Dwarves of Lost Koldukar
As I stand here I vow to use this knife to hold Trunau against all comers, paying tribute to neither raiders nor subjugating armies. I shall stand my ground and live free. And should my fellows or I fall in defence, I shall use this knife to bestow upon us a final mercy rather than see any of us taken. It is my hope that I need never use it.
One of only two non-orc settlements in Belkzen, Trunau is a community of resolute human farmers, sturdy dwarf craftsmen and a number of half-orc outcasts adrift in a monstrous sea of orcs who would as soon kill or enslave Trunauans as trade with them. Its people survive through the grace of the gods, the remarkable tenacity and ingenuity of its people, and a simple, soul-deep refusal to be driven from the land of their ancestors.
While many have come to Trunau over the years looking to reclaim lost land or escape shadowy pasts, Trunau accepts no dead weight; only those who are willing to work and contribute to the community can share the safety of the town’s walls. When tribal orcs of Belkzen or giants descended the Mindspin mountains to raid, which they inevitably do, every man and woman, regardless of wealth or profession, is expected to aid in the town’s defense. Those who acquit themselves well and conduct themselves with honour find that Trunau’s residents care little about who newcomers may have been in their lives before—only who they seek to be now.
Trunauans know sacrifice in all its forms. Though their lives are far from easy, this band of idealists, scoundrels, and outcasts takes great pride in the independence that comes from being all on their own in hostile territory. For them, every day of the town’s continued existence is an enduring example of civilization’s unconquerable spirit and the prodigious strength of hope.
For the last couple of centuries, the people of Trunau have held to the Standing Vow, and it’s a matter of great pride that despite catastrophic raids and the rigors required by life in hostile territory, the town has never fallen. Even more important to some, however, is that unlike Freedom Town to the north—a town of criminals and exiles settled just inside the Hold of Belkzen in order to avoid Lastwall’s strict laws—the people of Trunau have never lost their fundamentally civilized nature, nor have they resorted to paying for protection from an outside entity.
Life In Trunau
Living under constant threat, the people of Trunau have come to embrace death as simply another part of life. This doesn’t mean that all of the inhabitants are totally at peace with their own mortality, but simply that they recognize theirs is a dangerous existence, and thus strive to live their lives to the fullest without worrying unduly about which raid or unfortunate accident may finally claim them.
Perhaps the best symbol of this—and certainly the one that most captures the imagination or outsiders—is the tradition of the hopeknife. Carried by every resident of age within Trunau, a hopeknife is a small sheathed dagger, usually worn on a chain underneath one’s clothes, though young adults recently come of age often display theirs ostentatiously. The tradition of the hopeknife comes out of the need for all residents to be prepared to defend themselves, their neighbours and Trunau itself at all times. There is also the understanding that capture by orcs is often far worse than a quick death, and thus all must be able to take their own lives or offer mercy to the wounded in the event of capture. The hope is that a hopeknife need never be used. Ironically, what was originally a grim necessity has become a symbol of adulthood and independence, and many children wait impatiently to reach the age of majority (12 years for humans and 30 for dwarves), on which they’re presented with their own hopeknives and shown which arteries to cut should they or their loved ones fall into enemy hands. Hopeknives are always kept well sharpened, and never used for anything but their intended purpose, though spouses often trade knives as part of a marriage ceremony.
Of primary concern to Trunau is the town’s defensibility. Over the centuries, the dwarves of Trunau have erected an impressive array of guard towers, walls, gates and other fortifications from stone to further secure Bloodmarch Hill. Likewise, most buildings in town have a ground floor of thick stone fashioned with defence in mind and a basement containing a small cistern supplied with water either piped in from the Hopespring or from rooftop gutters. Every able bodied resident beyond the age of majority is compelled to serve a minimum period of two years in the town’s militia, and a total of one month per year afterwards; so most everyone in town has some measure of martial training.
