The Northern Reach of the Stone Islands is the most uninhabited of The Stone Islands' reaches, it also houses one of the oldest known cities in Adunorh, Embermont. The Northern Reach was one of the few areas in The Stone Islands to successfully resist the expansion of the Calyn empire during the first cycle.
Much of the War of the Eye was fought around Anchor Haven. Thus, much of the terrain surrounding the Northern City has been marred by powerful magic forces, most famous of which are the Gashes.
The Northern Reach is primarily mountainous, also featuring some taigas and tundra, with a few coniferous forests and swam to the south.The Northern Reach is mainly barren tundra in the far north, with mountains and taigas located towards the middle of the region, and swampy marshes in the south.
The Northern Reach has a very short summer and long hostile winters. It is a rare thing for climate to allow temperatures to reach over 70 degrees.
The harsh climate of the Northern Reach is not ideal for plants to grow, thus much of the Northern Reach's vegetation is mainly lichen and moss in the north but features more coniferous vegetation in the south.
The Frigid Marshes
The southern-most portion of the Northern Reach is made up of grassy wetlands and peat bogs, this area is known as the Frigid Marshes. The Frigid Marshes are largely uninhabited due to the poor quality of the soil and presence of sinkholes. The sinkholes in the area often occur when the permafrost under the earth melts and volatile chemicals located inside pockets of the earth violently expand. This chemical process often causes lakes and craters to form seemingly overnight. Often, there are instances of people or even entire homesteads that reportedly vanish on the Frigid Marshes.
The Gashes are a series of incredibly deep canyons located in the far northern parts of the Northern Reach. In the depths of the gashes, there are large amounts of precious stones as well as rich ore deposits. As a result, the Gashes have become a haven for treasure hunters who are either too greedy, desperate, or crazy to venture into the caves of Embermont. Legend has it that during the siege of the Anchor Haven During the War of the Eye the gods dragged one of Tharizdun's lieutenants off the material plane into the astral sea. As he was being forced into the otherworldly plane, the lieutenant clawed desperately at the earth with his ornate gauntlets causing deep gashes in the earth. The story goes on to say that pieces of the lieutenant's gauntlets fell deep into the canyons he created and still lie somewhere at the bottom of the ravines.
Another tale states that The Gashes were created by an ancient civilization who wanted to keep themselves hidden from the races of the earth. It is said that the people living within the earth held such power that even the gods were made to tremble.
The southern shores of the Northern Reach are known as the The Quietus Shores due to massive amount of skeletons that can be found buried in the sand all along the beaches. The skeletons were once solders of the Calyn Empire, the solders had attempted to invade the North during the first cycle but most ended up dying during the Frost War. The Northerners piled the bodies of the dead Calyn on the shore as a warning sign to other would-be invaders.
Today the remains of Calyn weapons and armor can still be found buried under the sands of the shores, most locals do not scavenge any of the equipment, thinking it cursed.
The people of the Northern Reach are primarily known for being hardy and tough. The races that are commonly found in the Northern Reach are humans as well as dwarves who often immigrate from the Stojanow mountain in hopes of being able to obtain some of the riches of the North.
The people of the Northern Reach have not had it easy, their kingdoms were on the front lines of both the War of the Eye and their struggle against the Calyn empire. Despite the hostile weather conditions and the several large scale wars, the people of the Northern Reach are a fierce and proud people. They cling fiercely to their liberty and independence from other nations.
During the first cycle the Northern Reach was one of the first places in Adunorh to unite all of its kingdoms into a coalition. The coalition was made up of an alliance of several kingdoms who controlled most of the Northern Reach.
Embermont is founded and abandoned
The Calyn Empire
The Calyn Empire knew very little about the north of the Stone Islands, most of the locals of the kingdoms that they had conquered did not know very much the mysterious people of the north. Most in the Stone Islands did not venture north for fear of the weather or because of stories that spoke of powerful begins who lived up north and enjoyed the torture of lesser creatures. The Calyn Empire were not frightened by either the climate nor the legends of the north and set sail to the north with their grand army intent on spreading their culture to the peoples of the north.
