Doves of Merrimont

The white doves of Merrimont have been part of the city since its inception, a hundred years after the Chaos War.  Even the templar Lyndon noted that the doves there were extraordinary, as they communicated to him through telepathic powers.  Many see the doves as the city’s eternal guardians, but no one has been able to decipher what exactly they’re protecting.  It is thought, by the humans, that the doves are protecting riches beyond imagining.  However, the doves rarely communicate to humans, preferring the elves who moved into the Merrimont region in 460 ACW.  

Telepathic powers are found in some animals but not exclusively in particular species.  In other words, not all doves have telepathy but the doves in Merrimont do.  The doves seem to congregate around the city’s main and largest archway, the Dovial Arch.  Superstition over the Arch circulate from bird droppings landing on citizens passing under the archway.  It has been noted that anyone who is pooped on is doomed to die within a year’s time. Because of these deaths, many in Merrimont are fearful of the doves and believe they may have powers beyond telepathy.  In 721 ACW, an elven mason was utterly convinced the doves were evil and needed to be killed.  The stone mason managed to shoot down seven doves before he was arrested and later executed for bearing weapons and using deadly force within the city (elves were not allowed to have or use weapons within Merrimont until the Farm and Riot Act of 772 ACW).

During many of the wars, such as the 10th War of Damir where Merrimont was put in siege by the orcs led by the warlord Phumbaas, the doves served as scouts and messengers for the elves.  The doves only seem to speak to a select number of elves, including certain elven nobles.  Many elves try to tap into the secrets of the doves by feeding them or cooing at them, but typically the doves fly away when such obvious bribery is offered.  It is rumored that the doves were friends with Kalliste, the blind seer, and that it was they who gave her the prophecy about the Slayer.  Kalliste never mentions the doves at all in any of her works, but the rumors continue to circulate.

In elven lore, doves were the favorite animal of Troix, the Angel of Valor.  It has been passed down from legend that Troix had a special relationship with doves, and they would speak to her and no other.  In her battles, Troix used the doves to spy on enemy outposts and armies, relaying the size and readiness of the opposing army.  When Troix was killed in battle, abandoned by her allies, it is said the doves dispersed and were never heard of again.

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Mt. Whitehood

The highest point in Damir (14,200 ft.), Mt. Whitehood was appropriately named by Lyndon himself.  The snow-capped head of the mountain is visible for well over fifty leagues; even the elves of Merrimont and the dwarves of Chance Rock can see it.  The mountain provides a high ground advantage for the city that would be built at the peak’s base.  In 440 ACW, the attacking dwarves of Duinmire were forced to take a wide angle of approach because of the steepness of the mountain.

The mountain has been mined thoroughly for its salt by the humans who settled under it, and then later, by immigrant goblins.  Some gold deposits have been found, but the mountain’s resources have been partly depleted after four hundred years of continual mining.  It was believed by critics for the unification of the human settlements (which became the kingdom of Damir) that the only reason Whitehood wanted to unite was because their resources were dwindling.  It is said Whitehood needed resources and the rest of Damir needed leadership.

There is a legend of the mountain which states that at Whitehood’s highest point is a cave, where a great mountain dragon slumbers.  The dragon was once believed to be the first ruler of the land, claiming Whitehood as its lair.  It would terrorize the indigenous cultures of primeval Damir, including the cyclopsians, but mysteriously ceased its devastating attacks just before Lyndon arrived in 106 ACW.  The legend was first told to the templars by the native humans, who Lyndon believed were trying to frighten him off from settling in Damir.  However, Lyndon did concede that Mt. Whitehood made him feel “uncertain” and wanted to move on from it. 

Argault the Builder, responsible for constructing the great fortress Gilstad, was commissioned by King Valimond in 564 ACW to make blueprints for a majestic castle built up against Mt. Whitehood.  Argault, having heard rumors, made a point not to build too far up the mountainside in fear of “waking the fabled dragon.”  In 675 ACW, a famed adventurer named Knippler made a daring climb to the summit of Whitehood.  Upon his return, Knippler claimed he came face to face with a sleeping dragon and provided some of its scales as proof.  But two years later, it was revealed that Knippler never found the cave and instead purchased some scales from a traveling merchant prior to the trek.  Knippler was proven a fraud and lynched by an angry crowd.

 

Merrimont part 1

Located strategically between the Blue and the Paia, two of three main rivers in Damir, is the elven city of Merrimont.  The name “Merrimont” is not elven, but human.  In 102 ACW, a massive party of immigrating human pilgrims, led by the great templar Lyndon, passed through the flower fields and grassy knolls of southern Damir.  Because of the flower fields and the small hills, it was named “Merrymont,” later spelled as “Merrimont.”

