Overview

The smallest of Onnwal’s provinces in terms of Cantreds – the Eastern Marchlands nonetheless encompass most of the Headlands and a narrow coastal plain along the shores of Dunhead Bay. Most of the population huddles in towns along the coast – well fortified against attack from what was once the South Province. The plain is watered by many small fast-flowing streams, which tumble out of the hills and are prone to flooding in the summer. There is some arable farming carried on along the plain – mainly fruit and some maize. Pastoral agriculture predominates – mainly pigs and cattle in the lowlands and sheep in the hills as animals are easier to defend than crops and fields. Fishing in Dunhead Bay is rich – though the dangers posed by Ahlissan corsairs have traditionally made it a hazardous way of life. Military service is a major occupation here – and many of Onnwal’s Marines and army Regulars hail from the Eastern Marchlands.

The people of the Marchlands, unlike the rest of Onnwal, are of almost pure Oeridian descent – and Oerid faiths and traditions predominate. Marchers are known to be generally quite serious, dour folk but good in a fight. It is unsurprising then that good relations exist between them and the Dwur of the Headlands and Irongate. Killdeer was the main centre for Dwur in the lowlands of Onnwal prior to the occupation – outstripping even Scant in this regard. Duke Coriell’s famed Dwur bodyguard is perhaps the best-known feature of this friendship. The three Dwur citadels in the Headlands lie in the eastern portion of the province, officially within the Cantred of Dwur March. Onnwal, however, has never pressed a formal claim over these lands.

The Great House of Coriell

Dukes of the Eastern Marchlands, Seneschals of the East, Barons of the Dwur March

The nobles of the House of Coriell rule the Eastern Marchlands and have since the rebellion against the Great Kingdom warded that frontier of Onnwal against her Imperial foes. They have been well suited to this task – being like their subjects – stoic in the face of hardship, courageous in the face of the enemy and at all times dependable and true to their oath. These qualities are well appreciated by the Dwur of the Headlands – and there have been strong bonds between the House of Coriell and the Dwur of Vergannin. During the Battle of a Thousand Banners, Duke Halend Coriell – an ancestor of the current duke – is said to have saved the life of Vorengund, Thegn of Vergannin. In repayment of this debt of honour, a picked bodyguard of a dozen of the finest Dwur warriors of Vergannin has protected all the Coriell dukes. It was by the efforts of the Vergannin Guard that the current duke, Baeren Coriell, escaped the daggers of the Scarlet Brotherhood assassins. Rallying his troops to fight off the advance Brotherhood force sent to capture Killdeer, he quickly assessed the enormity of the disaster that had befallen Onnwal. The duke instructed his people to flee into the hills and with his household forces retreated into the Headlands, making his way finally to Irongate. He has ever since acted as Onnwal’s ambassador to the Fortress City. His brother, Elwerd, Baron of Dwur March too survived the occupation, finding refuge with his household guard in Vergannin. He has since returned to his fief, though he continues to urge his Dwur friends to join the struggle against the Brotherhood.

Faskel (Minor House)

Barons of High Headland

Vassals of the Duke of the Eastern Marchlands, the House of Faskel might at first glance be thought to have been given a poor lot in terms of their fief – including as it does the some of the most rugged and impenetrable parts of the Headlands. The majority of the inhabitants here are Flan tribesmen who, despite official claims by the Faskels, owe allegiance to no one. However, the share of the revenues from the rich platinum mines of Notil which goes to the House more than makes up for the lack of subjects and lands. The previous baron of High Headland was lured to Scant and assassinated during the initial Brotherhood strike on the city. His brother, Lord Kalderon Faskel, survived however. Though he was forced to retreat when Notil was seized by a large force of Hochebi in 584 CY – he did not have wait long to regain his seat in 586 CY. Unfortunately, Brotherhood forces collapsed many of the mines – often entombing themselves in the process. Work continues to reopen them and a vital source of income to the Free State.

Lorendrenn (Minor House)

Barons of Dunheern

The Barons of Dunheern have always had a long military tradition – even before Onnwal broke away from the Great Kingdom and their fief became part of the country’s first line of defences against the aggression of the herzogs of Zelradton. The faith of Heironeous has always been highly regarded – and many younger sons of the house have in the past become priests of the Invincible One or members of the Order of the Golden Sun. The son of the assassinated baron, Sir Halrend Lorendrenn is a Glaive Valourous of the Order and distinguished himself during the Greyhawk Wars against the forces of the South Province in Idee. He is the leader of the faction within the Order, that opposes Gellan Cadwale, believing him to be the one who betrayed the Glaives to the Brotherhood in Scant.

Locations Within the Eastern Marchlands

Detailed below are a selection of location that can be found in the Eastern Marchlands. This should not be considered an exhaustive listing.

Killdeer

The heavily fortified capital of the Free State of Onnwal and the Eastern Marchlands began as a humble fishing village huddled at the broad mouth of the Jelald River. The Aerdi first saw its potential as a defensive site and constructed the first fortifications here early in their invasion of Onnwal. Initially, it served as a supply port connecting the Aerdi armies in the Dragonshead to their homeland. After the conquest, it enjoyed a brief boom as the main entrance to the peninsula for Oeridian settlers from the heartlands of Aerdy, until it was eventually eclipsed by the new port of Scant. Killdeer slowly slipped back into obscurity, quietly accepting its fate as a provincial town.

