Thursday, 18 March 2010

the losung highlands

The warlord Losung claimed the highlands of his birth with a band of brigands.  He built a fortified keep with five towers on the ruin of his village and with the enforced help of goblins controls the entrance to a mountain pass.  Under his dominion, the highlands were looted of silver, river pearls and wild cattle.  Losung finally died by his son's hand with goblin help.  This set a pattern of violent treachery that ravaged the highlands for the next century as goblins allied with a future successor only to be purged on their ascent to power so the next generation of goblins would fill the void.   In time, the name Losung became the title of the keep's owner yet the brigands still avoided legitimacy. 

Losung Keep is a battered melting pot of human and goblin.  The current Losung marinades in a drunken parody of a noble court surrounded by indifferent whores.  His two sons are spoiled, resentful and barely resemble each other.  Administration is left to Encar Waygard, human mage and embezzler playing at castellan.  Waygard has a pair of apprentices who help him with reckoning wages and assaying the wealth brought by taxing the residents.  The Losung's retinue include local brigands buying sanctuary, notoriously violent cattle thieves and crooked wool merchants.  Keep staff are light-fingered and spiteful in their self-interest.  Goblins scurry between chambers as menial servants and pest control.

The keep is a dungheap of gossip and backbiting kept from chaos by the magistrate Geda "Black Boar" Savard.  A burly, surly woman, privately hated and openly feared for her ferocity, tenacity and harsh judgements.   Prisoners are jailed in the eastern tower she commandeered from the drunken Losung.  Under her hard hand, a brute squad of ironclad humans and goblins reflexively crush all opposition.  Savard has a hatred of constructs and will harass or arrest anyone interested in, associated with or owning one.  Savard is a competent magistrate yet her total lack of social grace means even the drunken Losung is a better ruler.

The keep itself is poorly maintained yet effective.  The majority are human with a token goblin presence and a smattering of other races. Residents abide by druidic traditions where gods of war and wealth make poor company.  Goods can be purchased from visiting fences and traders.  A small group of camp followers ply their trade in the keep and are kept busy.  A tithe is paid to the Losung for this to continue to the disgust of Magistrate Savard.  Failure to pay means exile and there are few places to go other than the shanty town or the brigand camps in the highlands.  Neither fate is willingly chosen.

Outside the walls, the shanty town clings to the rocks like lichen and birdlime.  Poor humans and goblins live cheek-by-jowl, working as labourers in quarries and placer mines and scavenging the cast-offs of the retinue, their servants and hangers-on.  Gangs form for mutual protection under the leadership of brigands, goblin hexers and underbosses.  Violent outbreaks occur only for the Magistrate and her brute squad to restore peace by breaking heads. Blackblades are routinely used by the Losung, Waygard and the brigands to retrieve stolen goods and for occasional dirty work.  Sharpshooters practice their trade by hunting hares and accompanying the brigands on raids.

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