The woods are lovely, dark and deep
Regions of Miekarova

Overview

Miekarova is more heavily forested than the rest of Varushka. It is known for its furs, for its hunting, and for its particularly harsh winters. Snow regularly falls here for up to six months in the year, and it is common for vales to be snowed-in during the darkest months - months when eerie lights often dance in the sky. The wolves of Miekarova are especially savage, and every few years or so gather in great hordes that sweep down out of the north, threatening the unwary and causing widespread trouble until they are eventually dealt with. Plaguewulfs are more common here than anywhere else in Varushka, and the sovereign believed to be their progenitor, The Howling Queen, is said to slumber somewhere beneath the hills of north-eastern Miekarova.

Noted for beautiful painted caves beneath several of the larger ranges of hills, it was also the heart of Ushkan mysticism in the dim days long before the foundation of the Empire. It was in Miekarova that the Imperial Faith found its deepest roots in Varushka, and there are a number of vale here that surround churches and shrines to the Way. The priests here are especially vigilant against the dangers of the dark winters and the monsters that come with it, and several warden fellowships make a practice of spending their winters here to offer additional assistance.

Recent History

Deep in the heart of Miekarova lies the Forest of the White Caves, home to the Ushkan-descended Circle of Zulgan-Tash
The people of the Forest of White Caves come from ancient stock.

Major Features

Mormyk

In Mierchernya, Mormyk is the furthest western vale and closest to the territory of Skarsind. It enjoyed a long history of good relations with the people of Krysse. Varushkan merchants regularly travelled east to the great market there, while adventurous Winterfolk traders and pedlars were a common feature along the road linking the two. This came to an end with the fall of Skarsind to the Thule in 373YE. Amid concerns that the barbarians would push east into Miekarova, the people of Mormyk fortified their vale and cast expectant eyes towards the barbarian bastion that the orcs had made amid the halls of Estermark. Now that Skarsind has been assigned to the Imperial Orcs, it remains to be seen if the good trading relations between Miekarova and Skarsind can be re-established safely.

The Painted Caves

Several clusters beautifully painted caves lie under the hills of Miekarova, thought to be of Ushkan origin. The paintings in the cave are incredibly vibrant, and iridescent gloaming has clearly been added to the pigments. They are often quite abstract, but occasional enigmatic images of people and animals are common features. Several of the caves are known to have potent wards laid over them that still maintain their power today, and more than one contains a strong regio, usually connected to the realm of Night.

The most famous are those in western Mieriada; they have been extensively explored and the galleries extend for at least a mile beneath the hills. Many of the paintings here are damaged, either by weapons or by a deliberate attempt to deface them, and historians believe the damage may be the result of an early conflict between Vard and Ushka. Others mutter darkly that the damage here has nothing to do with the Vard, but talk about an internal conflict between the ancient Ushka - they generally claim to have come by this information through visionary dreams, and can provide little proof. Some cabalists have claimed that the caves enhance night rituals intended to provide visions, while the famous volhov Pakaanan claimed that the caves were somehow connected to the enigmatic dreams created with Sift the Dreamscape's Sands. Other caves exist under several other peaks

The Razors

These seven spines of black obsidian stand atop a mountain that shadows the road through Perumaki. An outpost at the foot of the mountain observes the razors each morning - they are usually shrouded in cloud as the day dawns, which is a good omen. If the razors are "unsheathed" (clearly visible at sunrise), it often signifies that a band of plaguewulfs will attack somewhere along the road before the next sunrise. Warning bells are rung, and runners dispatched to nearby vales to warn them of the danger. The razors themselves have never been closely examined - the approach is sheer and the presence of wolves makes it effectively impossible to approach - but study through spyglass has reinforced the belief that several of the ravening beasts that accompany their unsheathing dwell in caves and gulleys around the top of the mountain. Stories say that the Howling Queen rests under the mountain peak, and sometimes gives audience to brave or foolhardy explorers and volhov. The stories further suggest that the mists that generally shroud the razors are nothing other than a massive cloud of corpse-raising venom similar to that produced by the plaguewulfs. They fear what might happen if that malignant fog were to flow down the mountain and into the vales of Perumaki.

The Night Quarry

The Night Quarry is a Bourse resource located in Mieriada. Custodianship of the Quarry is an Imperial Title that brings with it a Seat on the Imperial Bourse. It produces 27 Imperial wains of white granite every season. Control is allocated to any Imperial citizen by open auction during the Summer Solstice - the fact that the Night Quarry is not a national Bourse seat is a bone of contention for some Miekarovans.