After defense, and water, food is the biggest concern in Trunau. The town maintains many fields and flocks around Bloodmarch Hill, watched over by border patrols and guards posted in the town’s watchtowers, and focusing on foodstuffs that can be stored for long periods; allowing the town to maintain extensive stores so as to be ready in case of a siege. Since fields are easily burned and flocks killed however, the town also relies heavily on independent hunters and trappers—during periods of more active conf lict with the orcs, these often join with more traditional fighters to counter-raid and steal food and livestock from the orcs themselves.
Perhaps most important to the town’s survival is the Siegestone. Early on after Trunau’s decision to stand and fight, the town leaders recognized their vulnerability to siege and starvation and made a decision to pool resources in order to find a magical solution. A trading group was sent east to Ustalav with most of the town’s easily carried valuables, and they returned with the Siegestone, a huge cauldron-like altar that in times of trouble can produce gallon upon gallon of tasteless porridge, keeping the residents from starving completely. The stone resides in the Longhouse and is never used except in direst need— both out of fear of exhausting its magic, and because no one in town is eager to taste the f lavor of desperation during peacetime.
Folk in Trunau are independent by nature, yet all bow to the wisdom of the Council of Defenders. Chosen from the people’s own ranks every two years, these six individuals devote themselves to managing the town’s logistics and defense, making sure that laws are obeyed and no one endangers the community. One of the six councillors holds the title of Chief Defender, who has the final say in all matters relating to the town’s safety and is commander of the people in times of crisis. Outside of that, the six councillors are theoretically of equal power in matters of the town’s prosperity, laws, arbitration, and so on. For the last 20 years, the position of Chief Defender has been held by a human woman known as Halgra of the Blackened Blades. A Trunau native, Halgra left the town at a young age to become an adventurer, fighting and raiding her way from the Skittermounds to the Broken Shore and up into the Realm of the Mammoth Lords. She finally returned at the age of 42 with a veritable throng of children in tow, and settled in to spend the rest of her life defending her home. Though Jarín Rockfall now guides the patrols and raiding parties, Halgra is still a formidable woman and quick with her trademark lamp-blackened swords. Her deft politics and tactical acumen mean that no one can honestly challenge her fitness to lead.
Trade is a crucial part of life in Trunau. Though far from most established trade routes, Trunau still receives the occasional merchant from Lastwall or Nirmathas eager for the dwarf craftsmen’s wares and the valuable salvage the townsfolk ocassionally pull from abandoned settlements (as well as the inflated prices the merchants know they can demand from such an isolated community). Most common among these traders are caravans of ethnic Varisians attempting to cross the Hold of Belkzen, or Shoanti raiding parties come east from Varisia to prove themselves against the orcs or the chitinous horrors of the Skittermounds. Trunau also sends its own caravans to Lastwall, trading valuable information on orc movements to the crusaders in Castle Everstand in exchange for supplies. The town even maintains ties with a select few orc traders from Urgir, though the common wisdom is that its leader Grask Uldeth’s current infatuation with trade and civilization won’t last for long. The dwarves of Trunau further maintain relations with small enclaves of prospectors and miners who ply their trade in the nearby Mindspin Mountains; supplying ores for local smiths to refine and forge.
Orcs are naturally despised in Trunau, yet ironically, there is a considerable number of half-orcs among its populace. Generations of predations by orcs has left many in town with some measure of orc blood in their veins and and many half-orcs raised in orc captivity who’ve escaped have sought sanctuary in Trunau; doing what they can to earn a place within the town’s walls. As Trunau knows what horrors orcs perpetrate on those they capture, and with Halgra herself having two children from a half-orc lover during her adventuring years, half-orcs are often viewed with some measure of sympathy. In spite of the pity some townsfolk hold for them, more than a few pure-blooded humans and dwarves yet maintain a deep-seeded distrust or even hatred of their half-orc neighbours.
