Population: 149,492 (45% Anari, 28% Saxa, 12%dwarves, 10% hearth elves, 3%Engro, 2% Frostborn).
Ruler: Independent settlements
Conquered by the Anari, the region remained part of the Empire until the Blizzard War. As the armies of the Hellfrost advanced south through Hellfrost Pass, they wrought terrible destruction, wiping out most of the population. Those not killed fled further south.
When the war ended, survivors and settlers drifted back to claim territory. Before the settlers could secure the entire region, the Dark Triumvirate corrupted Black Heath, essentially dividing the land in twain. Since then, numerous settlements have grown up from teh ruins of those left by the terrible War, but no ruler has had the charisma or military might to unify the lands.
Attacks by orcs in the north and undead around the center, combined with no central authority, make the Freelands a dangerous place to travel, let alone live.
No single ruler controls the domain and the villages and towns within it’s borders hold allegiance only to themselves (though the larger towns have outlying villages associated with them). Since the Blizzard War, the settlements have reveled in their independence.
While many rural villages cooperate militarily, none of the major settlements do. Each retains its own army, its size and composition varying with the terrain and size of the settlement. While larger settlements, such as Aslov, command sizable armies, they serve only defensively. No ruler currently has any designs on military conquest, if only because starting such a campaign would force the other settlements into a joint pact against them.
The Freelands encompass a wide range of geographic features. In the far north lie the Jagged Peaks, and beyond them the Icebarrier Mountains. Heading west, the hills slowly level out into the Stone Forest and the plains which surround it, whereas in the east there is only unbroken rolling countryside. In the south stands the Pinnacle, a single mountain bordered on all sides by the high, barren Lesser Hills. The Freelands surround the Black Heath and Darkwood, which together make up the Withered Lands, on three sides.
- Aslov’s ruler, Baroness Olivia Hausman, has asked the rulers of the neighboring realm for aid, repeatedly, but so far little help has been received. The threat of famine has led to a reduction in grain shipments, as folk endeavor to store away as much surplus as possible before famine strikes the land. Her enemies are calling on her to resign her office in favor of her daughter (a simple child and one who would be easily manipulated). Baroness Hausman refuses to abdicate and is currently preparing an army to take supplies by force.
- In the last year, however trappers operating in the area have reported seeing figures on the battlements of Castle Greystone. Has someone claimed ownership of Castle Greystone, or are these merely phantoms?
*Last year, the head of the Reliquary, self-titled His Arcane Sereneness Yaval Spellslinger, returned from an extended trip beyond the Icebarrier Mountains and promptly sealed the lower vaults to everyone except himself and his new aide, a female taiga elf by the name of Glitterskin. No Arcanologist has been able to access the vaults.
Worse still, members of the Arcanologists have had their research notes confiscated, their security passes (which enable them to get past the various wards on the vaults) revoked, and their projects reassigned to new members of the organization members who work out of glyph-protected laboratories, newly constructed on the lowest levels of the castle. When seen elsewhere in the Castle, these new members wear heavy white robes and are escorted by Guardians devoted to Spellslinger.
*Word is slowly spreading among the Reliquae that a covert branch of assassins has been formed, taking relics by force from owners reluctant to part with them.
*Sedlang of Crase is undead. Killed by a vampire several years ago, Triath rose from the grave as a blood-sucking fiend. After feeding Triath regains his youth for 8 hours, which is when he poses as Sedlang, his son. The real Sedlang died of plague years ago on Alantaris Isle. Triath is desperately trying to find a way of permanently adopting his Sedlang disguise.
*For all its good name, Sanctuary can be a dangerous place. Patients have been known to disappear (though the Sisters have records showing the patient was treated and then left in good health) and others have returned changed in some indescribable way.