Rinloru and Winetha, The Twin Cities
Historically, the cities of Rinloru and Winetha have not had the intimate intertwining which the now-used name “Twin Cities” implies. Winetha developed as a naval base and fishing town, and also a trade port for importing the goods the Sea Barons brought in from their isles and lands to the south. Rinloru developed rather later as a city set well back from the coast with an anchoring purpose. It supported and supplied the sea keeps north of Winetha, which defended the coast from barbarian raids between Atirr and the southern port. It also came to anchor a series of small garrisoned keeps which protected the inland farm hamlets and villages of the south. Thus, the two cities had complementary functions, but were not closely allied in any way.
Indeed, the noble houses owning the lands around the cities have traditionally had considerable enmity for each other. Rinloru has been in the keep of the House of Torquann for generations, as has Winetha been the fief of the House of Garasteth. Part of the feud between these Houses, indeed, concerns Garasteth claims to land south of Rinloru which that house asserts was obtained by banditry on the part of Torquann. Minor battles between hothead young princelings of these houses have been commonplace over the centuries, though serious large-scale conflict was usually avoided.
The events of the Greyhawk Wars, and two exceptional rulers, have changed this. Now the cities and their lands are locked in an unholy embrace. Both rulers are appallingly evil, but possessed of great magical strength, and rulers of adjoining lands do not dispute their land claims far beyond the Twin Cities even though only the remnants of disorganized armies are to be found beyond them. The fear of magical retribution is too strong, and the ghastly army of Rinloru in particular is one no one wishes to face on the plains of battle. United in evil, Delglath of Rinloru and Prince Lakaster of Winetha are nonetheless allies—of a sort. How this came to be is a strange tale indeed.
So, why has the archmage-prince allied with the murderous, insane Nerull priest of Rinloru? Power and arrogance, as so often, are the keys.
The realities of power here center on two magical artifacts the Oeridians brought with them from their lands far to the west many centuries ago. One is the Mace and Talisman of Krevell, an evil priest of great might. The other is the Helm and Wand of Lynerden the Spinner, a mage of equal prowess to Krevell. The component parts of these artifacts are useful, but if the two parts of each are combined, they gain enormously in power. These artifacts have long been divided between the houses of Garasteth and Torquann, and currently Delglath has the mace and helm, and Lakaster has the talisman and wand. Obviously, each desires the other half of the artifact he prizes so much.
Fighting each other for the other half of the artifact is something both rulers have kept from. Lakaster’s troops fear the undead hordes of the west, while Delglath knows full well that the magic of an archmage and his renowned Court Wizards of Winetha – not to mention the fiendish allies and elementals they could muster – would present truly formidable opposition to his armies. Besides which, each spellcaster knows that the other will guard his portions of the artifacts with wards and spells which the other might not be able to breach. War is not an option here. Yet both men – archmage and animus – crave the great power of their artifact and have become obsessed with completing their great magic item.
So, emissaries have been dispatched and received, very coolly admittedly, but initial contacts have been made. The rulers have signed a treaty of mutual non-aggression. Each keeps his armies to his own lands and does not attack the lands of the other, and recognizes the land rights of the other. This has reassured the Torquann princelings to some extent. Delglath does not have to worry about Garasteth princelings since there are few left in his lands, and those still alive are virtual prisoners in their own keeps and mansions. Each spellcaster is now trying desperately to learn of the powers of each artifact when combined together, to test how much he would gain compared to the other. This takes much time, and prince and priest have an uneasy alliance in the interim. Both believe that they can vanquish the other, if only they had the full power of the magical artifact they want.
As intense magical studies proceed in Rinloru and Winetha, an infinitesimally thin strand of magical energy has come to link the Twin Cities. Some unique magical resonance links the artifacts and spellcasters, and this straight line of magical energy can be seen easily with a detect magic spell. The link has no magical effects, nor can it be dispelled; it is simply there. Mordenkainen believes that the strange coupling of artifacts and powerful spellcasters will generate an uncontrollable magical force which will ultimately result in a massive Mordenkainen’s disjunction which will have decimating effects on the two men and their magical possessions and possibly create magic-dead areas around the Twin Cities. Most of the rest of the Flanaess had best wish that he is right. Whether he is, no one is daring to take on the might of these rulers, leaving them to their own strange interlocked pavanne of obsession and magical power.
The lands of Delglath and Lakaster are divided as shown. By treaty, neither side sends any troops into an area of six miles either side of this border. Sometimes wandering zombies or skeletons might stray into these lands out of control of one of Nerull’s priests, but this is relatively rare, and they cause little damage in any event.
Locations and Settlements of the Twin Cities: