Prominent steadings and stridings
- 1 Overview
- 2 Steadings
- 3 Stridings
- 4 Steadings and Stridings in Play
There are many steadings and stridings across Navarr, but only a comparative handful are involved in the affairs of the Empire (that is, attend the seasonal summits at Anvil). The influence of these steadings and stridings can wax and wane, and involvement in Imperial affairs is not always a reflection of their influence within the nation itself.
Formed (along with Splitroot striding) some time before the death of Empress Britta from members of the Foxden steading, the wooden palisaded Brackensong Steading is the first line of defence against the Vallorn in East Broceliande. It is situated in the former home of Whispering Dray in Elerael, where its position grants it an eye over the movements of the husks, miasma, and the giant insects that roam the area. To date, the steading is the largest to come out of Broceliande to the Imperial Summits. As befits its vigil against the Vallorn, Brackensong is the home of the Voice of the Quiet Forest, one of the larger covens within the Navarr. Additionally, the constant threat from the more physical agents of the Vallorn has given rise to a core of hardened Thorns, ready to stand against the evils that lurk in the forest and beyond. Since the Interregnum, the Brackensong have worked to bolster the living heart of the nation, using the Dance of Navarr and Thorn to repair and nurture the Trods, and playing host to songs, stories and revelry long into the night of every Summit.
A days walk east of Lorenzo's Deep Pockets in the Goldglades NorthWestern Miaren is Broken Bough Steading. A relatively small and quiet steading, it has typically been home to Navarri who for one reason or another desire hidden ambiguity. Broken Bough is situated along a creek, nestled in the large trees found in the area. The location was likely originally chosen to be around a small watchtower structure believed to be Terunael in origin. The Steading is home to The Drunken Goose, a wayhouse underneath a large tree on the edge of the settlement. Always the focal point for those passing through looking for food, drink, and a place to stay, The Drunken Goose has recently become a place to sample a wide variety of cocktails from all over the Empire.
Situated on the Trod that runs through Peakedge Song in Therunin, Bronwen’s Rest Wayhouse was founded in 360YE by a small and ageing Striding looking to settle down. Younger Navarr started to arrive over the next few years including the current Brand, Eleri, and the wayhouse became a regular stopping point for not only Stridings moving through the area, but also a few Highborn and Urizen travelling across the Empire. Bronwen’s Rest now boasts a well-appointed bath house and small printing press- unsurprisingly for a place run predominantly by merrow- as well as the smithy, workshop and inn that form its core. The wayhouse comes to Anvil to provide some of the same services that it does to travellers on the Trod on a smaller scale: repair jobs to clothes and equipment, drinks, snacks, packed lunches and of course a social hub for people to sit, unwind… and gossip their hearts out. A number of representatives of other stridings and steadings also camp with Bronwen’s Rest at Anvil, forming a collective known as the Open Skies.
No one knows the origin of the Splinterspear steading. Splinterspears have an odd past twisted with the other steadings from the north, sandwiched between varushka and Wintermark there has never been a time when the splinterspears weren't around, the wayhouse pops up all through the empires history, it is said Myfanwy herself stayed at the wayhouse. it is literally carved from the fingers themselves (mountain range) some say the wayhouse is older than the steading its self, it is a large house with many passages and secret entrances, they even host a natural hot spring and a Navarr banquet hall, They hail from Old ranging in hercynia and are isolated over much of the dark winter months. they operate the wayhouse which is literally carved into the fingers which opens its doors and offers the yearly celebration ‘the last feast north’ all weary travellers are welcome, as long as they agree to leave weapons and grudges at the entrance, splinterspear wayhouse is a place for rest and regaining strength after the long trods and many battles faced, this is to honour the passage of the fallen through the labyrinth. A Proud and vigilant Navarri steading who it has been whispered have been blessed by summer eternals, it is a rear thing to find a splinterspear who is not a Vate, (this sounds grander than it is, its a massive cave network set in forest up the side of a mountain that is part of a mountain range, with plateaus and softer inclines, it is situated right next to a major trod north, the hall is where the last feast north is hosted yearly)
Foxden Steading was founded a few hundred years ago by a changeling Navarr, Jhessail Cedny and a draughir Navarr, Rymel Cedny. The two had met on a trod, as their stridings passed each other. Jhessail and Rymel travelled north with those who wished to follow them, to where the boundaries between Varushka and Wintermark met, into the lands of Hercynia. Here, in the place where in winter the darkness is great, and in summer the light seemingly never-ending, they came upon a hill clearing with sparse forest around it. In this region of Summersend atop the hill sat a vixen with her cubs, looking down upon the pair. She yipped, and then trotted away into the trees with her cubs. Here is where they built the steading of Foxden, its eyes watchful to the North and to the Vallorn of Hercynia. The steading is a place where the Navarr, and other nations, can come to rest, trade news and goods, and seek guidance on the many paths on which life takes them. Here is a place dedicated to preserving history and stories, music and art. A place to gather and organise against the Vallorn. It is the home of an ever-growing information network set in place by Jhessail and Rymel to ensure that the Empire is upheld against the many forces that oppose it. Foxden is a diverse steading with many different focuses; it has produced many a fine thorn, vate, broker, guide and brand. It is a home to any in need, and is willing to accept any into its fold, provided they bring no harm to it. Over the years the steading has produced a number of stridings, as the Dance of those within has dictated. Strong ties still bind a number of these groups together into a collective of stridings and steadings, who regularly get together at Anvil to share information and the like.
