Knot of Thorns
Chaotic Good, small city
Government autocracy chosen by the monarchy in Matharyn
Population 9,500 (7,500 humans; 1,100 half-elves; 650 elves; 125
dwarves; 90 halflings; 35 other)
- Lord Argus Welshire, Duke of Farholde, Commander of the Castle Hamorhall
- Sir Valin Darian, Knight of the Alerion, 2nd in command of the Castle Hamorhal
- Baron Arkov Vandermir
- High Priestess Temperance Avigail of the Order of the Silver Maidens
- Hugo Hallynbeck, mayor and reeve of Farholde
- Lady Shayln Marsten, powerful merchant and minor noble
Farholde is the northernmost colony of Talingarde. This small city is a backwater, largely isolated from its parent nation by distance and danger. No King of Talingarde has visited Farholde since the Victor sat upon the throne. And yet, Farholde is a keystone of the realm’s defense. Without control of the delta that feeds into Lake Scardynn (pronounced SCAR-den) there would be no credible defense of the Borderlands.
Farholde did not always belong to Talingarde. Less than three hundred years ago, it was a small hill fort controlled by a barbaric Iraen chieftain. How long the Iraen lived and ruled there, scholars can only guess but a farmer tilling a field still might find a crude iron arrowhead or a broken bit of pottery that shows the march of countless
The half-elven king Accarius IV called the Architect personally led the army that besieged the Iraen hill fort Casrhalla (pronounced Kaz-ra-halla rhymes with Valhalla) and through might of arms took control of Farholde. Though he burned down the original fort, he rebuilt a castle upon its foundations. This was the first establishment of the Hamarhall, named for its distinctive shape. It became one of the first nine watchtowers of the Watch Wall which guarded the frontier.
Accarius’ troops made permanent camp atop the nine hills and it is this camp that is direct descendant of Farholde today. Some of the oldest street names like ‘Quartermarch’ and ‘Kingscamp’ hint at this origin.
The Iraen tribesmen are not memories. They inhabit the Caer Bryr in great numbers and even a few still make Farholde their home. Some worry that the forest-dwellers merely wait for a chance when Talingarde is weak enough that these barbarian may take back what was once theirs.
The truth is that the forest-dwelling Iraen nowadays prefer their secluded glens. As for the town-dwelling Iraen, so interbred are they with the Talireans, that they are virtually indistinguishable. Their greatest contribution is the proliferation of unpronounceable place names, red hair and green eyes.
With a little imagination, you can see that the delta is actually a great monster closing its jaws upon Farholde. The town seems like little more than a morsel this great beast will soon devour. Though simply a coincidence of geography, this is an apt analogy.
North is the savage frozen frontier, the land beyond the Watch Wall. It is the domain of the bugbear tribes. More than once, Hamarhall has been besieged by these barbarous neighbors. Every time the Talireans have fought them off. If the invaders tried to bypass Hamarhall, the fortress deployed its war galleys armed with batteries of ballistae and battering rams. These warships made quick work of any crude flotilla the bugbears could cobble together.
To the south is the Caer Bryr (usually simply called the Briar by locals), an endless and alien jungle. The forest teems with barbaric tribes with different religions and tongues, weird ruins of inestimable antiquity and vicious super-predators that do not distinguish between men and prey. There are a thousand stories told of the dangers that lurk in the Briar and the terrifying truth is that a great percentage of them relate something close to fact.
In the middle of these wild perils lies Farholde, a thin strand of Talirean civilization. The people of Farholde do not decry their place or their fate. Instead, they take pride in their resilience. Farholde is just shy of three centuries old. For three centuries, bugbear hordes and Briar-born beasts have done their best to wipe it from the map.