The Icy Crag of the Eternal Sun

This College of Magic focused on the study of the summer realm was built in Volchitrava shortly before the Summer Solstice 380YE. It stands in the forest south-west of Olodny, near the Imperial Orc border. Said to have been built with the assistance of the Summer eternal Cathan Canae, the towers of the white granite castle that houses the college glisten as if carved from glacial ice, and are visible for leagues around. The studies of the magicians associated with the Icy Crag are directed by the Master of Ice and Darkness, an Imperial title appointed by Declaration of the Imperial Conclave.

Heart of the Tempest

In late 379YE, a folly was constructed in Mieriada by order of the Imperial Senate. Swiftly completed, over the course of the next season, a powerful Spring regio formed around the folly. It was believed that the folly - then called the Hearth of the Tempest - would serve in some fashion as a focus for the power of the eternal known as Papa Otec.

Whether it did so or not is unclear; but during the Spring Equinox 380YE there was a significant and unexpected development. The structure disappeared within a spreading thicket of powerful trees that grew from nothing to tower over the area in exactly one day. Now renamed the Heart of the Tempest, the woodlands are extremely unwelcoming. In addition to thorny bushes, there are several plant- or plant-like creatures now in residence. Similar to dubik (the blood-hungry plant-like wolves that inhabit certain isolated forests), these guardians prevent trespassers getting too close to whatever waits in the heart of the woodlands, allowing only certain powerful masters of Spring magic to enter and leave unmolested.

A little less than a year later, the forest around the Heart of the Tempest again started to expand and there were rumours that the dubik-like creatures were pressing beyond its bounds. During the Solstice, however, the forest abruptly ceased expanding. Over the next several weeks, sightings of strange creatures tailed off and then ceased entirely. By the Spring Equinox, adventurous warden fellowships venturing into the area reported that not only were the woodlands deserted but the structure at the heart of the forest had completely collapsed and lay in ruins entirely overgrown with vines and briars. If there was ever a regio here, they say, it has also disappeared.

Grimhold

In Spring 379YE, the Imperial Senate commissioned the construction of a fortification in Perumaki. Built in the Vale of Strascovia, home of the Vor'Azi people, it used the crumbling ruins of their ancestral castle as the foundation. The castle was completed in early 380YE and now broods over the surrounding forest. Following the Winter Solstice 382YE, the fortress was enshrouded in an eerie mist for the better part of a month. The mist disappeared as inexplicably as it appeared, and if the Vor'Azi know what it was about, they have not shared that knowledge with outsiders.

Embassy to Otkodov

In Mieriada, just across the Coldmere from Wendell's Hope, stands the Thule Embassy, a cold and forbidding structure in the foothills of the northern mountains. Under snow for half the year, it is already seen as a poor posting by civil servants associated with the diplomatic corps. The Thule ambassador to the Empire, Rak Who-Speaks-For-The-Dragon's-Undivided, is likewise said to be a little regretful that he has had to leave the relative welcome of the Red Lantern inn in Void for these comparatively less hospitable quarters. For their part, the Thule have repurposed a watchpost in Kógur as their Imperial embassy. The drafty tower stands just on the other side of the border, overlooking one of the few passes through the northern mountains. Imperial civil servants posted to the Thule embassy to the Empire report that they are forbidden to venture into Skuld without an escort, and describe the embassy as cold, gloomy, and oppressive.

Regions

Dupadealuri

The hills of Dupadealuri are scattered with vines that mine rich veins of Tempest Jade and weltsilver. It is watched over by Essk, a hilltop town behind a great wooden wall. The broad road that runs through Essk links Miekarova to the rest of Varushka. It is famed for the Bell of Essk, a great Winterfolk-forged monstrosity that is high in the wooden watchtower at the junction of the roads from Miekarova, Karsk and Karov. This bell can be heard for miles, and is sounded when a known Sovereign of the area has been spied. The tower itself serves as a place of pilgrimage for those dedicated to Vigilance.

Miechernya

Quality: Hills
The trading vale of Mormyk protects the road from Varushka to Skarsind. Much of the region is wild, and the hills and mountains are home to both mines and well-defended forests that endure the cold winters and occasional attacks by wolves. Another danger in Miecernya are Thule raiders down out of the northern mountains, come from Otkodov to steal the bounty of the miners and the foresters. There are several ancient battlefields in Miechernya where human and orc have clashed - and on occasion a conflict between barbarian and Imperial warriors near one of these battlefields stirs up old ghosts, or remnants of soldiers who attack both sides indiscriminately, angry that their sleep has been disturbed.

