For the Glory of the Black Dragon
Land title: The Impregnable County of Hardcastle
Population: 4,200 (Human 85%, half-elf 9%, halfling 5%, other 1%)
Ruler: Count Calban Hardcastle
House Motto: Born to die serving
House Symbol: Three black towers on a silver lozenge.
Bordered on the north by the Eni river, on the east by the Eurys River and on the west by the dark reaches of Galeeda’s Grove. The county is really a buffering region, meant to make life difficult for the titanspawn of the grove and the bandits who seem to operate in the regions thick forests on the north and south sides of the Eni River.
The county houses only one non-fortified settlement, the logging hamlet of Widow’s Grove (population 120 – 98% human, 2% half-elf) which is located on the bank of the Eurys River. The hamlet serves as both a logging camp and a landing point for river traffic making the voyage from Pahrae to Buryha.
While the county boasts only one settlement, it houses no less than 11 fortifications. Forts, keeps and castles manned by graduates of the local Pahrae fighting academies. It is no wonder that over 80% of the county’s puopulation is comprised of soldiers, including units of the King’s elite Foresters.
The ruling Count Calban Hardcastle seems to be in good standing with the Duchess in Pahrae and is quick to lend troops should she make the request; a tradition amongst the family Hardcastle is to send their sons to the prestigious military academy of Drahforge at Pahrae, thought to be the finest such academy in all of Calastia; for this reason the family is lauded for producing fine soldiers and military officers. Hardcastle’s relationship with the current duchess does not extend to their neighboring counties – to the East the Countess of Margeni often feuds with Hardcastle and both sides try to lure promising soldiers into their camps. Margeni has recently begun hiring mercenaries of the Crimson Legion to fill out her ranks to numbers beyond what is considered necessary; what she needs the excess troops for is anyone guess.
To the South Count An’War is as militaristic as Hardcastle and Margeni and the divide between the counties of Hardcastle and An’War is often in dispute. In the past blood has been shed over this disputed border, but recently at the end of the year 149 the two counts and a representative of the Duchess (Earl Barden of Jance) met and negotiated a satisfactory divide line between the two counties. Currently, the two counts are jointly funding a short wall of black stone along the border. To further enforce the existing peace between the counties the Lady Priscilla An’War has been betrothed to one of the young Hardcastle sons – it is still unclear which will be given this honor.
Count Calban’s son, “Black” Hugh Hardcastle joined the clergy of Chardun. He is currently a military chaplain serving in Varuba.