Springwake was formed many years ago, though the records have been long since lost. In Brociliande, in Dark Ranging, on the border of the Barrens, Springwake stood as a wayhouse, a tavern for travellers and Stridings alike. Eventually, as so many things do, it fell- to Vallorn on one side, and bandits the other. Those few who escaped became Ashwood Striding. One day, those who lived long enough found their way back to Springwake, and along with support from the heroes of the Empire, were able to reclaim it. It stands once again, a proud Steading that, occasionally, holds parties, their Brand Rhain Springwake a steady and wise leader; and the Steading maintains its links with Ashwood through the Burning Forest Alliance. OOC Note: Springwake are an NPC steading
Strangers Song is a steading based in Miaren they have a notable forge where Karrow the brand and Thorn, produces weapons and shields in the traditional Navarr style. He and Alarna occasionally bring a few examples to Anvil for trade. Bryn Strangers Song is a young and spirited Autumn Vate who is part of the order of rod and shield, Cadagan is an experienced Autumn ritualist and Emir is the laconic Thorn. together with White Foxes and Night Grove they are also known as Entwined paths.
The Steading of Whispering Dray stood sentinel in Elerael, the eyes of it people turned always towards the shrouded desolation of Terunael, protecting the Trods and driving back any Vallorn creature that stumbled into the untainted woods.
What happened to the steading is not currently a matter of record, except that their homes are now inhabited by the Brackensong, and in recent years a number of individuals named Whispering Dray have been found guilty of Treason and Sorcery.
OOC Note: Whispering Dray are an NPC steading
The Ashborn striding was formed by members of an expeditionary force sent to Hordalant between 379 and 381. They are the Navarr scouts, spies, explorers and military personnel who found themselves harried and cut off from the Empire by overwhelming Jotun forces. Though separated from the Empire for 3 years the Ashborn continued to resist, forming themselves into an effective unit of guerrilla fighters, sabotaging Jotun activities where possible in a number of daring raids. Later, when the Empire launched a doomed military campaign into the region the Ashborn made their boldest move – slipping through enemy lines to unify with and assist the now retreating army. The Ashborn now return to Anvil after surviving alone outside the Empire. They were formed to survive the suffering they found there, uniting together in common course. Now they find themselves facing a new challenge – reintegration within the Navarr and the Empire. From ashes we rise, from sorrows we grow.
Formed winter 381, Twisted Tree and Splinterspears came together and have travelled the trods as a striding ever since trading along the way. most famous for hosting the Navarr in Anvil during the seasons and also Splinteredtree trading hub which began Autumn 381. Twisted Tree steading comes from Tharunin they have a brewery there famous for its Redhound and mead. Splinterspear steading and wayhouse are located in Hercynia. Splinterspears are known primarily for there hospitality in the north. hosting the last feast north every year and opening there wayhouse to any traveller. said to be blessed by summer eternals they are imbued with summer magic there are very few Splinterspears who are not vates.
Ashwood Striding has risen from the ashes twice now. Once, the ashes of Springwake lead to a small band, trying to find some more normalcy. They were set upon by Grendel and those children left alive were sent to a Dawnish orphanage. When grown, Zayn and Rhain, brought up in Dawn and once of Foxden, refounded the Striding. Since the reformation, many things have changed. Now a Striding made mostly of scouts, physics and brokers, and those who came to Navarr from other nations, Ashwood wanders mostly through Miaren but often finds its way back to Brociliande and the Steading it was born of. The first and so far, only Striding of the Burning Forest Alliance, Ashwood stands proud and is proof that a forest fire is needed for new life to begin.
