Ennobled during the reign of Tavish IV as Viscount of Salinmoor and tasked with overseeing the construction of Bale Keep, to keep an eye out for trouble out of Port Torvin and the Hool Marshes, House Secunforth quickly retreated to the viscounty’s sleepy fishing capital of Seaton once Bale Keep’s construction was completed and its barracks filled. For the most part, administering the remote viscounty consists of monitoring the southeastern Dreadwood Forest, ensuring the protection of the fishing fleet from pirates out of Port Torvin or Monmurg, and discouraging various denizens of the Hool Marshes from leaving the Javan river delta area for dryer lands to the east—all tasks that the distant cousins of the Neheli found to be extremely tedious.
The current viscount, Lord Aiken Secunforth, is a more militant noble than many of his ancestors; as a second son, he had served in the Keoish cavalry. When his older brother was lost at sea in 556 CY during a sudden storm, during what should have been a routine sail to Redshore, Aiken was summoned home by his parents. Never having expected to live a nobleman’s life, Aiken chafed at the administrative tediousness of his new role until his parents, sensing his frustrations, named him commander of the viscounty’s military forces and sent him west to assess the condition of the woefully maintained Bale Keep. While gone, his father developed a lingering chest cold which would torment him for years.
While out west, Aiken and his small engineering company spent a year renovating the keep while exploring the fringes of the Hool Marshes to assess nearby threats. After several successful forays into the marshes, they managed to outsmart and kill a strange, wingless dragon which they had determined to be responsible for encouraging the bullywugs of the swamp to attack Bale Keep in years past. With apparent threats curtailed and the keep restored and once again garrisoned, Aiken and his men headed north to oversee the construction of a stout little keep on a small hill located where the Kingfisher and Janustream rivers met just south of the Silverstand. From there, a garrison could watch the road north from Saltmarsh, merchants could trade with sylvan elves native to the Silverstand, and the nearby fringes of the Dreadwood could be more closely monitored. It remains well-maintained and manned to this day.
By the time Burle Keep was completed in 558 CY, Aiken was very popular with the viscounty soldiery for he was a friendly, fair, and thoughtful leader. Aiken enjoyed life in the field and rarely returned to Seaton. However, during one such visit, Aiken realized his parents were attempting to play matchmaker in an effort to end his voluntary bachelorhood as they invited minor noble families, who all coincidentally had charming daughters of marriageable age, from throughout the kingdom to visit their manor. After all, as heir to the title of Viscount of Salinmoor, he would need to wed eventually. Aiken, aware that his father’s health had begun to decline, agreed to pick one of the women to court upon completing his next fortification construction, that of Brinestone Keep (which would serve both to provide reinforcements to Bale Keep and to guard the environs west of the sleepy town of Saltmarsh).
Soon thereafter, when he was ordered to attend the Duke of Gradsul’s court during the summer of 560 CY, so that the duke might get to know him better, he met the Lady Lizbeth Rheyd, second daughter of the Count of Nimlee, and fortuitously fell in love. The pair began to correspond as he resumed his duties in Seaton, which he attacked with more gusto due to concerns over his father’s failing health throughout 561 CY. Several months later, and with all appropriate matchmakers satisfied, including his parents, her parents, and even the Duke of Gradsul, Lady Lizbeth and The Honorable Master of Salinmoor were engaged. Due to his father’s health, the wedding came quickly; a good thing as barely a week later, the viscount’s lungs failed him. After the appropriate mourning period, Aiken and Lizbeth were acknowledged as the new Viscount and Viscountess of Salinmoor, respectively, by his liege lord the Duke of Gradsul.
Upon his father’s passing, Aiken, having to focus on his new duties as viscount, appointed Eliander Fireborn as leader of the viscounty’s military forces. A brave and loyal officer of the Keoish army, Eliander was very familiar with the dangers of the Dreadwood, having lost his leg to an owlbear in the forest’s depths while leading a patrol as a young lieutenant. No longer young when appointed head of the viscounty’s military, Eliander served only for a few years before retiring and accepting a position in Saltmarsh as captain of the town guard. Aiken promptly named him a member of the town’s ruling council, which some prominent citizens of Saltmarsh grumbled as an overreaching abuse of authority on the part of the viscount. Eliander remains loyal to the viscount and the crown above all.
Initially dreading court life, Aiken soon found Lizbeth, who was well-versed in courtly manners and duties due to her time as a Lady-in-Waiting in the court of King Trevlyan III, an invaluable partner in the running of the viscounty’s affairs. In 564 CY, when the pair traveled to Niole Dra for King Kimbertos Skotti’s coronation, it was Lizbeth who helped Aiken navigate the complexities of the royal court. The new king was so impressed with the viscount’s military accomplishments, modest nature, and strategic acumen that he pledged the funds to have a castle built in Seaton and a small fleet relocated there from Gradsul. Honored, Aiken spent several weeks meeting with royal engineers to plan the castle’s construction before he and his lady returned home.
Upon arriving home, Lizbeth was excited to tell Aiken that he was going to be a father. In 565 CY, Cronin was born as construction on Seaton Castle was underway. Of ambitious design, the castle walls extended to encircle the entirety of the town, leaving only the port exposed. During its construction, which lasted five years, Cronin could often be seen scampering about the unfinished walls whenever he had eluded his nanny.
With the castle’s construction completed and its garrison supplemented by naval forces from Gradsul, during the early 570s Seaton became an important strategic location from which to combat piracy in the Azure Sea, monster incursions from the Dreadwood, or humanoid menaces from the Hool Marshes. As Seaton’s population demographics shifted from civilian fisherfolk to military veterans and their families, Seaton grew from a sleepy backwater town to a small city in the span of a few years. As a result, plans for a ferry to cross the river are being drawn up as the town is expected to grow in the years ahead.