Riverwood

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Riverwood is a barony of the Turamzzyrian Empire.

Crest

  • two interlocking circles of blue pierced by a red arrow on a field of white

"Originally designed by the daughter of one of the Helt nobles for the famed harvest archery competition, the baron liked it so much that he made it his personal crest, replacing a white stag. Some members of the Helt family combine the two on one banner, while others, depending on their position in line of inheritance, will simply display the stag."

— Culoney of Hendor, The Crests of the Turamzzyrian Empire

Geography

"Riverwood is a plush, wooded region crossed by many free-flowing rivers. The woods provide plentiful game and other natural resources. Though the winters can become harsh, they are generally short and mild.

The city of Helt is a proud, rich city in the heart of the wooded territory of Riverwood. Helt enjoys access to two major rivers, providing excellent trade routes and access to surrounding territories. Helt is a walled city, with tall, pitch-cured timbers serving as a daunting deterrent against would-be invaders. The troops in Helt are skilled with the bow, and are great huntsmen."

— Deinirius Antroydes, A Traveler's Guide to the Turamzzyrian Empire

Velathae

"Velathae stood as it had two centuries before, as if no time--or damage--had happened. But most curious of all were the residents who were now ghosts. They continued to act out their previous life, working in their shops and selling wares. In their point of view, they did recognize their own deaths, but they still felt the old desire to sell their wares. People who visited the phantom village during Jastatos tried to discover what happened to the once living town, but none of the residents seem to be able to recall the full details of the fateful night. At most, they can remember individual tales of moments just before they died. Nor could anyone determine exactly why, after so many years, the village was appearing. Some tossed it up to the work of Lorminstra giving the mysterious village of restless spirits a chance to figure out what happened to them before they move on to Oblivion, and others say it is the work of the great evil that destroyed it with a nefarious plan to use the captured spirits as an army against the barony of Riverwood.

The phantom village of Velathae is a curiosity to the living world, and those who enjoy lore and legends. It's uncertain whether or not the full truth about the village's demise will surface, but scholars and bookworms alike will continue to search out the information. As to the ghostly residents, however, they are simply happy to be a part of the living world once more, and to be able to do what they loved doing for the short time that the village manifests each year around the Eve of the Reunion."

— The Phantom Village of Velathae, Ebon Gate 2006

Customs

"Custom in Helt holds that, before a newly fletched arrow meant for hunting can strike true, it must be blessed three times: once by a relative of the fletcher, once by a cleric of Imaera, and once by a person who will partake of the bounty of the arrow's first hunt. Similar custom holds that an arrow meant for war must be blessed once by a war leader, once by a cleric of Kai, and once by a person who will be protected through the arrow's use. Even the most arrogant hunter can be brought humbly low by asking his aged mother to please bless his newly fletched arrows, for the use of an unblessed arrow will bring terrible misfortune upon the one who shoots it.

As well as the Arkati, citizens of Riverwood often practice rites to honor Jes'Tamaline, a local spirit of the many rivers of Riverwood. If Jes'Tamaline is dishonored, it is said that the trees will bear no fruit, that deer will hear a hunter's footsteps from seven miles away, and that all the fish rivers will dry to dust with all their fish transformed to stone. Jes'Tamaline is honored on the last day of Ivastaen by singing songs in her honor, dancing through the woods, and garlanding people and trees with flowers. It is also custom for maidens in their first year of womanhood to spend Jes'Tamaline's night sleeping in the wood, so that the spirit will guide them and advise them. According to Riverwood legend, in hundreds of years of this ritual, no women have ever been injured in wild beast attacks or accidents in the darkness during Jes'Tamaline's night.

Legend claims that, centuries before Helt was founded, there was a terrible plague in the land later known as Riverwood, and all the streams were fouled. While other mortals wept for their own lives, there was one, a hermit, who wept for the death of the forest itself. Imaera had intended to let the plague run its course, as natural events must, but the hermit's grief attracted and touched her. When the hermit died, Lorminstra gifted the hermit's soul to Imaera, and the hermit arose out of death by Imaera's will as a nature spirit, so that she might protect the wilderness she had loved forever. Thus Jes'Tamaline came to be."

— A Traveler's Guide to the Turamzzyrian Empire

Organizations

Reeds of Jes'Tamaline

"Aptly due to its name, Barony Riverwood has no shortage of winding rivers that criss-cross along the entire wooded region. The area is plush, filled with plentiful game and resources, and the harshness of winter is never long and always mild. There is a legend among those in Riverwood, of a local spirit named Jes'Tamaline. It is said that ages before the first town in the barony was founded, there existed a dark plague on the land where all streams and lakes were turned foul and poisonous. Many of the denizens of the woods and small hamlets anguished, some in silence, and some with great crying voices, but all consumed with their own suffering. Rumors insist that one lone hermit did not weep for the boils and diseases of the people, but instead wept for the dying of the forest itself. Some claim that the Goddess of Nature, Imaera herself, had intended the plague to run its course, to allow the natural order of events to occur until the grief of this hermit both got her attention and moved her. The hermit was alone when she died, her last breath given in her countless care of the forest, where her body fell upon blemished land, her lifeless frame mere feet from a river turned black and brown with death. Because of her service and compassion to the world around her, Imaera was gifted the soul of the hermit by Lorminstra. In turn, Imaera release the soul, giving birth to the nature spirit of Jes'Tamaline, who was now gifted with immortality to forever watch over the wilderness that she loved.

There is no proof of Jes'Tamaline's existence, but history tomes do indicate a great plague that once ravaged the lands before Riverwood was formed, and in them lies no explanation for how the rot came to an end. This alone is more than enough evidence many citizens of Riverwood need to claim Jes'Tamaline is real, as it can be explained that through her rebirth and guidance that the lands were freed of their blight and offer the rich landscape that the barony now possesses. While many pay regular homage to the spirit of Jes'Tamaline and share a certain respect of nature, there exists a group who call themselves the Reeds of Jes'Tamaline that take their service to another level.

The Reeds are a mix of all ages, and it is not uncommon to see a few elves, sylvans and half-elves among the humans in this group. Many of them, in fact, still worship other Arkati but have dedicated their time and lives to the importance of Jes'Tamaline's mission. These men and women have no houses or owned land within towns and cities, but instead live in small pockets of makeshift homes along the edges of rivers or nestled into the many plush groves throughout the woodlands. Some travel and dwell alone, others exist in smaller communities in the wild. They are not political in nature, and much like the legend of Jes'Tamaline, they care less for the plight of the citizens, and more for the safety and nourishment of the land around them. To this end, the Reeds are known to be peaceful until the forest and rivers that are their heart and soul are threatened.

In 5049, a nobleman in Riverwood had undergone a hefty investment to start up a massive logging operation that would have seen hundreds of miles of woodland destroyed for the profit of exports to other provinces. Two days before his operation went live, the nobleman went missing from his house, his fate never discovered. Some say that it was the constant threats from the Reeds of Jes'Tamaline that finally gave him cold feet, and he fled the area. Others claim those same threats bore fruit and that, in the middle of the night, the Reeds kidnapped the nobleman, killing him and burying his body within the depths of the woods, never to be found. Regardless, the disappearance of the main investor caused the logging operation to close down within a week, and the forest was saved.

In Riverwood, there is an understanding among many of the merchants and nobles. The land is seen as bountiful, but it must be protected and replenished. While some lumber extraction does occur in Riverwood, it is always controlled and done within reason, while equal actions are taken to ensure the land is rebuilt."

— Lord Brieson Cassle of Highmount, Orders of the Turamzzyrian Empire
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