The Edgestalkers are a young Striding formed in 375YE by Pyngwylldwdd (known as Pan), his young wife, brother, and three friends; all came from the White Oak Pass Steading in Hercynia. They swore to use the trods to patrol the northern borders around Varushka and Wintermark, protecting travellers and small settlements from any threat. The Striding is diverse, though it has fewer Thorns than most. Each member takes for themselves a "Wolf" name when they feel they have accomplished something of great merit or worth, or found their calling in life. If anyone wants to reach them by post or in person, they are advised to go to a specific way station in Northern Hercynia - Thorn's Pass - but this is not the home of the Edgestalkers. They live nearby, in a secret location they call the Den.
The Den was founded by Clwyd 'Greywolf' Edgestalker only four years ago. A series of tunnels and caves, it provides a living area for them and their children, with kitchens, gardens, and other facilities that give a peaceful homely existence. They tell no one outside the striding of its location, as no matter where the striding has gone, their beloved children and noncombatants live there in safety.
Thorn's Pass was founded by Badh Edgestalker within the last year. Most of the time it's a way station, training centre, and security outpost that welcomes all imperials who travel the nearby roads and gives them beds and food. But in times of need, it becomes a fortress, a place for the protection and defence of their family. It contains a forge and an armoury hidden within the cliffs, overlooking the valley containing the Den as its protector. On nights when the moon is out, howling is often heard from the nearby hills, sparking travellers to speak of local tales of wolf-headed people who stalk these woods and devour any of evil intent. Songs and stories often echo from the striking pagoda that stands as the clear marker for the Waystation. The striding is very much a family. They are very friendly and outstandingly loyal above all else; their constant patrols bring them into contact with many kinds of people, so they don't tend to be a very discriminatory lot. Their oath is to protect all those who need their help, and to walk the northern borders so they can prevent tragedies visiting ordinary people. To get into the striding, you must make friends with the group and answer one very simple question.
The Eternal Family is an old striding, so old it is claimed that their roots trace back to the days of Terunael. Whether this is true or not is unclear but it is clear that the striding is very old. The Family is made up of an extended group of both blood relations and adopted individuals who are collectively recognised as family. Highly active as a group, those able to travel journey widely along the trods and beyond. They offer support to those in need and explore old ruins, trying to find out all they can about the history of their people. Those unable to travel live in and run a wayhouse in Goldglades, in the territory of Miaren. In recent years the Family has become known for the core of the striding being a strong coven specialised in the magic of the Day realm and the Spring realm. Something very unusual happened around 378YE, however, and the ritualists’ affinity for Spring magic has changed markedly. Today, the Eternal Family are known to be powerful practitioners of Summer magic, in addition to their mastery of the arts of Day. Alongside their use of ritual magic, the Family use all skills at their disposal to help their nation and the Empire. On the battlefield they are reputed to fight defensively, using shields, medical skills and magic to support frontline warriors.
The Leafstalker Striding are a modern band of Navarr based out of Serenael, famed for their signature cloaks that allow them to blend in with the weirwood trees of the region. In Anvil they can be found in the hovel just off Murder Alley.
Formed a year or so before the death of Empress Britta alongside Brackensong Steading from members of Foxden Steading, Splitroot has since grown to be a sizeable group. The striding walks the trods of Broceliande, using Elerael as a home base, and venturing into Dark Ranging. Previous to the declaration of war in Winter 378YE, they were one of the few stridings to trade with the Orcs of the Barrens, and still maintain close ties to the Great Forest orcs. Splitroot comprises of an eclectic mix of skills and personalities, including all manner of bards, brokers, vates, thorns, ambassadors to foreign nations, and fire dancers. As befitting a group so closely associated with Brackensong and Foxden, many of it’s vates are members of the Voice of the Quiet Forest.
