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Shornhelm, Crown City of the North

Lord Wylon, 39th Baron Montclair

The Breton people of the Markwasten Moor and Shornhelm heights have a long and storied history, with much to be proud of: the Trammeling of the Giants in the time of legends; the Purge of the Wyrd-Hags in the Year of Sun's-Death (which restored Magnus to the skies of the Mundus); and the Charge of the Montclair Knights (often erroneously referred to as the Charge of the Shornhelm Knights) at the Battle of Glenumbria Moors.

Through all this tumultuous history, the people of Rivenspire are fortunate to have been ably led, through times of terror and triumph, by the noble lords of the House of Montclair.

It is true that the Barons of House Montclair have not always been selected by fate to also reign as King of Shornhelm. But the Montclairs count humility among their many virtues, and have often been willing to defer to pretenders with weaker claims to royalty in the interest of peace. That this humility has sometimes been tragically over-indulged was sadly proven in the case of my father—Phylgeon, 38th Baron Montclair.

As all students of Breton history know, the greatest post-Reman monarch of Shornhelm was King Hurlburt, who led our army at the Battle of Granden Tor and ruled the North from 2E 522 until his death in 546. Hurlburt was of House Branquette, 21st Count of the Name, and had taken as his queen Countess Iphilia of Montclair. When King Hurlburt died his legitimate son, Prince Phylgeon, was only fourteen years of age, and though his inheritance was championed by House Montclair, Houses Branquette and Tamrith supported his elder half-brother, Prince Ranser, who had been born out of wedlock to a poor Tamrith cousin. (House Dorell, typically aloof, declined to endorse either candidate.)

What is less well known is the behind-the-scenes maneuvering that led to Ranser being crowned King of Shornhelm rather than Phylgeon. The advisors of the young Baron Montclair (his mother had predeceased King Hurlbut by a mere two years) contended that he, as the legitimate son, was the proper heir to the throne—a claim further buttressed by language in a codicil to the famous "Bretonnick Natalitie" that declared "Howse Mount Clayre" the royal house of Shornhelm. The Council of the North met to consider the various claimants, but during their deliberations the Montclair advisors found that the Bretonnick codicil had gone missing, while Prince Ranser brought forth a suspiciously long-lost Direnni decree that named House Branquette their "Breton Royal Delegates" in Rivenspire.

The vote of the Council was a narrow victory for Prince Ranser, thereafter King Ranser of Shornhelm. Some of Prince Phylgeon's advisors urged him to fight for the crown, but the young prince declined, preferring to become simply the Baron of Montclair.

Oh, fateful humility! We all know where Phylgeon's deference led—to the tragic events of 566 and the insurrection against the First Daggerfall Covenant in what is known (to our shame) as Ranser's War. According to the standard histories, all the noble houses—Montclair, Tamrith, even Dorell—answered King Ranser's call to muster and marched behind his banner in his fatal war against High King Emeric and the South. What is not generally known is that Count Phylgeon of Montclair was uncertain of the rightness of Ranser's cause, and offered to both Kings Ranser and Emeric to serve as a peace envoy between the two sides. High King Emeric's reply has been lost to history, but Ranser's angry refusal is well known. Once again my father deferred to his elder half-brother, and the Montclair Knights joined Ranser's doomed army.

In the immediate aftermath of King Ranser's fall, Rivenspire fell into chaos. The Crown of Shornhelm went missing during the Battle of Traitor's Tor, and the fateful "Direnni decree" that elevated Ranser to the throne has likewise not been seen since. The death of Ranser was the end of the line of House Branquette, and since then there has been no King of Shornhelm, Rivenspire having been jointly ruled by the triumvirate Council of the North. That body has tried, with the best of intentions, to keep peace and order in the northern counties, but nobody, if they were speaking honestly, would say the Council's efforts have sufficed. Shornhelm—and the North—need a King.

And why shouldn't they have one? If I may speak frankly, setting aside, however regretfully, the traditional Montclair mantle of humility, then I must confess that I, Baron Wylon of Montclair, am certainly the legitimate heir to the throne of Shornhelm. My grandfather was King Hurlburt, and I descend from him in the direct and legitimate line of succession, a claim no one else in the North can make. (That also makes me the sole living heir to the domain of the Branquettes, much of which was unfairly parceled out to the Tamriths and Dorells, but no—humility, always humility!)

