Delaric and the Naelax Lands
The three areas of land shown as the Naelax lands are almost all owned and controlled by nobles of the House of Naelax. The northernmost lands of the three fiefdoms are mostly owned by Prince Montand of Delaric and his liegemen. The central wedge of lands is in the grip of Prince Strychan of Dustbridge. And the southern lands are a diversely controlled set of landholdings.
In all these lands, there is nominal acceptance of Ivid as overking. Taxes and tithes are still paid to Rauxes, and Ivid’s armies still prowl these lands and are afforded hospitality. However, the Naelax nobility has no doubt that Ivid’s days are done, and power struggles dominate these lands. Some are petty squabbles, old scores settled with mercenaries. But there is a major tension between the rulers of Delaric and Dustbridge.
Prince Strychan of Dustbridge is an ambitious, charismatic man who is increasingly accepted as the most plausible candidate the House of Naelax can put forward for the malachite throne—since Ivid’s own sons are mad, feeble-minded, or worse, and no one wants one of his descendants on the throne anyway. However, Prince Strychan’s ambition is a little too naked for the tastes of Montand of Delaric, who also has a puritanical dislike of Strychan’s debauched and eccentric court. Karasin of Innspa, Strychan’s paramour, works hard behind the scenes to swing Montand’s influence and power behind the Prince of Dustbridge, but Montand has not yet acceded. He has his own worries with Rinloru and its undead armies to the east, and much of his diplomatic energies are devoted to careful dealings with North Province.
Both these princes managed to avoid the fate of becoming an animus. Strychan always managed to be away on some plausible pretext when Ivid’s summons came, while Montand simply refused to budge from his fortress. This is another reason why Montand fears allying with Strychan. He knows that Ivid is especially angry with him for his refusal to leave his city and lead the token army he gave to the overking during the Greyhawk Wars. And he considers that an alliance might bring down the wrath of the overking’s armies upon him. Delaric is a well-fortified city, but even so this is a conflict Montand wants to stay well out of. The problem of the renegade priest Krennden of Hextor exacerbates this, of course.
In these lands mercenaries find good employ. Many old scores are being settled, as noted, and some of Strychan’s liegemen in particular are jockeying for position behind their lord and use ambush, assassination, and sabotage to deal with their rivals. In the southern lands there are only pockets of effective control, and mercenaries and humanoid troops (many deserters from Rauxes) prowl the highways and raid farmsteads in search of gold, food, clothing, and equipment. Travelers here will need plenty of weapons and very fast horses.
Locations and Settlements of the Northern and Central Lands: