Keeper of the Dour Fens
The Keeper of the Dour Fens is an Imperial Title created by a commission announced by the Marcher Civilian Commissioner in Summer 380YE. The position is a sinecure, requiring minimal responsibility but offering a regular income of crystal mana.
The official name given to the site by the commissioner is a nod to the work done by the Circle of Endless Night - a coven of powerful magicians well versed in Night magic responsible for protecting the marshes during the war with the Jotun.
The Keeper of the Dour Fens has no particular responsibilities, but there is some expectation that the mana gathered from Graven Rock will be used to help the war effort - or at least employed in the protection of Bregasland. The Keeper receives a seasonal bounty of crystal mana gathered from the caves under Graven Rock, and if the Rock were to be threatened in any way, it would be the responsibility of the Keeper of the Dour Fens to deal with those threats.
Bounty of Mana
The Keeper of the Dour Fens receives an income of 10 crystal mana each season from the caves beneath Graven Rock.
Because this is a national position, the title can only be held by a Marcher citizen.
The sinecure was completed shortly before the Spring Equinox 381YE.
Beneath Graven Rock
The Keeper of the Dour Fens is a source of some humour to the local inhabitants - since the actual sinecure is located miles from the fens in "the only dry spot in Bregasland". In fact, the site is a reclaimed section of one of the old mine-workings that riddle Graven Rock. This vast stone plinth, four miles to a side, stands in Gravenmarch in Bregasland, not far from the town of Graven itself. The sinecure that the Keeper of the Dour Fens oversees is not an easy matter to locate without a guide who knows the way, or a good map as several of the passages that seem to lead to it have been collapsed, or veer away at the last moment.
The rock contains several unconnected mine workings. This one, which was abandoned in 329YE, had a bad reputation. Workers would talk about hearing odd echoes and seeing peculiar lights - but the weltsilver ore here was rich and so these concerns were largely ignored. In the years since, this part of Graven Rock has continued to have a reputation for rum doings, given a wide berth, and said to be haunted. The landskeepers of Bregasland know differently of course - the reason this part of the rock has an odd reputation is that flows of mana from the western marshes meet those from the forest to the south and the hills to the east, and create peculiar eddies. These eddies have been harnessed before, and several local landskeepers maintain their own sources of mana in the vicinity.
Taking advantage of these flows, the Graven Rock sinecure consists of several carefully positioned mithril mirrors, and three stone menhirs, all situated in a large, dark cave far beneath the surface. The standing stones are inlaid with carefully carved totems: a leaping salmon in the west, a broad oak tree in the south, and a proud ram in the west symbolising the marshes, the forests, and the hills. The walls of the cave are polished, and several dozen iron lanterns holding lightstones ensure that the cave is never swallowed in darkness.
Visitors to the cave still report odd phenomenon - lantern lights bobbing in the dark passages, the sound of picks and shovels, the coarse voices of miners, and the occasional rumble as of stones falling. Echoes of the time when the mines beneath Graven Rock were still being worked - yet without any suggestion of ghosts per se, as if the magically infused rock itself simply remembers a time when human beings (and orc slaves) used to occupy the now-empty galleries.
|Spring Equinox 381YE||Bill of Middleton|
This title is currently held by Bill of Middleton. This title has tenure, the occupant may hold the title until it is revoked, they die or they relinquish the position. The table to the right shows the citizens who have been elected to hold this title in the years since Empress Britta died.
Margaret held the completed sign up to the light - the paint was dry now and she was pleased with how neat the lettering was. "What do you think Will?" she asked her husband.
Will looked at the sign for a moment. "Nicely done. Still a daft name though" he commented before returning to his bow-lathe.
"I just paint the signs love - if this Merrick fella wants to call a rock a fen - he can. It's the one who plants the seeds who chooses the apples."
"Hmmpf - apples is right. Typical bloody Upwolder - fella's probably never even seen a fen. And what's dour 'bout it anyway?"
"Bregasland is called the Dour Fens love. Just because we live in the nice bit, you can't say that ain't true. Your cousin Jenny Dyer - her farm is barely two days west of here but more than half of it floods every time the skies open".
"Ring to a crown we'll end up with someone who ain't from Graven running it. Probably won't even be a Bregaslander. Well I'll give them bloody dour if they come round 'ere."
"Perhaps they named it for my husband's famously surly temper?" Margaret teased him as she playfully boxed his ears. "Now finish up what you're doing - you need to get the fire on and start supper. I've two more of these to paint before we lose the light."