‘Bring into your mind a picture of grand landscapes, forested mountain ranges littering the countryside with streams and rivers running freely down the slopes, gradually carving valleys out of the rock. Before the mountain ranges stretches rolling grass covered plains as far as the naked eye can see. Now soak that lush foliage and rich soil with the blood of hundreds of thousands of men women and children so that when you walk those lands it is not moisture from the recent rains that wells in your footprint but the blood of those who have died in defence of it. These are the southern lands of our great empire, riddled with the memories and pains of the dead.’
Imperial Court Bard to Emperor Arias 3rd
The Barrowlands is a land of some diversity as its northern boundary run along the base of the Denaris Ranges holding lush, fertile plains suited to grazing sheep and dairy cattle, but as you travel further south the terrain changes to forested undulating hills, valleys and eventually mountains as they stretch further south into the lands of Gracia and the Grand Duchy of Koras.
In this southern area wide open valleys are home to small self sustaining villages nestled next to lakes and rivers. The deeper you travel into the land the more untouched it seems to be with the landscape covered with forests, abundant wildlife, foliage that clings to the rocks of the cliff faces as they try to reach the ridges peaks, and water that cascades down the valley walls in a myriad of thin waterfalls.
Yet do not let this serine picture fool you as the lands are both wild and dangerous, particularly if you are from Doth-Eria. The primary threat is from one of the Gracian tribes as they consider the lands still to be theirs and anyone not of their people to be trespassers. The most common encounter with these people is from tribal scouts who have come to investigate an incursion, hunters, night time raiders or warbands. The further south and closer to the border between The Barrowlands and Gracia one travels the higher the risk, within the midlands and north of the province the risk is not so much of open battle or capture rather it is of insult and distrust by the villages and townsfolk who descend from the Gracian tribes.
The west and north-western parts of the province broaden into a more open landscape until you reach the coastline where rugged cliffs and lashing salty waves whip against the rocks. The western area is the most civilized with the largest settlement, the Citadel of Langhorn, solidly standing as a beacon and testament to the power of the Doth-Erian Empire.
This is a harsh land, and one that is torn between two distinct cultures. The original lands were held by a collective of tribes who loosely aligned to form a nation they called Gracia. This is a vibrant warrior culture who is one with the lands around them, worshiping the spirits of the forest such as the wolf and the bear above all. The current rulers of this province are the Doth-Erian Empire. A highly technologically and magically advanced civilization that have continuously expanded their borders over the last four hundred and thirty years. War between these two factions has lasted for over a century and has seen the gradual retreat of the Gracian’s. Although the Empire has never been able to completely defeat these people they have pushed them deep into the southern mountain range Known as the Tarisan and conquered much of what they once owned.
Peace has now lasted for twenty years after a ceasefire was brokered by the Iribane tribe, however those descendents that were left in the occupied territory have known nothing but repression and subjugation, with the Doth-Erian’s enforcing laws which outlaw their language, religion, beliefs, dress, names, historical teachings and folk law. Although the Gracian’s should not have expected any special treatment as this is standard policy for Doth-Eria as a means to take control of the captured lands and bring it completely under its control.