« Part One »

The Sojourner

Of all the great Regions of Western Domain—and I have traveled them all—Norlay is, undeniably, the most beautiful one.

It is the land of bucolic meadows and monumental mountain ridges, serene sky-blue lakes and magnificent waterfalls. It is the land of brightest stars and clearest skies, caressing winds, clement Sun and gentle rains. The weather there can only be described as pleasant and mild—it is never too hot in the summer, or too cold in the winter, and each and every beautiful landscape that I enjoyed through the windows of my carriage, would be lost to sight only to be replaced by even more beautiful and picturesque scenery.

One simply cannot be left unswayed by the tranquility of the incessant fir tree woodlands, which provide an abundant supply of the best quality timber—Norlay’s main trade item—to all the states of the Domain. The forests there are full of game, and the pastures of the land are legendary for their richness.

The country has not been involved in a large scale martial discord in nearly a century, being open only to the Timid Sea from the North and West, and bordered by the three of the Domain’s Regions—Westead, Eastlann, and Corealm itself on its South and East. The hundreds of years of peaceful and productive life brought the land to an ample wealth, which one can clearly observe even with the superficial glance of a passing traveler, such as myself.

The citadel of the House Stormhold, under the Regency of which Norlay prospers, was built seven hundred years ago on the small rocky peninsula on the Eastern shore of Norlay lake, which was later—six hundred years ago—transformed into an island, by a deep and wide moat dug across the isthmus. The draw bridge is the only link connecting Castle Stormhold to the land, making the four tower square stronghold virtually impenetrable. The Keep—the fifth tower, erected in the center of the castle, which is where the quarters of the High Family are located, is a fortress by itself.

The somewhat unfortunate timing of my arrival in the City of Stormhold prevented me from paying respect to the High Family personally. Lord and Lady Stormhold, and the Infant Lady Heir had just left the Castle for their trip to Verlette, traveling there through Bellforge just as I was approaching the city by the direct route from Whetstone. I was, nevertheless, given the most thorough tour of the Castle Stormhold.

The view from the top of the Keep is nothing but breathtaking. The giant placid mirror of Norlay Lake is trimmed by an endless evergreen forest on the South, West and North, which on the East surrenders to the affluent structures of the West Slope of the City of Stormhold, the capitol of Norlay.

I stayed in the City for over a week, and my time there was spent with utmost delight, from enjoying hearty Northern cuisine to engaging myself in a vibrant social life of the local high society.

It was later that year I learned with great sorrow, that Lady Corriolain Stormhold, who was with child at the time of my visit, did not survive her second pregnancy, progressing to her untimely Rebirth during the delivery of her son, Young Lord Torvenn.

 

—Lady Evanesse Stillford, A Beautiful Journey from Rockshore to Norlay and Back, 988 A.S.

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