It was not until Onnwal’s independence in 447 CY, that Killdeer once more rose to prominence. The then duke of the Eastern Marchlands, the legendary Halend Coriell, recognising that the town would be the keystone in Onnwal’s defences against the South Province, embarked an ambitious programme of fortification. Halend threw up walls around the main town of Killdeer on the north bank of the river and around the small satellite settlement of Templeside on the south bank, connecting the two with a causeway and lifting bridge of dwur design. Behind the causeway, he set about constructing one of the most impressive fortresses in Onnwal. Built on two natural islands in the estuary and comprising a series of concentric rings of walls surrounding the main citadel, Killdeer Castle is one of the best examples of the principle of defence in depth – borrowed from the Dwur of Vergannin who aided in the design and construction. Killdeer thus became the base for Onnwal’s squadron in Dunhead Bay and prospered despite intermittent raids by Ahlissan corsairs.

Today, Killdeer is the heart of Free Onnwal. Most of the small rebel fleet is based here, along with a large contingent of the Army of Rebellion, backed by Duke Coriell’s personal guards. The majority of the free churches of Onnwal have set up temples here, with Zilchus, Trithereon, Procan and Pholtus being the most prominent. The clergy of Procan have begun reconstruction of their cathedral on Templeside, which was destroyed, along with a large force of Brotherhood troops and a section of the waterfront, by a tidal wave summoned by the churches’ martyred High-Priest, Delvan Gasparan.

Something approaching normal life has returned to the main town and considering that before the Wars, Killdeer was effectively an army camp, little has changed except the identity of the enemy. The people have put aside the dark memories of the past and thrown themselves into the struggle for freedom. Killdeer’s fishing fleet once more sets forth proud and free, to return with nets bulging with fish to provision the Army of Rebellion. Trade has begun with Irongate – with foodstuffs being shipped down the coast to Northanchor in return for badly needed arms and armour.

Nonetheless, the occupation has left its mark, not only in the hostages taken from every family by Kuranyie, of which nothing has been heard of since, but also in the distrust and suspicion of strangers which is pervasive here. Rumours of the resurgence of Ahlissa are a further cause of concern. Whatever guise the rulers of Aerdy adopt, it will not erase the enmity the people of Killdeer have held for their neighbours to the east for over a century.

The Headlands

The Headlands form the “spine” of the Dragonshead peninsula and merge with the Iron Hills to the east of Irongate. Where the hills meet the Azure Sea they form towering cliffs that run for approximately half the length of the hills. Mainly composed of limestone, with small pockets of harder igneous rock such as granite, the range is a maze of steep sided tors riddled with natural cave systems. The hills are cut by thousands of streams, which form twisting and tortuous valleys and gorges. Two roads cut through the Headlands to Irongate, one in the south and one in the north. Otherwise they are generally considered impassible, and large sections of the interior of the range have never been explored by lowlanders

Blessed with abundant rainfall – the hills are clothed in lush vegetation. Forests cling to the gentler slopes or atop larger mesas. Herding of sheep and goats is carried on in the valleys – by both Onwallons, along the fringes of the hills, and by Flan tribesmen who inhabit the rugged and dangerous High Headland. Mining by humans, Dwur and Noniz is an important activity and source of revenue with platinum, silver and gems such as peridot, topaz and aquamarine. While some of these mines (mainly the more westerly ones) fell to the Brotherhood and became slave mines, others, especially Dwur and Noniz delvings, held out throughout the occupation. Notil, the Cantred seat of High Headland, is the site of important platinum mines.

The Dunn

This energetic river gushes out of the north-eastern Headlands and empties into Dunhead Bay at the town of Dunheern. Locally known as Isak’s Torrent, it is named for a local legend – Isak Trollslayer who is said to have cleared the upper reaches of the river of the trolls that plagued it of old.

Jelald

Typical of Marchland rivers – the Jelald flows fast, straight and true out of the Hills and across the narrow plains to the sea at Killdeer. The hill road to the Silvervale follows the upper reaches, however the road is frequently washed away by regular summer flooding – which also troubles the lowlands.

The Gearnat Sea

For information regarding the Gearnat Sea refer to <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<Chapter 8, The Storm Coast.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Dunhead Bay

Dunhead Bay, named after the river that empties into it, is a shallow arm of Relmor Bay. The bay separated Onnwal from the old South Province and was the scene of many naval actions between the two nations. Conflict was particularly intense here during the War of the Golden League (579-581 CY) and during the Greyhawk Wars (583-584 CY). With the fall of Onnwal to the followers of the Scarlet Sign the bay has been comparatively peaceful, although the navy of Ahlissa has now begun to reassert itself.

The waters of the bay are noted for their excellent fishing. Accurate maps of the region have existed since the Oeridians conquered the whole area.

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