DUCHY of ARANDOR and THE SOUTH
The wards of the city are laid out in concentric circles, each rising in elevation from the outer walls to the beautiful Ducal Palace. The main thoroughfares run from South Gate and River Gate, straight to the palace walls, passing through white stone archways as they climb from each section to the next. Lower City is the commercial section of Arandor, where the shops, markets, travelers’ inns and poorer housing are located. Middle City holds the wealthier merchant residences and guild halls, as well as the barracks, armory and stables of the City Guard. In Upper City are the noble residences, public buildings, parks and the magnificent Grand Cathedral, the only temple in the city. Unlike most of Anglamar, the people of Arandor are nearly all adherents of the New Faith, and the Archbishop of Arandor leads all of the faithful in Anglamar.
The Duke of Arandor rules Anglamar south of the Andural River, from the coast east to the mountains. The province was an independent realm until 150 years ago when it was acquired by King Othred through the marriage of his youngest son, Prince Edred, to Arandor’s Princess Rosalin. Their son, Edmun, was granted the title of Duke. This places the current Duke in line for the throne of Anglamar if the King should die without an heir.
The Duke commands the Knights of Arandor, who wear green and white surcoats and helmets with white horsehair-plumes. Arandor also has a maritime tradition and many southerners serve in Anglamar’s navy. The Duke’s own war carrack, the Sea Stallion, makes annual cruises up the Anglamar coast and to the Storm Isles in Summer.
The grassy meadows and fertile fields of Immerdeen make it the rural heartland of southern Anglamar. The countryside is scattered with cottages, barns, windmills and rail-fenced pastures where white faced cattle graze. There is a small stone keep where a squad of militia sit watch with little to do but eat, sleep and banter with the local farmers.
Immerdeen’s fame, however, comes from its horse breeders, and the tall, powerful, snow white Immerdeen stallions, widely regarded as the finest horses in Anglamar. The late King Thelring’s favorite charger, Stormwind, is considered the finest example of the breed. Veston Sturl is the King’s Horsemaster and he regularly travels from Gondaran to Immerdeen to inspect and manage the bloodline.
Immerdeen is also the location of the College of Bards, where talented students are given formal training in the old bardic traditions. Those with exceptional talent (or connections) may also enter the Fraternity of Heralds, where they prepare to serve the noble rulers of Anglamar.
In the mountains east of the city of Arandor lies a narrow valley of green meadows, aspen and pine wood. A small clear lake rests in the valley, fed by highland streams, and on the edge of the lake is a quaint wood and stone inn. The Glen is pleasant the year round, with cool weather in Summer, light rain and scant snow in Winter. The reclusive Bard lives there (not a member of the Royal College and his origins are shrouded in mystery) and a few chosen guests come and go with the seasons - among them the ruling family of Arandor. Shadows' Glen is protected by powerful magics, mysteriously placed and maintained, and an enigmatic dragon (rumoured to be a benevolent one, as well) is said to lair in a nearby mountain ... There is some agreement or alliance between the Bard and the dragon. Armies (ducal, baronial or royal) are not allowed in the Glen, though armed servants of nobles are permitted as long as they maintain peace. Very few folk have ever seen the place, though many in Anglamar have heard of it.
This seaside castle marks the southernmost extent of the kingdom of Anglamar. It is a functioning fortress, manned by thirty knights and 500 men-at-arms of the Knights of the Gryphon and fully staffed with servants, grooms, cooks and armorers. The garrison stands a six-month tour of duty at Sunderguard, which, unlike Kragmoor in the North, is considered to be a pleasant enough assignment. The troops are permitted to take their leaves in Arandor. Sunderguard’s knight-commander holds the title of Warder of the South and has the authority to call on troops from Arandor if the need ever arises.
This wide valley rises into the Storm Giant Mountains, granting passage to the highland valleys which lead, eventually, south to the lands of the Inner Sea. Two days' travel into the mountains, a pair of ancient stone fortresses flank the pass with a half-ruined wall between them, marking the northernmost extent of the Empire in the days before the founding of Anglamar. Abandoned for centuries, Emperor’s Gate stands empty, for Anglamar does not maintain a garrison here. Wild beasts and other creatures now make their lairs where Imperial soldiers in burnished breastplates and plumed helmets once stood guard against the barbarians of the North. Beyond the Gate, an ancient road of broken stone pavings follows the pass higher into the mountains …
The county of the Dales was granted by King Holmar, great-great-grandfather of Thelgar III, in gratitude for the halflings’ service at the Battle of Howling Hills during the Long Winter of 1340. There, a force of some 500 halfling archers and riverfolk, led by Buckleman the Boatwright, marched from their homes along the Andural River to meet an invading orc horde from the mountains. Many were slain as they fought a slow retreat, giving the King’s forces time to arrive. In the end, Holmar himself led the charge that broke the orcish ranks. Afterward, he gave the halfling folk the Dales as their own land and granted Buckleman and his descendants the title of Warden of the Dales, equal in standing to a Baron.
Men are not allowed to live in the Dales, though they may travel through it with the Warden’s leave. The current Warden of the Dales is Neddlemer, great-grandson of Buckleman, who lives in Arbuckle Hill overlooking the river. Visitors should beware that the Dalefolk are the Royal Family’s staunchest supporters, and woe to the traveler who makes derogatory talk of the King within earshot of a halfling of the Dales.
The Dalefolk worship the Old Gods, revering the Great Mother as Mistress of the Harvest and the Hearth. They also recognize Hob the Prankster and try to avoid his influence.