Blood Stone Gate

You have to understand that this place is supposed to keep everyone from entering Ardania through the mountains, I am more worried about the things that are already inside the border - Gate Guard

Purpose / Function

The Blood Stone Gate was built as means to keep outsiders from coming through the mountains and into the Ardania. This was a means to mostly keep any more barbarians from settling in the region to allow the Mountain Guard to handle the local tribes with the need to worry about more flowing in endless numbers.

Alterations

At the very edge of the pass that leads to the gate, a large stone archway was created heralding the fortress’s coat of arms as a warning that death awaits all those who dare enter. The archway has been known as the Southern Arch and has no real purpose but to mark the border between the north and south.

Architecture

The design is ancient by Ardanian standards as the masonry and design have outdated by several centuries. But it was mostly designed to last even in the cold climate that it was built in. Everything is worn out and whatever original designs were placed around it have since eroded.

History

Holding the Border

  The Spine has always been a hostile place, more so for the Mountain Kin that live on it. Which often forced them to move from place to place across the Savage Cliffs and beyond. Causing many of them to migrate where they can from north to south across the treacherous mountain range that lied before them. Many of these tribes would find themselves in the south into Ardania and would raid and pillage where they could before being pushed back to their icy homes. This could all change however with the formation of the Mountain Guard as they began to fortify the mountains to repeal this threat. But it would often be an upwards battle quite literally in this case as the barbarian's numbers seemed endless as no matter how many were killed more would take their place when they migrated south. But it was not until a discovery was made that would change the outcome greatly.   It was discovered by Mountaineers that there was only one accessible area of the mountains that allowed clear access to the south from the north and there was no way around it as it was too treacherous for anyone to traverse. It was here that the pass would be fortified with a large fortress that would act as a wall to repel all barbarians that would try to get through the pass. The construction was harsh as the conditions and the material needed for the project were hard and costly as many workers succumbed to the cold, famine, accidents, and barbarian attacks to build the gateway that would keep them out. It would take over half a century until it was finally finished but in the end, it was all worth it. A massive fortress that would act as the wall that would repeal all threats would dare try to cross in Ardania and it would be called Blood Stone Gate for it was built with blood and it would be stained with it for all those foolish enough to try and get past it.  

Against the Hordes

  Since then the gate has been successful in repealing many barbarians from getting past it often dealing with large hordes using whatever they can to keep them out. But every time they attacked they began to adopt more and more to find ways to exploit any weakness that the fortress might only to end up dead like many before them. It is even said that many of the bodies that attacked the gate as still there as the cold have frozen them solid and preserving their corpses for centuries as a warning to all who dare end its domain. Many have died attempting to break the gate, but all have failed with no real success. What many thoughts were impossible became possible as the barbarians had been held back and had no way to get past them practically at least. Soon enough the defenders of the gate discovered that the barbarians created crude gear to help them climb the rock faces in the attempt to get around the gate with small amounts of success. This was quickly corrected as outposts were set up to watch places that allowed people to climb more easily and adapted the climbing gear with better improvements to better adapt to their terrain.   Barbarians were not the only threats that they had to face from time to time. There were beasts such as Mountain Drakes that managed to get into the pass and tried to get past the gate and fight such creatures were never easy, but they failed and ended up being a meal for the defenders. Then there are special cases that have happened over the centuries that no one would expect, such as foreign invading armies. The first one being an undead horde during the Night War trying to get in Ardania through the mountains, how so many manage to get up there in uncertain as the cold greatly affected them. Though it didn't matter in the end even if they had Vampires on their side or that many of those killed at the gate were resurrected to serve their undead masters they all fell they went right through a kill zone from the defenses built up over the centuries. Then there was the Martari Wars where a delusional general believed that he conquered the south with his large army, only to lose a third of it and the rest of it be wiped out when the tribe to take the walls, they did a little better than most others but they were unable to adapt to the cold and we're no match for harden defenses, at something good came out of it the loot they left behind fetched quite well when it was sold. But that was the last attempt by a foreigner to do so in a while.  

