Sudengard Settlement in Shadowfire | World Anvil


Of all the Protectorate cities, The southernmost, Sudengard, has been most heavily influenced by the cultures and peoples from beyond the Protectorate borders, and has become a centre of both multicultural diversity, and a hotbed of resistance to the traditional Protectorate rule.   Sudengard is located at the narrowest part of Gragpass, where the central spine of the Dawncrags drops slightly into a long saddle above steep steps of cliffs and meadows on either side. The massive wall and turrets of the original keep follow the crest, with the Keep itself carved into the mountainside at the western end.   The city itself has grown haphazardly to either side of the crest, and snakes down the steap switchback road that heads towards Helton in the North, and towards the lands of the Stoneforged Assembly to the south.  


Like the other cities of the Protectorates, Sudengard is run by the bureaucracy of The Ministry, who chooses the Lord Protector to lead the people of the town. Unlike the other Protectorate cities however, the process tends to stay true to the meritocracy that the others pretend to, and even verges on democracy in that the will of the people is highly influencial in the choosing of leaders and important functionaries.   The influence of the many ethnicities that call Sudengard home has tempered the normal subservient and duty-bound outlook of the Returned, and the oft-times outspoken populace will suffer little corruption in their officials.   The current Lord Protector, Rue du Col, is the first Lord Protector to have been selected from an ethnicity other than one of the Returned, and it shows. Her policies have led to a continuing relaxation of the command-and-control style of her predecessors, a breaking of the control of The Shield over politics and a far more liberal embrace of free markets, open education and entertainment.  

The Choosing

The most striking difference, is the changes made in the way the The Choosing works is Sudengard. Unlike the other cities across the Protectorates, the ceremony itself is purely symbolic, with all participants free to 'choose' their own calling according to their aspirations, personal needs and aptitudes. This has led to a far more relaxed attitude to professions and callings, and a far more balanced relationship between the workers and their employers. Merchants, tradespeople and professionals now vie with each other to provide the most attractive careers and workplaces to the people themselves, rather than making deals with the Ministry or the Lord Protectors for what amounts to little better than forced labor as often occurs elsewhere.   Education is also much more liberal. While the local schools of the The Academy operate within the established traditions of the central Academy at New Lafaelle, a number of other private schools and edication options exist as well.  

A vibrant culture

Faced with a constant and growing diversity, and the presence of many visitors from across the world, who bring along with them their stories of places distant and strange, the people of Sudengard have developed a far more open, curious and accepting mindset that others within the Protectorates. It is also not unusual for the people of Sudengard to travel widely themselves, and to change careers regularly through their lives.   The city is earning a reputation as a hotbed of innovative arts and music, with may informal schools, or scenes, springing up across the town. Inventive instrumentation, use of materials both magic and mundane and a general willingness to experiment with form and tone have spawned a number of musicians and visual artists.   Performance venues both large and small are everywhere up and down the twisting alleys of Sudengard, and a night out can have punters take in plays combining mechanical puppetry from the Stoneforged Assembly, the atonal deep-singing of the Kin from Novalucca, the coral percussion from the Motu, along with illusion based pyrotechnics and augmented hallucinogenics from the Ferment.  

Goblinkin rights

Very recently, Rue du Col instigated changes within Sudengard, which has given equal rights to education, employment, property ownership and participation in government to those descended from the Uferbrech and Dawncrag goblins. This is seen as highly contentious among the more traditionally minded of the Protectorates, but has deepened Rue's popularity with the diverse people of Sudengard itself.   It has made Sudengard an attractive destination for any goblinkin who was born into the lands taken over by the Protectorates. Those who are not willing to forsake everything that the Protectorates have offered them, despite all the harsip and suffering caused. They have embraced the teachings of history, mechanics, magics and had their own eyes opened to the wider world beyond the Uferbrech Archipelago. These goblinkin are no longer comfortable blindly re-embracing the traditions of their own folk and seek to make Sudengard a combination of the best of the two cultures.

