Dangerous lowlands and fortified citadels
Regions of Redoubt

Overview

Redoubt is the smallest of the three Urizen territories and the wildest. The peaks are lower here and many spires are actually built in the foothills; only Mount Siluri comes close to matching the splendour of the peaks of Zenith to the north. There are many mines, with green iron and tempest jade being especially common, but ports such as Elos and Visten look outwards to the wider world and the many opportunities it presents for trade and both philosophical and cultural exchange. Most of the coast is made up of white stone cliffs, unwelcoming and inhospitable; only as the land slopes down towards Necropolis and the river Couros does Redoubt possess many beaches.

The mountains here are riddled with odd star-shaped tunnels that date back thousands of years, long before there were any reliable records of humans in this part of the world. Scholars have spent centuries trying to tease some truth about these tunnels from the cold stone - are they a natural phenomena? Signs of pre-human habitation of the mountains? The result of some magical working? To date, no convincing explanation has been offered, and philosophers on all sides argue heatedly about their provenance.

Redoubt is lightly settled, even for Urizen, with many of the more prosperous spires being built along the coast, or overlooking the banks of the Couros river to the west. Unsurprisingly, there are many citadels here and a strong martial tradition, but this is also a territory that produces more than its fair share of zoologists and botanists. These natural philosophers are sometimes blamed for the more esoteric animals and plants found here, and the occasional mutated hybrid horror that appears here is often a sign that a magician is straying dangerously close to insanity.

Parts of the lowlands are quite dangerous - and not just because of these mutated experiments. Several bandit tribes of orcs live in the spaces between the spires, and barely a year goes by without a nest of trogoni or a den of drakes becoming a nuisance.

Recent History

Since 331YE and the barbarian conquest of Spiral, Redoubt has been preparing itself for invasion. Its long coastline is something of a liability against the Grendel, but for now a combination of sheer cliffs, Freeborn corsairs and Urizen's own small fleet of martially inclined vessels have prevented the barbarians achieving much more than a few small raids along the shores of the Bay of Catazar.

Major Features

Cargo

Perhaps the most advanced port in all the Empire, Cargo is built on high cliffs overlooking the river Couros in the Limus foothills. Built on multiple gradated levels and sheer cliffs, it is truly a remarkable settlement. Food from the pampas of the Brass Coast and the distant Marches, as well as luxuries from cities of the League and even raw materials from Varushka all pass through Cargo - along with travellers from both the Empire and distant foreign lands. Its wealth owes a lot to the remarkable cranes - both those that speed the process of loading and unloading visiting river boats, and those allowing great quantities of imported goods and exports of stone and metal ore to be winched from the riverside docks to the cliffside heights. As befits a town built on several levels, Cargo is also a centre for the stuff of civil engineering - and of those applications of ritual magic that enhance or support the creation of durable structures. There is some rivalry with the Highborn town of Hedra on the other side of the river, and historical rivalry with coastal spires such as Elos and lost Apulian.

The Embassies of Cargo

Cargo is home to three seperate international embassies with the Principalities of Jarm, the Citadels of Axos, and the merchants of the Sarcophan Delves. The establishment of these three embassies has seen Cargo far outstrip its rivals in terms of prosperity, but created a few problems of its own as an increase in transient population places previously unknown pressure on the town to expand. An example of this prosperity are the Pallas Docks, not far from the Jarmish embassy, which secures a weirwood trade route with the Magician-Prince of Pӓrnau Principality in Eastern Jarm.

In Summer 378YE work began on the Jarmish embassy on one of the upper tiers. A beautiful, airy construction of white granite and weirwood with an extensive (and expensive) gardens as well as several private apartments, work was overseen by Atte, Senator for Sermersuaq. A reciprocal embassy was built in the distant port of Rigia, following intense discussion beetween Oswi Twice-Burned and the representatives of the Jarmish House of Princes.