Trunau is a hardworking community, but also one that understands the value of celebration and taking comfort wherever it can be found. Families are tightly knit, with most families at least mildly related by marriage at some point over the generations. Perhaps the best example of Trunau’s philosophy is the holiday of Holdfast, commemorating the town’s first victory over the orcs, which begins with a solemn recitation of remembrance and the burning of a wicker sword, followed by games, dancing, ale, and more than a few romantic liaisons.
Trunau at a Glance
The most immediately visible feature of the town of Trunau is its palisade. Originally, the palisade was a hastily constructed fence of sharpened branches, but over decades of strife, the Trunauans have built it into something considerably more lasting and deadly. Twelve-foot-high tree trunks, their tops sharpened into wicked points, surround the lower portion of the town, fitted so tightly that not even light passes between them. Their bases are driven another 5 feet into the earth, and the bottom half of the wall is encased in a rough but sturdy stone foundation and with an earthen rampart for defenders rising behind it. Trenches filled with smaller spikes create a deadly briar patch guarding the wall from assault. Also incorporated into the palisade are several rock outcroppings that rise even higher, forming the bases for several wooden watchtowers, including those on both sides of the gate.
Past the gate, the town rises up a steep switchback in the cliff face to an exposed stone plateau 40 feet above the rest of the hill. These cliffs are the town’s true defense, as even a handful of defenders can easily pick off any invaders attempting to scale the sheer cliffs, allowing the townsfolk to concentrate the bulk of their defense on the lower palisades. Stone watchtowers stand in the town’s higher levels as well, with fortified structures crowding between normal houses and shops. While many barns and other working structures are kept outside the walls, and many of the residents spend their days and even nights in those buildings, all residents must either maintain personal quarters in the town or pay a “siege fee” to rent a room or a patch of f loor in someone’s house inside the walls, to be used only during orc attacks. The siege fee is a set rate established by the Council of Defenders in order to discourage profiteering. Likewise, there are numerous animal pens setup within the town’s walls so that flocks can be brought inside to safety in times of strife.
Corruption +0; Crime -1; Economy 0; Law 0; Lore –1; Society +4
Qualities insular, racially intolerant (orcs)
Population 780 (420 humans; 230 dwarves; 50 halflings; 40 half-orcs; 15 half-elves, 10 gnomes, 15 others)
Councilor & Master of Records Agrit Blackhammer (LG female venerable dwarf cleric 3/sorcerer 1/mystic theurge 3)
Councilor & Master of Treasure Lessie Crumkin (LN female human cleric of Abadar 4)
Councilor & Master of Fortifications Regar Stonebearer (LN male old dwarf Fighter 4/Expert 3)
Councillor & Master of Stores Kessen Plumb (NG male human expert 3)
Councillor & Patrol Leader Jarín Rockfall (LN male dwarf ranger 7)
High Priestess Tyari Varvatos (LG female human cleric of Iomedae 6)
Minor Items +1 heavy steel shield, +1 light crossbow, cowardly crouching cloak, oil of shillelagh, ring of spell knowledge I, scroll of divine power, scroll of magic weapon, wand of magic missile; Medium Items +2 greatsword, potion of resist energy (fire); Major Items —
Below are a few of the more noteworthy locations in the town of Trunau.
1. Main Gate: Trunau has only a single entrance, as anyone needing to exit or enter during a siege could simply use a rope ladder dropped down from the cliffs at the town’s higher end. The gate is built to overlap the stones to either side, allowing the rock of the hill to reinforce it against battering rams. Atop each rock stands a wooden watchtower large enough for a dozen defenders to fire bows or pour boiling water down on attackers from relative safety. Both to intimidate the orcs and to guard against fiery arrows, the towers’ sides and roofs are armoured with the shields and breastplates of orcs who’ve assaulted the walls and died, their various clan symbols prominently displayed. The town council sets a precise watch schedule to make sure that plenty of eyes are on the wall both day and night, and all adults in the village are required to take regular shifts. Due to its cardinal location, some call this the “North Gate”.
