Hellfrost: Dark Pact
Population: 19,086 (68% Saxa, 30% Anari, 2% engro)
Ruler: Aethling Cuthwulf Eodricsunu
Religion: Eostre, Tiw, Neorthe, Scaetha
Imports: Clay, iron
Exports: Fish, pottery, timber
Twenty years ago Seithrby was a sparsely settled region of isolated Saxa steads and small Anari villages, the latter a remnant from the days of the empire, when the land was a distant frontier region. Driven out from their lands on the western side of White Lake by orcs and frost giants from Giant’s Throne, a clan of Saxa under the rule of a young noble moved into the region and promptly claimed it as their own. Infatuated with the glory days of old, the noble and his kinsmen immediately enslaved the Anari as thralls, taking over and renaming their major settlements. With no unifi ed neighbors to oppose their conquest, the Saxa completed their task in just a few short months (though many of the Anari fl ed south once they heard talk of the “barbarian invasion.”) Despite the Hearth Knights’ reservations that the Saxa would block their access north, the Saxa have been very accommodating, even offering the Knights military support at no charge when required. However, Aethling Cuthwulf (at the urging of Thegn Osric of Ryhoepe) has refused them permission to construct any forts in Seithrby (Osric fears they would prove an obstacle to his usurping the throne).
Aethling Cuthwulf refuses to take the title of cyning, mainly for fear the High Cyning would then try to exert authority over his realm. His fears are largely unfounded, for the Marklands have troubles of their own. Still, the old Saxa saying, “Don’t invite trouble to your stead,” remains true in his eyes. Although advancing in years, Cuthwulf has little true skill with weapons and prefers to spend his days hunting, either on horseback or with his prized falcons. He also maintains a kennel of hunting dogs. He is a fair ruler, though prone to giving extravagant gifts and indulging himself in rich food and imported wines, for which the taxes pay. When not governing or hunting, he maintains an interest in the skaldic arts and is considered a competent harpist and singer, often entertaining guests himself. Some folk say he travels the land is disguise as a skald to test his peasant’s hospitality. Cuthwulf has the fi nal decision in any matter concerning Seithrby, and regularly invites his thegns to council, if only to maintain the illusion they wield some power.
Cuthwulf allows every thegn to maintain huscarls. Naturally, he ensures he has a larger force than any of his nobles. He also has a small band of Anari heavy cavalry, though they serve as a status symbol more than an actual military force. Usually, they are found patrolling the borders of the Liche-Lands.
Ruler: Aethling Cuthwulf Eodricsunu
Capital of the realm and situated on the trade road to Far Reach, Seithrby is a small, fortifi ed town. It is the industrial center of the land, and crafters work tirelessly to keep the other settlements stocked with basic tools and goods. Until Seithrby begins to export better goods, it can ill afford to waste money on imports of anything other than raw materials. A small amount of greenware pottery is exported, though the source of the clay has caused tensions with the town of Brae. Rather than buy the expensive clay, Cuthwulf has been convinced by Osric to take it, claiming that Ertha made it available to all men, and especially the Saxa. Skirmishes between clay thieves and the militia of Brae are beginning to escalate, as Osric planned. The name Seithrby translates literally from Auld Saxa as “the town of magic.” While he lacks the piety to become a cleric and has no skill with magic, Cuthwulf is fascinated by the mystical arts. Several large halls are dedicated to the subject. A small fortune has been spent on laboratory equipment and a library of arcane tomes. Visiting mages, regardless of their magical style, are invited to stay and use the facilities. All the nobleman asks in return is that the mages demonstrate their power to him. Speaker’s Hill: A large mound a few hundred feet from Seithrby’s north gate serves as a moot hill, where Cuthwulf and his nobles hold court. By law, anyone who stands on the summit is free to speak his mind on any matter, and cannot be challenged for slandering the honor of another. Markets are held at the base of the hill in summer.