The Jarmish embassy was joined by an embassy to the citadels of Axos shortly before the Autumn Equinox 380YE. In contrast to the embassy to the magician-princes, the embassy to the masters of the necromantia is a six storey structure of white granite, with a wide base that tapers toward the roof-garden that crowns it. It was designed with the assistance of architects from the Towers of Kantor, and in much the same way Urizen architects were extensively consulted before work began on the Imperial Embassy in Axos. Some minor controversy has been sparked by the inclusion of a half dozen mummified corpses in the chambers beneath the embassy, said variously to be deceased relatives of the ambassador ... or members of the ambassadorial staff, depending on who one asks.

At the same time the embassy to Axos was being built, work was also proceeding on an embassy to the Sarcophan Delves. Three squat towers connected by covered walkways surround a central garden notable for its riotous profusion of exotic herbs and the glass roof that covers it, allowing the often-delicate plants to prosper in the otherwise inhospitable climate of western Urizen. The embassy has spilled over into Moonfall Square, an open area previously used by musicians and artists, which is now increasingly dominated by an impromptu market as merchants from all over the Empire (and beyond) come to bargain with the traders from Sarcophan. Due to the presence of five official ambassadors, and their staff, all trying to inhabit as single embassy, many of the buildings around the square have also been bought up by Sarcophan citizens leading to one Marcher wag dubbing it "Little Delving". The garrulous Sarcophan enthusiasm for trading and street-culture has already made some of the Urizen citizens in the area a little uneasy - an unease that can only grow thanks to the completion of the Concordium Dock and the concomitant increase in the number of Sarcophan merchants coming to Cargo.

The Walls of Cargo

Commissioned in Spring 382YE, the fortified walls of Cargo are the result of cooperation between four nations. Designed by the Axou, partially financed by the Sarcophan Delves, and built by the Empire with magical assistance from the Principalities of Jarm, their construction was intended to protect the town - and its embassies - from the threat of Druj invasion.

The fortification has a distinctly Axou appearance. Unlike Imperial fortifications, Axou castles and forts include extensive provisions for injuring and killing attacking soldiers rather than just protecting the settlement itself. The Axou embassy provides expert engineers and additional soldiers to the garrison, ensuring that these provisions are well maintained - and can be deployed to their best effect in the event of a siege.

Enlarging the fortification while keeping these unique features would represent a challenge, without the aid of an Axou architect or someone versed in their techniques, or an appraisal by the civil service.

Delving

Urizen Headdress

One of the best known spires in Redoubt is found in the Tomari peaks. Built in a network of deep caves that bear star-map patterns allegedly carved centuries before the height of the Terunael Empire. It is more mercantile than many spires. Although it is still a place of study, its wealth is based on mining and the principles of engineering when it comes to mining. Adventuresome Winterfolk often come here to teach and to study, and it is considered a pre-eminent site for Urizen study of the runic tradition of magic. Prior to the fall of Holberg, the university there maintained a traditional exchange program where students from the city would spend some time studying in the rarefied atmosphere of Redoubt, or travel north to the cosmopolitan halls of League academia.

The Court of the White Fountain

Built in the foothills of Optarion, the Court of the White Fountain is a single massive tower of white granite surrounded by a massive semi-circular wall that completely fills one of the few major passes between Redoubt and the Broken Shore to the south, The White Fountain itself is a great plume of liquid fire that bursts from somewhere deep within the earth and cascades down into a black basin before the tower, before disappearing back beneath the ground. The great courtyards of the tower are sufficient to hold the entire armed forces of Urizen, and the open ground they represent creates a deadly killing field for the skilled Urizen archers who man the upper reaches of the tower and the walls. (OOC Note: This is a rank one fortification).

The Brilliant Star

The Brilliant Star is a Bourse resource located in Tomari peaks, overlooking the spire of Delving. Custodianship of the Star is an Imperial Title that brings with it a Seat on the Imperial Bourse. It produces 24 Imperial wains of mithril every season. Control is allocated to any Imperial citizen by open auction during the Autumn Equinox.