2. Barterstones: While Trunau hosts some more established shops within its walls, most of its general trading is conducted at an open-air market held atop several low, broad slabs of flat rock just northeast of town. Originally, the market was only used for trading with orcs and suspicious outsiders who hadn’t yet earned the people’s trust enough to be allowed inside the community’s walls, but over time the town’s farmers and herders found it easier to meet here than to try and guide wagons and livestock through the town’s steep and narrow streets, and now the vast majority of local trade occurs at the Barterstones as well, with market days coming twice a week (and more often when traders arrive).
3. Hopespring: Originally called “Trunau” meaning “pure water spring” by modern dwarf settlers in the area, this cascade of fresh water is the reason the town was founded in this spot, and the key to its existence. Welling up from deep within the stone, this astonishingly prolific stream provides the town with a waterfall of pure water, filling the town reservoir before overflowing into a discrete series of covered-over aqueducts build by the dwarves of the Stonebearer clan more than a century ago. The unseen aqueducts feed water into small cisterns in the basements of most larger buildings before spilling out of five outlet waterspouts ringing the hilltop to cascade down into a series of irrigation canals feeding the town’s surrounding fields. Whether the spring is natural or magical, none can say—yet that doesn’t mean no one knows. A mute dwarf druid, whose weathered features mark his age as venerable even for his long-lived race, quietly watches over the spring, reservoir and a small circle of rune-marked stones nearby, though what purpose his quiet contemplation serves is anyone’s guess. Dubbed Silverbeard by the townsfolk (whether that be his clan or not), he has resided on this hill and slept near the spring since before the town was settled. He rarely communicates with anyone, but on occasion has been seen conversing with Halgra via some form of sign language. He generally holds himself aloof from the town’s proceedings, yet the few occasions upon which he performs magic— healing a sick child or calling lightning down on raiders— earn him respect from most residents, albeit mixed with questions regarding his inscrutable motives.
4. That ’n’ Such: A business known by its nickname rather than its official name—Meeson’s Goods & Salvage—That ’n’ Such is the closest thing Trunau has to a general store. Its human proprietor, Jess “Crazy Jess” Meeson, is a shrewd businessperson in most matters, but unreserved in her passion for salvage from the days before Lastwall’s border retreated, and her shop is a clutter of both mundane goods useful to townsfolk and “treasures” purchased from patrols and adventurers. Her husband, Gorkis Meeson, is equally obsessed with his own pursuits as the town’s resident apothecary. From his workshop in the back of the store, he crafts potions and curatives both magical and mundane for those residents too embarrassed or ornery to seek out the town’s religious healers with their ailments.
5. Ramblehouse: For many generations after its founding as an independent town, Trunau had little call for an inn and the town’s rare visitors would stay wherever there was space. Nearly 30 years ago, however, a handful of escaped halfling slaves from Molthune fled north all the way to Trunau, determined to start new lives. One of them, Cham Larringfass, decided to build not just a place for herself and her friends, but an entire inn and boardinghouse. She got the rest of her crew in on the endeavour, and before long a sprawling, eccentric manor packed with rooms of all shapes and sizes sprang up in the town’s lower end. Though guests are still less common, the aptly named Ramblehouse now houses a sizeable part of the town’s halfling population, as well as many boarders of other races. Cham, still the head innkeeper, also makes a good living off siege fees, and is thus fond of cutting deals to other halflings and members of “right-sized” races—with the only annoyance being her tendency to play matchmaker for available guests.
