- 1 Overview
- 2 Recent History
- 3 Major Features
- 4 Regions
- 5 OOC Note
- 6 Further Reading
Like southern Kahraman, it is a land of rolling grass plains where great herds once grazed. Scattered with villages and lonely ranches, it was famous for its windswept grandeur and occasionally stark beauty. Its wealth came in part from the farms and herds, and in part from the cunning of its merchants. Segura was once a centre of trade for the Freeborn with Faraden to the west and the Iron Confederacy to the south. In Anduz, the Freeborn rubbed shoulders with the traders of these nations and acted as a trade gateway for the Empire.
The grasslands were no stranger to violence; on at least two occasions, armies from the Iron Confederacy pushed across Imperial borders and attempted to stage an invasion. In pre-Imperial times, there were occasional tragic border skirmishes with the Faraden. For the most part, however, the buffer provided by the Lasambrian Hills to the south and west meant that foreign armies rarely had the stomach for protracted campaigns. For most of the last two centuries, Segura was a centre of trade rather than conflict. The Freeborn prospered in the certain knowledge that their way of life was secure ... until the barbarian tribes of the Lasambrian Hills put aside their differences and sent a great army sweeping down to burn and pillage the plains of Segura.
The peace of Segura came to an abrupt end in 363YE when a great force of barbarians moved in from the west and took Anduz, scattering the foreigners and the Freeborn and burning much of the grassland. In quick succession, they swept through Yellow Chase and Anozeseri. The Freeborn armies clashed with the barbarian forces on the Iron Plains, but after days of vicious fighting, they were slowly pushed back to Anozel. The Freeborn senators demanded assistance in the Senate but while they had the support of Emperor Hugh for a campaign to drive the barbarians back, the rest of the Senate and the Military Council seemed more interested in apportioning blame than helping the Freeborn. The political position was exacerbated by the deaths of the General of the Red Wind Corsairs and the Senators for Madruga and Kahraman during the fighting on the Iron Plains. When Burnish fell to the barbarians in 367YE, nobody outside the Brass Coast seemed to notice or care.
Segura remained a battleground for over a decade; every time the Freeborn tried to reclaim ground they were fought back. The garrison at Anozel kept regular patrols across the remaining regions, and the Lasambrian armies themselves seemed disinterested in doing more than occasionally raiding into the remaining Freeborn territories. Reports from the interior claimed that, after a frenzy of initial looting and killing, the orcs made only minimal efforts to slaughter those Freeborn who had not fled to the safety of Sobral Grasses or Lucksprings.
Many of the Seguran refugees settled near Anozel, Sobral or Cerevado. Those who left Segura for the comparative safety of the other Freeborn territories tended to maintain a distinctly nomadic lifestyle; they refused to settle down because to do so would be to admit that they would never return to Segura. Many now operate travelling parador; among the most famous is that of Shula i Ezmara i Erigo the 'mother of orphans' whose family includes large numbers of adopted Seguran orphans. Refugees from the rolling plains sing the lament Lost Segura to remember its loss, and often display a weary camaraderie between families and tribes - a result of their shared experiences.
In the Winter of 377YE a major offensive by the Red Wind Corsairs and Hounds of Glory, supported by a powerful enchantment and over a thousand auxiliaries drove the Lasambrians out of the Sorbal Grasses, liberated the farms of Anozeseri and forced a barbarian retreat across the Iron Plains.
At the Autumn Equinox 378YE summit at Anvil, the Imperial Senate accepted an offer of peace from the Lasambrian orcs. The offer included an exchange of valuable materials for the remaining regions held by the invaders, with the understanding that their armies would cede the occupied regions and withdraw to the west. The majority of the Lasambrians occupying these regions withdrew back across the border. The Eastern Sky of Dawn quickly dealt with die-hard stragglers who refused to accompany the armies, and with several groups of outlaws who had taken advantage of the lack of Imperial presence to prey on their fellow citizens.
With Segura free of significant Lasambrian presence (until they returned as refugees in 379YE), the Freeborn quickly returned to their old haunts. The agricultural wealth of Segura has already enriched the nation, allowing the opportunity to expand the Freeborn military and build the first Imperial navy in near 200 years.
The largest town in Anduzjasse, built on the ruins of a much older settlement. Depending on which historian one asks, the ruins belonged either to the Terunael or the Faraden; regardless of their provenance, the settlement was much larger than modern Anduz - for which it provided a great deal of building material. Many of the structures of Anduz incorporated elements of the older city which gave it a distinct aesthetic.
In Anduz, the Freeborn rubbed shoulders with traders from Faraden and the Iron Confederacy, and there they acted as a trade gateway for the Empire. Anduz was sacked in 363YE and then burnt - only the stone structures survived. Fifteen years later, the shattered ruins of Anduz have become difficult to distinguish from the ruins of Old Anduz from which they were built.