Compared to many steadings and stridings, the striding of Tarw are young. Formed in the heat of battle in Reikos by former elements of stridings, mercenaries, and desperate soldiers of many nations of the Empire, the striding has arisen from the mud of the field to seek a better life. Exactly what that better life is depends on the thorn asked, be it in loot, pleasure, drink, or a better future. It was on the muddy, blood-drenched battlefields that the striding was formed, a collection of broken souls seeking vengeance, hope, glory, a future, or a fellow warrior to watch their backs. Many folk from all the corners of the Empire can be found in the striding of Tarw, be they once Varuskhan, Highborn, Dawnish or League: any Imperial without a home to call their own is welcome to travel with the striding as part of finding their place in the Dance. More a Thornborn than a typical striding, the companions are unrelenting, and fierce in battle. Often the striding of Tarw take contracts to support their striding or other thorns economically, as they have no land with which to grow herbs, or gather resources, just sharpened blades and a will to wield them. A true striding, home is the open trod, unbound by the restrictions of house or hearth. The striding always looks to the future, forging their own path in the Dance no matter its bloody tune. When not on the field of battle, members of Tarw can be found seeking out work with the Iron Raptors, honing their skills, or chatting to their many extended friends or family across the Empire, building skilled networks of alliances, such as the Black Scar Thornborne, to reclaim lost Imperial territories
The Umbral Path
The Umbral Path Striding is a secretive group with their origins in Dark Ranging in Brocéliande, where they have long fought to protect the Empire from the threat of Vallorn and barbarian alike with their mastery of Night magic and other tools. Since the barbarian incursion into Elerael, The Striding has begun to more regularly range out across the Empire, spending time with all manner of citizens and learning what they can of all they encounter, whilst always maintaining a presence in Dark Rangings. The Striding rarely stay in one place long and often splinter into smaller groups in order to seek out anything that they feel will help them achieve their goals. Members of this Striding are adept at blending into the crowd except when they choose to be seen and their presence at Anvil was first noticed in Anvil in Spring 380YE, as a new Empress was chosen.
“So I left my hearth and home behind with naught but a knife and my own two feet.” - Filch Two Feet y83 imperial No one is really sure how old the Two Feet Striding is. The exact circumstances of their founding have baffled curious historians throughout imperial history. Though surviving records first mention the striding some 3 centuries ago, the Two Feet themselves aren't much help on the subject. Though most agree on the time frame each branch of the striding seems to posses a radically different Tale of their origins, although recurring themes have been noted. Uncertain origins aside, the Two feet have a solid reputation within the empire. Though some speak of their Loyalty to their friends, their canny trades and ruthless prowess on the battlefield. Its their songs that have truly put the striding on the map. Coupled with a talent for the brewing strong drink and an overall cheerful outlook on life the striding is a welcome sight wherever it may roam Another curious habit sets the Two feet apart from most other Striding’s is that they always return to their Steading’s to wait out the winter. Though not unheard of its the consistency with which the Two feet do so which sets them apart. Though some might accused them of being a “fair weather striding” this is rarely done to their faces. For the two feet count a "significant" number of thorns among their ranks. Since the death of Britta, increasing numbers of the Two Feet have made their way to Anvil to further their ambitions and carve out a legacy the empire wont forget.
The White Foxes
The White Foxes Striding do not draw their name from the most… ‘reputable’ of origins. Initially formed by the mercenary Crenshaw of Miaren in 377 YE, The White-Fox Renegades were a guerrilla mercenary unit led by Crenshaw on paid contracts all across the Empire and into the Iron Confederacy. Whilst not famous or prosperous by any degree, the unit was greedy, violent and loyal only to the string of their coin pouch. This would change immensely, however, when Crenshaw recruited the mage Carwen in 379 YE, and visited Anvil for the first time in the year 380 YE. Assisted by this friendly young companion and introduced to so many fascinating people, the hardened mercenary heart of Crenshaw melted, and decided on the second day of the First Summit to redesign his unit into an established, respectable Striding. The White Foxes Striding endeavours to aid the Navarri people and the wider Empire in any way they can- the group embrace all into their fold with a desire to better the lives of their fellow Imperial citizens, and they pride themselves on an upstanding, diplomatic reputation. Indeed, they hope to shape the Empire into forming closer bonds of fellowship through their example.
Y’Basden Striding traces its roots back to the earliest days of the Empire and was first established by three Navarr outcasts (The Three Thorns) who banded together out of a mutual and visceral dislike for each other and a desire to both ‘one up’ and profit from each other’s failures. Their bond was later cemented by an event known as “The Battle of the Black Woods” - an incident where reputedly they destroyed (and looted) an entire raiding contingent of a hundred barbarians whilst outwitting a pursuing force of vallorn. Official Imperial records cast doubts around the stories of this alleged event. The story drew like-minded citizens and the striding grew in relation to their reputation (or notoriety) throughout the Empire. It is not uncommon in bars for many tall tales to be told of The Three Thorns' exploits with eternals or adventures across battlefields. It is assumed that most of these tales are allegorical in nature as many conflict with established Imperial historical records (or are simply too far-fetched to be believable). In the intervening years, the direction of the striding went through many changes in both role, name, and attitude. These ranged from fringe outcasts to established traders, mercenary bands and even a period outside of Imperial territory… allegedly. Y’Basden Striding was the eventual result. A disciplined fighting force led by a trio of leaders; The Wit, The Wisdom and The Brand in honour of the original Three Thorns. They consider themselves serving soldiers who will give anyone, including non-Navarr, a chance to travel with them awhile and they take pride in their ability to scout into dangerous, even vallorn, territory. Their reputation as an aggressive and effective fighting force on the battlefield has yet to be disproved. Visits to Anvil are considered opportunities for rest and relaxation and as a result they can seem a little less refined than the average Imperial citizen but tend to treat allies as firm family regardless of nation or circumstance. The last decade has had them at the lead of insurgency actions in Liathaven where they have helped found the Black Scar Thornborn along with the support of other Liathaven stridings and steadings.
