Overview

The Azure Coast is considered the most pleasant of Onnwal’s four provinces; particularly by its inhabitants, who are not afraid to share their opinion with others. Though rocky cliffs rear from in the sea in the west and the Headlands march into the sea in the form of the Kurst Islands in the east, the coastline between is low lying, with many beaches, salt marshes and lagoons. The land generally slopes down from the Headlands to the sea, the exception being in the west where the coastal ridges of the Storm Coast spill south into the Cantred of Gullhaven. Well-watered and lush from the abundant summer rains, which the winds carry in from the Azure Sea, the Azure Coast has more exotic and tropical vegetation than other parts of Onnwal.

The valleys of the Fallnos and the Silverstream are both fertile and there is much arable agriculture here – maize and sugar cane being the main crops. Yornal is distilled around Longbridge. Away from the rivers, orchards abound, with olives, citrus fruits and other soft fruits growing in abundance. Along the lagoons of the central coast – salt harvesting is a major industry as is fishing in the rich waters of the Azure. Pearl fishing is a major source of wealth in the western coast – around Longbridge.

In the east, steep, half-drowned peaks of the Headlands poke their heads above the water to form the Kurst Islands. In the past, this maze of small rocky isles was a haven for pirates and others seeking sanctuary from civilization – for whatever reason.

Trade, both maritime and along the Scant-Irongate road, was important in the past. With the upheavals of the Wars and the occupation, this has largely dried up. A trickle of trade is now beginning between Longbridge and Irongate.

The Great House of Cadwale

Dukes of the Azure Coast, Barons of Azurond

The House of Cadwale traditionally ruled the rich and bountiful Duchy of the Azure Coast from their ancestral seat in Longbridge. The House has held not only the title of Duke, but a cadet branch additionally holds the title of Barons of the Cantred of Azurond, as well as sundry minor holdings throughout the province. The nobles of this house grew wealthy not only from the produce of their rich lands but from revenues of trade passing between Scant, Irongate and the port of Naerie in Idee both by road and by sea. Nobles of this house were known for their culture, refinement and worldliness – with artists, poets, scholars and even explorers numbered amongst their scions.

As with all the great families, the house was one of the first targets for the Scarlet Brotherhood when they struck. Duke Ansend his wife and three sons were slain by Brotherhood assassins as they slept. The Duke’s cousin, Duvend, Baron Azurond, fell in the Brotherhood landings at Longbridge, leaving no direct heir. A few junior members of the house managed to flee to Irongate, while others were enslaved by the Brotherhood. The heir to the Duke’s coronet is Ansend’s brother, Sir Gellen Cadwale, a Glaive Virtuous of the Order of the Golden Sun, the most senior survivor of the order. A cloud however hangs over the Duke Apparent – for some suspect him of betraying the Knights to the Brotherhood during the invasion – a charge which he and his supporters vehemently deny.

Cantreds of the Gilderond

Cantred Type of Laird Ruling House Laird Cantred Seat
Longbridge Mayor Cadwale   Longbridge
Gavelenn Mayor Cadwale   Gavelenn
Fallnos Vale Hereditary Baron Kelldas Baron Joren Kelldas Kennar’s Crossing
Baldrenn Mayor Cadwale   Baldrenn
Azurond Hereditary Baron Cadwale   Haylind
Iron March Hereditary Baron Cadwale (extinct) Kurstand

Minor Houses of the Azure Coast

Dernaster (Minor House)

Barons of Iron March

An ancient Aerdi family, who came to Onnwal with the first waves of Oeridian settlers, the House of Dernaster has ruled over the rugged Iron March for centuries. The family had extensive contacts with Irongate and was mainly responsible for keeping the land link to the fortress-city clear of bandits and the collection of excises on traffic entering Onnwal from the east. The Dernasters were therefore one of the wealthier houses. The fate of Baron Leinand Dernaster and his entire family is a mystery. They were last seen fleeing the Brotherhood advance aboard the navy galley Pegasus, bound for Irongate. However neither Pegasus, its passengers nor the Dernaster fortune ever reached the Fortress City. They are feared lost to either Brotherhood or Kurst Island pirates

Kelldas (Minor House)

Barons of Fallnos Vale

The House of Kelldas gained their lands though marriage with the House of Cadwale in the last century. They rule over the fertile valley of the Fallnos – some of the richest land in the country. In the past, the barons of Fallnos Vale have been content to rule their lands and take their ease – and have been perceived by other nobles as country bumpkins. Perhaps it was this perception of their irrelevance, which spared the current baron, Joren Kelldas from the attentions of the assassins of the Scarlet Brotherhood. Joren was nonetheless hunted by the Brotherhood after the invasion, but made good his escape with his family into the Headlands and found refuge with the survivors of the House of Faskel. A strong bond has grown up between the two houses and a marriage between Joren’s eldest daughter, Natalia and Sir Milos Faskel is rumoured.

