County of Crystalreach
Standing Army: 5,550 (plus 550 troops seconded from other provinces)
Tax Multiplier: 1.7
Tithe IMultiplier: 1.5
Ruler: Count Artur Jakartai
The County of Crystalreach is still one of the more war-torn regions of Furyondy. Located in the northeastern portion of the nation, this province borders with lands that once belonged to the Horned Society, and now are ruled by followers of Iuz. Crystalreach was an important area in the Great Northern Crusade, and many expect that this province will be the launching point for future offensives against the Old One.
Settlements and Locations with the County of Crystalreach:
- Bone Road
- Castle Hart
- Fort Belvor
- Greatwall Castle
- Gull Keep
- Whyestil Lake
Before the war, the capital of this county was Grabford, where the previous provincial ruler, Count Paulus Halpern, was lost, believed killed by Iuz’s forces. Since Halpern died without issue, Belvor moved to install a new ruler. His choice, the mighty Shield Land exile Artur Jakartai, was a daring one. Belvor knows Artur is an ally, and considered, rightly, that the other provincial rulers wouldn’t object too loudly.
They agreed, for several good reasons. First, Halpern was not known with certainty to be dead, so Jakartai was said to be a “provisional” ruler. Belvor pleaded that putting an indigenous Furyondian in charge might result in major turmoil if Halpern were ever recovered. Second, the other provincial rulers didn’t like Halpern anyway, since he was an overbearing, cowardly, and very snobbish individual. They are not too sorry to see someone else in charge. Third, Jakartai is a genuine war hero who fought along the length and breadth of the Furyondian war front. The loyalty of those who fought with and for him is absolute. It would be hard for any noble to oppose such a man. Fourth, Jakartai is known to despise the old leaders of the Shield Lands for their blinkered prejudices, which lost the Shield Lands. This counts in his favor.
Jakartai was known to rely heavily on Furyondian advisers, especially Halpern’s Priest Jalquayne (LG male human Cleric of Hieroneous L8) who is his representative at Belvor’s Noble Council, as he was for Halpern. This is reassuring to the other provincial rulers. Jakartai also behaves in a modest and deferential way to the other rulers. His clumsiness and social naivety is actually endearing to them, disarming their usual snobbery. One exception to this is Countess Rhavelle, who considers him vulgar. All in all, this appointment has been a political triumph for Belvor.
During the Crusade, forces of Furyondy were able to recapture the provincial capital, Grabford, and confirmed the fate of the former liege, Count Paulus Halpern. When no proper heir was found, the Noble Council ratified Belvor’s wartime appointment. Count Artur Jakartai, a former Shield Lander, now rules Crystalreach. Just over a year ago, the capital was moved from its wartime location, Greatwall, back to Grabford, a city in a dire situation. Most of the capital city’s buildings are war damaged, and city officials have deemed more than three-quarters of the sites unsafe. Count Jakartai rules a land bustling with wartime activity. Most of the citizens of Crystalreach are somehow involved with rebuilding the city and improving the city defenses (the number one priority) and preparing for battles they feel are sure to come.
Defenses: Artur Jakartai has strengthened this once lazy province. The new count and his advisers have shown good judgement in working with Kalinstren to forge the Flare Line. Likewise, Jakartai has strengthened the river defenses along the Veng, with militia bases along the riverside to support the small, heavily armed cogs which travel with essential convoys of supplies and goods from Willip northwards. Many of these militia bases are strongly fortified and camouflaged. Fine bowmen form a greater percentage of these militia units than elsewhere. Their role is to keep enemies from across the river at bay. There has been less repair work to do here than in Kalinstren, so the Flare Line is more complete. This is also due to the efforts of Jakartai’s dwarven engineer, Curtlem the Calloused, the proud bearer of a spade of colossal excavation which has had a great effect on earthwork construction.
At Belvor’s request, Jakartai does not mount raids into the northern territory unless there are reliable reports of a significant warband gathering there. This has only happened twice since the end of the war. Once, the band had dispersed before Jakartai’s men reached the area. On the other occasion, a band of 40 heavy cavalry, 40 light cavalry and a handful of spellcasters lost six men, slain while wiping out nearly four hundred goblinoids. That has inspired confidence in their new ruler among the soldiers!
Jakartai inspires something akin to awe among the common people and soldiers. He is a towering figure, almost seven feet tall. He rides a monstrous, barded stallion, bearing a magical battle standard whose effects have been experienced in the heat of combat by many troops. He raises a cheer wherever he goes.
Morale is better in Crystalreach than in Kalinstren, and people do not fear the terrors of Iuz so much, though they are certainly not complacent. Jakartai has also tried to place the burden of extra revenues on the richer folk, so that while taxes are high, tithes have not increased so greatly. Common folk appreciate this and believe their new lord is a definite change for the better.
Notable Religions: Various temples are found throughout the major cities of the region. The largest church in the area is that of Mayaheine, whose worship is based out of the church in Grabford. Other prevalent churches are dedicated to Heironeous, St. Cuthbert, and Trithereon.
Across the Border: Another reason for superior morale in the county is that the forces of luz do not appear so strong across the northern border. The enemy’s soldiers, a rabble of mixed humanoids including Horned Society hobgoblins, seem poorly armored and equipped compared to those to the west. Nothing like the monster raids or thassaloss guardian seen in Kalinstren have yet appeared here. Skirmishing is actually more common, due to the poorer organization of the goblinoids, but there are fewer losses to these weaker troops.
However, this may be deceptive. Rumors abound that Grabford is a charnel house compared to which Crockport is almost a haven of respite. A vampire-mage is said to command Iuz’s forces from this conquered town, and two raiding parties have both reported seeing yeth hounds flying around Grabford. Human slaves have likewise been seen here.
East of the Veng, the forces within the old Horned Society lands are predominantly hobgoblins, with a significant smattering of human leadership. These include priests of Iuz, cynical and evil scum from the Bandit Kingdoms who defected to luz. There are regular reports of fiends stalking east of the river.
Standing on the far banks of the Veng remains one of Furyondy’s primary military targets, Molag. This city is the former capital of the Horned Society and although damaged in the crusades, remains a major staging area for Iuz. Military theorists believe that the taking of Molag would allow Furyondy to seek alliances with western nations to potentially flank Iuz. Molag, the “summer palace” of Iuz, is home to High Priestess Althea, one of the most eminent of the Boneheart. It is garrisoned by over 3,000 humanoid soldiers, and is a city awash with fiendish and malefic presences. As yet, bow fire from across the river, and rare forays by a fiend or a handful of goblinoids have been the only incursions into Furyondy.
This border gives Jakartai more anxiety than the northern front despite the natural defense of the river, and he is always eager to hear news from Fendrelan. Molag is certainly the most powerful city and troop base within very short distance of Furyondy.