Grand Conservatory of Music

This half-circle amphitheatre is open to the stars and sky, backed with a half-circle dome of crystal. It is surrounded by several low buildings that radiate out like spokes of a wheel. These outbuildings serve as classrooms, practice rooms, accommodation for both permanent residents and visitors, and a meditation area where the virtue of Pride is contemplated. There is also a large building set aside as a library, which is slowly being populated with books and scrolls dedicated both to musical theory and (this being Urizen) to the practice of the Music of the spheres. It also boasts a large collection of music, favouring that of Urizen but including large numbers of scores contributed by other Imperial nations. Several of the buildings, and the performance area itself, are consecrated with the aura known as the partner of greatness.

The Grand Conservatory stands in Willstone, not far from the eponymous spire that gives the region its name. Work was completed shortly before the Summer Solstice 381YE, intended to take advantage of the enthusiasm for art and culture left in the wake of a potent enchantment laid over the Empire after the Autumn Equinox 381YE . While most of the spires in Willstone are both isolated and isolationist, Willstone at least sees some traffic - and with the establishment of the Grand Conservatory of Music, it is expected to see a good deal more. The location was apparently chosen because it is close to the geographical "centre of Urizen" - at least on a map - but this creates its own problems. Willstone is known to be the territory of three established tribes of orc bandits, and there is little doubt the Grand Conservatory represents a rich prize should they ever become organised enough to threaten it. Hopefully the resourceful sentinels at Willstone will be equal to the task of protecting the place.

This building is a great work, constructed shortly before the Summer Solstice 381YE, and intended to capture the enthusiasm for art and culture left in the wake of a potent enchantment laid over the Empire after the Autumn Equniox 381YE.

OOC Note: The Grand Conservatory of Music is a great work that provides a pool of 30 votes in the Imperial Synod and 15 additional liao spread among the congregations of Redoubt which are overseen by Urizen priests belonging to the Assembly of Pride.

Tower of Light and Shadow

Standing on a lonely headland in Naris, the Tower of Light and Shadow is a peculiar arcane structure finished shortly before the Summer Solstice 381YE. Appearing from a distance to be a lighthouse, the structure is actually a peculiar thaumaturgical building that harnesses the magical energies of a natural phenomenon called the Tilphussian Reach. The tower is overseen by the Penumbral Watcher, an Imperial title appointed through the Conclave.

Regions

Limus

Quality: Hills
Limus is known for two things; the port-town of Cargo and its remarkable cranes and its quarries. Hard stone well suited to construction and soft decorative stone alike are quarried out of the peaks and used for everything from the construction of new spires, to the tombs of Necropolis, to the palaces of League merchant princes, to the parador of Freeborn dhomiro. A number of spires have become rich exporting stone to the Empire and beyond - rare blue marble from the peaks of Limus is in demand as far afield as the Asavean Archipelago and the Principalities of Jarm. Indeed, when the Damakan Bladeworks relocated from Spiral, they chose Limus as their new base of operations as the most likely location to ensure their future prosperity.

The greatest threat to the spires and quarries of Limus comes not from below, but from a tribe of particularly clever orcs and their mountain ogre allies. These orcs are believed to occupy a cunningly hidden valley somewhere in the mountains here - or possibly on the slopes of southern Zenith - and regularly raid caravans travelling the road along the banks of the Couros. They have proved particularly difficult to uproot, and practical Urizen have responded simply by sending important cargo by boat rather than wagon. Those spires of Limus who lack the ability to take this easy option would likely be quite grateful to anyone who could solve their problem once and for all. To date, they have not dared attack Cargo, but some residents are concerned that it is just a matter of time.