The Calian army landed on the shores of the northern reach in the late summer and intended to conquer the first city they saw and hold it through the year as they awaited reinforcements. They succeeded in capturing the city of BleakPoint only a few days after landing. Callan generals made plans to holdout there til winter passed; everything seemed to be going the way that the Calian commanders had planned. What the generals had not counted on though was the kingdoms of the north having the any form of common government or alliance with one another, at least not one as large as they actually possessed.
It did not take long for word of the Calian invasion to the reach the ears of the other northern kingdoms and they quickly set about rallying their armies for an all-out attack on the Calians.
The Frost War
The frost war, so named due to most of fighting being done during the late winter, was a Northern offensive initiative intended to drive the Calians out from their cities in the North and force them to retreat out of the region. The first battle occurred in late winter when the combined armies of the North, then dubbed the polar coalition, attacked the Calians camped at BleakPoint. The Calians, already holed-up for the winter, were not expecting an attack. The Calians never conceived that the Northerners could mobilize such a large army in such a short time, much less during the winter. The Northern alliance was stronger than the Calians expected.
The Calians were well known for their superior tactics, strategy, and brilliant troop movements. However, having ruled from flowery seats in the south, they were not prepared for the harsh and treacherous terrain featured in the northern reach. For their part, the soldiers of the Polar coalition had spent their entire lives in the north and were accustomed to fighting in the frigid temperatures and driving snow.
Needless to say the Calians soldiers suffered staggering losses at BleakPoint and were driven out of the city, feeling south hoping to rally at the coast. Unfortunately, the Calian's retreat took them right through the frigid marsh. The Calian army had a difficult time moving their supplies and soldiers through the peat bogs and swamps in the marshes. Their baggage trains were picked apart and their soldiers slaughtered by the Northerners. The victorious northerners were said to have stacked Calian dead piles high on the shores of the northern reach to act as a warning to anyone who would try to control the north again.
The Calians mounted several other, unsuccessful campaigns against the North during the latter half of the first cycle. The campaigns for the most part were failures, but one thing the Calyn empire did succed at was spreading many of their cultural ideas to the north. The Polar Coalition improved their armies, battle tactics, and equipment as a necessity from fighting the Calians. Not only that, the northerners began to trade much more with the south after receiving a taste of Calian regalia.
The War of the Eye
The Northern Reach was at the battleground for most of The War of the Eye. Chaos elementals first slipped through a planar rift in the far north and began to carve a path of ruin towards Anchorhaven. It was not long before the Polar Coalition learned of the the threat and dispatched their armies to try and end the destruction. The armies of the Polar Coalition were unable to defeat Thaizdun and his demonic forces and were soon in retreat. The Northern Reach would have been lost if the gods of Adunorh had not rallied their respective armies from around the multiverse and traveled to the Stone Islands.
While The War of the Eye was only around a few weeks long in the Northern Reach it lasted much longer in other parts of the multiverse. The gods managed to push Tharizdun and his horde of hell spawn back through the interdimentional rift that they had originally come from. The deities of Adunorh pursed their foes through the portal and finally managed to capture and imprison Tharizdun during the Battle of Pandemonium's Reach.
Consolidation of power
The Stone Islands Civil War
The Great Civil War
Shortly after the creation of the Reaches the dwarves of the Stojanow Mountain, which was currently under the control of the eastern and northern reaches, demanded to have their own separate reach or domain. Both the Northern and Eastern Reaches refused to listen to the dwarves even as their complaints grew louder and louder. Eventually dwarven miners in the mountain went on strike, refusing to mine many of the precious minerals that the North and East prospered from. Both the Eastern and Northern Reach dispatched soldiers to the Stojanow mountain in an attempt to get the miners back to work.
Tensions between the miners and soldiers came to a head when some of the angry miners began throwing stones at a group of soldiers, the soldiers responded by kill the miners. To many dwarves this was an act of war and soon dwarven smiths were using their forges to provide weapons to the Dwarvern Liberation Front, the chief separatist group in the Stojanow Mountain. The DLF began a campaign of guerilla war against the soldiers of the Northern and Eastern Reach.
