Oldengar's Valley

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Before the coming of humankind and the halflings, and even before the Clansrule, when the Peak was the Crownhold of the one true Dwarf-King, Oldengar's fed the citadels. Two small mountain valleys, largely secluded and inaccessible to the surrounding mountains, the valleys have long been agricultural breadbaskets for the dwarves of the Starfrost Mountains. Their traditions are old and well-established, and half the families who farm these lands are dwarves (who tend to be a minority in the other rural locales).

There are two gates that lead out of Caer Goldhelm: one for the North Valley, and the other for the South Valley.

The North Valley

The North Valley is the oldest settled portion of Oldengar's Valley, responsible for feeding many dwarven generations.

  • Eldisal: Eldisal is the largest of the Oldengar hamlets; indeed, its size has all but made it a small town by this point. Eldisal is built up against the stone of the mountains, this wall of stone inset with a great gate of dwarven make that guards the passage into Caer Goldhelm. A great market square lies just past the gates, allowing Goldhelm merchants to make quick work of shopping. The square is flanked by the Thanehall of Thane Mondigen, and the Valley's sole inn, the Madrigal's Whimsy, which mostly caters to sellers from deeper in the Valley seeking to sell their wares at the markets.
  • The Watchman's Tower: A modest keep with a tall tower at its heart built upon a tall central hill, the Watchman's Tower is garrisoned by soldiers, both yeomen of Thane Mondigen and a small troop of dwarven soldiery from Caer Goldhelm. At least one watcher is constantly on duty here, watching for the signal for trouble, lit in one of the upper towers of a Thane's Barn from any of the northern valley hamlets: a pillar of alchemical smoke during the day, or a great bonfire of white alchemical fire by night.
  • Amindal: Easily the smallest of the northern valley's hamlets, Amindal is home to the area's main clergy of the Mysteries Pastoral, who have built and maintain a pavilion (called the Triune Altar) for gatherings in the crux between four of the largest fields. During the various festivals, many people can be found here celebrating. The rest of the time, at least one adherent remains here, particularly during work days, where they offer water and shade to workers.
  • Gromann: Easily half of the farmers in Gromann are dwarves (mostly hill dwarves), of old clans whose people have always taken pride in providing food for their people. Indeed, the town (and the loch above it) are named for Gromann Blackearth, the founder of Clan Blackearth, whose ancient, sprawling farm estate is the largest landmark here.
  • Loch Gromann: Loch Gromann is a cold highland loch which actually sits on higher ground than the valley below. Torrential rains have caused it to leap its boundaries before, flooding the lands around Gromann, but these flash floods are incredibly rare today, particularly because of the dwarf-wrought levees which the locals also use as docking supports for their boats and fishing spots. Loch Gromann is also well-known for the fish taken from its waters, a fine blue-white-grey loch salmon.
  • Fargrann: A peaceful, sedate hamlet, Fargrann is home to a great many herders. Set at the edge of tree-covered foothills, Fargrann's citizens rarely see outsiders, for a simple reason: there's very little of interest here to them.
    • It is this very seclusion that made Fargrann attractive to the half-elf magus Clymendal some fifty years ago. He built his Argent Spire on the hills above the hamlet, overlooking the nearby Fargrann Pond. He and his apprentices are an infrequent sight in the town, but have been here long enough to be (barely) considered locals by the other residents.
  • The Meadows: In late spring and through summer, the meadows are a lush highland glen with thick waist-high grasses. Herder families in Gromann, Fargrann, and Amindal frequently drive their herds up into its spaces to feed their herds for a few weeks before returning them home to a more typical fare. These weeks inevitably take on a festival air, with generations of friends who look forward to meeting one another again during these Meadow Days.

The South Valley

A newer valley, the South Valley was settled during the end-days of the Clansrule.

  • Umeros: Like Eldisal, Umeros has both a gate and a market square. Unlike Eldisal, its markets are poorly attended, save in the harvest season of the Orchards. The rest of the time, its markets are so ill-attended that many of its sellers have to travel to Eldisal in order to have any hope of selling their goods. The farms of Umeros are split relatively equally between dwarves and humans.
    • Because the southern valley lacks a Watchman's Tower, the Thanes of Oldengar's Valley traditionally set watchfolk in the highest reaches of the dwarven gate fortification to keep an eye out for the Thane's barn smoke or fires from the hamlets of the valley here.
  • Watersedge: The lochside hamlet of Watersedge is made up of about a third fisherfolk, mainly humans, who all live down by the side of the loch. The rest of its folk are farmers, largely dwarves and halflings.
  • The Icewater: A low-lying loch, the Icewater is fed by icy streams from out of the mountains, which cascade out of the heights in a dozen or more small waterfalls before arriving in the loch. The Icewater is known for its pike and walleye fish. The sides of the loch do not have any structures of any sort, though the locals do have a variety of small boats that are easily put into the water.
  • Orchard: The small hamlet of Orchard is about two-thirds halflings, with the rest of its population made up of a roughly even split of humans and dwarves.
    • At the beginning of the Guildsrule, the Guilds cut down the last of the lumber in the Oldengar Valley, a stand which stood where Orchard is now. In response to the concerns, they sponsored the planting of a variety of fruit and nut trees in their place, and established a new hamlet to tend the orchards.