Burhwic Settlement in Ulskandar | World Anvil


Family seat of Hrothmar’s Bloodline, Burhwic is a name that refers to the Bloodline’s castle (which is formally known as Hrothmar’s Keep), the village around it and the island upon which the community is situated. Burhwic as a whole is a predominantly self-sustaining community, that is entirely geared to serving the needs and whims of the Bloodline, who own and govern the island and its people. Even though Burhwic is officially part of the Kingdom of Dazscor and Aramore, this fact is rarely noted, and has little impact on the lives of the people that live their under the de facto rule of Hrothmar’s Bloodline and their leader the First Descendant.


In terms of wealth distribution there is a stark contrast in Burhwic between the ultra-rich and the comparatively very poor. Hrothmar’s Bloodline are, as a family, incredibly wealthy and given that they are the feudalistic landowners of the island and village of Burhwic Village it is not surprising that the vast majority of the wealth in the community is stored there. Having said that, the peasantry who live in Burhwic, all of whom work for the Bloodline are well paid for their services, and if they were to live in another community they pay and living conditions would certainly push them into the realms of the lower middle-classes.   In terms of the composition of the population the majority of the residents of Burhwic Village are Halflings, whose natural affinity for agrarian activities makes them well suited and highly favoured for employment by the Bloodline as tenant farmers. There is also a significant population of around 100 Half-Orcs, who are employed by the Bloodline to act as guards for Hrothmar’s Keep, their ancestral home, and who are garrisoned permanently there all year round.  As for the Bloodline themselves, 99% of them are Humans, though their numbers fluctuate throughout the year as different members of the Bloodline come and go about their business, with only around 30 of Hrothmar’s Bloodline being permanently resident in Burhwic all year round. The Human population of the area swells drastically for a few weeks every summer as all of the members of Hrothmar’s Bloodline converge on the island for their annual Family Council.


As all of the land on which Burhwic is based is owned by Hrothmar’s Bloodline the area is governed as a feudal possession by the Bloodline and their leader the First Descendent. Individual members of the Bloodline will be charged by the First Descendent with overseeing certain tasks that need supervising, such as planting and harvest activities, maintenance of the familial castle and the village surrounding it etc. The inhabitants of Burhwic village do also appoint one of their number to act as an intermediary between themselves and the Bloodline, though in reality this relationship really involves the communication of decisions from the First Descendent and the family to the village people, rather than as a conduit to regularly air grievances.


Burhwic is defended in two senses as it sits on an island in the Dreki Sea, just off the coast of the Kingdom of Dazscor and Aramore, which means that any potential attackers would have to navigate their way across the strait that separates the island from the mainland. In addition, the familial seat of Hrothmar’s Bloodline, known as Hrothmar’s Keep has been built to be both a comfortable residence to those that live within it, but also as a defensible bastion to protect the Bloodline, and the community that live and work on their land in case of attack. The Keep has been constructed with a completely enclosed curtain wall, and the central building in the complex is heavily fortified in its own right as well, complete with battlements, archery platforms and murder holes. In the event of an assault on the community, the central courtyard of Hrothmar’s Keep is large enough to hold all of the peasantry from the village, albeit in not very comfortable conditions. It would have to be an extreme circumstance indeed that would drive the Bloodline to let their peasantry enter their main residence on mass.


The island of Burhwic, and the village of Burhwic are both dominated by the enormous expanse of Hrothmar’s Keep, the castle that is the familial seat of Hrothmar’s Bloodline. The Keep acts as the main focal point for the island and is just about visible from every point. Hrothmar’s Keep has spaces to provide living-quarters for the garrison that protect the members of the Bloodline that are resident there, the Keep, and by extension the community at large, as well as many lavish residential and guest apartments and rooms, spacious banqueting spaces, leisure spaces and galleries, a well-stocked wine cellar and all of the necessary kitchen and service spaces to enable all of the activity that goes on there.   The village of Burhwic, which sits at the foot of the Keep has been built in regular rows of cottages out of good quality materials and to a high standard of construction, primarily so that the community is aesthetically pleasing to view from the keep. The village is serviced by an all-purpose shop, a bakers, grocers and butchers, along with a large inn and a public square to facilitate community events. There is also a small temple to Skaddi, a deity from the Pantheon of the North.   The island is served by a small dock at its eastern tip, which has a small hamlet built around it to provide living quarters for the dock workers, accommodation for visiting merchants, a small tavern and a space from which the surplus agricultural produce from the island can be sold, and imported goods can be temporarily stored.


Burhwic as a term is a bit of a catch-all term that is used to describe the familial seat of Hrothmar’s Bloodline, though the castle itself that is the family’s base and main residence is officially called Hrothmar’s Keep, as well as the larger community around the Keep, and also the island upon which both sit, and that is entirely owned by the Bloodline. Burhwic island is relatively compact, and can be crossed from one end to the other on foot in about a day or so.   Burhwic island is predominantly quite flat, with the only substantial area of high ground being at the very south of the island, on and around which Hrothmar’s Keep has been constructed. From the foot of the Keep and out into the area immediately surrounding it is the village of Burhwic, and beyond that are the expanse of fields and pasture land that make up the majority of the rest of the island. A large part of the east of the island has been left deliberately uncultivated, and has instead be managed into an area of woodland that the Bloodline use for recreational hunting, however, given the high volume of hunting trips that the Bloodline members resident on Burhwic Island undertake, the woodland has to be regularly restocked with animals imported from the mainland. When the whole of Hrothmar’s Bloodline convene at Burhwic for the annual Family Council it has become a tradition to stock the woodland with exotic, and frankly quite dangerous animals to add some spice to the recreational hunts that are undertaken.
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Cover image: by Chris Pyrah


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