Naris

Quality: Coastal
The foothills of Redoubt slope smoothly down toward the Bay of Catazar here, presenting some of the most accessible coastline in the nation. Some spires cultivate the fertile grassland here - especially along the banks of the Couros - but find that the low altitude makes their ushabti unreliable, and few Urizen enjoy the hard manual labour entailed by working in a field. Much more common are houses of healing, especially those that focus on sickness of the mind or the spirit, and especially around the headland known as Rebekah's Leap. Some of these restful spires cater specifically to Imperial citizens from other nations suffering from stress or depression, recovering from chronic sickness, or in the last stages of terminal illness.

Here is found Elos, a base for what little navy Urizen had before the time of Empire. Today the spire is little more than a quiet fishing village, with most major trade passing it entirely in favour of the much larger ports of Cargo and Hedra to the north. Despite its somnolent present, there are still a few reminders of its former purpose - the quayside is extensive and the harbour wall fortified in several places. The shipyard that once maintained a small fleet of weirwood vessels now services a few dozen fishing boats, but if the need were great its past glories might yet be restored.

At the highest point of the headland that looks out over the Bay of Catazar is Rebekah's Leap, the place where an eponymous steward of the dead threw herself into the bay. Troubled in mind and spirit, she broke free from her attendants and hurled herself from the cliffs that bear her name after months convinced that she could hear the tolling of a great bell summoning her to the sea. Some fisherfolk of Elos still claim they can hear a bell in the deeps, from time to time.

Optarion

The unsettled hills of Optarion quickly give way to a broad band of scrubby coast. Cliffs line the coast, and those few places where the walls of stone drop down towards sea level are the site of well defended Urizen port-spires. Indeed, Optarion is home to some of the best-defended spires in modern Urizen. The Court of the Fountain stands here, guarding the approach into Redoubt through Spiral and the peaks are scattered with fortified citadels, many hastily defended in the wake of the fall of Spiral, who have been engaged in irregular border skirmishes with the Grendel. Most of the other spires are built along the coast - and likewise tend to possess unexpectedly strong defences in the face of barbarian raids along the coast.

The largest non-martial spire in the south-east is Visten, a port built around three soaring towers occupying a strip of land that plunges down to the sea. It brings produce from across the Empire to the southern spires. It is a thriving community, home to those Urizen who find life in the mountains too stifling and want more contact with the wider world. It has one of the largest populations of briars in Urizen, and its population has been swelled by refugees - and ships - from southern Spiral, especially those who managed to escape the fall of Apulian.

One notable feature of Visten that attracts scholars and sight-seers alike is a potent regio tied to the realm of Spring that lies on the Bay of Catazar itself - a ring of turbulent water that erupts once or twice every week into a great waterspout that reaches several hundred feet into the air. Covens making use of this regio, called the Ribbon of Salt by the locals, find their rituals unexpectedly interrupted, occasionally with tragic consequences - the violent water shatters pontoons, rafts and small vessels with equal ease in its active state.

Siluri

Quality: Hills
The entire region takes its name from Mount Siluri, which rises majestically toward heavens and rivals the peaks of Zenith in height. The central tower of Redoubt's Heliopticon is built here, gazing down on the forested bowl of Ventosi to one side and across the Necropolis to the other. Several mines exploit the bounty of tempest jade and weltsilver that lies beneath the peaks, but it is also home to a number of spires who study and expand the philosophies of war and conflict in their myriad incarnations.

Tomari

Quality: Hills
The wild peaks of Tomari are some of the more populous in Redoubt. The mountains are riddled with mines, and rich in iron, precious metals, fine jewels and green iron. The Brilliant Star is found here, and occasional pockets of mithril are found throughout the peaks. It is also the site of the famous spire of Delving, whose prosperity is based on rich mines and the study of subterranean engineering.

Among other notable spires, Tabulous is a college whose curriculum focuses on teaching rigorous objectivity and complex mathematics. Many members of the faculty are retired Urizen civil servants, and the curriculum is considered excellent for training servants of the Empire, giving them the skills to make accurate accountings and forecasts. The Day regio in which Tabulous stands is credited both with cultivating an atmosphere of calm and rationality, and making the spire especially welcoming to merrow scholars.