A growing resistance

The vibrancy of the culture in Sudengard has led to a growing resistance to the hard-edged traditions of the Protectorates. In its early days, it was led by the Lord Protector herself, and was instrumental in her rise to power.   This has led to ongoing protest against the ongoing war in Uferbrech, and particularly against the aggression of Lord Protector Ackron Der Kustos. The resistance is also highly critical of the indifference to these crimes from the mainland Protectorates, and the complicit nature of the religious arm, The Trinity.   While the majority of protests are diplomatic and peaceful, there are factions across Sudengard that are growing tired of the situation in Uferbrech, and in support of the Motu, are taking more active steps towards militarised resistance - either through subversive spy networks, or through the smuggling of goods and armaments, and even the taking up of arms as mercenaries and freedom fighters.   This has led to rumours of agents from Lord Akron and the The Sly Shields attempting to infiltrate the government and find any leverage they can to undermine the growing success of the city and its leadership.


  • 50% Midkin - predominantly from the Returned
  • 5% Arkin 
  • 15% Goblin Kin - mostly Dawncrag goblins, but a number from Uferbrech as well
  • 20% Stoneforged - Dwarves, Giantkin and constructs
  • 10% A diversity of others such as Deepkin from Novalucca, Goblinkin from the sea of Black Ice, the occassional Shroomkin , Anarchas or Shellkin from the Tangled Fathoms or even a minor Lord of Fire from the Gleaming City with their retinue of Bodyservants.


Sudengard is still given to the defence of the Protectorates lands to the north, and while its greatest defences in modern times have been through trade and diplomacy, the keep and central wall forms a formidable barrier to any force intent on invasion.   The wall spans the pass at its steepest and narrowest point, only 200 metres or so across. It is nearly 30 metres thick, and the only way through is a central tunnel where the road passes through a series of gates.   On the southern side, the defenses arc out across the mountains sides in long platforms with battlements looking down on the road as is it rises from the lowlands. Any invading force attempting the breach the gates, will be beset from above ffom three sides.   The walls are guarded by forces of The Shield, armed primarily with crossbows, but there are also a number of trebuchets mounted at strategic points along the side battlements and across the wall itself.   Since the expanse of the city on either side of the walls, these defences have become largely for show.

Industry & Trade

In the modern era, Sudengard has become a bustling centre of trade between the Protectorates to the north and the coastal tading partners to the south and Sundside.  Goods that pass through the walls, and are traded in the bustling markets of Sudenegard include much from the far flung corners of the Lands of Twilight.  

Local industry:

Sudengard has become a focal point for local crafts, including the manufacture and export of jewellery, wind chimes and of course the Bittybells - personal timepeices.  

Good travelling south and sunside include:

  • Root vegetables, cabbages and other cold-climate foods grown across the Protectorates
  • Iron and other metal ores from the Brightweld Mountains, destined for the forges of the Assembly
  • Fungal leathers, woods, foodstuffs and potions from Novalucca and the Ferment
by Midjourney

Goods travelling north to the cities of the Protectorates and beyond:

  • Coral glass, both unworked and worked, from the Motu
  • Dried meat and livestock from the herds of Mulettes on Tokaru
  • Ancient artefacts from the ruins of Uferbrech and other illicit goods from the markets at Camp Thrifty
  • Genstones from the mines on Tokaru
  • Fruits and wines from Timesdawn
Along with the goods, comes a vibrant diversity of peoples trading their wares.  This melting pot of influences has resulted in Sudengard becoming one of the most tolerant and progressive of the Protectorate cities.


Sudengard is divided into two primary wards by the original wall that spans the highest part of the pass, and which was what originally separated the Protectorate lands to the north from the contested areas to the south. The wall itself, with its keep built high on the sunward mountainside are considered their own distinct ward. In general, the eastern slopes of the mountains catch more sun and are in higher demand, and therefore house the wealthier on both sides of the Wall. The western slopes, deep in shadows, tend to cheaper housing and for more industrial purposes.  


The central road winds north beside a deep mountain creek that is fed by a series of waterfalls that fall from both sides of the pass. The central road is a series of constant switchbacks and stone bridges along the rapids of the creek itself. Above this rise the oldest and most established buildings in Sudnegard, constructed by the Protectorates during the Brightweld wars. The largest of these is the Church to the Trinity, which sits high upon the southern cliff face, at a spot that catches the Sun upon its domed roof.   The lower levels of the buildings of Northward tend to a rough stone construction, built into the mountainside itself, and with wide masonry and pillars supporting their fronts along the streets. Steep cobbled stairways and streets connect the higher levels to the main road itself. These twist and turn, often covered by the buildings above and have become more like tunnels than streets.   The upper stories of the Northward buldings have been added to in recent years with more open wooden constructions with large windows and balconies. These will also have walkways which connect the roofs of the houses, created a second level above the stoney labyrinth below.   The population of Northward tends to be dominated by more of the Returned than the Southward, but in recent years, the more mercantile and successfuly of the Goblinkin have begun to take residence.


