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Sielo's Fort

Thirty years ago, the armies of the Duke  arrived and, with the encouragement of the head of the Sielo family, built this stone and wood fortification around the homestead site. The Fort sits at a point where three distinct environments meet. To the south is the beginning of the mighty Dymrak Forest; to the north is the Wufwolde Hills; to the west lay the Kelvin Moors. The River Volaga (or the Highreach River, as the newcomers like to call it) runs beside the Fort. While the surrounding wilderness still holds dangers, the presence of the Fort has provided a nominal measure of safety for the nearby communities. It is here at Sielo’s Fort that the main caravan route ends, providing the civilians of the Fort a measure of economic control in the region. Farther upriver (much, much farther in fact) is Castellan Keep. All supplies and troops going there must first pass through Sielo’s Fort. Be that as it may, the Fort itself is usually undermanned.   Two years ago, a black dragon appeared and attacked the Fort. The military and the civilians were caught unaware and many died. The destruction would have been complete if not for the good fortune of troops headed for Castellan Keep arrived at the Fort during the attack. The dragon was killed, but the loss of life was great and the psychological and physical scars still seem fresh.   The majority of the civilians belong to the Sielo family. They originally made their living fishing, but as the family took a more mercantile role at the Fort, others moved in to take advantage of the abundant waters of the Volaga. However, in the past few months, the fishermen have caught next to nothing and many fear severe economic consequences in the near future.   The more imaginative among the fishermen blame the lack of fish on “water beasts” — the mysterious and vague pair of shapes some claim to have seen in the water. Gelpas Tarquin, the captain of the Fort, has sent patrols out to investigate, but they could find no evidence of any monstrous activity.   Some complain about patrols not being sent across the river to investigate the shadowy bulk known only as “The Hill.” The fog-shrouded crests and densely wooded slopes of The Hill rise four hundred feet, looming ominously over the Fort. On clear days, The Hill’s rocky cliffs can be seen jutting from its bulky mass, but the view is usually obscured by gouts of steam that seem to rise from outlets on The Hill itself.   This mysterious hill, the last in the line before the Wufwolde Hills give way to the moors, has long been rumored to shelter bands of vicious monsters. The military has not sent patrols there recently for two main reasons: First, in the thirty years of the Fort’s existence, there have been zero incidents involving anything coming from The Hill and limited resources have not made it a priority. Second, and more importantly, The Hill marks the beginning (or end, depending on your point of view) of territory claimed by a tribe of centaurs living on the moors. While not openly hostile, the centaurs have made it very clear that they do not view trespassers with kindness. Government officials are working on negotiating with the centaurs, and Captain Tarquin of Sielo’s Fort is under strict orders not to do anything that might jeopardize the treaty process.   Several groups of brave and hardy (or foolish and ignorant) adventurers have crossed the river to expire The Hill’s summits, but none of these sands has ever been heard from again. Captain Tarquin just shrugs and says they were warned of the dangers and the military will not help them.
Outpost / Base

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