Northbark was founded as a small village along the trading road used by those who lived in the mountains 590 years ago. Due to its location next to a large river, it quickly grew into a large trading post.
After a mere 175 years, it had grown to be the largest city of the kingdom Jäätälumi and the ruler officially chose it as the capital city and settled down there. This remained the same even after violent changes in sovereignty.
A medieval world ruled by temperamental gods of old Celtic legends and inhabited by both human, beast and magical creatures. The stranger on the road may be a mortal, a devil or a fey. The lost sheep in the woods cattle of the local, small deity.
Either way, better be careful of your actions and follow the rules taught in rhymes for children.