The Longest Path
The Longest Path is a young striding originally created by Merionnen (Meri) the Bloody Huge, a Thorn now lost to the Black Plateau. He felt the Empire did not support the important task of walking the trods and defeating the Vallorn - primarily in Liathaven - and so formed a striding to pick up the slack. The name Longest Path refers to the following of any action for this long term, rather than any short term, victory and in theory this Striding would have no further purpose were Liathaven to be reclaimed for the Empire. The striding is currently led by brand Travid, who has brought in countless new recruits who also believe in walking the more difficult path for the future payoff or who were looking for a purpose and found one with the Longest Path. The striding has become known as a hub of information and socialisation for all and regularly welcomes other nations during the Anvil summits in order to further its reach throughout the Empire in pursuit of its goals. It is also known for getting members into as many different positions as possible around the Empire. They are part of the Black Scar Thornborn.
A proud Striding, the Pathfinders lay claim to a heritage that reaches all the way back to Navarr & Thorn and the months following the fall of Terunael. Sprung from the village of Tywyn, in Brocéliande, the folk who would become the original Pathfinders were inspired by the lovers’ tale of courage in face of the newly born Vallorn; hope for the restoration of the lost empire; and their commitment to each other. It is a message the Pathfinders help to spread to every corner of the Empire to this day. Time changes us all, and though the Pathfinders’ birthplace is in Brocéliande, the Striding has been happy to welcome citizens from across the Empire and beyond. Helping them take the Binding of Thorns, and with it the oaths that the original Pathfinders made so long ago. Today, many of the Striding hail from the South and Western Empire, with refugees from Liathaven and former Freeborn making up many of their number. As you can imagine the Pathfinders are best known as skilled traders, alchemists, healers, artisans as well as, boasting a coven of powerful Winter Vates. However, while by no means a Thornborn, the martial spirit of the Pathfinders should not be underestimated. Under the leadership of their current Brand, Valeska, the entire striding sold their farms, mines, and businesses to take up arms and recruit fighters to aid in the liberation of Liathaven. Always on the lookout for lost or badly maintained trods, Pathfinders will often be found volunteering to act as war scouts or stride at the vanguard of a campaign in search of the darkest paths and lost trods where others fear to tread.
The Roamer Striding
A newly formed striding, bringing together those Navarr with a passion to destroy the Vallorn. Created by an individual that travelled alone for many years, Loma the Roamer finally found his purpose. Years of pushing back the Vallorn husks, and delving deeper and deeper into the Vallorn in Broceliande created an urge inside to do something meaningful with his life. Spring magic bubbled within, forcing him to ignore his calling no more. Sloane was rescued from the Broch, a dangerous area surrounded by the Vallorn. Her tenacity to keep the husks away from her farmlands and family was not enough, and left her alone, realising that only with numbers could her campaign to destroy the Vallorn be successful. Alani is the latest addition to the striding, found deep within Broceliande, striving to find the heart of the Vallorn, or anything that could be used to explain it’s existence, and importantly its destruction. Saved by the Roamer Striding and now with forces combined, the battle to end the ancient enemy is renewed once more. Only the most fervent haters of the Vallorn will be invited to join this striding, and where these brave adventurers roam is definitely not for the faint hearted.
Steadings and Stridings in Play
This list is by no means exhaustive; efforts are made to keep it up to date but due to the sheer amount of work involved the onus lies with the Navarr players to ensure the information is correct and current.
The majority of steadings and stridings listed here represent player-character groups. It should go without saying that you should not create a character who is part of one of these groups, or has personal history with one of them, without first clearing it with the appropriate players. You should also check before including other players' groups in your background. The background team are unlikely to approve a background that significantly impacts or involves another player character group without their permission.
Included above are a handful of prominent NPC steadings and stridings - you may be able to create a character associated with one of these, but the situation will depend very much on your background and the group in question. It is unlikely that a player character will receive additional benefits for belonging to an NPC steading or striding, and may find their game limited - the leaders of these houses are likely to remain NPCs for example, and are unlikely to give player characters much attention.