Mieriada

Quality: Forest
This region is known for rich veins of orichalcum in the mountains, and for savage raids by the Thule who sometimes follow the rivers down out of the mountains to attack the vales or the mines. Both the Painted Caves and the Night Quarry are found here. In late 379YE, the Hearth of the Tempest was constructed in Mieriada by order of the Imperial Senate.

The most famous vale in Mieriada lies on shores of the Coldmere (which often freezes solid in the depths of winter). Wendell’s Hope is a mining vale that grew up round a tavern and trading post. It is unusual in that its boyar is traditionally the owner of the largest tavern in the vale, which is a place of pilgrimage for the dedicates of Courage. Groups of warriors planning to raid into Otkodov often gather here on their outward journey, and on their return. It is especially welcoming to stzena; the nights are long, and both the miners and the warriors are wealthy. It is sometimes called the Last Warm Hearth in the North.

Across the Coldmere stands the Thule Embassy, a cold and forbidding structure in the foothills of the northern mountains. Under snow for half the year, it is already seen as a poor posting by civil servants associated with the diplomatic corps. The Thule ambassador to the Empire, Rak Who-Speaks-For-The-Dragon's-Undivided, is likewise said to be a little regretful that he has had to leave the relative welcome of the Red Lantern inn in Void for these comparatively less hospitable quarters.

Perumaki

Quality: Hills
In the mountains of Perumaki are the Razors, and at the foot of their mountain lies the vale of Razorwatch which keeps an eye on them. As with most regions of Miekarova, Perumaki contains a number of prosperous mines, and there are numerous rich veins of orichalcum and green iron. The richest material in Perumaki is probably silver, however, and a number of businesses are scattered through the vales here that deal in precious metals or fine jewelry.

Perumaki is also the ancestral home of the Vor'Azi, who have lived in the Vale of Strascovia for generations. At the Spring Equinox 379YE, the Imperial Senate approved construction of a fortification at the Vale of Strascovia, building on the crumbling remains of the Vor'Azi estates. In the shadow of Grimhold stand the Gardens of the Grim, a herb garden sinecure that also serves as a memorial to the respected Varushkan hero Chernobog.

Srodkoja

Quality: Forest
The centre of the northern fur trade; pelts from here adorn many a Dawnish Earl or Merchant Prince of the League cities. The largest vale in Srodkoja is Olodny, and has made much of its wealth from trapping and skinning. It is built to defend against wolf packs - the ditches are deep and the walls thick with spikes - and it serves as a base of operations for both hunters and wagon raiders. Not far from Olodny stands the Butterfly Holt, an area of forest girdled with wooden pallisades that serves as a breeding ground for a hardy strain of iridescent butterfly.

In the forest south-west of Olodny, near the Imperial Orc border, is the vale of Volchitrava. Home to the Gremani family, this vale is also the site of the Icy Crag of the Eternal Sun, a college of Summer magic..

in the forests to the North of Olodny lies the vale of Sciany. On the perimeter of this vale lies the tower of Gorowac, which is believed by some to be home to a powerful Volodny. Srodkoja is also the location of Olga’s Ashes, a place of virtuous study, part-built into caverns above the road. Olga was an early Varushkan convert to the Way, a warden by calling, and her ashes are said to have miraculous powers to reveal possessing spirits. Some Varushkans claimed her as an exemplar of Vigilance, and she was finally recognised as such by the Imperial Synod in Autumn 377YE.

OOC Notes

  • The regions of Miekarova are in the hands of the Varushkans (and by extension, the Empire) making this an Imperial territory.
  • Grimhold is a rank one fortification in the Vale of Strascovia in Perumaki.
  • This page is still under development - the next stage is to review approved backgrounds for details that would enrich the description of the territory.
The businesses of Miekarova
Several vales of Miekarova are described as dealing in valuable minerals or furs. While you could represent this kind of endeavour with a mine or a farm, you could also represent it with a business. A trading post that deals in ostensibly mundane goods would produce money rather than game materials, making business ideal - and it would be easy to imagine diversifying it to provide small amounts of appropriate raw materials. Perhaps the miners who provide your silversmith with silver occasionally bring ingots of weltsilver as well.

Likewise, while you might represent a gang of wagon raiders with a military unit, an inn or tavern like Wendell's Hope that serves as their base of operations would make an interesting business - perhaps again with a little diversification to reflect the spoils of war they might trade you to pay off their bar tab.