Tales of the Bloodstone Lands
Duchy of Arcata
Duke of Arcata
Ruling House: Horgath
Present Duke: William Horgath, 8th Duke of Arcata
Family Crest: Diving Dagger and Mountains Three
Most of the people of Arcata are either farmers or miners. The farms are predominantly in the south, around Valls. Bloodstone is not common along the Arcatan stretch of the Galenas and the Earthspurs, but several silver and iron mines have been opened.
True to St. Sollars (an Ilmateri saint) and the ethics of endurance and perseverance, the proud Arcatans work on in the face of any hardship. Tomrav, a mining and farming community deep within the Earthspurs, is a testament to this determination. This tight-knit city is entirely self-sufficient, often cut off from the rest of the land by deep snows for eight full months.
Arcata’s House of Horgath had been in decline even before the rise of the Witch-King. The common Arcatans recognized this fact, but they were concerned mainly with day-to-day survival. Little attention was paid to the failings of House Horgath, which seemed harmless enough. William sent House Horgath to the very nadir of disrespect and indecency.
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The opening salvo of the Bloodstone Wars was the conflict between Arcata and Bloodstone. In league with the Grandfather of Assassins, Duke William tried to take the wealth of the bloodstone mines by force. More than 1,600 strong, William’s army forged straight in toward Bloodstone Village, marching through the foothills between Sleepy Wood and the Galenas. On their first night encamped on the outlying hills, Gareth sent a simple note to the Areatan generals: “We are of common heritage, common suffering, and common goals. Why, then, do we fight?”
The Arcatan generals did not know of the massive fortifications that had been built in Bloodstone, and they could not appreciate Gareth’s magnanimity. They thought the note was a desperate plea for mercy. The next day taught them a bitter lesson.
When the sun rose on the forces of Bloodstone, they were 1,200 strong, fully arrayed, and entrenched in cunning fortifications. There was worse news yet for the Arcatans. Centaurs, halflings, and dwarves had crept out of the tunnels of the Warren to encircle the Arcatan army from behind. Still loyal to the wishes of their duke, the Arcatans attacked the walls of Bloodstone anyway and battle was joined—but only briefly. In a matter of minutes, 300 Arcatans lay dead or wounded, and the remainder of the army was pinned down in the little vale against the outer wall of Bloodstone Village. Now Gareth and the people of the new Bloodstone showed their true strength of character. The paladin and his friends raised a white flag and rode through the Arcatan lines, unarmed and unescorted, and sued for peace.
The terms were simple. The Arcatan army would collect its casualties and return home, swearing not to renew the attack. Duke William could remain on his throne, and no penalties would be imposed, no reparations demanded. Gareth only asked that the Arcatans allow him to move his forces along the border of Arcata and Brandiar to meet Carmathan, a new threat growing in the south.
The peace was quickly accepted. The new land of Bloodstone based its own hopes on the precept of self-determination. The Baron of Bloodstone gambled that Arcata would realize that its best hopes lay on the same path. The terms of the peace, which have come to be known as “Gareth’s Gamble,” apparently worked their magic. Nearly half of the Arcatan army fell in behind the marching army of Bloodstone. Three hundred more troops joined in along the trek to meet Carmathan.
William’s power has decreased in proportion to the increasing popularity of Gareth Dragonsbane and the proposed Kingdom of Bloodstone. The majority of Arcatans fully support the idea of a new kingdom with Gareth as king of a united, self-directing people. Not too stupid to understand the tide of opinion around him, William does not oppose the populace, covertly or overtly.
It is believed that the Ducal Guard in Vails regularly runs a secret emissary to Bloodstone Village. Although the Guard traditionally bears a fierce loyalty to the Horgaths, they express the Arcatans’ desire to preclude even the smallest possibility of renewed conflict.
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