Dolmendrim, Barrows of the First Tribes
"In the Depths lie our Forebearers..."
“Beset by frost, and cold winter winds, the explorer’s camp of Dolmendrim stretches the size of a village before the great grim Blackstone Barrow, embedded into the tall, dour cliffside. Brown furred tents by the dozens stand, pitched, and huddled together like oversized bears. Nascent wooden huts, roofed by upside down boat hulls, let long plumes of gray smoke drift from their chimney holes while dim candle light glimpses through firmly shut windows. In their midst, the faint glimmers of campfire can be pierced through the newborn blizzard."
The local tribes of An Brenian use Dolmendrim as their holy resting grounds, preventing anybody they do not grant entry from stepping inside. Many explorers, archaeologists and historians wish to delve into its depths, sometimes without permission, which causes the tribes great distress and has many times led to blood shed. Yet the dead are not the only things that rest within with Blackstone Barrow, for deeper within obsidian dark slick stone structures can be found, and rumours of a frightening creature that sleeps deeper still kindles the fear and imaginations of all who behold Dolmendrim's large stone doors.
Purpose / Function
Burial & Sacrifice. A common staple amongst most An Brenian tribes is the superstitious necessity for sacrifice in order to keep the Spirits of the Land pleased, as well as the obligation to bury one's dead. Not giving way to proper burial practices usually results in restless and vengeful dead. For a reason that has yet to be discovered, An Brenian may be the sole region of Aedelwynn where the dead rise naturally. Originally people thought this was because of the Night of Fallen Stars and the extermination of any living An Brenian clansman directly linked to the chieftain's bloodline, however this superstition has been widespread throughout the peninsula well before 1110 PR. Dolmendrim serves thus both as a burial and sacrificial grounds.
Mediation & Trials. Dolmendrim has long been a seat of power and mediation for nearby tribes, who come under the guidance of the local Circle of Astòr to come to terms with each other's blood feuds should they get out of hand. Occasionally the local Hold has sent war bands and intervened when too many tribes came together, in case things degenerated into wanton slaughter and bloodshed. This has put tensions on edge between druids, clansmen, and tribesmen, most notably due to King Emerich's ill reputation amongst the local population. Many tribes saw the An Brenian royal family as rightful rulers, due to their Godblessed status, however Emerich and his children have shown none of the obvious traits of this rare blessing.
Education & Festivities. The local Circle of Astòr use Dolmendrim as their base of operations within An Brenian, firstly to conduct their ritual duties but also to teach fledgling druids in the ways of their tribes and culture. Dolmendrim is a crucial center of learning for anybody who has the will, courage and resilience to stand up to the Circle's many tests and trials. Here, knowledge of the Spirits, the keeping of the dead, and - some say - the passing into the Dreaming Realm are taught to those who can seize their advantages. The Barrows also host celebrations outside its great grim doors, many of which are to ward away evil spirits and keep the dead at rest.
The Barrows of Dolmendrim are an expansive complex of massive winding corridors and halls filled to the brim with the dead and deceased. Its depths know no end, and to this date only 27 layers have been recorded, with well over thirty hundred dead entombed within. With each layer, the design gradually changes from typical carven human stone, to the slick oily black obsidian stone of the Dark Court. The latter structures contain no dead, and are only found from layers 23-27 and likely beyond. Archaelogists have long theorized about the presence of these abyssal rooms, as they tend to clash with common knowledge about the Barrows. Afterall, Dolmendrim was built by men, why would there be elvish arches and halls deep beneath it? A widely acknowledged theory would be that the "Llys Adh Scaith" (the Dark Court) had built an expansive set of underground tunnels, that men happened to connect to when they dug out their burial grounds. Of all 27 known layers, only five have been chartered at length. Explorers, historians and archaeologists have tried their best to study as much as they could. However, the threat of getting lost or accidentally falling into an old trap left behind by Ancient An Tuana tends to dissuade straying too far from the central stair and corridors of the barrows. There is also the chance of falling upon an undead, or worse yet an abomination recently awoken by some fell act committed outside. Necromancers are a rare occasion, and usually the Astòr and tribal warriors do an effecient job at keeping the tunnels safe, yet some do manage to slip inside and raise numerous ancestors from their rest. What does dissuade folks from travelling further below are the rumours of a sleeping beast that has made its unholy lair deeper within.
Foundation of the Barrows:
Dolmendrim was created late on during the Fading Era by enslaved soldiers and auxiliaries of the Dark Court roughly around 1300 FE, making it one of the oldest human constructs in Aedelwynn. Some claim the early members of the Brotherhood of the Damned aided in its construction, however considering the attitude of nearby human and orcish tribes towards the Knot and the Clanndom, most scholars have discarded this theory. Instead, it is likely that the Dark Court's auxiliaries built this barrow during brief periods of peace in the last centuries of the Fading Era, to bury their dead and unite in shared mourning around the bodies of the deceased. Furthermore, the Barrows were also a center of learning for many Astòr whose wish was to learn the embalming and treatment of the dead according to the older traditions of mankind. The Barrows are said to have been dug into the earth, and contains multiple layers that sink deep into the peninsula's rocky soil. Multiple tribes fought for the control of the barrows, and often exhumed the dead of their enemies from their graves to disgrace them and replace the tombs with their own. These conflictings tribes have not been recorded, however the Kingdom of An Brenian had to deal and mediate for the native folks following the Time of Reclamation. Records have shown that the Barrows have been 'conquered' approximatively 20 times in the span of its 1500 year long history. As of 1250 PR, Meuriad An Llygadgwrach are the current peoples who claim right to bury their dead within its halls. The true holders of Dolmendrim, however, are the local Astòr, priests of the Old Faith and Spirits, who still hold considerable influence amongst the tribes of An Brenian An Tuana. For as long as Dolmendrim has been built, the local Circles have held moot and tribal disputes at the feet of the barrows, using its surroundings as a protective enclave for any tribesman or chieftain who wishes to resolve a feud or disagreement without the direct influence of nearby Clannic Law. Since the Night of Fallen Stars, these local tribes have been more reluctant to let the An Brenian Hold mediate their decisions.
