High Emmerock, a region of high, grassy meadows suited for grazing livestock and one of the more prosperous Border Kingdoms, is ruled by a council of seven Lords of the Lance. Present members of the council are listed below (note that individuals of either gender are styled Lord).
- Haldimar Brethok (a noble, dashing, gallant LG male Mulan human Ftr16), Lord of the Blue Falcon, who dwells in Falconkeep in northwesternmost High Emmerock.
- Azlurla Marounal (a quiet, grim, darkly beautiful CG female Calishite human Ftr14/Wiz6), Lord of the Wavewatch, who lives in Wavewatch Tower on a peak (Nightwind Pinnacle) overlooking the village of Nightwind and the Lake of Steam beyond, in northern High Emmerock. She set aside warfare to learn magic under the tutelage of the Water Witch over a decade ago.
- Gorramator Margan (a mighty-thewed, rustic, and gruff LN male Chultan human Ftr17 who is determined his land will never be unprepared to deal with invaders), Lord of Oldstones, of Oldstones Hall in rocky, northeasternmost High Emmerock.
- Lastos Teldoak (a fat, food-loving, lazy-seeming but shrewd LN male Durpari human Ftr10 who delights in parties, spectacles, and fun -- but uses them to shrewdly sum up the characters of those around him -- and who delights in learning covertly the dreams and future plans of all residents of the realm), Lord of Eagles, who dwells in palatial Reddunsar Manor (known for its shady, wooded gardens of falling streams and pools) atop the Eaglesroost, a wooded ridge in High Emmerock.
- Soarara "Longtresses" Phondipar (a sharp-tongued but fun-loving, slim, acrobatic, golden-haired NG female Chondathan human Ftr15 who stands almost seven feet tall and is said to have storm giant blood in her ancestry), Lord of the Vale, who dwells in Silverstream Hall in Boldo's Vale at the southeastern edge of the realm. Boldo was the most crude and boisterous of the Kings of the Sward and is fondly remembered in jests and legends.
- Jethtarina Aldinuth, Hammer of Helm (soft-spoken, calm in any situation, and a woman who never forgets the slightest detail of events, messages, or faces; an outwardly colorless but inwardly passionate and pranksome LN female Damaran human Clr16: a "Bulwark of Helm"), Lord of the Tower of Vigil (Helmite monastery) atop Harethtoe Tor on the southern edge of High Emmerock.
- Belotar Sandras (a saturnine, sarcastic fashion plate always immersed in the gossip and politics of Calimshan, the Lake of Steam, and the Tashalar; a CN male Mulan human Ftr12), Lord of the Crag, master of Dragonmount Crag Castle in westernmost High Emmerock.
Interested travelers should know that Falconkeep stands over the small village of Irsprey, known for its smiths and woodcarvers. Amid its hillocks, shady stands of trees, and winding lanes, the only tavern is the Old Anvil (Fair/Cheap), and its sole inn is Gunderbar's Place (Fair/Moderate).
Wavewatch Tower stands on Nightwind Pinnacle above the village of Nightwind. Known for its sapphire miners and stonecutters, this spartan settlement of stone cottages and drystone-walled gardens is surrounded by quarries and boasts the Nightwind Tavern (Excellent/Moderate) and Stand of Stones Inn (Good/Moderate).
Oldstones Hall overlooks a sheep-herding village, Ornryl, known for its smelly but long-lasting tallow candles (treated with a secret mixture of ground stone and crushed plant juices to burn slowly and hold their shape) and its smoked and jellied lamb meat (sold in tins all around the Lake of Steam). Wool is sent to the mills of Catanthar. Ornryl has two small taverns, a family gathering-place known as Stulgin's Stook (Good/Cheap) and The Happy Homonculous (Good/Moderate, named for a long-ago local mage-related event). The Happy Homonculous is a rough watering hole where ladies dance and sing for guests and outland visitors, who are directed hence.
The Eaglesroost, where Reddunsar Manor nestles in its wooded gardens, rises above the fast-growing, prosperous village of Catanthar. "The Cat" is the closest thing High Emmerock has to a craftworkers' town -- or a town of any size, for that matter. It is also the only settlement in High Emmerock to have named streets. Catanthar is home to carpenters, smiths, wool-millers, and makers of roof tiles and cobbles. Among its winding streets, which are fast becoming constantly crowded, are a pair of taverns and another of inns. The Mace & Mattock (Good/Moderate) on Thurdan's Street is the older, cleaner, and quieter of the two taverns. The louder, more boisterous drinkers go to the Just As I Was Falling (Fair/Cheap) on Iythkyn Street. Both of the inns are apt to be noisy, but the more exclusive of the two is the Enchantment of Emmerock (Excellent/Expensive) on Shool Street. The busier accomodation is that afforded by The Galloping Stallion (Good/Moderate) on Sward Way.
Boldo's Vale is heavily settled, with the oldest surviving homes in the realm. Its cottages are so bedecked with flowers and ornamental ponds and plantings that it is sometimes called "the Hidden Garden of the Border Kingdoms." Amidst all this pastoral beauty winds Engullar's Way, the road down into the rest of the Border realms. Along it one can find all of the shops, smithies, cheesemakers, and other establishments of the Vale, including: the popular The Laughing King tavern and dining hall (Excellent/Moderate), the more rustic Old Ox tavern (Good/Cheap), the Sylph and Stars festhall (visited by dancers and lovers of minstrelry from all over the Border lands), and two inns -- the Bright Buckle Beds (Good/Moderate) and the more rustic Green Griffon (Good/Cheap).
The village of Harethtoe stands on the southern edge of High Emmerock, astride the road from Dunbridges. A rather spartan, no-nonsense trading center, it was founded to sell the sapphires, smoked meats, and livestock of the realm to visiting merchants and buy their finecloth and ironmongery. Both activities take place under the ever-watchful eye of the Helmite clergy. Harethtoe was built for defense, with concentric ring-walls, defensible gates and towers, wide cobbled streets, and all-stone construction with slate roofs. Nothing will readily burn, and any attackers must climb a series of rising cobbled slopes (despite anything slippery that's been poured underfoot) while the villagers fire crossbows down their throats. Harethtoe has one tavern, Obolder's Tankard (Good/Expensive), and a single (large) inn, the Southshield (Good/Expensive). Both are policed diligently by Helmite priests to keep order. Most visiting merchants chafe at the attentive watch kept over them at first but come to welcome the quiet, nearly crimeless setting.
The village of Dragonmount lies just east of Dragonmount Crag (topped by the Lord's castle). It is a place of woodcarvers, butchers, and shepherds famous for its spiced, smoked meats. It offers the visitor The Flying Unicorn tavern and festhall (Good/Moderate) and the Shanduth's Hall inn (Excellent/Moderate). Shanduth's Hall is popular with adventurers because its frail, aged proprietress, Shanduth, (CG female Calishite human Ftr6/Sor9) was a notable adventurer in her day. She provides advice, gear, aid for the injured, and discreet help in shadier dealings.
Next week -- the Lake in the Cleft and the Water Witch.
About the Author
Ed Greenwood is the man who unleashed the Forgotten Realms on an unsuspecting world. He works in libraries, writes fantasy, science fiction, horror, mystery, and even romance stories (sometimes all in the same novel), but he is still happiest churning out Realmslore, Realmslore, and more Realmslore. There are still a few rooms in his house with space left to pile up papers in . . .