lore: LOCATIONS

GARDENS of HECATE 


Gardens of Hecate is a historical region, dating back to the Ancient times. There are several stories that attempt to explain its name. One says that the area was rich with magical herbs and the people who lived there were famous as herbalists, sorcerers and healers - so the Ancients named the region after the goddess associated with these very things. Another speaks of a temple of Hecate, whose ruins might probably still be found somewhere near the mountains. Those who are more knowledgeable say that the name might come from the fact there are so many entrances to Underworlds hidden across the region - and Hecate is a chtonic deity. But the most probable answer is that the name comes from the Ancient settlement that stood there long ago. The settlement was called Trivia, because it was placed where three roads met. Trivia also happens to be another name for Hecate (the goddess of crossroads, among other things). On its site, the town of Heron stands today. The largest part of the region is now under Glassfog County, ruled by the Waywode family.
  

the town of HERON


Heron is a town in Glassfog County, which is a part of the Southern Province of the Adlerburg Monarchy. 
To the west of the town lie the plains of the Golden Valley, going on for many miles. To the north are forests and wetlands, and beyond them the bed of the river Deep Run. South of Heron is an alluvial plain formed by Quiet River and its tributaries. To the west, there is a large forested area and the landscape goes more vertical as a mountain range springs up that way. However, beyond that moderate elevation the plains continue relentlessly. 
Mighty Brook flows through Heron, effectively splitting the town in two by the middle. North of the town close to a dozen watermills have been built on the small river. Mighty Brook ends up in Quiet River further south. In Heron's surroundings one can find a number of villages and hamlets, such as Wells, Mudhorn, Foolsmarch and Swallowmire; and some solitary farms as well. There are several monasteries in the town's vicinity, and in the woodlands to the north-east stands Castle Waywode, the seat of counts Waywode- lords of  Glassfog County.
 
Up until several generations ago the area had been under occupation by the Hassanag Empire, and most people had fled north. When the Hassanags were pushed back, counts Waywode returned and repaired the damaged castle. They sought to repopulate the area, so they brought craftsmen, traders and peasants from their other lands across the Empire. Heron thrived, and became quite a prosperous town. However, over the course of the last fifteen years two plague epidemics have ravaged the South, and the population diminished visibly. A number of villages have been completely wiped out, and the town lost much of its populace as well. Ghost hamlets and decaying, uninhabited neighbourhoods are a result of this. The county is still recovering from the plagues, but things are seemingly getting better. More and more people are moving into Heron's half-timbered houses, and trade is doing well.

  CASTLE WAYWODE

 

Castle Waywode is the seat of counts Waywode and the current residence of the Countess. The Countess is not a Waywode, though; but a Vérzőfarkas. Her family's lands are in one of the eastern provinces. She is married to the current Count Waywode, who is not around much. So the Countess takes care of his county while the man is far away, fighting for the Empress in the ongoing war in the north.
The castle is situated north-east of Heron, standing on a small hill and surrounded by the Waywode Hunting Grounds. It was built centuries ago by the first Count Waywode, nicknamed Hogsbane because he, legend says it, put an end to a monstrous wild boar that was terrorizing the countryside. The creature got immortalized in the family coat of arms, which features a skewered boar. There is talk that the castle is haunted, and that this is due to the monster-boar's dying curse. Some of the people who have been guests at the castle claim that they saw processions of ghostly quadrupedal shapes noiselessly passing through luxuriously furnished rooms in the dead of night. Others say they felt random chills, heard hollow cries and shreaks and howls, or encountered disappearing rabbits and ethereal pheasants in dimly lit corridors. This has alwasy been dismissed as a silly superstition by the more skeptical. But everyone has to admit they have never heard of any other case of a site allegedly haunted by ghosts of game...

Artwork by Francesco Balsamo.


  CHAPEL OF St. HUBERTUS

 

This mysterious piece of sacral architecture stands somewhere in the Waywode Hunting Grounds. It was erected by the Waywode family, many generations ago. The counts take good care of it, making sure it gets renovated as time erodes it. The nobles visit it when they set out to hunt, to pray for safety and good luck. There are several legends associated with the chapel.

According to one, it is guarded by a group of supernatural beings. Among those creatures are a handful of Wodewoses, feral people from ancient times. These particular Woses were tamed by the Waywode ancestor who had the chapel built, and remain bound to it to protect it. The creatures are led by the Forest King, a woodland spirit. They are said to inhabit the surrounding woods. 

The chapel has a belltower; however, during one of the particularly trying Hassanag invasions the bell was taken down and melted in order to be recast into a cannon. A small outdoor bell was installed around that time to take over its function. In the meantime, as the situation turned to the better, a new bell was put in the tower. The outdoor bell nevertheless remained as a reminder of that part of history.

Although Hassanags had the county under their control for many years, during which many churches were torn down or repurposed, this forest chapel survived unscathed. Folk say it is because they could not find it. The chapel can allegedly change its location in the woods if it is threatened. Some say it is not that it physically moves, but it can simply make someone unable to find the way to it.



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