Taras writes "An often ignored strech of land situated between Iron League and the heartlands of Imperial Aerdy, the Sud Graufult has been fought over in numerous ways since the Turmoil Between Crowns. Until now, this region, usually considered insignificant and barely worth the trouble to hold, has remained an unknown to outsiders. Read on, then, and learn of what this contested land is like.
Author: Taras Guarhoth
The Geography of the Sud Graufult
by Taras Guarhoth (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Used with permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
Author's Note: By "popular" demand, here is my rather inexpertly drawn map of the Sud Graufult. Keep in mind that I am not an artist nor am I a cartographer. I apologize, in advance, for the crudeness of it.
(Click For Larger Image)
As defined by the broad brushstrokes of the old (but beloved) Darlene maps of the Flanaess, the Sud Graufult is predominantly made up of open plains. Such a picture is not completely accurate, for the lands south of the Greyflood (Graufult) river are bordered in the east and west by the broken ground of hills and mountains, while a vast forest stretches off on it's southern boundaries.
Vast stretches of hills rising off to the west forming the borders of the Hollow Highlands. Foothills rise sharply in the east, climbing steadily higher until the lowest peaks of the craggy Glorioles are reached, with the often-forgotten dwarf-holds hidden among the upthrust rock. In between these two sets of highlands, the Sud Graufult exists, a gap in the hills and peaks that encompass the basin of the Pawluck River and the Vast Swamp. This gap is not complete, however, for the land is covered with low, rolling hills, none of which rise to great heights, but still managing to make overland travel just a bit more difficult.
To the south, the wild, untamed forest known as the Rieuwood looms, blanketing the land in lush greenry. The thick vegetation forms a significant hinderance to travel and marks the border between the contested lands of the Sud Graufult and the upstart County of Sunndi. Unlike the more expansive forests in the heartlands of Aerdy, extensive logging has not pushed back the forest's margins, leaving many small woodlands and groves dotted about the rolling hills. Towards the Graufult river, these isolated pockets of trees thin out and disappear, while the further south one travels, the thicker and more numerous they become, until they merge with the expanses of the Rieuwood.
The Teshan Gap forms the only naturally existing passage from the lands of the Sud Graufult into the great valley of Sunndi. A narrow valley cuts the Rieuwood off from the foothills of the Glorioles, through which flows the Teshan river. It is along this river's often rocky banks that caravans and soldiers have marched for centuries, heading from the lands of Aerdy into Sunndi and then back again. The remnants of ancient battles and forts are dotted along the length of the valley as far north as the village of Darbreit, some of which predate the migrations of the Suel into the area.
To the north, the Teshan and Halmach rivers, which water most of the Sud Graufult's land, drain into the Graufult river. These waters eventually join the Thelly at Malfurt, joining with the great waterways of the Aerdi heartlands. Most of the Graufult's length is unnavigable to boats, although shallow barges do travel up it's length to the town of Olvanstaadt-am-Graufult. It is, unfortunately, completely unnavigable to any but the smallest craft between Olvanstaadt-am-Graufult and the city of Hexpools, preventing the river from being a major conduit of trade between Ahlissa and the heavily populated southeastern areas of Imperial Aerdy.
Across the Borders
The Sud Graufult sits precariously in a contested border region between the Iron League and the lands of Aerdy. Neither side has truly controlled the region since the rebellions which ripped the Great Kingdom apart in the 450's CY, although both Sunndi and Ahlissa have tried to enforce their claims over the land numerous times since then. Treacherous double-dealing by the nobility and other power groups within the land have kept both Sunndi and Ahlissa from ever managing to make good on their territorial claims, switching sides in order to maintain their power, although the sympathies of most lie with Sunndi.
While the trio of Sunndi, Ahlissa, and Aerdy are the most often violated borders of the Sud Graufult, they are not the only borders of the land. To the west, the Sud Graufult butts up against the highlands claimed by the Count of Idee, as well as the occasional tiny, independent Suel or demihuman fief. Unlike the Ahlissan and Sunnd borders, these tend to be very stable, and only rarely change. Those to the southwest, in the thick of the Rieuwood, are similarily stable, although raids by the semi-independent elflords of that region of the forest are common, although usually less devestating than raids by humanoids from the eastern portions of the forest.
The western borders are the most stable, for here, amid the peaks of the Glorioles, the dwarves rule, and they almost never bother to try and conquer the lowlands of the humans, preferring instead to try and reclaim lands lost to the north and east, on the margins of the strip of land known as the Trans-Thelly territories. The groups of petty nobles that rule the Trans-Thelly sometimes make incursions into the lands around Kirchfurt, although they generally prefer to waste their time squabbling among themselves.
Overview of the Sud Graufult