Dragon Dark: The Sundering
In the north west of Kharon lies the hilly Halfling realm of Hillshire, a lush green peninsula jutting out into the Black Sea.
After Dragon Rage was over and Mandrake the peacemaker had divided the land and imprisoned the dragons, he wandered the world spreading order and government.
When he arrived at Hillshire he found that he did not need to do anything (at least according to local lore). The climate and terrain were idyllic for Halflings, who seemed to have settled there in unreasonable numbers and established a thriving community. It is said that Mandrake came back many times to rest and visit. Many were the nights that he would spend sitting next to the hearth at the “Guild of Dough”, a bakery and pub, drinking one of the hearty Winter Ales and munching on sweet pastries.
To this day, the owners leave a chair next to the fire that no one is allowed to sit in. It waits for Mandrakes return and none are allowed to occupy it. The also sell a dark, earthy Ale called “Mandrakes Brew”. They claim that the recipe has been passed down from owner to owner and has never been altered. They also claim that this is the very brew that Mandrake enjoyed so much and that it has remained unchanged in every way since those early days.
Hillshire’s history is pretty boring for the most part. The leaders tend to be appointed based on who passes out at the town meetings. They stick to themselves and have been able to provide for their basic needs of food shelter and jobs. They make a reasonable amount of money by exporting their extra goods (Grains and Ale … mostly Ale, lots and lots of Ale).
The only period of note is a short period of time about 100 years after Dragon Rage, shortly before Mandrake disappeared altogether. In that time, Mandrake would show up at the “Guild of Dough” like clockwork on the solstice every year and remain for a few days or even weeks. But then things began to change, sometimes he would not show up and when he did he wouldn’t always stay long.
At the time, the owner of the GoD was one Sir James F Mc’Nabit. “Sir” was a self appointed title that he approved for himself when, in his younger years, Mandrake had praised one of his Biscuits. While he was known as a “Pompous Git”, “Self inflated Jack-ass” and other equally unpleasant things, he was not stupid. He was the first owner of the GoD who capitalised on Mandrakes fame with the reserved chair, renaming the special brew Mandrake preferred, among other things. By the age of 25 he had bought the GoD from its old owner and appointed himself ‘Sir’. By the age of 40 he had become the wealthiest Halfling in all of Hillshire, and had been the head of the Council for the Past 13 years, by choice. In later years this fact was used to point to an obviously unstable personality.
The fact that Mandrake would show up less and less did not go unnoticed by the inhabitants of Hillshire. Mr. Mc’Nabit was keenly aware of the first time that Mandrake was late, let alone the first time he failed to show up at all. A great town meeting was held and for the first time, every inhabitant of Hillshire was in attendance (after the fact people claimed it had everything to do with ‘Civic Duty’ and nothing to do with the free Beer).
Eventually it was decided that ‘Sir’ James F Mc’Nabit would go out and find out what had happened to Mandrake. In the mean time the GoD would be run by the previous owner, Archibald Zazamarandibo.
Mr Mc’Nabit left to a big send off and was promptly forgotten about. Life in Hillshire went on as it always had until a few years later when James came back.
Nothing of note happened in Hillshire after Mc’Nabit left to find Mandrake, about 6 years of nothing happened.
Then something happened. A group of a few hundred Humans and dwarves setup tents on one of the larger hillsides and began construction of a large stone structure.
Curious locals would sometimes wander up and ask what the goings on were all about. They would always get directed to a skinny fellow in spectacles who carried around scrolls (and spent a good deal of his time consulting them). When questioned as to what he was doing here the most anyone could coherently remember was something to do with a “Contract” and a “Lord”. It was quickly decided that this skinny fellow had the sort of personality that drive a drunk person too sobriety, and should be avoided like the plague.