Flanked by the two rivers, the soil and ground seemed to be prime farmland that could be cultivated.  A large group of Lyndon’s followers broke off and decided to remain behind to farm and establish a human township in the fields.  Lyndon himself admired the ground but wanted access to the sea so he pressed ahead. 

Early on, it appeared the humans had found the perfect place to settle.  The fruit orchards provided plenty of food, and the humid climate added to the growth of their crops.  However, human irrigation technology was lost in the Chaos War.  Knowledge of cultivation was low, and the people were forced to learn anew.  Among the lost knowledge was how to properly dam a river.  After about ten years, the Blue River flooded the settlement and most of the outlying farms.  Five years after that, the Paia did the same.  The floods were catastrophic: dozens of people died at a time, houses and crops washed away, livestock killed. 

Feeble attempts to dam the rivers failed miserably, as the flooding continued to wreak havoc on every new settlement the humans built.  Still, for over a hundred years the humans in Merrimont gutted it out and kept rebuilding after each flood.  Then in 221 ACW, both the Paia and the Blue flooded simultaneously, wiping out the township completely, killing hundreds, destroying farms, crops and livestock; the people there were reduced to nothing.  The humans were fed up.  Every time they harvested a good crop it would flood.  Every time their livestock began to bear young it flooded.  Every time. 

By 240 ACW, virtually every human left the Merrimont region, convinced that the area could not be properly settled because of the rivers.  They went north, many settling near Mt. Whitehood and establishing a human outpost there.  Others went to Proudhill in the west.  But the fields of Merrimont were deserted.  Only a handful of human farmers tried to stick it out. 

Around that time the elves had successfully entered Oringard from the south and pushed the dwarves out.  The war between the elves and dwarves was technically the 2nd War of Damir.  It started when the elves, in search of a homeland, were given permission by the dwarves to pass through Oringard on their way north.  However, the forest proved to be just what the elven wanderers were in search for and they decided to stay and settle.  The dwarves took exception and began hostilities.  Eventually the dwarves, who had been mining up north, decided to retreat there and give up the forestland.

But in 461 ACW, over two hundred years later, the elves got a taste of their own medicine when the orcs of Nubrince entered Oringard and attacked.  The elves were too spread out and unprepared for an attack coming from their eastern border and scattered.  Iteph, their royal prince, did not escape and he and his family were massacred.  The elves that did manage to escape found themselves following the Paia west to the flowery fields of Merrimont.  In 469 ACW, the elves learned through the few human farmers that lived in the area that the land was called Merrimont and the elves decided to establish themselves there. 

The new elven township sent shockwaves across all of Damir.  Due to their location, the elves were now southern neighbors to the humans, who had established Whitehood as their primary domain.  Under their new king Bandrian I, the humans saw the elves as potential threats and fortified the hills (later called the Rossi Heights) above Merrimont.  However, many humans did not initially feel threatened by the elves, knowing they had settled in a region prone to flooding and would soon be wiped out.

However, this did not happen.  The elves knew of ways to dam the rivers, create waterways and proper irrigation, and minimize the flooding damage.  As a people, elves  often have a natural knack when it comes to cultivation and agriculture.  Within twenty years of establishing a township, the elves blossomed in agriculture and farmland.  Although the rivers still flooded, the preventative measures the elves took kept the damage manageable. 

Proudhill part 1

The first major human settlement in Damir to endure the test of time, Proudhill was settled by a large group of humans who broke off from Lyndon’s multitude of followers.  For a time, the templar Lyndon debated on whether or not Proudhill would be suitable for him.  While close to the Golden Mountains to the north and the Blue River to the west, Proudhill still did not offer access to the sea, a condition that Lyndon insisted upon.

However, Lyndon did help build Proudhill up before continuing on his way, using it as an outpost to launch attacks against the cyclopsians.  The cyclopsians were holed up in Thanoptos, a rock fortress and depot for cyclopsian war parties.  From Proudhill, Lyndon eventually crushed the cyclopsians and reduced Thanoptos to rubble.  Afterwards he pressed on, heading due west, but thousands of his followers stayed behind at Proudhill.

Proudhill offered plenty of amenities for humans to stay and settle.  They had access to the Blue River, natural irrigation for farming and agriculture, and a hill for fortification while elevating their citizens from the occasional flooding.  The township was officially founded before 115 ACW but the official naming of the hill wasn’t until then.  After the failed township at Merrimont, citizens were overjoyed to find an area so well situated that they relayed the pride they had for their new home in its name.

