Winterhaven's Long History
Nestled in the base of the Ivory Peaks, Winterhaven is the second largest city on the Mainland with one of the highest populations in the world. Huge stone walls surround the city, testament to the many wars its people have weathered. Various churches are the only stone buildings, however, as the rest are built from wood. Winterhaven is the continental leader in the production of weapons, armor, and other wartime materiel, due in large part to its long history of conflict with Overdale to the south. Its people are friendly yet vigilant, ready for an ally to become enemy in a moment’s notice.
Winterhaven began as a small logging settlement in the year 978 AEC, and grew in size in the same way many towns and cities do. Its relative safety from some of the more monstrous creatures in the Mainland made it an appealing destination for folks looking for work. The loggers brought their families with them, and those families took up work baking, building, and doing anything else that needed doing. The camp soon became a town, which grew into a city.
Over time, Winterhaven became a hub for the entire western half of Ellara. Its central location brought many adventurers seeking fame and glory. When Lord Padraig's daughter Talia was kidnapped in the year 1246 AEC, he hired a group of adventurers led by Malchus Grimnas to rescue her. They were successful and in his gratitude, Padraig made them Knights of Winterhaven. The party went on to Overdale and got into some trouble with the acting governor, Zannon Carter.
Lord Padraig called for a treaty between his Knights and Overdale. That treaty, later referred to as Malchus’ Folly, prevented Lord Padraig from intervening as Carter reshaped Overdale into the city of Overwatch, ruling with fear and cruelty. Winterhaven, honorbound, could do nothing but watch as Carter claimed ever more territory and massacred ever more people. Eventually, the armies of Overwatch appeared at the gates of Winterhaven, intent on conquest.
The Siege of Winterhaven is remembered as the darkest day in the city’s history. Without provocation, soldiers from Overwatch quickly overwhelmed Winterhaven’s defenses, slaughtering thousands of men and women, soldier and citizen alike. Lord Padraig himself was among the fallen, leaving his rule to his daughter, Talia, and her husband, Ian Serverus.
Winterhaven survived the siege, mustering the strength to repel the Overwatch’s forces. Once the dust settled, every bit of manpower that could be utilized was spent training soldiers and building armor and weapons. When the time came to defend their city again, the people of Winterhaven vowed to be ready. That time came four years later when the Overwatch returned with a massive army of mechanical soldiers. However, Lord Serverus hesitated to send his soldiers into battle and the tide was turned by Malchus Grimnas, who activated a powerful magical item which killed nearly the entire Essai force.
After the battle, Serverus was confronted by several military leaders and adventurers who had aided in the battle, and it was revealed that Serverus was the one who had killed Lord Padraig during the chaos of the First Siege of Winterhaven. A fight broke out in Winterhaven Hall, which resulted in the deaths of both Ian and Talia Serverus as well as Briahna Ebelmare, leader of the White Ravens resistance. Nathaniel Serverus, son of Ian and Talia, assumed the throne and led the army of Winterhaven to victory in the Battle of White Wolf Valley, sustaining near-fatal injuries in the process.
GovernmentThe laws of Winterhaven are strict by necessity, developed through bloodshed. Traditionally ruled by a Lord and Lady, the burden of leadership currently rests on the shoulders of the young Sir Nathaniel Serverus. However, Lord Nathaniel has been reclusive since the deaths of his parents and the injuries he sustained in the Battle of White Wolf Valley years ago. To keep the community balanced the city has installed a Council, which serves directly underneath the Lord and often in his absence.
The Council is made up of three members, tasked with carrying out the law, as well as passing judgment in major trials. In extreme cases, the population itself may also cast a vote in the final verdict. This is an earnest attempt to keep the law fair and balanced, as the people of Winterhaven are well aware of the danger of absolute power.
Factions & Groups
The Winterhaven Guard Though the city finds itself in its first period of actual peace in many years, the Guard of Winterhaven still vows to protect the citizens within from any threat. Currently, their eyes look suspiciously to their new neighbors: the encampment of Moz’zogg Orcs to the south, too near for comfort.
The Council of Winterhaven Meant to maintain balance and order within the city, though sometimes hindered by internal politics. However, it may be said that each member cares deeply for the well-being of their city, and makes decisions with that in mind.
Bottomless Joy A band dedicated to the memory of Duncan Joybottom , who often play at large-scale events. Their namesake is in honor of a great bard who had helped rescue Lord Padraig’s daughter all those years ago, and who more than once had helped defend Winterhaven against the Overwatch.
Clan of the Horned God On the outskirts of Winterhaven there is a small cult of minotaur who worship a false idol. This horned deity is said to be the God of Minotaur and although there is no documentation of its existence when the previous gods were known, this small group insists that their god will rise up and wipe out the non-believers so that they may lay claim to Winterhaven as their own.