One of the lucky survivors of the orcish destruction was the Kabalai Palace which overlooks the city from the western hills. Built in a rare fusion of Freeborn and Faraden styles, this beautiful parador was claimed by the orcs but never razed - rather it was preserved as a residence by one of the Naguerro captains. With the swift advance of the Imperial forces, the parador was liberated in a lightning-quick raid by the Hounds of Glory and has weathered its barbarian inhabitants surprisingly well.
Rebuilding work began in earnest almost as soon as the Lasambrian orcs were gone. Today, Anduz is reminiscent of Siroc - a number of rebuilt structures surrounded by a sea of tents and pavilions. Construction of actual buildings has slowed significantly; there has been some discussion among residents about preserving many of the ruins of Anduz as testament to those who fell during the Lasambrian invasion of Segura, and encouraging more use of temporary structures both to reconnect with the nomadic roots of the Freeborn people and to honour the time many of the residents spent as homeless refugees during the occupation.
Shortly after the Summer Solstice 379YE, work was completed on a Faraden Embassy; the ambassador took up residence during the Autumn Equinox of that year.
Once the economic centre of Segura, but since the invasion of 363YE, its hinterland is lost and its prosperity in tatters. Once-busy markets are quiet or given over to tented military encampments during the invasion of Segura. It survived as an armed camp, supported by regular caravans from Sobral and marked the westernmost border of the Sobral Grasses.
While Sobral is the elder of the two, Anozel had (until recently) eclipsed its younger sister in prosperity. Humorous stories and songs from the region often compared the two to disgruntled brothers - crotchety, traditional old Sobral and his younger, prettier brother Anozel whose amorous adventures invariably caused trouble for his elder sibling. The antics of the pair were often overseen and exacerbated by the mischievous middle sibling (representing Cerevado) and brought to an end by the intervention of the distant, powerful parent (Anduz). While they showed clear signs of League literary influence, the tales themselves were often based on real historical political and economic conflicts between the settlements of Segura. Those stories and songs have fallen out of fashion since Segura fell, perhaps unsurprisingly.
The liberated town of Anozel is home to the Turunca Distillery. The distillery closed its doors in 366YE, partly due to the difficulty of securing good fruit in a war zone and partly due to the dissatisfaction of the owners with "the uncultured palates of soldiers who do not care if they are swilling fine orange brandy or Sarvosan dock-swill fancy fruit juice." With the liberation of Segura, the distillery has re-opened, albeit under new management.
In the northern Sobral Grasses lie an enigmatic sequence of complex interlocking trenches a little under a foot deep called Ghita's Veils. They sweep across a rough circle of grassland four miles in diameter. Granite basins of water are placed at several locations. While some are fed by freshwater streams, others must be filled manually, and many have been inlaid with mithril, weltsilver and orichalcum. These basins collect crystal mana, and are carefully tended by a small group of hermits known as the Quiet Order who find the isolation and silence of Ghita's Veils particularly appealing.
The veils are exceedingly old and some historians believe they are of Terunael origin. According to scholars who have made a study of the area, there are some similarities between their design and the patterns favoured by the Navarr. The hermits mostly shrug, and say that they are what they are. Whoever Ghita was, and why this place is named for her veils, is uncertain.
Prior to the Spring Equinox 382YE, there were a number of six-foot pillars of basalt, smoothed and shaped by the elements, scattered seemingly at random across the design. This changed when an earthquake shook the entire Sobral Grasses, centred on Ghita's Veils. Each of the basalt pillars cracked and broke. Some still stand, but most fell into rubble. At the same time, many of the ditches collapsed, while others filled with water from some heretofore unknown aquifer. The design, whatever its purpose, was fundamentally disrupted.
The hermits still tend Ghita's Veils, and it is still a source of crystal mana, but there is little doubt that the place has changed on some essential level. You can read more about Ghita's Veils here.
OOC Note: Ghita's Veils is a rank 5 mana site.
The Faraden Embassy
At the same time that work began on repairing the Towers, construction began in Anduz on an embassy for the Faraden. Proposed before the Imperial Senate in Winter 378YE by Caerwyn Summer Crow (the Navarr Senator for Therunin), it was completed shortly after the Summer Solstice 379YE.
The structure is a fine example of Faraden architecture; sturdy, but beautiful, surrounded by a formally laid out garden mixing plants common to both the Empire and the western hills. In many ways, its design is similar to that of the Kabalai Palace, but on a grander scale.
The embassy provides an official residence for a Faraden ambassador; the Imperial ambassador can expect similar luxuriant accommodation when visiting the Palace of the Five Winds in Faraden.