Isolated and Alone

  Not much happened for many centuries as the gate kept away all from entering and that would not change. Then the War of the Raptors happen which caused the garrison in the gate to be on high alert to combat any imperial forces that might try to invade through the mountains. Which they did considering the strategic value it had if we're to be taken. But unlike previous attempts by those before them the empire send in small forces of their Ice Breakers to cause small breaches in the gate’s defenses to weaken it for a larger force to take it later on. This would result in a guerrilla war between both sides as they attempted to defeat their enemy. It was not until an imperial legion came that a real battle took place. The Battle of the Blood Gate would last for weeks as the imperial forces tried to breach the gate and they almost certainly did, but despite the siege equipment and the discipline of their forces, the attrition and the rising casualties were too much for them and they were forced to retreat and another attempt would not be made. The gate had suffered its losses as well during the fighting and considerable damage was done to the gate but it remained to stand as its defender began to rebuild as much as they could.   It was getting harder for them as time went by and routine supplies came less and less as the war went on. Resulting in harsh rationing and discipline for those that remained. Some even resulted in cannibalism as they feasted on the dead when the hunger was too much for them. It was not until a group of mountain guardsmen finally arrived after a year that they heard the news that the war was over and the horrors of what the survivors did to keep themselves alive. But they had no place to and to leave would most certainly mean death. It was from here that the garrison now being a much smaller force than it once was began acting as an independent settlement and began to gain control of the surrounding area to gain resources better their chances at survival. But have gained the ire of local tribes in the area and skirmishes could happen at any time. But to ensure that the gate is properly man and not overrun by barbarians and imperial forces they often send out parties to look for more remnants to join their ranks. Even adopting a form of raiding on barbarian tribes that attacked them often killing all the men and taking the women and children captive and brought back to the gate in an attempt to repopulate if they remained here for decades by taking wives and raising children as if they were their own. But they have become paranoid over the years as they try to maintain order and discipline in a land that is out to get them with even those among them that could turn on them at any moment and have no access to communication to the outside world making them truly on their own and alone.
Founding Date
602 BCA
Alternative Names
The Southern Gate
Type
Fortress
Parent Location
Owning Organization

Edge of the Unknown

  Living on the gate can be difficult at times as it can be very isolation considering it is on the border high up in the mountains with no sight of civilization in sight. Not to mention the only people other than those your stationed are often trying to kill you. But most people at the gate are not that troubled by it as they have learned to keep themselves busy and not end up killing themselves say for a few, but that tends to happen when someone is not prepared to fully live up to their oaths in being here. The fact is that no one knows what is out there beyond the gate that bothering them. Most people haven't even explored that far into the mountain before and what awaits them. There have been many stories about them from sleeping Dragons to ancient cities built in the mountains. The defenders are willing to face and barbarian or beast that will try to break the gate, but what they don't know about terrifies them.    

Secret Assignments

  With the southern border protected the gate garrison was left to its duties, but due to their unique circumstances that would not be the case for long. It was from here that missions would be conducted by the gate that only a few high-ranking members of the guard would it and would be sworn to secrecy. Small groups of soldiers would be across into the northern mountains to carry out various assignments that would access the threat and resources in the region. These soldiers would be only referred to as the Stone Men due to the camouflage they wore that allowed them to blend in with the rocky terrain. Their missions varied from reconnaissance to exploration, along with carrying out assassinations on target that was a threat to the gate. The reason that this was kept a secret was that it would lead to rising tensions with barbarian tribes in the area and there was a political as well. If any nation managed to get wind of this it would be seen as an act of espionage and lead to political problems later on. But from these missions, the mountain guard has a better understanding of the land beyond their own to use to their advantage.  

Amassed Defense

  The defenses of the Blood Stone Gate are something to behold if one were ever to see them. From fortified walls to archer posts along the cliffs any attacks would seem foolish to begin with. But not all of them were made when the gate was first built and rather they added on as centuries passed by. This was because the enemy tended to try to exploit any weakness they could find, only for those weaknesses to be removed once the gates garrison found them and made sure no one could use them again. Leading to layer after layer of battlements designed to protect every weak point that could be found. Even defenses were placed on the south side of the border to properly protect it in case barbarians ever tried to attack it from there. Creating a fortress of death that very few people would dare to attack unless they had a chance of beating it. Those changes tend to be small no matter how much time and effort is put into a plan to take the gate as it is most likely protected in any way, shape or form. Making it one of the many reasons that the gate has never be conquered in its history. The only way it would seem as if the defenders were to just abandon it and let someone take it over, but that is not very likely to happen any time soon.

Cover image: by Jester%

Comments

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22 Oct, 2021 15:58

Great detail! My one comment would be to add something like images or quotes to help break up the "wall of text". But otherwise - awesome!

Kahuna the Elder aka Leo - www.kahunatheelder.com Creator of Arnathia