The World of Arith
Varnhold is a small village and stedding south east of Berwyn. Established by Maegar Varn and his adventuring colleagues, Varnhold was a sleepy little Jendarri village until Maegar’s ranger ally, Willas Gundarson found a strange bracelet on the banks of a local river while exploring the Tors. That bracelet brought down the wrath of an ancient cyclopian lich named Vordekai and almost spelled ruin for the village.
1. Hogkeeper’s Farm
This structure, though fairly new, is poorly built. The clapboard walls have large gaps and its roof sags alarmingly. Behind the cottage sprawl a mud-filled enclosure and a covered shed. The smell of decay and filth emanating from this dwelling is horrendous.
This building is the home of Varney Alenough, a hogkeeper who hunted the surrounding hills for wild boars – some of which he planned to domesticate. The hogkeeper was a vile man of questionable hygiene and habit, ill-liked by his neighbors. His home is a shambles simply because of his personal habits.
2. Anoura’s Home
The old woman Anoura, who was the first to be freed from Vordekai’s soul jar lives here. She tells of a terrifying journey through the lich’s dungeon and of the heroes that saved them all. Although the villagers know what happened, they would rather not be reminded of it, or have it told in such lurid detail. As a result, Anoura is finding herself becoming something of an outcast among her fellow villagers. Only the new ranger, Nauma Bloodarrow, seems interested in listening to the old woman.
The acrid stench of a tannery wafts faintly from this modest building. An outhouse stands across the yard in front of the building.
The village tanner, Tristian Calund lives and works here. His combination home and shop is filled with hides in various stages of stretching and curing. Out back is a fenced enclosure with three horse hides stretched upon it.
This large, two-story building partially overhangs the river bank. A sign above the front entrance shows a barrel and a smiling dwarf.
Kadelend Elondir’s small brewery established Varnhold’s own beer brand, Cheerful Delver Stout — an earthy, dark beer that swiftly became a favorite among the locals.
L5. Sellen Ford
The ground slopes steeply downward to the river bank, where the river runs wide and shallow, though it is muddy with the runoff of recent rains to the south. The opposite bank rises at a gentler slope into the town proper.
The Kiravoy River is shallow here, only 4 feet deep at the center. To the east, the river bed drops into a deep pool— anyone using the ford who strays too far in this direction could well find herself unexpectedly dropping into the 20-foot-deep pool.
L6. House Staeld
Clan Staeld is an and well-established clan of the area and allies of Firan Turen, the new laird of Varnhold. They sent a small household from Berwyn when Firan came to the stedding. Their daughter, Taela, is a rare beauty, engaged to be married to Firan’s son and heir. Taela’s uncle Bearn is head of this new household and is entrusted to keep Taela safe until the clans are united.
A greensward occupies the center of town. A few trees grow around an unoccupied pillory, and a well has been dug at the southern end.
L8. Livery and Blacksmith
Finian of Paryn is the local blacksmith and runs the livery. This long, low building partially surrounds a yard encompassed by a split-rail fence. A sign above a wide, barn-like entrance shows harness for a horse and a blacksmith’s anvil.
This house is the home and workshop for the village tailor, Henwas Draler, as evidenced by the remaining bolts of cloth and tools of the trade within. The modest cottage is neatly kept and has curtains hanging in its windows.
The door to this older house looks newly made. A small yard adjoining the house and surrounded by a low picket fence holds the smashed remains of many clay vessels and statuettes.
This building served as the home of the village potter, who died several weeks ago of a fever. Hers is the most recent grave in the cemetery. When Firan came to the stedding as laird, he brought with him some family friends. Bjan of Kalegh is an outspoken supporter of the new laird.
L11. Warden’s House
A sod house has been dug into the base of the hill. Its heavy oaken door looks new.
This was the home of Maegar Varn’s henchman and friends, the Ulfen ranger Willas Gundarson — the man who awoke Vordakai and brought the cyclops lich’s wrath down on the village.
Now it is home to another supporter and friend of Furin, Nauma Bloodarrow, an adventuring companion of the new Laird. On arriving in Varnhold as the new ranger, she moved into Willas’ home where she found his diary of the events that led up to Vordekai’s release. She has interviewed most of the villagers about the event, but their knowledge of events is sketchy at best. She may eventually go and seek out the adventurers who freed the village to find out what really happened.
L12. The Waterhorse
A two-story inn stands just off the village commons. A sign above the door depicts a rider clinging to the back of a madly galloping horse with a green mane and a fish’s tail extending from its hindquarters. The inn’s walls are painted a cheerful shade of yellow to complement the red shutters.
The Waterhorse was the focus of social interaction in Varnhold. The hostler, Miriam Kolescu, is of old Jendarri clan from a far off fishing village – she brought many of her family’s traditions and beliefs with her to Varnhold.
