Tales of the Bloodstone Lands
Barony of Morov
Ruling House: Banacath
Present Baron: Dimian Ree, 27th Baron of Morov, Mayor of Heliogabalus, Presider of the Market, Overlord of the King’s Road, Successor-in-line to the true Kings of Damara
Family Crest: Stones and Scales (the standard of the Kingdom of Damara)
Capital: Heliogabalus (44,000). formerly Morovar (4,000)
Located in the fertile river valleys of south-central Damara, Morov had always been a major player in Damaran politics. Zhengyi knew the importance of the region, and set up Dimian Ree as the baron. Dimian Ree’s first act on gaining power in 1357 DR was to move the seat of the baronv from Morovar to Heliogabalus, once capital of all Damara.
Previously, Heliogabalus had belonged to no single province, existing rather as an independent entity. Co-opting the city’s status to make it the “capital” of Morov clearly stated Ree’s ultimate aims. Yet Dimian Ree has not openly claimed the throne of Damara, though he is a true descendant of Feldrin—one of only three surviving members of the line. (The others are Tranth, former Baron of Bloodstone, and his daughter, Baroness Christine.) To understand Dimian Ree’s hesitation, one must understand the dynamics of Heliogabalus, for fully three-quarters of the people of Morov reside in that city.
Heliogabalus is a city of independent merchants, with no army, only mercenary guards controlled by those merchants. The people of Heliogabalus were loyal to the throne out of simple expediency. The merchants are only concerned with the flow of trade, and they care little whether Dimian Ree or Gareth Dragonsbane rules. Wealth is the key, and any upset of the status quo makes the merchants nervous. When the debate does arise concerning the new kingdom versus the old, the inevitable punchline here is: “Morov the same!”
In the Bloodstone Wars, the merchants’ political indifference proved to be a great weakness. Morov and Ostel allied with Polten, and they should have fared better. After all, Morov and Ostel alone counted for more than one-third the total population of Damara! But these three provinces did not raise even 2,500 soldiers to battle the army of Bloodstone.
The wars were also disastrous for Dimian Ree. His first mistake came when he and his allies, the Baron of Polten and the Baroness of Ostel, planned to entrap Gareth and his men as they marched back to Bloodstone. The three-nation alliance set 1,200 men on Gareth’s heels, while another 1,000 prepared an ambush ahead of the Bloodstone army.
Unfortunately for the alliance, the ambushers laid in wait in Warrenwood, right on top of that bees’ nest called the Warren. In a day, the halflings of the Warren killed 100 men and captured the other 900. When the main body of the allied army attacked Gareth’s flank, they found themselves outnumbered two to one. The results can be imagined. Ree made an even greater blunder after the allies surrendered. By then it was known that the Witch-King was on the move and that Gareth meant to fight him. Dimian Ree would not assist Bloodstone in a battle against his true master. The baron called his forces back to Morov.
But more than 1,000 soldiers of the alliance disobeyed their orders and stayed. These were primarily the 900 who had been spared and treated so well by the halflings. After Gareth’s victory, many soldiers went home only long enough to collect their families before relocating in Brandiar or Bloodstone.
Morov would be tricky to fight in any event. Although the province couldn’t raise much of an army itself, neither could Bloodstone’s forces easily take Heliogabalus. The merchants would oppose any army just walking in, the thieves would hold every alley, and the battle would no doubt devolve to bloody house-to-house fighting. Gareth, therefore, is determined to be patient, waiting for his popular support to force Dimian Ree’s hand.
Dimian Ree is also in a predicament. He sits in Heliogabalus with a legitimate claim, but his reign will be short if he cannot gather enough support to revive the old kingdom. Baroness Svlvia of Ostel remains his staunch ally, but Polten is slipping away. The merchants of Heliogabalus will not tolerate uncertainty in the region for long if that uncertainty sends the goods from the supply provinces flowing around, and not into, Morov.
With no substantial army and with a rising tide of support for the new Kingdom of Bloodstone, Dimian Ree’s only chance may be to eliminate Tranth, Baroness Christine, and Gareth. It is whispered that he is a personal friend of the new Grandfather of Assassins, and he may rely on that bond in the near future.
Communities of Morov
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