On the highest peak here stands the fused ruin known as the Unmade. A crumbled tower of blasted stone, it is said that it once was a spire, that was eradicated completely by the massed Spires of Urizen early in the days of the Empire. No-one remembers why - which in a nation dedicated to the keeping of accurate records is a matter of obvious concern.

Ventosi

The valleys of Ventosi form a great shallow basin between the towering peaks to the north, east and south. Wild forests haunted by surly orcs and hungry drakes give way to fertile farmland nearer the rocky coast, where sheer white stone cliffs drop vertiginously into the Bay of Catazar. These western cliffs, haunted by massive gulls and wild sea birds, give Ventosi the feeling of a secluded plateau rather than a valley. A few ambitious spires built along the coast use lifts and treacherous paths to access the water, while others are constructed into the rock walls themselves gazing out towards the Brass Coast. The cliffs of Ventosi are the only known nesting grounds within the empire of the Imperial Albatross - some specimens have been reported with wingspans of almost twenty feet.

One of the more prominent spires here is called The Hollows, for its unusual construction: wind-blown caves in the sandstone formed into extensive dwellings by years of patient, meditative, stone-carving. It is exceptional in Redoubt as a place of spiritual study and introspection. The nature of time is a particular topic discussed here and the surrounding area is scattered with large works of sculpture left to the mercy of the elements.

Willstone

The slopes of north-eastern Redoubt are heavily wooded, with hardy conifers on the upper slopes and sprawling forests of beggarwood on the lower slopes. There are comparatively few spires here, and they tend to be both isolated and isolationist, keeping contact with their peers largely through the heliopticon. This has contributed somewhat to Willstone also being the home of at least three small tribes of independent barbarian orc bandits who occasionally bedevil travellers or launch a (generally unsuccessful) raid against one of the smaller spires. The best known spire in the region is probably Willstone. Built largely of wood on the lower slopes of the mountain, surrounding a central carved stone pillar worked with many runes. Whatever other properties it may possess, the runic pillar is known to be a ritual text for Bound by Common Cause, and the anchor for a strong Autumn regio. The spire is known for training particularly resourceful sentinels. Not far from Willstone stands the Grand Conservatory of Music that serves as a point of pilgrimage both for wayfarers exploring the virtue of Pride, and for musicians from all over Urizen.

SummitElected
Summer Solstice 383YEAndronikos of the Lighthouse at Nikephoros
Summer Solstice 382YEAndronikos of the Lighthouse at Nikephoros
Winter Solstice 381YEAndronikos of the Lighthouse at Nikephoros
Autumn Equinox 381YEMarissa Shatterspire
Summer Solstice 381YEProbus of Shattered Spire
Summer Solstice 380YEProbus of Shattered Spire
Summer Solstice 379YEProbus of Shattered Spire
Summer Solstice 378YEMarissa Shatterspire
Summer Solstice 377YEProbus of Shattered Spire
Winter Solstice 376YEProbus of Shattered Spire

Recent Senate Elections

As an Imperial territory, Redoubt is represented by a senator elected in the Summer. This title is currently held by Andronikos of the Lighthouse at Nikephoros; it will be reelected at the next summit. The table to the right shows the citizens who have been elected to hold this title in the years since Empress Britta died.

OOC Notes

  • Every region of Redoubt is in the hands of the Urizen (and by extension the Empire) meaning this is a staunchly Imperial territory.
  • Following a naval assault by the Grendel in Winter 380YE, there was a significant barbarian orc presence in Naris (as described here). The Freeborn Storm removed this threat in Summer 381YE as described here..
  • The Court of the White Fountain is a rank one fortification.
  • The Walls of Cargo is a rank one fortification, but while the garrison is supported by Axou troops it will inflict half again as many casualties on any attacking army as a construction of similar size. Enlarging the fortification while maintaining this quality will be a challenge without Axou assistance.