Furthermore, at this critical juncture I am fortunate to be able to announce that the long-missing Bretonnick Codicil has been found by the Montclair house historian, the operative clause of which I shall quote here:

"… seeing all in order then in Sharn Helm and its Lands Contyguous, the most royale and high … (unintelligible) … appointeth in Perpetuitie sayde Howse Mount Clayre in rulership over … (unintelligible) … and Sharn Helm. So mote it bee."

People of Rivenspire, Baron Wylon of Montclair is prepared to do his duty.

Northpoint, An Assessment

Chancellor Regina Troivois, the Department of Interior Affairs

This report on the city of Northpoint and its primary noble house, Dorell, was ordered directly by His Majesty High King Emeric and has been painstakingly researched. I, Chancellor Regina Troivois of the Department of Interior Affairs, personally oversaw this effort and verify the accuracy of the information contained herein.

First, some history for context. Captain Yric Flowdys, an enterprising Breton trader operating the summer route of shipping from Daggerfall to Solitude, established Northpoint during the 9th century of the First Era. Though the shores here do not form an ideal harbor, Yric knew the deep waters approaching them could easily accommodate large vessels, and that the location along the trade route made for a perfect way station where traders could resupply, make repairs, or shelter through storms. He constructed the first docks at Northpoint, the best anchorage, and named the port after it.

Soon after building the docks, Captain Flowdys oversaw the addition of a small walled keep and warehouse in the heights of Dore Elard, to the east of the growing port-of-call. Before long, the town bustled with activity, and Flowdys, realizing the success of his venture, took the name of the mountain as his new family name. He and his relatives continued to grow their maritime endeavors, as well as develop and invest in the port and surrounding lands, eventually leasing plots to farmers and establishing new sources of income.

For most of the First Era, the family exemplified the type of active, entrepreneurial merchant princes that brought great prosperity to High Rock. In 1E 1029, the Dorells were granted a barony when the Empress Hestra joined High Rock to the First Empire. The fortunes of House Dorell, and of Northpoint, have waxed and waned with the flow of the northwest coastal trade ever since.

In the 24th century the Dorells, having continued their rise in wealth and power, held the monarchy of Shornhelm for several generations. This distinction has colored the family's image of itself through subsequent centuries, and the Dorells regard themselves among Rivenspire's true elite even today. It also gave them a taste for political intrigue which, combined with their already-ambitious spirit, has made the house impossible to ignore. The current Baron of the House, Alard, wields significant power as one of the triumvirate of nobles who have ruled Rivenspire since the fall of Ranser. Along with the leaders of House Montclair and House Tamrith, Alard Dorell has pledged himself to the High King and hopes to one day earn the right to rule as the sole King of Shornhelm.

In recent times, House Dorell excels as a maritime and mercantile power. They maintain a mansion in Shornhelm for the Baron and Baroness, keeping the house closely involved in the happenings of the court. The estate in Northpoint is left to other relatives, though oversight of its lands remains integral to the family's operations. At present the young but very capable Lord Ellic, son of Baron Alard, manages the family's holdings around Northpoint when his father is at court and serving on the triumverate.

The Dorells are militaristic and politically savvy, and their mercantile traditions have forged a level of wealth rarely seen in Rivenspire circles. House Dorell has generated extensive ties with merchants in Solitude. This, they are quick to point out, has nothing to do with the sword rattling of politics. To Dorell, this is simply good business.

From my study of the three noble houses of Rivenspire that form the ruling triumvirate, I recommend that you place little trust in House Montclair, and to be cautious in any interaction with them—their true loyalties are only to their own aspirations. House Dorell, on the other hand, while also ambitious, seems to possess a degree of honor and a love of country rarely exhibited by the Montclairs (who seem to be overly proud of their heritage to Ranser). House Tamrith, meanwhile, has always been loyal and a friend to Wayrest. However, the Countess is relatively new to her role as house leader and may not be ready to assume any greater responsibilities

House Ravenwatch Proclamation

Verandis, Count of House Ravenwatch

To those who seek to understand:

One would surmise that such an elusive and ancient noble house would be averse to publishing its goals in such an accessible manner. However, with the advent of strife upon our homes and allies, I thought it best to clarify our standing for the small-minded.

