The Spring of Ardoc
Planet of Silestic – The Tull continent dominates much of the southern hemisphere extending to the reaches of the Southern Pole. Islands of varying size litter the balance of this hemisphere. The Northern Hemisphere has three Large Island Continents with attendant archipelagos. Outside of a few Islands, the Northern Pole is dominated by Ocean.
Continental specifics –
a. Tull – This large land mass is broken into three subsections that are broken up by the Gulf of Tull and Ice Bay. The largest of the three sections is further divided by forests and mountains running roughly NW to SE creating three further sub-areas.
i. The northernmost of these is held by the Greater Kingdom of Ardoc.
Ardoc lays on the Northern most edge of the great landmass of Tull. The rest of the continent known as the Fallow Lands remains unknown and unexplored to this, the last vestige of the time now known as the age of Lies, after the retreat of the ice and cold from the land. The Ardoc family traces its heritage back over 500 years with the eldest male reigns as high council lord. The lands are ruled by a high council with the Lord of Ardoc having final say as tie breaker. Several other lesser families from within the city as well as from Firefish and Sandstun have permanent seats on the council. The Dwarves and Elves each have an honorary council seat. The common races are all represented within the boundaries of Ardoc as it stands today. There are three primary cities of Ardoc. Its namesake capitol to the north on the Restless Sea, Firefish on Fire Lake and Sandstun in the south situated on the north of Deadmen Delta where the Severit River enters in.
• Ardoc is the center of the known world on the southern continent at present with its natural harbor on the Nerevot River. Religious, military and civil bodies are all based here. Heironeus is the primary temple, while the eye of Kalean temple stands watch over the river mouth and the entire city. St Antenious and Vandaren have temple presence with shrines existing for several of the other deities. The Lord’s castle sits on a promontory overlooking the Mordervahl Sea and the land surrounding the city. Two large garrisons are quartered within the city. The east and west side of the city are connected by the bridge of truth spanning the Nerevot with heights great enough to allow ships passage underneath.
• The second largest city is Sandstun. It was once an independent city-state and an ancient repository of knowledge and magic. The desert surrounding exists as an aftereffect of the forces unleashed in attempt to keep the Long Winter at bay. The unfortunate effect was to create the Western Lee Wastes. The rule of the city changed from the most powerful mages to the merchant families as the greatest wizards and sorcerers were consumed by their efforts against the cold and the conflict that lead up to it. To feed the population that stayed required Sandstun to become a vassal of Ardoc. A large garrison of the Lords troops now guards the city. Currently, Sandstun is still a center of learning even in these diminished times. Some of the descendants of the ruling families of magi still chafe under the Lord of Ardoc’s rule but the general population is happy to have it. The south of the city lies in disrepair and ruin as the epicenter of the magics unleashed to hold back the cold. With the coming warmth, the population is growing and slowly moving in and rebuilding those parts.
• Firefish Township is the third largest community established at the head of the Nerevot River on Fire Lake. The Lake gets its name from the small volcanic island many believe to be the Mortal abode of Saulen, the warmth of whom kept the lake from freezing and allowed the Nerevot River to continue flowing during the coldest days of the Long Winter. There is a magnificent temple now built to those who follow Saulen at the shores of the lake within the city attracting many pilgrims who come to thank Saulen for preserving them. As can be expected magic not of the gods is closely monitored and practitioners harassed by the many zealots who make pilgrimage to the temple.
• There is a mixed community founded by the dwarves at Strongstone redoubt where the Lord of Ardoc granted land rights as an act of kindness (as well as putting a strong buffer between the capitol and the Fallow Lands) to the last of the kings of Granitehart, Garrick Strongstone . The descendants of who still rule the lands of the Five Hills in Ardoc.
• The remaining scions of the great Elven Houses of the Y’este elves migrated to the woods west of Fire Lake and established themselves there cohabitating with their Vilte cousins (Nominally the Lord’s of Ardoc claim to have allowed it but it is unlikely they could have stopped it as the cold descended). Ruled by the Eldest from Varnalond, most live as they please within the bounds of the Tellalonde Forest. No modern roads lead through the forest home with most travel to the capitol coming downriver from Fire lake.