Eventually the DLF managed to rout the soldiers from their home and declared the Stojanow Mountain as its own independent nation, separate from the Stone Islands. The Stone Islands not wanting to loose lucrative mineral and ore deals in the Stojanow Island managed to make a bargain with the dwarves. Instead of the dwarfs becoming their own nation they would become a member of the Stone Islands charter and be allowed to be considered their own Reach, officials from the other reaches also promised to never start rival business ventures that would cause of a loss in profits for the Stojanow Mountain.
Emperor Barbossa Hohenstaufen
WestWatch and Apocrypha
Baroness Apocrypha Reyavik, was a landed knight and adventurer in the northern reach, she fought in many skirmishes and battles for her banner lord before taking fever from a wound. Years later, in her old age, she developed a cruel and calculating, yet insane mind from constant infection and the stress of battle. She became obsessed with war. Reyavik lands are located near the Gashes. As a result of this proximity, Apocrypha was able to collect substantial fees from adventurers seeking to quest in the gashes.
Imperial Forces on Northern Reach Soil
Apocrypha's fevered mind deemed war was what made men true. For her, the ability to wage war was the divine right of any man. These twisted thoughts turned her mind toward Ghillodahn, where war was a central part of the nation's culture. In the 79th year of the third cycle, war was about to erupt there in earnest. Apocrypha marveled at the martial might of the allied Illioner and Kairihenan armies and deemed the numerous other claimantss to the Golden Throne, such as the Whitecloaks and Lady Micah Essen, unequal to prolonging the war for long. In an effort to extend the duration of the war for Ghilldahn's Golden Throne, she reached out to the Magister's brother, Lord Commandante Barbossa Hohenstaufen. Lord Barbossa was the Magister's younger brother of the old Grand Magister, Roebert Hohenstaufen, and was a strong claimant to the Golden Throne. Apocrypha used her vast riches to bolster Barbossa's already substantial mercenary army. In the 80th year of the third cycle, Lord Barbossa Hohenstaufen crowned himself Emperor of Ghillodahn. He called all holy men to flock to his banner to defend the Holy Protectorate of Amaldor from Magister Lathandre's expansion. For the promise of gold and glory, many of the Reach's knights and holy men answered Barbossa's call. Barbossa is currently marshaling his forces at the fortress city of WestWatch, at the invitation of Baroness Apocrypha Reyavik. During the Illioner occupation of the city of Skaldergate, the Lord Captains, Dreonn Swann, Arthur Lavelle, and Brennic Confresi, departed Skaldergate harbor with their fleets to avoid seizure of the Grand Skaldergate Navy by Magisterial forces. At Baroness Apocrypha's behest, the three homeless Lord Captains joined Emperor Barbossa in the northern reach. Emperor Barbossa eagerly promised to liberate Skaldergate from the Illioner army occupying it. The three Lord Captains named Lathandre a usurper and declared for Emperor Barbossa, then and there. Barbossa and his commanders put to route a Northern Reach force set on pushing him out of the Northern Reach in order to preserve positive relations with Ghillodahn. The battle was called the battle of the Charzenes and cost many Northern Reach lives.
Elven Volunteers, Sons of Latherian
As Northern Reach nationalism continued to mount, elves in particular felt some negative effects. Though the Calians wreaked their devastation a millenia ago, the northerners had a long memory. Elves in large cities like Anchor Haven were treated with disdain as support for the "Old Ways" took root in the Northern Reach. In the countryside and the city of West Watch, elves were treated better. The Ghillioner citizens and members of Hohenstaufen government in exile still referred to elven citizens as "sir" or "lady" and seemingly had no prior prejudices like the Northern Reachers. Elves who had nothing holding them down were quick to sign on as volunteers in the Imperial Hohenstaufen army. Generals championing the Hohenstaufen cause wanted to turn them into the first elven light infantry units. Though the most accurate and quick among the elves were given the chance to join the light infantry, the rest were formed into an enitrely elven line regiment.