As of 1250 PR : The barrows of Dolmendrim are used by native barbarian tribes as funeral grounds for their dead warriors and druids. The grounds are considered holy to the tribes’ eyes, and have remained so, since time immemorial. Around a century ago, a group of explorers settled a ways off the barrows with the intention to plunder its resources, and built a small town-encampment by the name of Dolmendrim. After having fought off countless raids, and lost lives to the hordes of tribesmen, Astòr and beasts, an agreement was struck between the natives and the explorers. Only a select few could delve into the barrows, and this for archeological purposes. In return, the tribes would use the barrows as funeral grounds still, and would ensure the sanctity of the barrows. Regardless of this pact, actions have been taken on either side that bitter the already tense relationship, and multiple times Dolmendrim has suffered raids from the barbarian tribes, and plunders from the village. A retinue of adventurers, explorers and archaelogists have since taken over the village of Dolmendrim proper, to mitigate potential disputes and establish better relations with the barbaric tribes. This council of individuals is known as the Council of Seven, led by Lord Feodal. Though discussion is difficult, and the greed of explorers for knowledge and riches draws many, and the zealotry of natives often results in outbursts of violence, the council has been somewhat successful in quelling any further acts of violence. In return, the Astòr have seen less success in preventing upcoming revolts, and see many of the tribes under their guidance growing angrier at the constant defamation of their holy sites. A separatist tribe, formed from those malcontent with the current state of the Barrows, have gathered, known as the Hagseye (Llygadgwrach).
"Deep within Dolmendrim, our ancestors await.
Yet deeper within, the Lurker still sleeps..."
Yet deeper within, the Lurker still sleeps..."
Tribes of An Brenian:
An Brannissil by JDstration
"The Blackstone Barrow", "Gate to the Grave".
Barrow / Burial ground
Important People of Dolmendrim
Lord Feodal - (Human) Leader of the Council of Seven, and official regent of Dolmendrim, he is an unseen force in the camp who has earned the respect of adventurers and tribes. Most of the people speak of him with reverence is some manner. He rarely makes an appearance, however, but his influence should be felt throughout the encampment and settlements surrounding it. His allegiances lie with the Kingdom of An Brenian.
Loremaster "Greywind" (Human) - A foreign, stern scholar whose interest lies in the culture locked deeper within the barrows. His interests may be more tenebrous than they sound. Greywind has many rivals amongst his peers, leading them to be undermined from accessing the tombs, and thus requires your aid to recover said artifact. Greywind has speculations on who revoked his access, and is a resourceful source of information.
Senior Explorer Bomanz (Human) - One of Professor Greywind’s peers, and an eminent figure in ancient languages. He has an addiction to Sabras, which can be used as blackmail, or satiated to gain access to the barrows through a permit, or manipulation. Bomanz is renown for his deep knowledge of ancient dialects, writings and is a savant in all things linguistic.
Mistress Faolàn - (Half-Elf) Another one of Greywind’s peers, the reason for her presence amongst the scholars is highly debated. She claims to be here for study, the truth is otherwise. She is here to prevent anything from coming out of the barrows, as her theory is there may be something dangerous sealed deep within. She manipulated the scholar’s quarter into preventing Greywind from gaining unlimited access, and her allegiances lie with the Spakeheart Lodge.
Carwyn - (Human) Passing as a snow shoveller, Carwyn is in fact the Chain’s emissary in Dolmendrim. A figure with a particularly villaneous background, Carwyn spends his time snooping around collecting information. Carwyn sells drugs to make ends meet, and may also be abusing of Bomanz’s addiction, as well as blackmailing him. What the Chain wants with Dolmendrim is uncertain, though usually where the infamous crime ring sends its agents is where there is profit to be made.
"Blackbrow" - (Half-Orc) Daughter of an orcish raider, and an elvish druid, Blackbrow is a reputed elite tribal warrior, and chieftain of the Meuriad An Llygadgwrach. She was sent by the other native tribes to ensure the barrows remain sacred, and clean. She and her men are feared, and vilified by some in the exploration camp. She has an unflinching sense of duty, and a bitter temper with regards to anybody that isn’t from the tribes.
Captain Gaun - (Human) Sent by Lord Feodal to keep the peace amidst the camp, Captain Gaun is an old veteran who seems to have lost his shine. He sees his position as a career suicide, and is wracked by stress and tension. Whilst he is effective in his work, he is easily corrupted by ill willed scholars, the Chain, and greedy adventurers. That being said, he still keeps the peace, letting crime and punishment in a precarious balance.
Robart - (Half-Elf) Captain of the Bleeding Wrens, Robart was hired by Captain Gaun to keep the peace. Robart’s an unsavvy individual, who lost his lover to the tribes, and finds pleasure in taking petty revenge. He abuses his position as a hired hand, and knows he can afford to take action. That said, he is just as - if not more - effective at dissuading violence within the camp as Captain Gaun, using extreme measures.
Granny Mörs - (Elf) Quite possibly the oldest person in the Dolmendrim camp, she lost her legs during one of the earlier conflicts between adventurers and natives; though shown mercy, she was since then an unofficial hostage due to the respect the tribes present to her. Her death would be a major spark in rekindling hostilities. Many say she is the last remaining 'Scaith Edel', she is also the mediator between the Tribes and the camp itself.
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