The Towers of Anduz
Built during the reign of Empress Mariika, this line of seventeen white granite towers traced the edges of the Lasambrian Hills in western Segura. Primarily built in Anduzjasse and Anozeseri, with three in Yellow Chase and one in Burnish these towers were garrisoned and maintained by volunteers. Originally paid for in part by donations from the merchants of Anduz and Anozel collected by the Senator for Segura, they protected trade routes between the Brass Coast and their foreign neighbours in Faraden and the Iron Confederacy. Every parador proprietor, bazaar master and trading post owner in Segura benefited from the increased trade these towers secured.
Sadly, when Segura was conquered by the barbarians these towers were among the first structures razed to the ground and the economic advantages they brought to the Freeborn were lost. After the Lasambrian orcs were driven from the southern regions by Imperial forces, and ceded control of the northern regions to the Empire in return for a ceasefire, merchants both domestic and foreign turned their attention to repairing the towers.
In Winter 378YE, a motion to rebuild the towers was brought before the Senate by Avisena i Ezmara i Guerra, the new Senator for the liberated Segura. Work began in spring, overseen in part by the celebrated architect Cassia i Remoraz i Erigo. Despite concerns about Jotun raiders being a potential threat to the work crews (the Jotun were engaged in an invasion of the northern Lasambrian hills at the time), reconstruction of the damaged towers went without a hitch. By the start of Summer 379YE, the towers were once again garrisoned by Imperial troops and the trade routes to the west and south potentially viable once again.
With encouragement from the Faraden, a grand highway connects Anduz, Anozel, and Cerevado, with a shorter road connecting Anozel with Sobral. Built of good quality stone and white granite, the network crosses the Scorrero north of Cerevado with a beautiful arched bridge before continuing along the northern bank of the river to Siroc. The roads are popular not only with Faraden merchants, but with many Freeborn merchants. Indeed, given that they ultimately connect to the Blood Red Roads that crisscross the heart of the Empire, their completion has seen merchants from many nations arriving in Segura to trade as well as allowing the Faraden easy access to most of the Imperial nations.
The Sunset roads (also called the south-west road network) are a great work that complement the effects of the Towers of Anduz, bringing increased prosperity to the owners of farms and businesses in Segura.
The Gloaming Road
Beginning not far from the Kabalai Palace, the Gloaming Road represents a lucrative trade route between the Brass Coast and Faraden. Established in early 381YE, it facilitates the trade of Iridscent Gloaming to the west. At the time it was established, a blight effecting what little gloaming production the Faraden possess meant that the merchants were prepared to exchange valuable mithril for the sought-after dyes. When the blight ends -assuming it ever does - the profitability of the Gloaming Road is likely to drop. In conjunction with the Faraden, an overseer is appointed to keep the Gloaming Road running smoothly - this is not an Imperial title, but a campaign resource.
The site of the ruins of both Anduz and Old Anduz, the ancient settlement in three concentric stone rings, on which Anduz is now built. Several miles to the south-east of Anduz itself lies the Longing Circle - a series of concentric monoliths connected in some manner to the astronomantic sign of Three Sisters. The circle possessed a potent regio whose alignment was said to shift, making it a centre of power for three groups of hakima (one for each tribe) in an uneasy alliance. Connected as those stars are with family, loss and regret they had a dark reputation; today they are seen by some as a symbol of what has been lost.
A comparatively short distance from the Longing Circle stands the Garden of Sighs, a mana site likewise associated with the Three Sisters. Apparently established by one of the three founders of the Brass Coast, no historian has yet proved conclusively if it was laid out by Guerra, Erigo or Riqueza - nor which of the sisters corresponds to Hermaa Suspire in whose name it is dedicated. The Garden is considered a prize by the hakima of Segura, and in folklore custodianship brings with it the mixed blessings of the Sister of Sighs.
The sweeping plains of Anozeseri were home to some of the richest farmland in Segura, and a lot of the wealth of Anozel was tied up in the agriculture here. Orange tree orchards and vineyards were common, with the largest being the great Golden Terraces - perhaps the oldest orange orchards in the entire Empire. There are also several broad conservatories dedicated to the cultivation of useful herbs (many associated with the nearby Spice Gardens of Feroz).
When the Lasambrians invaded, several bands of freedom fighters displaced from their farms, took up residence in the westernmost hills of Morajasse, and fought a limited guerilla war against the Lasambrians here. When Anozeseri was liberated during the Winter of 377YE, these freedom fighters joined the triumphant armies of the Red Wind Corsairs and the Hounds of Glory in sweeping out the Lasambrian presence here - the most prominent are probably the band known as the Morning Swords, who have found the warrior lifestyle to be much more appealing than a life of farming.