The town was a close knit community of devout templars, priests, monks, and goddess fearing citizens.  Because of their strong ties to one another, a council was formed to serve as a government.  A church was established and for a while the council and the templars there worked hand in hand, protecting the city from the bandits and petty criminals flocking to their establishment.

For a decade, Proudhill was the center of human activity in Damir.  It was larger than any other settlement; it had the biggest church, the markets to buy and sell supplies, and the most orderly society and government.  Being the largest also meant it attracted a lot of unwanted attention and resentment.  The humans of Proudhill who were native to Damir, having been suppressed for so long by the cyclopsians, did not embrace the teachings of the monks who reached out to them.  These humans were seen as “barbarians” and “heathens” and not to be trusted.  They became enemies to Proudhill.

A clan of these barbarians, calling themselves the Blood Bunch, launched several assaults against the farmers and the city gates, killing hundreds in a series of small wars.  The Blood Bunch frustrated the templars because they hid out along the swampy banks of the Blue river, which are hard to navigate.  They attacked at odd hours of the day: sometimes at night, other times in broad daylight, but always when Proudhill was unprepared.   While uneducated and uncouth, the barbarians were aggressive and intelligent, using spies and other clever means to detect weaknesses in Proudhill’s fort.

A dark day in Proudhill’s lengthy history came in 201 ACW, when the Blood Bunch launched a brutal campaign against the farmholds around Proudhill, sacking small villages, burning homesteads, raiding crops, killing men, raping women, and kidnapping children.  These raids prompted the council of Proudhill to adopt a different approach, and commissioned a young templar named Sir. Gallac to raise an army to deal with the savages.

Gallac’s goal was to seek out their nest and eliminate them.  To do so Gallac employed the help of someone who was of ill-repute and even feared:  a dark priestess named Sollus, who had been cast out of the church for her dark methods of healing and strange ritual behavior.  It was rumored that she had been spared from the stake because of her immense beauty, and thus was simply banished.  But Gallac tracked her down and made her an offer.  Sollus was a morph -had the ability to transform- and as an animal could infiltrate the Blue River region and locate the Blood Bunch’s base.  In return, the priestess demanded a small human female child to have as her own.  Gallac was reluctant to agree to the adoption, but because of the raids there were plenty of orphans in Proudhill.

The partnership paid off, and Gallac received the exact location of the barbarian hub deep within the swamps of the Blue River.  Marching with his army, Gallac invaded the Blue River, drove into the heart of their nest, and attacked them.  Unfortunately for Gallac he was unable to eliminate the barbarians, their numbers being far greater than he estimated, and he was forced to retreat.  However, his attack frightened the Blood Bunch into fleeing the area.  They would disappear and stay quiet for well over a hundred years before re-surfacing later.

Whitehood part 1

Located beneath Mt. Whitehood is the large human settlement named after the white-hooded peak.  The tallest peak of the Golden Mountain range, Mt. Whitehood sits at 14,200 feet high and it is the southern most mountain of said range.  The city rests among the Rossi Heights, the foothills beneath Mt. Whitehood.  Considering Damir’s age (circa 102 ACW), the city of Whitehood came to be settled late in its history.  Proudhill, Belvadore, Duinmire and Chance Rock predate Whitehood’s establishment, most of them by over a hundred years.  Officially, Merrimont was established long before any of them (circa 106 ACW), but the initial human settlement was destroyed by flooding approximately 147 ACW and again in 223 ACW.

Giving up on settling in the lush fields of Merrimont, survivors decided to try their fortunes by settling up north.  The hills and foothills surrounding Mt. Whitehood were untamed and unsettled.  A few sparse villages of native Damish people were about but they were primitive and unsuitable to maintain a viable population.  Humans had multiplied their numbers since the templar Lyndon had led them on a northern trek to new lands.  Those that stayed behind wanted to take advantage of Damir’s lush landscape, fresh water, and defensible settings.

The Rossi Heights presented an ideal place to build a settlement that could be defended.  The abundance of rolling hills would slow any army, and the mountain provided a safeguard against any attack from the  north.  Whitehood became an official human province in 250 ACW, and it started out primarily as a small community of miners.  A council of elders served as the town’s governing body, but as it grew so did its government.  In time, the elders began to jockey for the most influence and power.  This spawned internal fighting among the ruling class and later several bloody feuds which led to a string of warlords taking over Whitehood.  As the political situation in Whitehood deteriorated so did its economy.

Due to its limited agricultural opportunities, Whitehood struggled to keep up with its booming population growth.  The land about Whitehood was not the best for farming, its soil rough and rocky.  Their neighbor to the west, Proudhill, was on the other hand rich in agriculture.  Eventually, a trading post was established between the two large human settlements and Whitehood’s economic situation improved somewhat.  But its political instability was holding the city back.  In a span of nearly seventy years, Whitehood had five different warlords claim jurisdiction of the town.

