- 1 The Silver Chase
- 2 Recent History
- 3 Points of Interest
- 4 Regions
- 5 Recent Senate Elections
- 6 OOC Notes
The Silver Chase
Upwold is where the Marchers first established themselves when they walked away from Dawn. The scattered orcs that dwelt here were no match for their determination to make a home for themselves; those that fled west or south would find themselves followed in short order as the Marchers pushed into Mitwold and Bregasland. Those that fled north found death at the hands of the Wintermark.
Some of the worst fighting of the short-lived Marcher civil war took place in western Upwold. One of the few pitched battles between the households who supported the First Empress and those households who opposed the formation of the Empire took place here at Hepton Bridge. Widely regarded as the bloodiest conflict of the civil war, the scrubby heathland of the battlefield is largely given a wide berth except by occasional pilgrims of Loyalty who come here to muse on the spiritual significance of the ancient conflict that set cousins against one another.
Today, Upwold is a wealthy territory in a wealthy nation - though unlike Mitwold a significant amount of its wealth comes from industries other than farming. While there are of course many farms in Upwold, the quick-growing silver birch woods on the eastern borders are the source of a great deal of income. Charcoal-burners live there, turning wood into easily transportable fuel for smith and hearth alike - the charcoal of Upwold provides pure fuel for the cities of the League and the forges of Wintermark alike. The birch bark is used in the tanning industry, to cure the hides of the cattle that graze on the river pastures.
Upwold has always felt a certain rivalry with Mitwold to the west. There is no argument that the farms of Upwold tend not to be as fertile as those of their neighbours; the soil tends to be quite acidic. In part, this has lead to a more diverse economy - while the farm is the centre of Marcher life here as elsewhere, there are many who make their living from trees rather than crops, which occasionally attracts comment from the more agriculturally minded Mitwolders.
The people who live up here have closer links to the Navarr than many in the Marches, and more need for Beaters than most. Through the dark heart of those woods are paths no Marcher treads. From these secret ways come the painted Feni - uncivilised raiders, thieves, and rustlers who raid and steal from isolated settlements. To the north-west, cousins to these forests decay into the marshes that form the southern border of Kallavesa in Wintermark.
Finally, Upwold is one of the few areas where anything other than beer is drunk. For centuries, the brewers of Upwold have made a drink from the sap of the birch trees that warms their hearts in the cold winter nights but brings strange dreams.
Over the last thirty years there have been several attempts by the Jotun to attack across the border from the Mournwold. These campaigns were primarily aimed at claiming the Sutton Stone Quarries - the Jotun apparently have a great desire for white granite to help build and maintain their fortifications. The last such attack in 372YE saw significant losses on both sides, and several new Jotun burial mounds along the southern borders.
The disastrous failure of the Autumn harvest in 379YE was followed by a particularly harsh winter during which all the farmers of the Marches suffered significant losses in order to keep the Imperial armies marching. Then the Spring 380YE planting was hit with torrential rains and a vicious blight that devoured many of the seeds before they can be put in the ground. While the rest of the Empire was enjoying a burst of vitality and fertility, the farms of Bregasland, Upwold, and Mitwold were once again labouring under the yoke of a vicious magical curse that ruined the crops, sapped the life from the beasts in the fields, and spread sickness and hunger wherever it touched.
The plan to construct the Imperial Breadbasket may have begun in the markets of Meade, but it received immediate support from market towns across the Marches. The aldermen of Stockland in particular were quick to put their hands in their pockets - not as an act of charity, but as recognition of the fact that when the farmers prosper, everyone in the Marches prospers. Shortly before the Spring Equinox 381YE, work was completed on a network of granaries and storehouses across Upwold as part of the Imperial Breadbasket great work. In addition to its work in securing the future of the Marches, this has helped to improve relations between the yeomanry and the residents of the market towns - reinforcing that even though they do not till the soil, they are still Marchers.
Points of Interest
Dominating the fertile farmlands of Stock March, Stockland is a sprawling town known for its sheep and cattle markets. Almost all the households of western Upwold take their stock here to trade, and there is a market most weekends through Spring, Summer and Autumn. In addition to its cattle and livestock markets. It is known for its raucous taverns - successful drovers and herders celebrate the sale of their livestock with a hard night's drinking, while the less successful drown their sorrows before heading home. The breweries of Stockland produce ale and beer that is exported around the Marches and across the Empire - but while it is popular it is not particularly fine. Rather, the distinctive peaty taste of the brews is immediately recognisable to anyone who has spent time in Stockland, and easily brings a lump to the throat of the homesick Marcher. The brewers of Stockland take pride in their straightforward, down-to-earth product, and are quick to scorn anyone who expresses a preference for more refined beverages.
