The Kingdom of Three
Ashenford, also known as the Gateway to the North, is the most influential city in the Riverlands. The roads leading to Ashenford are well-paved and well-patrolled. The city is a hub of trading from the ore-rich lands to the west, the barbarian kingdoms of Madkroken and Eskharad to the north, the kingdoms of Ihmisia to the south, and the merchant kingdoms of Rauha to the east.
Ashenford is named for the unique, gray sand that lines its shores and the well-travelled crossing from Ashenford to the North. More than 8000 people make their homes in Ashenford. The city spreads in all directions along the shores of the River Ihmis, spreading across the deep green backdrop of the Winterbole Forest, which used to be home to wood elves centuries before.
Ashenford was built on the site of the ancient elven ruins of Estelshys, which gave way to human development and occupation. Elves yielded the territory to the human farmers, fishers, and traders. With elven guidance, the humans developed the farms into a fortified collection of homes and businesses and began calling the site Ashenford.
Ashenford was used as a trading site for trade activities between northern tribesmen and southern kingdoms from -1088 IR onwards. By 52 IR, permanent farms had sprung up in the area. The name "Ashenford” (not as a city, but as a town) was used by the traders, who described the site to unaccustomed merchants traveling the River Ihmis to points east. The city was truly established by 432 IR, when the surrounding area appointed their first governor.
The city grew spectacularly, such that by 635 IR humankind and other races came from all over the Riverlands to earn coin in the Gateway to the North. Over the years these successful merchants set up guilds and themselves became informal nobility, supporting the county of Riverside and its law and rule. As a result, Ashenford became a place tolerant of different races, religions, and lifestyles. This in turn encouraged commerce and Ashenford grew into a huge, eclectic city.
Ashenford is located along the shores of the River Ihmis, surrounded by the protective trees of the Winterbole Forest. North of Ashenford is the Madkroken town of Drummyn.
Ashenford is ruled by an elected governor, Mourngrym Ihmisson, and his appointed council whose membership was largely constructed of nobles, aldermen, and other influential public figures.
There are a variety of different races represented in Ashenford; however, among the different counties of the Riverlands, Falkirk, and Ashendale, boasts a much larger elven population than any other:
- Human 64%
- Dwarves 10%
- Elf 10%
- Hal-Elf 6%
- Halfling 5%
- Dragonborn 3%
- Half-orcs 2%
Pelor, Erathis, Moradin, Bahamut, Sehanine, Melora, Raven Queen, Ioun
As of around 863 IR, stone and ore were imported from Hoor from the dwarven kingdoms for use in construction. Around 1374 IR, during the late autumn time, wagons and carts overcrowded the markets as foreign vendors from the North attempted to sell as much as possible before returning home for the winter. This was a practice is largely ignored by the Drifters, the Guard, and the guilds.
Ashenford was the start of several trade routes:
- The Winter Way, the inland trade route to the north.
- The Trade Road, the main trade route to the east.
- The North Road, the trade route to the south and west.
Defense and Justice
Ashenford maintained two separate armed forces, the Drifers and the Guard. The Drifters serve as Ashenford’s soldiery and its members staffed garrisons, road patrols, and watchposts, and serve as bodyguards and gate guards. The Guard is the local police force and in addition to capturing criminals, its members settle petty disputes, give directions, summon medical and priestly aid, generally performing duties that promote the idea that Ashenford was a city open to all who know how to behave themselves.
Ashenford has strong walls on its landward sides and is protected in part by the swift-moving River Ihmis on the northern side. Aside from this Ashenford also benefits from a large native population of the adventurers and caravan mercenaries, who are more than willing to deal with any and all miscreants for a little extra coin.
Ashenford justice is dispatched by the Drifters in administrative capacities, who direct the common courts of the city. This branch of the Drifters office is empowered to pass sentences; however they are always accompanied by members of the guard and at least one council member. Serious cases are usually heard by the governor and the council.
Wards of Ashenford
Since 432 IR Ashenford was roughly divided into wards. The wards originally all had guards and walls in the manner of other ancient cities, but the press of progress toppled or bored through most of the walls. Only the walls and guards around the Castle Ward are still maintained. The wards of Ashenford are:
This central ward encompasses much of the government of the city, the place of government, as well as the Palace of Ashenford, Governor Mourngrym Ihmisson’s private residence, the Drifter’s central armory, and the Courts of Ashenford. Also, the eternally-cursed wizard, Etarr keeps his tower and home in this ward.
This park-like area is often visited during the day by wanderers and the odd picnicker. At night, the temples and shrines dedicated to a wide variety of faiths becomes aglow with worshipers looking for solace at the end of the day. More important personages have personal crypts erected here, scattered throughout the forested landscape. Guards are stationed throughout the park, not only to protect the graves, but also to protect the city from the occasional restless undead creature that does not appreciate its accommodations.
As one might assume, the River Ward was situated hard on the shores of the River Ihmis and held the docks, barge yards and warehouses for the trade.
Tucked in the northeastern portion of the city, North Ward is the home of the nobility and their villas. The moneyed classes make their homes here, far removed from the hustle and bustle of the lower classes by the shore and in South Ward.
South Ward is a place of caravan masters and traders, for it is close to the South Gate, the opening to the Trade.
Ashenford’s commercial section.