Mountainous Volodmartz is rich in timber and deep mines. There are comparatively few vales here, and the boyars have a reputation for being particularly iron-fisted. Much more common are outposts, scattered across the brooding hills and growing rich from the mineral wealth they exploit. Both tend to be very well fortified, and not without reason. There are dark things in the Volodmartz mountains, and plenty of folk tales tell of malign horrors that burrow under them, emerging without warning to overwhelm the foolish. An equally worrying threat is that posed by the northern Thule barbarians who sometimes strike down through the north-eastern forests. As recently as 376YE a major offensive was launched through the northern mountains in an attempt to secure a beachead near Void; it is very unlikely to be the last.
The Volodny had their old centre of power in Volodmartz, and it was here that Alderei the tyrant-boyar was defeated by the Imperial Army. The ruins of several strongholds still lie beneath the forest canopy. One of the most vicious battles took place in the foothills of the Opascari mountains at what is now a valuable weirwood forest. This vital strategic asset, the largest source of weirwood in Varushka, was essential to the support of the tyrant-boyar's armies. The penultimate, savage battle of the Imperial campaign against Alderei took place here; after the forest was lost, his forces were forced to fall back towards Alderei's Run in Murupa, where they finally met their end.
Following the Thule invasion of Karsk in 368YE, probing assaults were made against Livardz and Suvretz. These were turned back by Imperial forces, but the threat of further attacks has never been ruled out. The northern barbarians certainly covet the valuable resources of Volodmartz; in the Summer of 377YE an attempt was made to create a beachead in the north near the vale of Void - almost certainly a strike not only against the mana sites and libraries of the cabalists but against the Granites of Veltsgorsk. The expeditionary force was scattered by a force of Imperial heroes, and a follow-up campaign by Imperial forces wiped out the survivors, stymieing the attempted invasion.
A riverside town in Livardz, with a fish-dam and low bridge that has always been the main land route into Karsk. Once a hotbed of support for Alderei the Fair on the edge of what was then Varushka, and the scene of savage fighting in the war against his forces. Empire armies laid siege to it, and burnt the original town to the ground. The tyrant-boyar sallied forth before the final assault, and gathered those still loyal from across Volodmartz and the wilds to his final battle to the north. Despite recent Imperial victories in Karsk, it is still considered to be a front-line settlement, doing all it can to support the campaign in Karsk. Home to many refugees, there is some pressure for these displaced Varushkans to return to their homes - homes that many rightly point out are still threatened by the remaining Thule armies.
The Hunt of Alderei the Fair is a Bourse resource located at the foot of the Opascari mountains. Custodianship of the Hunt is an Imperial Title that brings with it a Seat on the Imperial Bourse. It produces 26 Imperial wains of weirwood every season. Control is allocated to any Imperial citizen by open auction during the Winter Solstice - as with the Night Quarry, there is some resentment that the Hunt is an Imperial, rather than National Varushkan, Seat.
The Granites of Veltsgorks are a Bourse resource located deep in the mountains of Brez. Custodianship of the Granites is an Imperial Title that brings with it a Seat on the Imperial Bourse. It produces 26 Imperial wains of white granite every season. The seat is allocated during the Summer Solstice, to whichever Varushkan candidate receives the most support from Varushkan owners of forest resources.
Following the impact of the falling star known as the Stalker or the Miscreant during the Autumn Equinox 380YE, the Thule orcs arranged to provide some of the bounty of ilium the star provides to the Varushkan people. The offices for overseeing this tribute are located at Void in the mountainous foothills of Brez. Custodianship of the Gift of the Dwindling Star is an Imperial Title that brings with it a Seat on the Imperial Bourse. It produces 4 rings of ilium every season. The seat is allocated during the Spring Equinox to whichever Varushkan candidate receives the most support from Varushkan owners of forest and mine resources.
The mountains of Brez have a shadowy reputation among Varushkans. The peaks are high enough that they are perpetually shrouded in snow, even at the height of summer. The Granites of Veltsgorsk lie high in the eastern peaks of the region, and it is said that without the presence of this valuable Bourse resource, no outsider would ever visit the peaks here despite the rich seams of copper, iron, silver and Tempest Jade the mountains conceal.
