well as providing an improved map and key information about the major Jotun forces camped in the territory. The identity of these captains is recorded on the Imperial Roll of Honour.

Major Features

So far Imperial scouts have not identified many sites of major significance in the territory, but this is likely to be due to the small number of scouts rather than the lack of such sites in Hordalant.

The Kings' Road and the South Road

To the surprise of many, the territory of Hordalant has a well-built network of roads that connect the major settlements. The roads themselves are patrolled by Jotun warriors, and maintained by cadres of thralls. While not comparable to the roads of Varushka (and showing no signs of magical wards) they are wide, paved, and supplemented in several places by stone bridges.

The Kongegőr

The Kongegőr, stretches from Alsterbo to Kierheim where the Gullet is at its narrowest. Known to the sailors of Wintermark and the Marches as a treacherous area of shifting islands and dangerous rocks, the Jotun have a slightly different perspective. The thralls of Dalvi maintain a series of hidden routes north across the causeway, allowing Jotun armies to travel by land from Alsterbo to Kierheim and vice versa. An army that controls Alsterbo or Kierheim can effectively cross to the other side of the Gullet without the assistance of a navy, and can block the ability of enemy armies to cross should they so wish.

The Palaces of the Eternals

The Summer Palace, the Hawk Eyrie, and the Fortress of the Pale Queen are of great interest. The Fortress is a significant fortification that controls the heart of the territory, but along with the Palace and the Eyrie represents a type of construction the Empire is unfamiliar with. They seem to serve as embassies to the eternals of the Summer realm. Jotun magicians – but not exclusively magicians – deal directly with representatives of the eternal the embassy is dedicated to, in much the same way that an Imperial ambassador might deal with a foreign nation.

The White Shore

South of Foss, in Kalmar, is found the White Shore. It is not clear how much the salt flats here have been artificially expanded, but Imperial scouts report an area of very shallow water where carefully constructed traps capture seawater and expose it to the sun. As the water evaporates, great chunks of salt are formed. The salt is farmed by thralls, packed into barrels, and exported across Hordalant and beyond. The salt seems to be considered a luxury item – and a particular source of wealth for the Jarl of Álftanes.

Regions of Hordalant

Hordalant is broken up into seven regions.

Blutgahn

Quality: Marsh
A large marshy area on the east of Narkyst, it is largely uninhabited (at least by the Jotun, who appear to give it a wide berth) - but there are signs of a significant Feni population dwelling within, mostly clustered around the mouth of the two rivers, the small Hjatter and the much larger Volg estuary. The Feni are not interested in receiving visitors - Wintermark forces are warned off but the Feni appear more than prepared to take pot shots at any scouts they identify, especially if they are Navarr.

Alsterbo

Quality: Coastal
The deep dangerous marshes of Blutgahn give way to more open and accessible fens, with significant dykes built to drain the land and keep the sea out. On the other side of the King's Road the land is dryer still - a result of over a century of work to drain and protect it. Here the land is completely given over to farmland. The King's Road leads to Dalvi on the coast, a large port ruled over by the Jarl of Alsterbo. Dalvi is heavily fortified, defended against attack from both land and sea. (OOC Information: In game terms it is a rank one fortification). The less prosperous rival port of Raufarhöfn lies on the western side of the promontory, but is notable for the inclusion of a large Grendel embassy.

Kalmar

Quality: Coastal
The open fields of Alsterabo continue into the rich prosperous region of Kalmar. To the south begins the Forest of the Mures, a dense forest of tall dark pines. The King's Road runs along the border of the forest as it heads west into Ashahon. The busy trading town of Álftanes lies at the junction between the King's Road and the South Road - the prosperous settlement is the seat of the Jarl of Álftanes. The jarl's rule extends to the coastal settlements of Bjark and Foss where predominantly human thralls engage in extensive fishing. They harvest fish not only from the coast, but also brave deeper waters to bring back tuna and whale meat. South of Foss lies the White Shore, believed to be a significant part of the wealth of the Jarl of Álftanes.

Ashahon

Quality: Hills
This crucial region at the centre of the territory is largely filled by the Ash Mountains, a line of tall grey mountains that runs north-south through the territory. The Kings Road goes through Ashahon, passing through the Fortress of the Pale Queen which guards the pass as well as serving as the most important Kirkja of the Skjaldir. The name of the fortification refers to the legend that Cathan Canae took Skaldir, the Jotun faðir of the Skjaldir as a shield bearer and lover. Spies report seeing several creatures that are clearly not Jotun orcs around the fortress – servants and heralds of Cathan Canae.

Imperial scouts report that it would be challenging to pass from Ashahon into Kalmar without first conquering or destroying the Fortress of the Pale Queen. With the peaks of Angfors being quite inaccessible, an Imperial force would otherwise need to skirt round the hills and mountains and pass through Alsterbo to reach Kalmar. (OOC Note: The Fortress of the Pale Queen is a rank 2 fortification).

Sigla

Quality: Forest
A large region, dominated by the Forest of the Mures that dominates most of Sigla. There is significant forest clearance along the South Road - with small settlements surrounded by farmland on either side - all the way down to the town of Sig near the southern border of Narkyst.

Along the eastern borders of Sigla, where the forest gives way to the Ash mountains, stands the Lion Palace – a large stone fort built as a residence for Eleonaris, the Lion of Summer. The building seems to serve a ceremonial function but according to Imperial scouts it is built around a potent Summer regio, and appears to be inhabited by both Jotun orcs and a small court of heralds of the Lion of Summer – something like an embassy to Eleonaris.

