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.

 

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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. 

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.