Nestled between three tributaries of the Scorrero, Burnish is something of a hinterland. Not as wild as Kahraman, it was home to scattered forests and the occasional mine. The ground is much rougher here, sloping up towards hills in the west and down towards the forests of south-western Kahraman in the north. Perhaps the largest consistent settlement on the plains of Burnish is Sunsong Ranch, a sprawling expanse of land dedicated to raising all sorts of animals for food, wool and leather. The ranch stubbornly resisted the Lasambrians for most of the war, using its defensive position between two tributaries of the Scorrero to draw raiding orcs into costly traps.
Central Segura is somewhat more arid than the rest of the territory. The site of multiple battles throughout Freeborn history, farmers and herders here occasionally turned up the odd valuable relic of a past invasion. For the most parts, the Iron Plains are wide, empty and windswept. A place to come from or pass through, rather than a place to live. The dry soil is littered with battlefields, which makes it surprisingly fertile for the cultivation of certain herbs, especially marrowort, and the extensive well-irrigated Red Fields, one of the best-known gardens in Segura, are rightly praised for the quality of their plants.
The settlement of Cerevado is still a major pull. Sited at a particularly difficult set of rapids on the Scorrero. Some captains will unload their cargo, and push their boats along a league of rollers set into the rocky bank. Braver captains will pilot the foaming water and risk the rapids - and who amongst the Brass Coast would admit to anything other than daring of the highest order? The wreckage of those who failed is for sale in the Cerevado market. The settlement itself is also home to more than two dozen casinos and gambling houses - initially set up to cater to sailors traversing the rapids, but eventually exerting a much wider draw with gamblers from as far afield as Holberg visiting the bustling town to engage in the annual tournaments of dice and counters. Unlike the rest of Segura, Cervado continued to prosper through the Lasambrian occupation - off-duty soldiers and mercenaries rubbed shoulders with desperate refugees looking for the money to escape and start again.
Reports have repeatedly come before the Synod of a predatory cult of heretics based in Lucksprings who prey on the needy and the desperate; to date no real evidence has been found despite claims from the House of the Two Moons - the large congregation centred in Cerevado - to the contrary.
The Sobral Grasses are the site of two key settlements - the armed camp that now occupies the town of Anozel and the town of Sobral where the herds were once brought for slaughter. Sobral kept Anozel alive through the recent occupation and guarded the bridge across the Scorrero into the eastern Brass Coast. Connected by a reasonably well-maintained road to its beleaguered sibling to the south-west, it allowed supplies of food and armaments to travel reasonably effectively. That very reliability was almost a liability, however - several key shipments were captured by raiders out of the Iron Plains, and attributed to "orc spies" in Sobral. Even with the liberation, it is one of the few places in the Brass Coast where the Imperial Orcs receive a frosty welcome. These raids also threatened the prosperity of the herders and cattle-ranches of the Sobral grassland. Several strains of plump Freeborn herd animals are threatened with extinction already and if the raids had continued it would not have been inconceivable that the herds would have become unable to sustain themselves.
Not everything in the Sobral grasses is about trade or cattle, however. It is also the site of the ancient earthworks known as Ghita's Veils, an old and powerful mana site that scholars believe may be of Terunael origin. It is tended by a small group of magicians who find the isolation and mournful grasslands to be spiritually uplifting; during the Lasambrian invasion, its isolated position meant that it was largely overlooked by the orcs.
As with Burnish, parts of western Yellow Chase are quite rocky and uneven, and the soil is very poor. A "Yellow Chase farmer" is a slang term used in parts of Segura for a liar - especially someone lying about where their money has come from. The inhabitants had a bad reputation for banditry and theft. There are a few rumours that some of the families here may have collaborated with the barbarians in the past. The area served as a centre of power for the Lasambrian barbarians, and they had a great armed camp here from which raiding parties swept down onto the plains. The camp was not fortified - it seems the Lasambrians had little interest in building anything, least of all a castle. This armed camp was largely abandoned when the Lasambrians withdrew back into the western hills in the Autumn of 378YE, but there was still a small engagement between Dawnish scouts and some die-hard orcs who refused to leave Segura which ended in a decisive victory for the Empire.
One of the tributaries of the Scorrero river rises in the Lasambrian hills above Yellow Chase - the fast flowing Ambergris occasionally carries shards of ilium out of the hills and from time to time a farmer will make a small fortune selling the star metal.
- As of the beginning of the Winter Solstice 382YE the region of Anduzjasse is in the hands of Jotun, the remaining regions are in the hands of the Brass Coast (and by extension the Empire) making it an Imperial territory.
- A list of the spoils of war, allocated by the Military Council at the Summer Solstice 378YE can be found here.
- The Towers of Anduz are a great work gives every Freeborn who owns a business a share of 1080 rings. While Anduz is under the control of the Jotun, however, the bonus provided by the great work is halved as detailed here. Furthermore, the imposition of sanctions on trade with Faraden during the Winter Solstice 382YE further reduced the benefits provided by the great work. If Faraden places sanctions of its own on Imperial goods, the benefits would drop even further.