There are known to be several strong regio here, associated primarily with the realm of winter, and these have attracted cabalists and magical scholars since before there was a Varushka. The cabalists of the mountains of Brez tend to be somewhat isolationist; the best known settlement is the vale of Void in the western foothills, home to a number of allied cabals who study and perform those rituals best kept away from centres of population. Rumour has it that Heralds from the Realm of Winter come here to treat and bargain with the inhabitants, while others speak of a shadow library containing great stores of information about curses, malign magics and the nature of the Winter eternals. Void has also become a place of contact for the orcs of Otkodov - the offices of the Gift of the Dwindling Star are here, and the warlocks of the north have begun to visit the settlement more regularly in the wake of this arrangement.
The southern peaks are the site of Ruin. Once a key mining settlement called Vikram's Haven, its destruction in 349YE is generally believed to have been at the hands of a group of miners who delved too far into rocks under the broken peak above Alderei’s Run in search of rare ores. The vale did not survive their return. . Precisely what led to the doom of Ruin is unclear, but scattered rumours suggest that the miners came upon a trove of ancient pre-Imperial artefacts, and fell prey either to a maddening curse or possession by malign occult forces. Ruin is now the occasional home of Warden-bands who seek to ensure no Vale makes the same mistake again, and is closely watched by the inhabitants of the nearby Vale of Gorazima who are keen to avoid a similar fate
The southernmost region of Volodmartz, and certainly the most densely settled. The vales here maintain trade west to Miekarova and south to Karov - especially to the bustling port-town of Korotny. At one point, Livardz served as something of a crossroads - with trade also coming from Karsk to the east, through the town of Triosk. With that territory now back under normal Imperial control, it is to be hoped that trade will begin to trickle in once more.
In addition to the permanent population, there are a number of vales who maintain their prosperity by catering to the wagon raiders - either as a base of operations, or serving as middle-men purchasing the raw materials they rip from the northern mountains and forests.
Central Volodmartz is home to several vales and outposts drawn by the rich bounty of Dragonbone that the forests promise. Several of the vales here maintain close ties with Razorwatch in Miekarova - and keep a close eye on the Razors and the dark power that lurks beneath them. There is also a brisk trade in items scoured from the old battlefields, where Varushkan and Imperial forces fought Alderei's armies. The valley known as Alderei’s Run is the largest of these battlefields, the Tyrant-Boyar’s forces were finally destroyed by the Imperial Armies. Rumour says that Alderei can still be heard there, ordering his men back into the fray.
To the north of the run are a series of small caves that Alderei’s army used for stores. They are generally referred to as The Star Caverns, due to a prevalence of eroded carvings of star patterns attributed to the Ushka mystics. Some scholars suggest that some of the patterns are much older, probably pre-Terunael in origin. The caverns themselves contain a regio aligned with the realm of Day, whose power waxes and wanes from season to season and year to year - studies have suggested the strength of the regio is related to the position of certain constellations especially the Key and Lock.
The mountains of Opascari are rich in gold, orichalcum and precious stones. Opascari is known in particular for its sapphires and emeralds, which are often of uncommon size and lustre. The range is also rich in mana sites, often jealously guarded and requiring regular protection again (among other things) packs of hungry trogoni. While much of Opascari's wealth is mineral in nature, at the feet of the southern peaks lies the rich weirwood forest known as The Hunt of Alderei the Fair.
A sprawling region of forests that extends to the eastern borders of Volodmartz and, by extension, the Empire. Many of the vales here are especially fortified, even for Volodmartz - fortifications designed to offer protection not only from wolves, but also from barbarian raiders coming down from the cold forests of barbarian Otkodov. There are few permanent settlements in the eastern woods - but many crow-haunted battlefields.
Of special interest in Suvretz is a place of legend named Runa's Loss. Runa was a draughir warden who watched the monsters of the hills with Toki, her changeling lover, an apprentice volhov. Toki's master was seduced by an eternal of Winter (generally held to be Agramant), and Toki chose loyalty to master over love. Runa was one of the wardens who hunted and killed the volhov and all loyal to him. The Vale reminds all wardens that their calling is more important than lesser loyalties, and is considered a site of pilgrimage for devotees of Loyalty and Vigilance - albeit a particularly perilous one. The vale maintains a careful watch not only over the eastern forests but also over the borders with Karsk.
- All the regions of Volodmartz are under Imperial control.
- This page is still under development - the next stage is to review approved backgrounds for details that would enrich the description of the territory.