Her inn is simple but well kept.
Its first floor consists of a common room (whose tables are still set with rotting plates of food), a kitchen, a bathing chamber, and stores, along with a wing for the Kolescu family.
The second floor consists of six guest rooms, all of which save one were unoccupied at the time the population vanished.
The inn’s most recent patron was also its most famous. The renowned Tarnauld scholar and composer Ervil Pendrod had been staying at the inn for about a week before the vanishing. Maestro Pendrod hailed from Tarnauld’s Kitharodian Academy.
L13. Church of The Aesir
Vergen of Kregar
A small church stands here, its whitewashed walls and stained glass windows gleaming in the sun. Behind it on one side sits a neatly kept parsonage, and on the other a low hill holds the beginnings of a small cemetery.
This small church of the Aesir (The Jendarri pantheon) was established by Maegar Varn’s companion, the cleric Caspar Morgarion. It served as the official church of Varnhold. The interior is simply furnished with wooden pews and a humble altar. The cemetery was established when the colony experienced its first casualties, who succumbed to the elements and Nomen raiders. It holds a total of 14 wooden grave markers, the latest one standing over a fairly fresh grave. That marker reads, “Andrisha the Potter,” and is dated several weeks ago.
Today the church is taken care of by Vergen of Kregar, a new addition to the village. Vergen was born in Berwyn, but felt the calling of the gods rather than the spirits. He went south to Hawkmoon to study. He returned to Berwyn several years ago, but found few willing to listen. After traveling from stedding to stedding, spreading the word among the Jendarri faithful, Vergen heard of the need in Varnhold.
Osgar Lorat, wife Nareena, children Conroy, Aleena, Ewen, Linette, calico cat Dragon
This cottage has cheerful curtains in its windows. A number of wooden children’s toys lie abandoned in the front yard. This was the home of the colony’s weaver, his wife, and their four children, who ranged in ages from 15 to 2. The cramped house is occupied by his loom as well as large reels of thread.
Aod Joang takes care of the village grange, a large barn holding most of the food stores for the winter. This giant barn has both a cargo door on the front and a smaller door on the side where a lean-to abuts the structure. The strong odor of barley and other grains wafts through the seams in the clapboard walls.
When the villagers were finally rescued from Vordekai, they found the food in the grange spoiled and rat-infested. The entire village worked together to completely empty out the barn and purify it. Luckily the winter was mostly over, although the entire village experienced several hungry days waiting for shipments of food to hold them over until the they could begin planting. The new laird, Firan brought food with him as an offering to the village.
The sturdy wooden walls of this house show signs of recent repairs, and the heavy door is newly made. This house served as the home and shop of the local gemcutter Eghan Nalquor, his wife Brighid, and his hired guard Pwyll Cobor.
L17. Stockade and Blockhouse
Perched atop a low hill, this triangular fortification looms over the town. A palisade of sharpened stakes leaves enough gaps for archers within to fire out upon the surrounding hillsides. The southern corners of the fort both have twin watch platforms, and the northern corner is anchored by a solid-looking blockhouse of sturdy timbers. A thin column of smoke drifts upward from a fire in the stockade’s compound.
After the party released the villagers from Vordekai’s Canopic jars, the village found itself leaderless and vulnerable. Firan of Turen came to the village and petitioned to be their new laird. The villagers agreed. Now Firan wonders how long he should wait to rename Varnhold Turenborg and expunge the memory of the original stedder.
Firan has insttiuted the Thrangaad, a council of vilagers. In theory, Firan governs on the advice of the Thrangaad and can be deposed by unanimous voice of the council. This has given Firan an air of legitmacy until he consolidates his power in the village.
Firan’s wife is Haelga, a stern, conservative woman with hair as gray as her demeanor. Haelga is Firan’s second wife. His first wife Mira died last year. Haelga, his mistress, stepped into the role quickly and they have only recently been wed.
Firan has many children.
Engrid (23 year old female) is the eldest. She is six feet tall, weighs almost 200 lbs and is quite unattractive. She has taken the path of shield maiden and has beaten over a dozen men in combat.
Firan’s second child Mord (21 year old male) fled an ambush last year and been ostracized for his cowardice. He is currently in Berwyn looking to join an expedition and return to repay the value of his lost caravan.
Jornal (19 year old male) is the most likely successor of Firan. A tall and broad shouldered athletic man, he is engaged to be married to Teala of Clan Staeld.
Thoeny (16 year old female) is thought to possess a spark of magic, Felina (13 year old female) is turning into quite a beauty and Beregar (12 year old male) is a spoiled brat.
Back to Berwyn
Back to The Soro Valley