After a couple years of labour the outsiders had constructed an enormous castle. The building itself stood on the crest of a hill overlooking all of Hillshire, while a wall ran around its entire bass. There were stables, fountains, orchards and an amphitheatre all on the castle grounds. On the inside the floors were made of polished white marble, the walls and columns had gold and silver inlays in the carvings, and there was even an indoor hot spring. Even an Aquaduct was built to bring water in from a freshwater lake several miles away.
On the day of its completion the group packed up their tents and left. The very next day Mc’Nabit returned.Mc’Nabit returned, and in a fashion that absolutely nobody expected.
- He rode a huge white charger more then 21 hands high, that bore a custom embroidered saddle.
- He wore a Crown.
- He was dressed in purple robes with gold embroidering
- He was at the head of an Army of several hundred soldiers.
- He had the first person to say “Hey Nabys back” placed on a pike, along with their family and beheded. In that order.
Despite all this, the rest of the inhabitants were still very curious about Mandrake and what he’d told Mc’Nabit, for it was obviously very important. For several days the courtyard of the castle was packed with people and Mc’Nabit did not come out. It’s likely he was enjoying his new home and organising his troops.
When he finally did come out it was an overcast day that was grey, damp and fairly depressing (even to a Halfling with a liver fill of Mead). That morning the troops he’d brought went out and gathered anyone who was not already at the castle. Then Mc’Nabit came out onto the main balcony and addressed everyone.
He spoke of the outside world and how Mandrake had setup laws and justice. How he had built a Monarchy in every land to rule and govern the people. He explained how trade and commerce created wealth and how the upper class of society was destined to rule. After putting a good portion of the population to sleep, he had a good portion of the narcoleptics executed.
After his speech he had people grouped by age and sent of the various “WORK” camps. There were camps to deal with crops, fishing, mining; just about every resource that could be used had people assigned too process it.Days were long, and the work was hard. If you fell asleep you were beaten or executed depending on if Mc’Nabit was around or not. All this no one really minded. What got under everyone’s skin was that:
- he took away the alcohol
- meals were scheduled (and only 3 per day)
- he had not found Mandrake
- he took away the bloody booze
- he wouldn’t let anyone drink any spirits
- not even mad willy’s homebrewed hooch, which doubled as a pesticide so it shouldn’t count
Life continued like this for a few years with everyone growing steadily more unimpressed with Mc’Nabit. Mc’Nabit, on the other hand, grew very fat (even by Halfling standards). He entertained royalty from other lands regularly and had lavish parties in “HillsView Castle” (as he dubbed it, the rest of the locals had other names for it).
Then one day, as the story goes, on an extremely rainy day in late autumn a man came in to GoD. He travelled alone with only a walking stick for support and was so old that people felt tired just to look at him. He sat down in the chair by the fire and ordered a Winter Ale. When the inn keeper, Archibald Zazamarandibo, explained that ‘Lord Mc’Nabit’ had forbidden drink in Hillshire beyond the walls of his castle, the old man simply looked at/through him. He was about to explain the the chair was ment for Mandrake but it was the most comfortable chair in the place and the old man looked impossibly tired, so he did not. The old man said nothing, simply sat by the fireside for a while then got up and left.
That evening, the weather was extremely violent. There was lighting and thunder, wind and rain. At the Apex of the storm there was a massive thunder clap that could be felt as easily as it could be heard, through out all of Hillshire.
In the morning the Sun was shinning, the birds were chirping and Mc’Nabit lay in the middle of his courtyard, beneath a 3 tonne keg of “Mandrakes Brew” that seemed to have fallen from the sky. With the death of Mc’Nabit the soldiers freed the inhabitants. They explained they were mercenaries that Mc’Nabit had hired for a large sum of gold. With their paychecks gone they released everyone and even helped distribute the alcohol. The party lasted many days as Castle Hillshire was well stocked with foodstuffs that had been taken from the land.
To this day Castle hillshire stands. It is kept in good condition by the locals and serves as a place for people to use for parties, weddings, and other large gatherings. The servants quarters was converted into an Inn. The amphitheaters are also used for plays and like.