Other locations on the Azure Coast

Longbridge

Longbridge was originally two towns that sprawled opposite each other for several hundred yards along the banks of the Fallnos River. The construction of “The Span,” in the years following the Battle of a Thousand Banners amalgamated Naerway and Solliton into the town of Longbridge (it should be obvious to even the slowest of wits how the fledging town came by its name). Also known as “Zilchus˘ Way” and good fortune is thought to smile on those who cast a coin into the waters of the Fallnos while standing on the bridge.

The western portion of the town (once the town of Naerway) is lower than the eastern bank and occasionally floods. Because of this, those who can therefore dwell in Solliton. Prior to the Wars, Longbridge was an integral part of the Cliffway – a trade route that linked Irongate with Scant. However, with the outbreak of hostilities, trade along this route has been reduced to a trickle.

Docks and jetties can be found up and down both banks of the Fallnos. Built with Dwur aid to resist both the Azure Sea˘s autumnal high tides and the seasonal floodwaters that flow out of the Headlands, the bridge bars the passage of larger vessels further up river. The Fallnos is a particularly fast river and annual dredging is needed to keep the approaches to the town open. The mouth of the river is over 50 yards wide, but unpredictable tidal currents and constantly shifting sandbars make the approaches perilous unless a local pilot is aboard.

The current ruler of Longbridge, Sir Gellen Cadwale, is the fallen Duke˘s brother and the Mayor, Accilon Dara and his wife (Kaywen, a follower of Sotillon) aid him in ruling the town. Gellen is a Glaive Virtuous of the Order of the Golden Sun and is the highest-ranking survivor of the Order – however, his leadership of that august body is in doubt. Suspicion surrounds him, as he was the knight that bore the recall order to his brethren, which resulted in the deaths of all who heeded it. He is deeply concerned that the Order is close to extinction, arguing that membership must be extended to commoners to bolster numbers.

The waters around the town are famed for their fishing. For three days during Patchwall, the Fallnos is packed with salmon trying to swim upstream to their spawning grounds. This event has evolved into a festival of sorts featuring fishing competitions during the day and celebrations by night. During the day the riverbanks are packed with contestants, observers and families. At night on nearby beaches great bonfires are lit upon which the days catch is cooked. The Duke traditionally gave prizes for the largest fish caught and the most fish caught each day.

The Estates of House Cadwale

House Cadwale’s estates are located several miles up the Fallnos from Longbridge. They are linked to that town by a well-laid road that is now showing signs of neglect. The estate takes the form of a single large and rambling manor house with its attendant outbuildings and perimeter wall. The wall now has several breaches, which were created, during the recent fighting between rebel and Brotherhood forces.

The House of Cadwale has its origins in the conquest of Onnwal by Aerdi forces. The original Cadwale was a young warrior of exceptional skill and bravery who distinguished himself enough to be elevated to the rank of duke. The Cadwales were renowned for their skill at arms until the so-called “Tunnelling Duke” (373 CY – 402 CY) who hid himself away from the populace and busied himself constructed galleries, tunnels and chambers beneath his estate. One of the tunnels he was rumoured to have created was wide enough for his carriage to traverse and was thought to run from his stables all the way to the main gate.

The estate is now deserted after rebel forces discovered the Brotherhood troops had been slaughtered to a man by something that (presumably) escaped from the depths. Several rebels who spent the night in the house were found torn limb from limb and so the house is avoided by all now.

Fallnos

The sister river of the Bergard, the Fallnos drains the south-western Headlands and cuts a wide shallow valley southwards, emptying into the Azure Sea at Longbridge. The Fallnos is known for its fast currents and fine fishing.

