When I first travelled the Frostbite Pass, I was afraid of my first journey into dwarven lands. But where I saw the walls of the Bastion, still miles ahead of us up the slopes, my fears and the chill of the snow left me as I stared at the stone that blocked off the pass. Id dwarves could build this, I wanted to see more.
Purpose / Function
Established centuries ago, the Bastion overlooks and divides Frostbite Pass, controlling all passage. It was constructed first to deal with bandits making use of the pass, and later expanded when the dwarves of Gronin feared war with the people of Ecus. In modern times, people of both continents maintain the Bastion as a sign of trust between the Free Cities of Ushen and the Kingdom of Groutish. As the sole military presence in the frozen mountain pass, the Bastion offers refuge for travellers and seeks to prevent smuggling. Should any army attempt to cross the pass on either side, word is sent to the other immediately as the attackers break against its great walls.
In the lifetime of the Bastion, it has changed much, despite its dwarven design. As new technology is discovered, it is added, and the structures have been reinforced multiple times. The harsh weather and various sieges across the years have caused need for repairs, each allowing improvement in their wake.
Built in the dwarven style of old, the stone walls are formed of granite, rising high over the icy road. The walls encompass the whole pass on both sides, leaving no room to pass. The gates are crafted of heavy oak and bound with iron, and is wide enough for a carriage to pass through. The interior buildings are made of similar stone and furnished more for practicality than luxury. The pale stone lines every wall as torches light them from within. Each room has a fireplace burning in the centre, kept alight most of the time. Most buildings are constructed with dwarves in mind, but the more modern ones are made with human heights in mind.
The Bastion was first built before the Great Flood, when the ruling dwarven Kingdom at the time was constantly being raided by bandits, many of which used the pass. It started as a lightly guarded compound manned with Swift Riders and was primarily used for intercepting the roving bands and sending word to the villages in their path. When the Great Flood consumed the world, the Frostbite Pass became the only means of passage between the continents of Gronin and Ecus. In panic, the Kingdom of Groutish feared invasion from all sides and fortified the pass. The walls were built up, soldiers sent forth, and the Bastion stood in the way of any who tried to cross between the two lands. Two centuries later, Groutish was struggling, and with the threat of war to the west, the kingdom decreed opening the border and sending missionaries east in search of aid from Ecus. While the nation of Brivaria refused to send military aid, trade routes were set up, allowing coin to cross the pass, giving the dwarves of Groutish the funds to hire mercenary bands and fend off the attackers. In the Summer of 685AM, the most dangerous siege in the history of the Bastion occurred. Many minor groups had attempted to take the fortress, but at the end of the season one of the major powers of Ecus, Brivaria, sought conquest. The Siege of Frostbite permanently marred the landscape as the magic used by the Brivarian Spellweavers tore the mountains asunder. The Bastion held, but at great cost. In the following years, after revolution swept through Brivaria, the aid the dwarves of Groutish gave to the newly formed Free Cities led to an alliance between the two peoples. The Bastion was to be manned by soldiers of both countries as a sign of peace between them.
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