Hepton Bridge - the site of the only major pitched battle of the Marcher civil war - crosses the Meade near Stockland. On the anniversary of the battle, monks from the Stockwater Monastery make a pilgrimage to the site and the abbot delivers a sermon from the bridge itself, generally focusing on the importance of Loyalty and Pride. The monks, and the many visitors, then spend the night camped around the bridge, alert for signs of any unquiet ghosts. There have been no actual reports of hauntings in over fifty years, but the tradition endures.
The Eastern Guard
Great crenelated walls and brooding towers look down from Eastern Guard onto the northern forest of Miaren. Built early in the history of the Marches in Birchland, the garrison was initially charged both with remaining vigilant against Dawnish aggression, and with maintaining readiness for attacks from the Vallornspawn of the deep woods. Since Miaren was cleansed in the early days of the Empire, and since the people of Dawn are now an allied nation, the castle has become more open - it is a popular stopping place for merchants travelling through the central Empire. Still, the dour Marchers ensure it maintains battle readiness at all times, for one never knows when an attack may come from an unexpected direction.
During the great collapse of Spring 381YE, most of the garrison of Eastern Guard was evacuated. Despite serious concerns, the sinkhole stopped spreading before swallowing the old castle whole, although the lip of the great dismal hole is little more than five-hundred yards from the north-eastern tower. Now, Eastern Guard has a new job - keeping an eye on the trogoni that lurk in the depth of Lorenzo's Deep Pockets.
Standing in central Ashbrook, the Woldstone is very old. It is said to be the first menhir planted by landskeepers when the Marchers claimed Upwold for their own. A little over eight feet tall, it is a rough white stone pitted and weathered by centuries of wind and rain.
The stone marks the centre of a potent Autumn regio that has in the past been used to lay powerful enchantments over the whole of Upwold. The regio is tied to the realm of the eternal Ephisis, and watched over by one of her more potent heralds, Nunn o' the Wold. According to stories, Nunn appears as a prosperous Marcher steward or alderman, and has a keen interest in the interplay between those who raise crops and the traders who buy and sell them. According to local stories, at one time the herald would appear every solstice and equinox to negotiate minor deals with brave yeomen, but it has been over a century since he was last encountered.
In western Stock March is the sleepy village of Mumford - right on the border with Upwold. Standing on the northern banks of the Meade, it marks a shallow spot in the river used for centuries by travelers and shepherds alike. North of the village, on a low and rolling rise, stands a ring of seven monoliths known as the Mummers. Each of the stones has a name; the six that make up the rough ring are called the Yeoman, the Abbot, the Weaver, the Steward, the Farmer, and the Alderman. The seventh stone stands a short distance outside the ring proper, and is called the Pipe - depending on who one asks it represents either the fool or the beast. The stones mark a strong regio tied to the night realm, and the nature of the Piper is said to be tied to whichever eternal serves as the patron of the regio at any given time - Janon or Sadogua.
Every Spring, mummers and peddlers from across the Marches come here for the Mumford Fair, a celebration of music, dancing, open-ear theatrics, heavy drinking, and the unofficial Mummers Trial in which bands of entertainers compete for ... well it is never entirely clear for what. The entertainers put on their performances, and at the end of the weekend long celebration one or another of their number is carried up to the standing stones and crowned with a wreath of daisies before being dumped unceremoniously into a vat of beer. Traditionally, the "Earl of Mumford" is not allowed to get out of the vat until it is empty, and the fair closes with a night of serious debauchery and celebration as the guests help the Earl drink all the beer. A bottle of beer from the Mumford Fair vat will often fetch a surprisingly high price - occasionally the alcohol is imbued with vestiges of Night magic and gains unpredictable qualities.
The Bloody Great Hole
Just over a month after the Spring Equinox 381YE a large section of north-western Goldglades in Miaren collapsed with an almighty roar that was heard across most of Birchland. After the initial collapse, the hole began to spread. Warnings by the Navarr vates reached an already-worried Birchland not a moment too soon - over the next month, chaos reigned. Eastern Guard was evacuated of all save a bare bones garrison too stubborn to abandon their post, and for several weeks there was real concern that this old fortress might be a casualty of the ongoing destruction.
Where Upwold once bordered Temeschwar, there is now a massive sinkhole. Estimated to be seven hundred feet deep, with a lake at the bottom that may well be bottomless. The cliff walls are nearly vertical, and still prone to collapse in some places, but there are also signs of caves and tunnels opening out in several places. Initial explorers have excitedly reported what look to be ancient mine workings - some reaching back to the time of the Terunael, and some reaching back even further. The full extent of the network of caverns here has yet to be determined. More worryingly, some of the early daredevils who have made a preliminary investigation of some of the more accessibly caves and tunnels have failed to return - and all those who have made it back in one piece have described encounters with particularly angry trogoni - creatures rarely encountered outside of the mountains of Urizen, and the northern peaks of Wintermark and Varushka.
