The Unknown Past
Points of Interest in the District of Rivergate
The Luunoyar river gets its name from the original elven name for the river. The river is assumed to originate somewhere beyond the Manor Marsh but no reputable source has ever crossed the marsh. The river slows, shallows, and widens into the expansive Manor Marsh as it approaches the towering Cliffs of Valkor. The marsh level is maintained by a constant draining into Lake Valkor from the breathtaking Ascendant Falls.
The river maintains a general depth of 95 feet for most of its length. The shallowest areas are around 70 feet and the deepest parts are over 120 feet. In a few of places the river narrows to only a few hundred feet across but for most of its run it is over 1000 feet wide. In the narrows there are some navigable rapids with strong currents but for the most part the current is slow. Small oceanic warships and large river barges can navigate the approximately 700 mile length of the river from the Cerulean Sea to Lake Valkor during most of the year.
The Luunoyar river is the primary travel mechanism south from the Rivergate district. The roads from Rivergate south are little more than wide trails and tend to be slightly dangerous for travelers.
The North Road is a wide, hard packed, dirt path that connects Rivergate with the fishing and boat crafting village of Lakeview. The road runs from the north side of the western town center along the Luunoyar river for about eight miles and into the south east side of Lakeview. The road is generally used for transferring wood and other resources to the village for boat building, and for the average person to travel to between the towns. The road is rarely guarded because it is in the center of the district and the river is between the road and The Wilds.
Lake Valkor is a very large fresh water lake that has been formed over the millennia by the force of the water that pours over Ascendant Falls as it crashes into the rolling plains approximately 1800 feet below. The lake is approximately five miles from the west coast to the east coast and approximately two miles from the cliffs to the south coast. The depth of the lake ranges from its deepest point under the falls at over 300 feet, to the 100 feet near the river’s mouth, to wading depths near the beaches. The majority of the lake is between 85 and 120 feet deep. The waves from the volume of water that goes over the falls, maintains the lake’s large size, year around navigability, and a steady flow into the Luunoyar River.
The depth of the lake provides the residents of Lakeview with its primary sources of income; fishing and boat making. The lake water is also used by the residents of the village and the surrounding farms and ranches as the source for drinking water and irrigation. Some nobles and wealth merchants have been known to visit the area to fish the very diverse fish population of the lake and view the splendor of the tallest falls in the kingdom.
Village of Lakeview
The small village of Lakeview is one of the primary sources of quality river craft in the eastern portion of the realm. The abundance of wood that makes its way from the forests of the south east and south west to the village is used by the many skilled boat wrights to make a few dozen cargo barges, personal pleasure craft, and river frigates annually. There is also an extensive and diverse fish population in the lake that is harvested by the residents of Lakeview and distributed through out the region via the markets in Rivergate.
Ascendant Falls is the tallest waterfall in the kingdom and probably in the world. It stretches for over 2300 feet across the top of the Cliffs of Valkor and plummets over 1800 feet straight down to the surface of Lake Valkor. The water that is deposits into the lake eventually spills out into slow moving Luunoyar river.
Cliffs of Valkor
The Cliffs of Valkor are a towering anomaly that runs for almost 100 miles across the southern edge of the Knife’s Edge Mountains. Each end of the cliff leaps from the foot hills to over 2000 feet high within a hundred yards. At the center of the cliffs resides the breathtaking Ascendant Falls and the Lake Valkor. Atop the cliffs is a swamp known as Manor Marsh that runs along most of the cliff’s length.
Manor Marsh is an enormous, unmapped swamp at the top of Ascendant Falls. The locals to the Rivergate area say that it is haunted by the spirits of the warriors that fell during the Orc Wars. Adventurers are known to come to the area to scale the cliffs and delve into Manor Marsh looking for war relics. A few return with some random artifacts of interest but many never return, their stories adding to the mystique that is the marsh.
Many of the Rivergate district’s older boys will go “hunting in the forest” but truly head to the cliffs, attempt the climb, and then spend the night in the Manor Marsh. Usually they come home with stories about what they saw and what they found, but almost none of them return with anything of value claiming that they dropped it when attacked by ghosts or zombies or when climbing down the cliffs.
The Ranches of Rivergate
The ranches of the Rivergate district are large tracts of land that have been given to very minor nobles and aristocrats who serve the baron of Anadar. They are given the land in exchange for raising animals for use within the barony. Each aristocratic family and its retainers breed their preferred animal on their land and ship the excess to the communities in the area, and via Rivergate, the rest of the barony.
The ranches are currently limited to the area between the East Road, the river Luunoyar, and the Cliffs of Velkor.
There are two 100 foot wide paved roads that leave the town of Rivergate; one to the west known as West Road and one to the east known as East Road. The East Road leaves the east side of town and slowly curves northeast for about 16 miles until it reaches the south side of Clifton’s Way. As you travel the East Road you will encounter a rest stop in the road approximately every four miles. At the rest stop the road maintains its 100 foot width as it makes a circle around a 50 foot diameter, grass covered, low hill that has a covered public well at its top.