• The village of Shorthill has long existed as a mixed rural community of halflings, humans, gnomes and half-elves. The hills are riddled with halls and homes for Halflings and Gnomes alike.
• The remaining towns of note are Longrain, Crossroads and Hatchett. Small farming and herding crofts dot the Plains of Ardoc as well.
ii. The Middle contains vast plains, desert and the vast marshes of Dedman Delta. Several city states once dominated this portion of the continent with the only surviving Sandstun. To survive the long winter, Sandstun has become a vassal of Ardoc. East of Sandstun was once an empire unto itself in the vast plains surrounding the whistling sea. The greatest of the dwarven kingdoms occupied the mountains on the peninsula known as “Finnith’s Hammer” before the ice closed in.
iii. The southern third lies below the Sands of Dargost and the Bay or Ice. The Empire of Ferlund once ruled all the eastern of this land until swallowed by ice. Icy forests have begun to re-grow in the along the coast lines of the bay. Huge ice sheets still cap the pole with vast tundra stretching between.
b. Osteval – This continent is broken up by several salt water seas and marshes. The rest is dotted with a mix of mountains, desert, forests and plains.
c. Inderok – Closer to the north pole than any other, an archipelago stretches northwards into the Isswhal Ocean. The main land mass runs primarily north to south.
d. Aerok – The largest of the three northern continents,
Climate – While the cold of the long winter has retreated, it has not fully relinquished its grip. The northern reaches of the Tull continent are buffered from the colder southern reaches by mountains and large seas. Temperatures in the north peak near 70 in late summer while much of the southern portion of the continent is lucky to reach the 40’s for highs. In the northern latitudes, the coldest temperatures lead to pack ice through the northern oceans with icebergs drifting well south with great regularity. As a result any remaining settled lands are isolated from each other by the treacherous seas. The only exception is a volcanic Island chain southeast of Haurok near the equatorial waters where the more temperate climate and thermal heating have created warmer waters.
The Calendar – Seasons will still be defined as “spring”, “summer”, “winter” and “fall”. It is year 221 of the Age of Winterfell. The previous age was 1-792 the Age of Sortes Virgilianae, commonly known as the Age of Lies by commoners. The calendar is divided into 12 months of standard length of 31 days each. There are two days that fall outside the normal calendar giving the year 374 days (planet is same mass as earth with slightly larger orbit accounting for overall cooler temperatures). The first day of spring is also the first day of the new year as currently tracked by the priests of Saulen.
• Wintersend/Kalean’s Ascension – In all the lands, this is recognized as the end of the long winter when the clouds broke and the broken moon was revealed. In the lands of Ardoc, it is also recognized as the day Kalean took her place among the god’s. It is celebrated the 20th of Eiroli with households and villages pulling the finest of foods left from the winter larder and holding a thanksgiving feast.
• Calath’s Glory – This one night the moon Calath stands full and alone in the sky after the longest day of the year passes. From sun-up to sunset the falling day, grand fairs are held. It is considered an auspicious day for weddings and meetings as the bright light is said to drive out lies and falsehoods from the tongues of all the races.
• Summersend – The great harvest festivals are held, a day of revelry with most towns holding contests for the best of in many categories such as pig, sweetbreads, etc. (like many a county fair).
• Valiance Games/St Antenious’s Ascension – A day of truces celebrated by martial contests throughout the land to honor St. Antenious’s Ascension with the various victors being seated at the high tables for the evening celebration. Many a conflict is resolved through champions combat to settle differences that arise over the year with the results considered binding. The snows have fallen by this day but are still fresh softening the land rather than the dark harshness of later winter.
• Noctis Kari (night of darkness) – This is a night all fear. On this the longest night of the year, all the moons are gone from the night sky. While the sun is up, offerings are made to Ota-ord and the spirits of the dead. As night sets, fires are stoked while torches and candles are lit with every door being locked and warded against Wyntakai and the night.