The sinkhole was officially named "Lorzeno's Deep Pockets" by Lorenzo Macelliao von Temeschwar, but that has not prevented many of the residents of Birchland referring to it as the Bloody Great Hole (perhaps a reference to Lorenzo's membership of the Bloody Butchers guild, perhaps simply a result of Marchers choosing to call a spade a spade). Some yeomen, with a grim gallows humour, prefer to call the hole Downwold in reference to the not insignificant amount of Upwold soil that is now at the bottom of it. Regardless of what it is called, the beaters of northern Upwold keep a close eye on the hole - and the dangerous trogoni that lurk in its depths.
The Sutton Stone Quarries are a Bourse resource located on the Heath. Custodianship of the Quarries is an Imperial Title that brings with it a Seat on the Imperial Bourse. It produces 23 Imperial wains of white granite every season. Control is allocated to any Imperial citizen by open auction during the Summer Solstice.
Built near King's Stoke in Tower March, Moonwater Hall is a Faraden enclave that consists of several dozen buildings including inns, homes, blacksmiths, wheelwrights, a shrine, and a number of warehouses, as well as a large public pasture for use by oxen. It was commissioned in Summer 381YE, and work was completed shortly before the Winter Solstice. Half of the materials were provided by Henry Ward on behalf of the Empire, with the other half being supplied by Lady Saretta of the Red Moon on behalf of a consortium of Faraden mechant families.
With the completion of the hub, Faraden merchants have begun travelling to Upwold in significant numbers, keen to trade for fine quality food and drink such as only the Marchers can provide. Entering the Empire through the Towers of Anduz, the majority take the Blood Red Road up through Tassato and Miaren, but the more adventurous take the more risky but ultimately more lucrative path through the Cinnabar Hills and the Mourn.
Following the imposition of sanctions on trade with Faraden during the Winter Solstice 382YE, the benefits provided by the great work were reduced by around a fifth. If the Faraden place sanctions of their own on Imperial goods entering their nation, the benefits would drop by roughly another fifth.
Named for the river Ash which feeds into the Mead, the region of Ashbrook is scattered with thriving communities such as Ashill - said to be perpetually covered in soot from the charcoal burning that provides its main industry. North of Ashill, near the Hahnmark border, stands the prosperous market town of Sweetroot. This small settlement is a major center for the cultivation of the licorice plant. While small, Sweetroot has become wealthy through careful exploitation of the leafy plant and its delicious roots. Popular exports include sweetroot cake (a small, round confection that is popular almost everywhere), and sweetwater (licorice-infused water, used to treat a number of digestive system complaints).
One of the oldest menhirs in the Marches - the Woldstone - is also located here. Believed to be the first stone raised by the landskeepers, it watches over the farms and market towns of Ashbrook. Not far from the Woldstone is the old oak wood of Walksend. Some of the trees here are over five hundred years old, but none have ever been felled. Local stories claim that the wood marks the spot where the first Marchers ended the March out of Dawn. According to this quaint story, on emerging from the woods of Birchland, the Marchers saw the rolling plains of Upwold laid out before them and knew they had reached their new home. They thrust their walking staves into the ground here to signify that they were done with marching, and the staves miraculously put forth roots, branches, and leaves and became the trees that form the forest today. Visitors claim that the experience of walking among the great oaks is distinctly restful. The monks nearby Oakwood monastery, known for their excellent physicks, take advantage of this reputation to speed the convalescence of their patients.
The thick birch woods of Birchland are a source of valuable timber. There are also extensive stands of beggarwood in Birchland, producing excellent quality Beggar's Lye, which support a thriving tanning and leatherworking industry. The fortress of Eastern Guard stands here, still watching the forest of Miaren for any sign for invasion by Dawnish nobles. Scattered here and there are old battlegrounds where Dawn and the Marches clashed in pre-Imperial times. Locals give these areas a wide berth, and tell gloomy stories about the ghosts that haunt them.
Just north of the bend in the road that runs between lies Good Leaf Gardens - a wayhouse that regularly receives donations of herbs from Navarr traders who pass through the area. The herbs are given by Navarr in thanks for the continuing aid of the Marchers in the fight against the vallorn, and are distributed by the Steward of Good Leaf Gardens to those who need them.
In Spring 381YE, parts of north-eastern Birchland were swallowed up in the great collapse that created the sinkhole dubbed "the Bloody Great Hole" by locals and more properly referred to as Lorenzo's Deep Pockets.
