The Shieldwall Expedition
You are in the town of Mera, capital of both the province of Del Mera and Island Kingdom of Del Aran. Del Mera is the central and most affluent of the 4 provinces making up the kingdom and is the economic heart and gateway for international trade with the mainland.
To the north is Del Nord which is more rocky but with decent grasslands. It has a couple of small inlets for sea traffic although most of its coastline is cliffs. Being relatively militarised it provides the training ground for the kingdom's soldiery and its export of mercenary companies for various roles on the mainland.
To the south of Del Mera is Del Sud, good internal farmland but with a coastline mostly marshland and everglades. It is the kingdom's breadbasket and also renowned for the its vineyards and orchards - wine and liquor is a luxury export for them via the port at Mera.
A large river runs down from the giant waterfall in Del Nord at the northern end of the escarpment. It splits into the Outerflow - which empties into Mera Bay - and the Innerflow which goes down the length of the Island to empty into a delta in south Del Sud. Between the rivers is the Riverlands, once covered in dense forest but is now mostly turned into additional farmland. Although the fourth province of Del Aran was officially named Del Rio after its conquest most people simply call it the Riverlands. The province is studded with a line of small beacon forts along the Innerflow and is mainly used for raising sheep and large herds of cattle although some pig and goats are also present. The remaining forests are husbanded and used as a renewable source of lumber.
West of the Riverlands and along the base of the escarpment are the Shield Hills, a long hilly province mixed with small and reasonably fertile valleys watered by seasonal flooding from the Innerflow during the spring melt. Del Aran would like to claim this as a fifth province and especially the rich deposits of silver, iron and copper that the original hillfolk presumably mined from the base of the escarpment - but superstition about the region discourages mass settlement. Location of the mines was a secret the close-mouthed hillfolk kept to themselves and when they disappeared over three centuries ago - after Del Aran forces invaded across the Innerflow - they took that knowledge with them.
As a group you have just arrived in Mera aboard the 'Kingfisher', a caravel under the command of Captain Frederick Spitzer who regularly carries goods and passengers between Del Mera and the mainland about 900 miles distant. He has informed you of a little of the history of Del Aran and that a tournament will be held in 4 days to help select the best adventurers to participate in an expedition into the Shield Hills (often referred to as the 'Haunted Lands' by the more easily swayed). Expeditions such as this are largely ceremonial - held on the first coronation anniversary and every tenth anniversary thereafter. They are mostly seen as a way to reward tournament winners with VERY high contract payments as well as local military personnel with the Expedition Medal, a decoration highly regarded and given respect by all in the kingdom. Tournament Days are regarded as a local holiday by the common folk and 'chance to do business' by the mercantile class.
Let the games begin...
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