The first and foremost goal of House Ravenwatch is the destruction of the ancient evil which lies within Rivenspire. It is known by many names: Abagandra, Loradabal, and in contemporary times, the Lightless Remnant. Countless generations of scholars have sought to understand this artifact. There is no understanding to be had—it is a blight upon Mundus and must be cast out.

Secondly, House Ravenwatch seeks to foil the plans of those who wish to make use of the power of the Lightless Remnant. Do not be deceived by Baron Montclair's rhetoric and so-called patriotic zeal. He has succumbed to the power of the Remnant and seeks to destroy the beautiful land of Rivenspire. We know this because we were with him when the power possessed him.

We prefer the shadows. We prefer to let others lead. But these are desperate times. They call for desperate measures. Know that no matter what Rivenspire must face, you will not face it alone. House Ravenwatch will be by your side. House Ravenwatch stands with Emeric and the good people of Rivenspire.


Verandis, Count of House Ravenwatch

Dire Legends of the Doomcrag

Nalana, Advisor to House Tamrith

In the distant past, the dark and foreboding pinnacle of stone known as the Doomcrag was a place of learning and worship for the Ayleid people. But in recent memory, the place has been known as a haunted peak beyond a treacherous pass of fog and shadow.

Due to the current interest in the often ignored location, Countess Tamrith has asked me to chronicle a few of the legends concerning this forbidden place.

* * *
One dark tale concerns the hero of House Dorell, Brianna the Bold, who traveled to the Shrouded Pass to chase down the bandit lord, Red Rob. Brianna and her troop of knights chased Red Rob all along the northern shore, intent on capturing him and bringing him to justice for his many crimes—including his most recent exploit, the pillaging of a Dorell cargo ship. Unfortunately for Red Rob, the House Baron of the period's daughter was traveling on the ship when Red Rob and his cohorts attacked it. For injuries and insults, she demanded the head of the brigand and dispatched Brianna the Bold to hunt him down.

By the time Brianna reached the entrance to the Shrouded Pass, all of her knights had been killed or wounded. She was on her own. Luckily for her, Red Rob had not fared any better. He was alone when he plunged into the dense fog to avoid her. Not to be deterred, Brianna was true to her name and boldly charged in after him. It was the last time either Brianna or Red Rob were ever seen again.

But locals claim that on clear, cold nights, when a thin, red mist decorates the jutting shard of rock, you can hear the clash of steel on steel as Brianna and Red Rob continue their epic struggle into eternity.

* * *
Another popular, if somewhat disturbing, legend concerning the Doomcrag tells the tale of the spurned Ayleid lover who pines away at the very apex of the mountain. Rejected by a handsome butler in the service of a noble house, the spurned lover climbed to the top of the Doomcrag and refused to come down. Her friends and family tried everything to cheer her up and make her leave the tower. Distraught and sick at heart, she ignored every plea and word of comfort. And when her pain became unbearable, she leaped from the Doomcrag and crashed into the sea far below.

That, however, was not the end of her sad story, People believe that to this very day, handsome travelers who wander too close to the Doomcrag risk attracting the attention of the spurned Ayleid. They say that her restless spirit swoops down and—pardon the wordplay—spirits away the hapless traveler, carrying him to the top of the mountain to keep him as a pet and plaything. Ultimately, however, even the most-patient captive does something to reject and spurn the Ayleid spirit. On lonely nights, or so the story goes, you can hear the intermingled screams as the Ayleid spirit once again hurls herself into the sea, carrying her latest lover with her to a watery grave.

* * *
But perhaps the most common tale told about the Doomcrag describes the Death That Walks. This particular legend is more a cautionary tale than a scary story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. It says that any who attempt to climb the Shrouded Pass inevitably climb to their deaths. With every step, a year of life is lost. Depending on your age and relative level of health, death might overtake you after only a few steps up into the dense fog. Or, if you're particularly lucky, you might ascend all the way to the very top—into the rumored relic chamber—before the Death That Walks catches up with you.

Whichever the case, every step brings with it a measure of pain and weakness as you march to your inevitable demise. This legend, more than any other, has kept the Doomcrag shrouded in mystery, for few have been brave enough to test the veracity of this story.

Reveiwing my notes, I can see why Countess Tamrith was frightened of the Doomcrag when she was a young girl. If truth be told, even at my advanced age, these legends frighten me.