South of the wall, Sudengard's architecture is far less dense, and involves less stonework. The architecture involves much more woodwork, with only some of the oldest buildings nearest the wall resembling the labyrinthine Northward housing. The sides of the pass in Southward have been terraced into more open gardens, with a complex series of dams and aqueducts that have been built to capture and channel the waters flowing from the peaks above.   The influence of the Goblinkin presence is more pronounced here, with the treehouse architectures of the Uferbrech goblins, combined with the traditional tent-work of the Danwcrag goblins having influenced the Protectorates styles of building. The result is a colourful and chaotic series of what look like wooden tree-houses that rise in stacked platforms up the sides of the mountains, connected by wooden walkways and wide common viewing platforms. The buldings are topped by flapping tents, sails and flags of all kinds whci constantly flap and flutter in the winds.   The Goblins from Uferbrech have also taken to the building of wind-chimes of all kinds, and the walls and platforms of Southward are filled with the constant clack and tinkling of Coralglass, metals and wooden blocks. Many are tuned, and form a constant swelling music across the town.   Southward still bears the scars of the fire that saw the death of Rue du Col's mother, as well as many others.  The long rebuuilding has mostly been completed, but construction does still continue across Southward.  

The Wall

The central wall dominates the town, looking down upon both wards, and connected to defensive battlements that stretch north and south along the the ridges high above. The wall is nearly 100 feet wide at its base, and within there are tunnels, barracks and storage facilities for the contingency of the Shield than defends the wall and acts as the town's police force.   The gate is the largest feature of the wall, and is more a wide tunnel through the 100" thick wall. it has four separate portculli along its length, all of which remain open. The gate has not been closed for 100s of years   At the point on the Sunward end of the main wall, rises the keep itself, a large tower that is constructed deep in the shadow of the mountain. On its wide battlements sits a series of trebuchets. These have not been in use ofr over 100 years, and many doubt if they still work. The keep itself is largely un-used, but is maintained by the Shield in the unlikely event the town needs to defend itself.  

The Tradeway

The Tradeway snakes down through both wards from the central gate of the wall, and is the province of trade, marekts, and entertainment establishments on both sides of the wall.  
Bellworks Street
Bellworks is a bustling alley that runs parrellel to the Tradeway through parts of Soutward, and houses dozens of shops and warehouses devoted to the manufracture and selling of Bittybells.
by Midjourney

Guilds and Factions

The traditional factions of power across the Protectorates also operate in Sudnegard, but often with far less influence. In particular, the The Trinity's inlfuence is far less pervasive, and tolerance of other religions is much higher.  The more progressive sect within the Trinity, known as the Unbounded, works far more openly in Sudengard.   The more traditional arms of faith and power across the Protectorates work to undermine the progressiveness and seek to usurp the current Lord Protector with someone more supportive of stricter adherance to tradtion.  This includes the Faithful, the Maskless and many individuals with the Shield and the Ministry.  They agitate openly against Sudengard in the courts of New Lafaelle, and work behind the scenes within Sudengard itself.   The populace is beginning to call for succession and independence for Sudengard, a movement that is driving and equal  impetus for harsh suppression.


Sudengard began its life as a remote outpost, defending the southern plains of the Protectorates territory during the Brightweld wars.  In the generations since the ending of the Brightweld wars, what began as an uneasy armistice, has morphed into a vibrant centre of multiculturalism - very different from the more traditional areas of the Protectorates at New Lafaelle or Helton.
Founding Date
Large town
Location under
Ruling/Owning Rank
Owning Organization
Related Traditions
Characters in Location

Cover image: by Midjourney


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Jan 13, 2022 03:07

This is such a more in-depth treatment of cities than I've put together in any of my world-building thus far! I am impressed. I can see that I have a long way to go in learning how to really put together amazing conceptual cityscapes.

Jan 13, 2022 07:27 by Ononomad

Thanks Rakeela, glad you liked it. And, after having a quick at you world Thelma, I reckon your concepts are already awesome… the idea of land gods/ theomes especially. You got my follow! :-)