Tales of the Bloodstone Lands
Barony of Ostel
Ostel is a small city province south of Morov and bordering on Impiltur. In the heart of the Damaran waterways, Ostel is rich in farmland, but trade and crafting are the staples. Two major cities, Praka and Portith, are located on the King’s Road, and they have always been the first stop for goods arriving from the west.
Before Morov and Heliogabalus combined, Ostel was Damara’s most populous province, with more than twice the population of Bloodstone. By itself, it should have been able to raise an army sufficient to defeat Gareth’s forces. But Ostel actually provided the least number of men to the alliance, and most of those had to be pressed into service.
Sylvia, Baroness of Ostel, is the whole reason, for she is hated by her people. Appointed by the Witch-King after House Praka was murdered, Sylvia was the most personally powerful of the provincial rulers. She is a mage who has mastered spells of the 7th order or power. She consolidated her position quickly by using her magic and her wiles to charm the most influential merchants and landowners of the barony.
But among the common folk of Ostel Sylvia is despised. They see her for what she is, an evil, power-hungrv sorceress who cares nothing for them. If Gareth does consolidate Damara into the new Kingdom of Bloodstone, he will have to forcibly remove Svlvia. Chances are, the good people of Ostel will lead him to her palace, and help him throw her down.
Sylvia clutches Dimian Ree’s coattails for support. On the whole, Ostel remains loyal to the old Damaran kingdom, and as long as Dimian Ree holds some claim to the throne, Sylvia can keep the people under her thumb. With Gareth’s popularity rising, though, Sylvia fears that her day of reckoning is approaching fast.
Politics of Ostel
Ostel, where the girls are pretty and the boys are prettier. The politics of Ostel are shaped and defined by the Baroness’ magical prowess. A powerful enchantress, Baroness Praka uses her charm and her magic to enchant and ensnare those close to her. As she consolidated power, the noble families realized that their secrets weren’t safe from the Baroness. One by one, they began placing young, attractive men into the role of Count. While the other members of the House stayed on their estates and took care of the “mundane details”. These young counts, resplendent in their leggings and lace, are the face of the House. They see the cases brought to the Count’s justice, though the rulings are handed out after the hearings by intermediates. They attend the Baroness when required, often enjoying days of hunting, balls, and other “sport” while sharing all that they know of their counties with the Baroness, whom they all adore.
The fact is, that these young men (there have been a few women, not as warmly received) don’t even know who in their own Houses handles the “mundane details” of House governance. They know that they are the Count, and that their House supports them and sustains their lavish lifestyle. Another interesting tradition has started to arise. As some of the original Counts have begun to age, the Houses have started replacing them with younger men, and now a new crop of Counts are starting to replace the older group. Some of the older Counts (thirty-somethings) are beginning to worry and are attempting to enhance their appearance, hoping to hold onto their lifestyles for just a few more years.
County of Praka
Praka is ruled from the capital city directly by the Baroness Sylvia and her appointed stewards. Smaller only than Heliogabalus, Praka had long been Damara’s second-loudest voice in government. A city of tall walls and sky-reaching towers, Praka is a beautiful settlement, aesthetically pleasing and readily defensible. Here live many of Damara’s true artists, and their work touches everything. Even the regalia of the Prakan militia is richly decorated.
County of Brotha
Brotha is most well-known for its wine and ale production. Vineyards cover the province and the aroma of fermenting grapes covers the whole province. Several towns dot the countryside, the largest of which, Brotha, serves as the County seat. House Cale, under the care of the young and lively Count Landen Cale, govern the district.
County of Durien
Duriene depends a great deal on agriculture and is largely a peaceful and quiet province. Flat plains and farmlands extend in every direction. Herds of cattle are in abundance here, making Duriene Avanil’s largest producer of livestock. Towns and homesteads are to be found in abundance. The county is governed by the Duriene family which has recently been entrusted to the young Count Mourde Duriene.
County of Portith
Portith is a medium-sized town on the west bank of Lake Mogador in the Damaran province of Ostel. The center and seat of power for the County of Portith, it is a convenient stopover between two prominent Damaran cities, Praka and Heliogabalus, Portith is known for fine inns and craftsmen.
Portith may be the only Damaran county that could flourish without help from any other community. In addition to the fine trading and crafting facilities, fishing and farm yields are productive enough support Portith’s population in the worst of years. Ruled by House Avar, led by Count Ansen, who excels at the hunt.
County of Vanilen
Vanilen comprises mostly of farmlands, with a few scattered woods in between. It is a very fertile province which also sees a lot of trade. The Isilvar’s have long ruled Vanilen from their manorhouse in Vanil. It is well known the the Isilvar’s bankrolled Feldrin Bloodfeaters armies early in Damara’s history. As payment, one of their line, Derian Isilvar was given the County of Fairfield in Carmathan. With Isilvar’s in both provinces, Helmont the 15th and Sylvia each seek to use the family to steal a county away from the other province.
None of that intrudes on the social life of Count Bradwen. Vanilen is one of the wealthiest province in Ostel outside the cities, and Count Bradwen wants for nothing.
County of Baliece
The County of Baliece marks the southernmost part of Ostel. It as an area covered in hills with grand vistas of the Earthspur Mountains to the south, and untamed forested vales between. Zarach boasts a thriving fishing trade, merchant trades heading from western Damara to Ilmpiltur, and a rich soil perfect for farming. In fact, the county’s biggest problem is figuring out what industry to focus on next.
House Andwar has long held sway in Zarach and the surrounding county, and young Count Dane enjoys the fruits of the Houses’ long labors.
County of Hillsedge
Hillsedge produces everything one can find in Ostel’s other provinces (gold, silver, coal, lumber), but in smaller quantities. The province is sparsely populated.
Kerran, the lord of this hilly region, is a tall, thin man of a bit over 20 years. He often rides the border with his scouts, mostly noble friends he has grown up with. Kerran enjoys the grand hunt, and has even shown some aptitude for it.
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