Anglamar and the West: State of the Kingdom
It's early Winter, 1489 in Imperial Reckoning.
The coasts are freezing from Nordland to Beregond and icy storms are lashing the western islands. The Icewall and Dragonspine mountains are blurred with snow and the passes are buried. The Winterborne River is starting to freeze and across the North, folk are settled in to wait out the cold months. Highsaddle is snowed in until Spring. Hammerfall is abandoned and the dwarves of Irongate have closed their city. Fur-traders and miners have crowded into Northinghall, where the Baron has stored up for another hard Winter. The Nordlanders are back in their steadings and their dragonships won't be seen again until the sea ice thaws.
Across Anglamar, markets are filled with goods brought in during the Summer, the graineries are full, and loads of firewood are stacked and ready. Inns and taverns are well-stocked and their hearths already ablaze. It's been a good harvest, this Autumn, and His Majesty has already issued a decree to all the Barons. There will be no Spring taxes and tariffs will be suspended on merchant ships arriving at the ports of Arandor and Westhaven for the first month of Spring. The Dales have prospered as well, and the Queen and Her entourage spent an extra week there following King's Day to enjoy the Dalefolk's hospitality ... They're working iron in Beregond, the livestock pens are filling in Aragond, and in Westhaven the foreign ships are sailing south again with their holds loaded with goods, to return with the winds in Spring.
There's been no sign of trouble from beyond Winter Gap thus far. Kragmoor Keep remains vigilant as always. It's been 50 years since the Wizard-King's defeat and the Citadel of Black Ice was sealed. Gods willing, the peace will hold. There's been some sign of trouble coming on the borders, though. Wolves are roaming out of the deep woods of the Eastmark already, and orc raiding parties have been sighted in the foothills of the Storm Giant Mountains. The King has dispatched extra troops to High Horn Keep and the Duke of Arandor is organizing a force of his Knights and men-at-arms to march north through the Howling Hills. "To show the flag," he's said and give his troops some practical Winter training. Not to be outdone, His Lordship the Baron of Eastinghold has announced that he will send a force of his own to meet the Duke's at Long Lake.
Heavy storms are predicted on the Western Ocean this season and Westhaven is preparing for them. In the south, the expected arrival of a merchant caravan from the Inner Sea has not happened. Border patrols say the passes beyond Emperor's Gate are already blocked by snow and the Duke has consulted with His Majesty to organize an expedition for the Spring. Adventurers and trail-guides are expected to flock to Arandor.
In perhaps the last sign of the inevitability of Winter, the Duke's war carrack, the Sea Stallion, is returning from her Summer cruise north, leaving Kinnoch in the Storm Isles for home port at Arandor.
Over all, Anglamar is at peace and benefiting from a prosperous Summer and harvest. Mid-Winter Festivals across the kingdom promise to be a joyful time, if the snows aren't too deep. From Gondaran, word is that King Thelring is recovering apace. The Queen has sent thanks and well-wishes to all the people of Anglamar for happiness, health and safety through Winter. Prince Thelgar, busy with matters of state during the King's illness, has promised to tour the coast come Spring, and noble maidens from Beregond to Arandor are all a-dither (perhaps it has finally been decided high time that Anglamar's most eligible bachelor be wed). From the Bishop of Arandor, the blessings of Mythas on the faithful throughout the kingdom - and may the Old Gods bless their followers as well.