Angfors

Qualities: Hills, Impassable
A hilly, mountainous region defined by the border between the Ash Mountains and Forest of Mures in the West to the line between the mountains and the Dead Forest in the east. There are few settlements in the east, only the Hawk Eyrie – a tall and imposing tower of mithril and white granite built for the Hawk Lord Hayaak. As with the Lion Palace, it seems that the structure serves as a kind of embassy between the Jotun and the Summer eternal.

The western side is dominated by the mining towns of Geets, Flud, and Hekla. Each of the three mining towns supports several deep and apparently quite prosperous mining endeavours, cutting deep into the depths of the mountains, and providing a steady stream of green iron, orichalcum, and tempest jade to the Jarl of Álftanes.

There appears to be no easily accessible passes through the Ash mountains here; an Imperial army would struggle to pass through Angfors to attack the settlements on the western side, or to reach Sigla or Kalmar without going through the pass in Ashahon controlled by the Fortress of the Pale Queen.

Vallorberg

Quality: Forest
A largely uninhabited region under the grip of the Dead Forest, the Jotun name for the massive forest that covers Liathaven and beyond. Some of the forest here has been cut down - and the land cleared for farming - focussed around the two rivers, the Hellis in the north and the Volg in the south.

At the point where the two rivers meet, there is the great Green Iron Eye, a set of metal monoliths arranged in the shape of an iris. According to legend it was created by Jarnsmidr, the greatest of the Jotun smiths, to ward against "the evils of the East". What its purpose is (if any), Imperial scouts are unable to say, but it appears to be built over and around a potent Winter regio.

Jotun Forces (Autumn 381YE)

During the Summer Solstice 381YE, there were six orc armies in Hordalant. Camped all around the territory, for the most part they had set up their own encampments, greatly swelling the populations of Alsterbo, Kalmar, Sigla, and Ashahon. This information has been gleaned from the extensive spy reports and is presented here as an example of how the Jotun armies operate when they are in friendly territory. it is correct as of the beginning of the Autumn Equinox 381YE.

Lion of the North

Quality: Clever
The Lion of the North were primarily camped as guests of the Jarl of Alsterbo. They are an army that seems to make great use of specialised groups of fighting orcs. They travel with many more thralls than similar Jotun armies – thralls known for their craftiness. Their leader is Yrsa Jansdottir, Queen of the North – the actual Queen of Kalsea, She Who Calls Herself Jarl-of-Jarls, Who is Chieftan of the Northern Tribes.

While the bulk of the army was resting at Alsterbo, large numbers of scouts were active throughout Hordalant. Bands of Jotun supported by cunning thralls were actively searching the territory for signs of enemy influence. This was extremely bad news – there were several engagements between warriors of the Lion of the North and scouts attached to the Spy Network. It is extremely likely that the Jotun scouts discovered the Hordalant spy network by the end of this season's campaigning.

Skjaldirborn

Quality: Untiring
The immense host of the Skjaldirborn were camped in the eastern hills of Ashahon, below the Fortress of the White Queen. Their leader was reported to be the relatively inexperienced Jorgen Hylasson, successor to Hylas Viersdottir who was killed in the Mournwold.

The Hierro

Quality: Defensive
The great Hierro orcs were camped in Kalmar. The Jotun seemed to have embraced them entirely – their service in the Mournwold appears to have dispelled any suspicion. Their leader is currently Eahgoh Blackhammer. Imperial scouts reported that they appear to be taking every opportunity to share their understanding of the Seven Virtues with the Jotun of Kalmar, although what progress (if any) they are making is not clear.

Roaring Thunder

Quality: Heroic
The Roaring Thunder were camped in Sigla under the command of Kyrac Gerdasdóttir. They are a northern army out of Kalsea. They have many musicians among their number, and are known by reputation to be extremely tenacious – once committed they are very hard to call back. Their leader is apparently quite ambitious, and apparently covets the throne of Kalsea

Howling Night

Quality: Furious
The Howling Night were camped in Vallorberg. They are a rough army, with a great many Ulvenwar among them. They wear the skins of the first beast they slew unaided, and have a reputation for being mystics. Their leader is called the Dire Prince, and they have a significant number of ghodi and shamans among them.

Iron Host

Quality: Challenger The Iron Host are camped in Sigla, and are apparently a comparatively new army. They appear to be an army composed of warriors of several lesser clans of southern Jotun, eager to prove themselves. They are allegedly favoured by a “Great Power” the Jotun call “The Lame Jarl” - almost certainly the eternal Barien.

Game Information

  • While Jotun presence in some regions is limited, they still appear control all seven regions of Hordalant and seem to have to have uncontested dominance of the territory.
  • Information about Hordalant is discovered through the use of a spy network. This information was last significantly updated after the Autumn Equinox 381YE.
  • The fortified port-town of Dalvi in Alsterbo is a rank one fortification.
  • The Fortress of the Pale Queen in Ashahon is a rank two fortification. It would be very challenging for invaders to pass between Ashahon to Kalmar without first neutralizing this fortification, There appears to be no easily accessible passes through the Ash mountains; an Imperial army would struggle to pass through Angfors to attack the settlements on the western side, or to reach Sigla or Kalmar without going through the pass in Ashahon controlled by the Fortress of the Pale Queen.
  • The Kongegőr is a causeway that appears to allow armies to cross the Gullet without needing the assistance of a navy. Precisely how it works is not certain at this time,