Elmscoombe

Located in the eastern portion of the Cantred of Iron March, amongst the foothills of the Headlands is a secluded box valley known as Elmscoombe. A huge and ancient elm tree stands amongst a small copse of trees around a small lake. Scorched by fire and struck by lightning several times in its long history the tree has stood for centuries. The lake is fed from unknown underground sources and has not run dry in living memory. The valley is notoriously difficult to traverse as it has been subject to frequent landslides and rock falls and so this area is quite isolated. At least two bands of Brotherhood warriors disappeared in the vicinity of the lake during the occupation leaving no sign of their fate. Prior to the Wars a minor War Company, The Blades of Irongate, also disappeared in the area after spreading it around Kurstand that they had uncovered some previously undiscovered caverns. Their horses were found several weeks later, grazing by the pool undernourished and in need of exercise but otherwise unhurt.

The Azure Sea

The Azure Sea is truly a vast body of water. It stretches from the Hold of the Sea Princes in the west to Idee in the east. Always responsible for carrying much of the sea-borne trade between the west and the central nations buccaneers, free-booters and privateers have traditionally been common here. Dominated solely by the Brotherhood after the Greyhawk Wars, traders were technically free to travel as they wished here. Traders used to stick to the coasts of the Iron League states during their travels but, few now take the risk, as sea monsters, always common in the past, seem to be more plentiful now. With the freeing of Idee (now the Principality of Naerie) and the rebellion in Onnwal trade here is again beginning to grow.

To the south lie the Amedio and Hepmonaland jungles. The Densac Gulf is thought to open into a vast, uncharted ocean, which stretches well into Lower Oerth. The only portions of that ocean even partially known is the area around Hepmonland, which a Rel Astran caravel proved was navigable by arriving in Hardby in 590 CY claiming to have circumnavigated the southern tip of Hepmonaland.

The Hezarin (Hell) Isles

The Hezarin Isles consist of five islands, the three larger islands being volcanically active. Situated on a fault line the three main islands constantly spew forth ash, smoke and fire, the seas around them churn, boil and quake and the air is black and poisonous. Historically these volcanic isles have mostly been ignored due to both the natural dangers that hinder any exploration and the many superstitions attached to them. However in recent years this has changed with the growing conflict over these isles between the Joramites and Pyremians who both see them as a holy site of their respective Gods.

The Hezarin Isles is also the home of two small settlements of Pelorbay and Ospret located on the relatively dormant and fertile islands of Gedan and Berel respectively. Since the Brotherhood withdrew its occupying garrisons in early 587 CY, these small island towns have been free ports. They have served as safe havens for foreign merchants who wish to avoid the strife that plagues the coastal waters of the mainland. As a result they have also attracted many pirates of the Storm Isles, who traverse the trade routes and have plundered the bountiful cargo of many a Keoish Galleon or Uleki Caravel, much to the anger of the citizens of the Isles.

These piratical and slaving activities are said to be responsible for the many ships lost in the vicinity of the Hezarin Isles, and sightings of ships of the Yellow Sails have added much credence to this theory.

The Saernedd (Serpent) Isles

The Saernedd Isles are the most southerly and mysterious of the island chains. Although they were discovered centuries ago, the Iron League made the first steps in exploring and settling these isles in the decades before the Wars by the founding of two separate colonies, one by Onnwal, the other by Idee and named Fort Azharadian and Port Saerwen respectively. The inhabitants of these small colonies have shed little light on the many tales of lost cities, cannibalistic tribes, savage gods, colossal snakes, trees of gold and silver, of nations of talking animals in which humankind are the pets, that come from these isles.

The islands are verdant, filled with lush jungles, home to many unknown plants. A large variety of reptiles and snakes, many of which are not found elsewhere make the islands their home.

When the settlers of Fort Azharadian arrived they discovered that these isles were under the rule of many tribes of lizardmen who have lived and flourished here for millennia. They also discovered that the Dwur had already been here and had established a small stronghold named Narazthat. The Dwur of Narazthat find a life at sea far more rewarding than toiling under miles of dirt. They are considered pariah among many of the mainland Dwur clans for their attitudes (many of which fly in the face of the great Dwur traditions) and for their “abnormal” love of shipbuilding. The folks of Saerwen and Fort Azharadian regard them as great shipbuilders. They guard their secrets closely and sail the open seas upon their sturdy catamarans.

Fort Azharadian has long since fallen into anarchy with the loss of contact with the mainland and is rumoured to be run by agents of the Scarlet Sign. Port Saerwen, with the fall of Idee to the Kingdom of Alhissa, has changed rulers and is the only bastion of civilisation in these isles (according to the new Ahlissan governer Garthubald Neranden). Humans have never visited many of the islands and subsequently what secrets and dangers they may hold are yet uncovered.

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