Even with the political chaos, Whitehood grew from a mining village to a township to a fortress.  Fear of rogue bandits and fearsome monsters drew people behind its walls for protection.  The warlord Keltan attempted to be Damir’s first “king” and establish a bloodline of rulers from Whitehood.  He helped turn Whitehood from a basic fortress to a sizeable keep.  While Keltan ruled for almost forty years (345-84 ACW), his son never ruled a day in Whitehood.  The Keltan line was cut down immediately after following Keltan’s death, his family over-run by a mob and publicly lynched and executed.  The uprising against the Keltans was a planned event, meant to strike when the warlord’s family was most vulnerable.  Led by several concerned citizens over the state of Whitehood, and the fear that warlords such as the Keltans would only lead the city down a dark path, a council was re-established.

Under the governance of a council, Whitehood flourished, establishing a trade route to Proudhill and all the way to Belvadore.  Proudhill was rich in agriculture, Belvadore in linens, and Whitehood in salt.  Because of the volcanic region around Mt. Whitehood, an active volcano, hot springs producing mineral salt were ever present.  Known as the “Salt Trade,” Whitehood’s primary resource was the salt mines that paved the way for the city to become an economic giant.  In time, Whitehood’s population grew larger and it began to incorporate outlying villages.  Settlers and villages placed around the hills fell under the protection of the city.

History eventually repeated itself, however, when the rich and influential merchant, Krogert, bought the loyalty of Whitehood’s military guard and took over the council.  Krogert, a fat, slobbery man covered in hair from head to foot, behaved like a bully, intimidating Whitehood into submission by terrorizing households and fellow merchants.  He came to power roughly 430 ACW and was a merciless tyrant who put to death anyone he suspected to be his enemies.  Because of how close Whitehood had become to the other human settlements in Damir, Krogert’s coup caused an economic ripple and backlash.  The Salt Trade was dissolved, with both Proudhill and Belvadore attempting to distance themselves from Krogert and his ilk.

People starved in the streets, and clothes and medicine were hard to come by.  Krogert and his guards frequently raided homes, taking food and valuables to help preserve himself and his rule.  Krogert’s greed and consumption of resources went to all extremities.  As a levy, if a family could not pay Krogert’s steep taxes he would require a family member to enter servitude to his house.  He primarily wanted women to please him at every turn and would seize young girls and wives from their homes without explanation.  Outrage was rampant but suppressed by Krogert’s elite henchmen.  His rule lasted roughly ten years, but in that time Whitehood had become weak and vulnerable.

Damir

Located in the northwest corner of the continent, Damir is about 37,000 square miles in area.  Damir has no access to the sea, landlocked by four neighboring lands: Lyndon, Gronde, Nubrince, and the Ice Lands.  Officially named by Samjin the Scout in 102 ACW, the word “Damir” is an Elvish term meaning “Land of Awe.”  Samjin considered the name on his expedition through Damir’s wilderness, across the open green plains and rolling hills, to the Reverence Mountains in the west.  Ultimately, it was the land’s high concentration of dark clouds and thunder that inspired Samjin to name it Damir.

Damir had been occupied for centuries by the cyclopsians, giants whose most notable physical trait is their one eye.  Using their size to their advantage, they had enslaved all the other indigenous races.  The brutality of the cyclopsians kept the indigenous humans and elves from prospering and multiplying.  Due to their own internal strife, the cyclopsian leadership acted more along the lines of a confederacy rather than a unified nation.  They were broken up into several clans and some of the clans resented the others.  Small wars over Damir’s lush lands yielded nothing but hardships and their culture did not progress.

Although the dwarves were the first to immigrate to Damir, they avoided the cyclopsians by staying well protected within the forestland of Oringard.  The cyclopsians knew of the dwarves but were afraid of the immense forest, and thus the two races did not interact.  However, because of how disorderly their society was, the cyclopsians did not detect Samjin, and the scout was able to move through Damir, taking note of the landscape.

Samjin was the personal and most trusted scout of the renown Templar, Lyndon.  Lyndon was leading a mass exodus of humans and some elves out from the ruins of the Chaos War.  He sent several scouts ahead of his migration north to find land that would be suitable to cultivate and rebuild.  When Samjin returned, Lyndon was convinced that Damir was the land they had been searching for. Despite the cyclopsian occupation, Lyndon felt convinced he could take the land because of the disorderly nature of the cyclopsian rule.  Entering Damir, Lyndon bypassed Oringard because neither he nor his followers had any interest in the wooded wilderness, compared to the fertile meadows to the west.

