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 splendor 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 philsophical 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 pulants 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.
Since 331YE and the barbarian conquest of Spiral, Redoubt has been preparing itself for invasion. It's 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 Catazaar.
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 gradiated 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 travelers 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 stufy 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.
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. While the work has been completed, as of this writing the Jarmish government has declined to name an ambassador; their House of Princes are apparently waiting for the Imperial Senate to select a location for an Imperial embassy to be built in their distant nation.
One of the best known spires in Redoubt is ound 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
In the Tomari peaks, overlooking the spire of Delving is the Brilliant Star. Allegedly the most beautiful of all the star shaped tunnel complexes that undermine the mountains, its walls gleam slightly even when there is no other light. Scholars say that the earliest workings here go back thousands of years, long before there are reliable reports of humans in these mountains.
The Brilliant Star is an Imperial Bourse position that produces 24 Imperial wains of mithril every season.
Limus is known for two things; the port-town of Cargo and its remarkable cranes and it's 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 dhomrio. 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.
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 traveling 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.
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.
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 it's 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.
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.
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 cirriculum 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.
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.
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 travelers 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.
- Every region of Redoubt is in the hands of the Urizen (and by extension the Empire) meaning this is a staunchly Imperial territory.
- The Court of the White Fountain is a rank one fortification.
- This page is still under development - the next stage is to review approved backgrounds for details that would enrich the description of the territory.