The village of Clifton’s Way was formed by the area’s miners’ and the occasional stationary trapper’s need for safety. Being close to the Wilds and a bit standoffish these folks found themselves at the mercy of the Wilds’ inhabitants for many, many years. Finally they decided that they should build their residences near each other to make it easier to protect themselves. The Clifton’s Way area was selected because there was already a large area that was mostly clear and had many paving stones that could be reused. The opinion of the locals is that at some point in the distant past Clifton’s Way was probably a major hub of commerce to have had a paved town center in that era.
Today the village is small yet it offers its population, about 45 families and their workers, the protection of its excellently crafted stonework walls and towers. The miners are blessed to live and work where there are dozens of different types of stone and gems that are easily accessible. This gives them the ability to annually produce many tons of stone and hundreds of pounds of gems that are shipped to every town and city in the realm.
Only a couple of families living in the village specialize in trapping and hunting for furs, but there are another 30 or so individuals that wander the area and sell or trade their catch to the resident trappers.
The Wilds is the name that is used to reference the lands to the east of the kingdom of Shakala and north of the elven kingdom. Somewhere in the midst of the Darke Harte Forest the lands become uncivilized and inhabited by a great number of natural and magical beasts. There many tribes of orcs, goblins, ogres, kobolds, giants and numerous other humanoid creatures in addition to more animal like creatures like tiger, worg, wyvern, dragon, and chimera.
Adventurers regularly attempt to enter the Wilds for a variety of reasons; justice against the raiders, mythical ancient kingdom’s wealth, monster body parts for magical research, etc.
Even though most of the Wilds hold little more than death or disappointment for those that enter its ancient forests and rolling hills, occasionally adventurers will return with historic relics of a by gone era, coins from an unknown kingdom, a corpse of a magical beast for academic or magical study, or a even rescued prisoners to reunite with their mourning families. The gains that are collected by the rarely successful groups provide just enough encouragement to make additional groups feel that they could be the next ones to strike it rich.
The Knights Verdoyant built Northwood Keep about 500 years ago to add a location for launching live combat training missions for their squires and newest Knights-Bachelor. It is a robustly built granite structure constructed in the standard defensive styles of the era. It was originally built to support 25 knights, their equipment, squires, and servants. Governance of the site is assigned to the knight who has accepted service into the Baron of Anadar’s court. The areas of noble responsibility for the grant of title by the baron are defined as the defense of Rivergate district and the growth of the barony into the Wilds at every opportunity.
The grounds around the keep have grown to include a dozen small residences for visiting nobles and a large tournament grounds. As the current lord of the keep, Sir Khristof, greatly enjoys his to tournaments, the residences are kept supplied and clean at all times and the tilting runs and grand melee field ready.
Emerald Bow is a fortified training camp that is built on the foundations of the original burm and palisade construction the Ranger Corps built as an outpost during the Orc Wars. Today it is one of the Ranger’s primary advanced training facilities. The nearness of the Wilds and the denseness of the Darke Harte forest provides outstanding opportunities for the long term members of the Ranger Corps to advance their skill sets and value to the team.
The camp’s fortifications consist of a dry moat encircling a 15’ high, stone walled, five acre plot of land. In the center of the property there is a very low plateau that supports a flat roofed stone residence building capable of holding 50 or so Rangers. The wall has one iron reinforced oak gate that faces the road to Rivergate and is usually open.
The name of Cutter’s Glen summaries the reality of the site, eight wood cutters and their families maintain houses within a stones throw of each other near a common water well in the depths of Ashwood. These folks maintain small vegetable farms and a few head of various livestock to lessen the need of travel to Rivergate.
There are two 100 foot wide paved roads that leave the town of Rivergate; one to the west known as East Road and one to the east known as West Road. The West Road leaves the west side of town and slowly curves northwest for about 16 miles until it reaches the south side of Westerville. As you travel the West Road you will encounter a rest stop in the road approximately every four miles. At the rest stop the road maintains its 100 foot width as it makes a circle around a 50 foot diameter, grass covered, low hill that has a covered public well at its top.
The Farms of Rivergate
The lands that are bordered by the West Road, the Cliffs of Valkor, and the Luunoyar river are sometimes referred to as the Farms of Rivergate. This area is made up of farm lands that are family owned acreages growing grains, fruits, vegetables, tobacco, and everything in between. Generally each family farm specializes in one or two items, growing a few other things just to make their family’s diet more varied.
The farmers take some of their harvests to sell and trade in the villages of Westerville and Lakeview, but the majority they carry to Rivergate for use by the inns and the town’s residents.
Westerville is the oldest of the area communities. Westerville was originally founded as a defensive position during the orc wars. At the end of the war it was used as an exploration post by the army. A few decades later, the keep was disassembled and made into residences. The area is flush with a wide variety of wild life and the careful management of the animals has allowed their numbers to continuously increase. This has allowed Westerville to become a major producer of pelts that are used across the kingdom. The village population has fluctuated over the centuries, currently there are about 35 families that call the village home. In addition there are about another 25 that wander the area and sell or trade their pelts I Westerville.
Due to its nearness to the Knife’s Edge Peaks there are a few individuals who use the community as a home base for mining camps. These miners produce a few different types of stone and gems that are hauled to Rivergate for sale.