Initially, Lyndon and his followers settled near the Paia River but it flooded and destroyed their early settlements.  As a result, Lyndon pushed north and then west, and ran into the cyclopsians who met Lyndon with hostility.  It is unclear who attacked first, but in the end Lyndon drove out the cyclopsians from Damir after a five year campaign.

Along the way and during his wars with the cyclopsians, Lyndon’s followers began to settle across Damir, ending their continental migration to call the land their home.  Lyndon himself was not satisfied with Damir and had originally mistook the Blue River for a coastline.  Learning that the land of Damir was landlocked and had no access to any sea, the great Templar moved on and would later found the neighboring marshland, which would bear his name.

With the cyclopsians driven out, the vast majority of the people who migrated under Lyndon’s banner were human.  The human populace quickly spread and multiplied to become the primary race in Damir.  They would exist as a series of settlements until unification in 460 ACW by Bandrian, the first king of Damir.  The land of Damir became the kingdom of Damir and would attract other cultures and races to its lush domain.  Even with Oringard being overrun by invading orcs, the kingdom has withstood many different wars, which have shaped and molded it into a thriving monarchy.

The land of Damir has withstood thirteen wars, and have named the wars accordingly.  These wars include internal conflicts, and do not include minor border conflicts with Lyndon in 676 ACW and again in 715 ACW, both of which ended up favoring Damir.  Because the Blue River runs through both Damir and Lyndon, control of it has always been the motive behind the western border wars.  However, since the Templar Lyndon’s line was restored to Lyndon’s monarchy as supreme ruler, the two adjacent kingdoms have been allies.

To the south, the rocky and mountainous land of Gronde has been a passive neighbor to Damir.  Due to their free market, Gronde was once the center of trade in the northwest region and had a direct route to Blood Coast.  While Gronde has often distanced itself politically from Damir, the two have never shown aggression to each other, until the tyrant Rudimond took control of Gronde and formed a threatening army.  Rudimond has militarized the border between Damir and Gronde, making open trade impossible while putting a strain on their relationship.

Nubrince to the east has proven to be a nest of orc activity, but Nubrince only supplies the orcs of Oringard with recruits and has not declared open hostility against Damir.  In Nubrince, only orc law is present and that comes from the Orc High Council.  The Ice Lands to the north is a remote region of frozen tundra and hills.  It is rich in resources but no kingdom has ever been established there.  It is seen as a refuge for illegal activity and outlaws fleeing Damir and Lyndon.

The extreme west of Damir is only thirty leagues (almost a hundred miles) from the coastline, known as Blood Coast.  Although Blood Coast does not border Damir, only a sliver of Lyndon land sits between them.  Blood Coast is nearly five hundred leagues long, but only forty leagues wide, as it stretches down half the western coastline of the continent.  Blood Coast is lawless, controlled by pirates, mercenaries, and black market smugglers and operatives.  It’s illegal trade has infected nearby lands (including Damir) in a three hundred league radius.

Damir’s flag consists of a golden crown on a blue background.  The orcs of Oringard use a black flag with bright green Shogue (language of the orcs) letterings.  Since the orcs’ arrival, Damir has fought six notable wars against them.  The latest, the 13th War of Damir, was fought from 791-92.  Damir forces came close to capturing Mt. Phumbaas within Oringard, their military stronghold, but were forced to withdraw, allowing Oringard to replenish its numbers and gear up for another war.

Damir has a population of somewhere near 150,000 but it has been as high as 200,000 on more than one occasion.  Along with its wars and internal strife, the kingdom has lost large chunks of its population from time to time due to plagues (Scarlet Rash & Beggar’s Breath) and natural disasters, such as flooding.  Humans make up 54% of the population, while elves sit at 32%, dwarves 10%, while goblins and centaurs round out the population at 4%.  This excludes the orcs of Oringard (as the realm is viewed outside the kingdom of Damir despite existing within the land’s borders).

The most populated city is Whitehood, then Proudhill, followed closely by the elven city of Merrimont and  Belvadore.  Whitehood encompasses the Rossi Heights area, which sits between it and Merrimont.  When combining the populations of the Southern Farmlands and Merrimont, the population there surpasses Proudhill.  Gilstad can swell to fifth place during wartime, as the fortress is a frontline to orc invasions.  The ranking of city by population is thus:

  1. Whitehood
  2. Proudhill
  3. Merrimont
  4. Belvadore
  5. Chance Rock
  6. Duinmire
  7. Gilstad
  8. Purewater