There are few settlements on the Heath's rolling grasslands - the soil is not exceptionally fertile and the farms here tend to focus on raising goats and sheep rather than growing crops. The most significant location here is probably the Sutton Stone Quarries, although historians would argue that the village of Redston would give it a run for its money. The village is the birthplace of the Marcher hero Tom Drake, who helped create the Imperial Military Council, was the first general of the Drakes, and ultimately fell in battle leading the Imperial armies against Alderei the Fair. Over the centuries, Tom's Orchard - the apple tree woods where the general was buried - has become something off a place of pilgrimage for Marcher generals and yeomen facing difficult challenges. The Redstons - the household that still owns the farms around the village - have resisted any attempt to create a more prestigious memorial to the dead general.
A significant number of the farms here belong to by grim-faced refugees from the Mournwold. During the occupation, these emigrants kept a close eye on the border to the south; they saw it as a solemn duty to rally the rest of Upwold against any sign of Jotun aggression from their old homelands. Now that the Mournwold has been liberated, there is a great deal of discussion between the families as to whether they should seek to reclaim their old farmland. While their parents want to return south, the younger generation have never lived anywhere else and consider themselves Upwolders through-and-through.
Stock March is the richest region in Upwold, and one of the most prosperous in the Marches. The sprawling Applewood grows here known for the fine, fat apples that bear its name. The Applewood shares its name with a village on the road near the border to the Moot, famous both for the Applewood Arms and for the fine-quality ciders it has produced since the earliest days of the Marches.
The village of Mumford stands on the western border of Stock March, famous for its Spring fair and the magical monoliths that watch over it.
The Dense woods of Tower March have been cut back around the village of King's Stoke, but remain thick and vital in the rest of the region. A pre-Imperial tower stands here, just east of the village, that is said to mark the place where the rebels held back the King of Dawn following the march of secession. Most Upwold families - and indeed many families from other parts of the Marches - claim a connection to the battle at King's Stoke. That said, if every family who claims an ancestor fought there is right, it must have been an easy victory. King's Stoke is also the site of Moonwater Hall, a Faraden trading enclave that supports merchants from that western nation who wish to purchase fine quality Marcher food and drink.
West of King's Stoke is Borsdell Hall, perhaps the closest the Marches gets to a centre of learning. The original hall belonged to the well-respected Brigit of Dourfen, the first grandmaster of the Rod and Shield order of the Imperial Conclave. Raised in Bregasland, the legendary landskeeper moved to Tower March in the early years before the formation of the Empire and built the hall "the better to keep an eye on the rest of the world." Her interest in "the wider world" brought news of the First Empress' meeting at Anvil to the stewards of the Marches, and many historians ascribe her a pivotal role in the Cousin's War that followed that fateful congress. Modern landskeepers will send an apprentice who shows a talent for battle magic to spend a season or two studying at Borsdell, learning techniques refined by Brigit and passed on to the martially-minded magicians who followed her.
Farmland at a premium in in Tower March, and the region is better known for its woodcutters and foresters. In addition to the ever present beggarwood, Tower March is the main source of dragonbone in the Marches. In recent years the demand for Tower March amber has subsided in the face of extensive imports from Miaren and through Tassato, but there are still several old and stubborn households whose fortunes are traditionally tied to the valuable material. Some of the more ambitious stewards of Tower March are said to favour a wholesale clearance of the woods, both to take advantage of the voracious Imperial demand for building materials and to allow for new farms - so far they have faced a great deal of resistance from those whose livelihood is tied to the woodlands. Most are pessimistic however; political power in the Marches does not lie in the hands of woodcutters and foresters, after all.
|Autumn Equinox 383YE||Watkin|
|Autumn Equinox 382YE||Landon of Longridge|
|Autumn Equinox 381YE||Henry Ward|
|Autumn Equinox 380YE||Henry Ward|
|Autumn Equinox 379YE||Silas|
|Autumn Equinox 378YE||Henry Ward|
|Autumn Equinox 377YE||Henry Ward|
|Winter Solstice 376YE||Henry Ward|
Recent Senate Elections
As an Imperial territory, Upwold is represented by a senator elected in the Autumn. This title is currently held by Watkin; it will be reelected at Autumn Equinox 384YE. The table to the right shows the citizens who have been elected to hold this title in the years since Empress Britta died.
- All the regions of Upwold are in the hands of the Marches (and by extension the Empire) making it a staunchly Imperial territory.
- The castle of Eastern Guard is a rank one fortification.
- The Imperial Breadbasket great work gives every Marcher character who owns a farm a share of 1080 rings.
- In conjunction with the Imperial Breadbasket, Moonwater Hall provides a dividend of 88 rings each season, spread between every farm in the territory owned by a Marcher citizen who attended the previous summit.
- Moonwater Hall also provides a dividend of 180 rings each season, spread between every business in the territory owned by a Marcher citizen who attended the previous summit.
- The presence of Lorenzo's Deep Pockets means that it is not possible for an Imperial army to move from Upwold to Temeschwar directly. They will instead need to pass through either Miaren or Hahnmark.
- Some of the prominent households of Upwold are detailed here.