6. Clamour: Though technically Morninghawk’s Fine Steel, this smithy i s better known by it s nickname “Clamor” due to the constant hammering that thunders from it during daylight hours . It s owner, Sara Morninghawk, is the daughter of a Shoanti woman who arrived in the town already pregnant and uninterested in talking about her past. Sara cares little about her mixed heritage, save to note that it gives her “proper shoulders to work the forge.” Though skilled at her craft, Morninghawk usually handles simple smithing jobs from the townsfolk who need something fast and cheap or who don’t want to fuss with the exacting dwarves of the Ironworks in Upper Trunau.
oversees all of the metalwork for the town, including several apprentices specializing in different aspects of the trade. She also never goes anywhere without her mother’s axe, which she generally keeps strapped to her back. Sara’s well aware of the eyebrows some folks raise about her marriage to Agrit, but she cheerfully responds with a flexed bicep and the question of who else but a dwarf would be equipped to handle her.
7. Sanctuary: A year after the loss of Trunau’s old church, missionaries from the church of Iomedae arrived and began constructing a new house of worship to honor their goddess and minister to the people of Trunau—this time wisely building it inside the town’s walls. The new sanctuary houses half a dozen clerics, acolytes and paladins who, in addition to helping with the town’s defence, staff a large prayer hall and a hall of respite where the wounded can be tended after battle. Though some citizen look askance at the Iomedaeans—all of whom still officially claim allegiance to the Lastwall, and see their presence here as helping maintaining diplomatic ties with the outpost until the border can be expanded once more—no one is willing to actually turn away such hardworking and valuable residents, especially as they refuse to serve in any governmental capacity. The current matron of the sanctuary is a young cleric named Tyari Varvatos, the younger sister of the Second Sword Knight of the Sancta Iomedae in Vigil. Speculation abounds as to why she toils here in Trunau instead of alongside her prominent sister, with most presuming she’s out to create her own name rather than live in her sister’s shadow. Her staunchest ally is an errant paladin named Brantos Calderon, formerly stationed at Castle Firrine, who forsook his post to pledge his blade (and, rumourmongers claim, his heart) to the resolute young cleric who toils on this harsh frontier. The sanctuary’s longest-standing resident (and patient) is a gnarled old half-orc named Katrezra. Raised among the Empty Hand tribe, he suffers from a terrible affliction of the lungs and weeping sores on his face and arms, gained when his jealous chieftain sent him to the Brimstone Haruspex to experience painful visions of the future. Fed up with the barbarity of the orcs, he managed to convince Halgra to grant him sanctuary, and has since found rebirth in the light of Iomedae, and proven his loyalty time and again on the town’s walls. He still occasionally has visions, and though many write them off as hallucinations or attention- grabbing, Tyari has begun privately recording them on the chance that they may point toward some important revelation.
8. Inner Gate: Trunau boasts an impressive array of stone fortifications for a town of its size, due in no small part to the ingenuity and hard work of the dwarves of the Stonebearer clan, who have continued adding to them over succeeding generations. The most critical of these fortifications is likely the Inner Gate: a twenty-foot-high crenellated stone wall protecting the Inner Quarter, interspersed with four 30-ft high guard towers, the central two of which forms a gatehouse with twin portcullises. The only means of accessing the Inner Gates’ parapets and tower interiors is from the top of the southern-most tower, whose entrance is concealed behind the Stonebearer Clan Hall in the Upper Quarter. Due to the ease of access for them, it’s mostly dwarves who volunteer to carry out their guard shifts atop the Inner Gate, leading some to jokingly refer to this as the “Dwarf Gate”.
9. The Killin’ Ground: Named for its position on the sloped ascent between the town’s Inner and High gates, this bar started as a way for its human proprietor Rabus Clarenston to finance the production of his beloved moonshine. Despite the vocal disapproval of Tyari and some of the town’s more straight-laced residents, Rabus does a brisk business—with the only law governing his trade being that, should someone show for a patrol or watch duty drunk on his product, Rabus himself must share in the punishment. As a result, Rabus knows the shift schedule better than anyone, and despite his own near-constant inebriation, he never allows anyone to drink in his bar within 4 hours of his or her next shift (or 6 or even 8 hours, for those he knows can’t handle their drink). The Killin’ Ground itself is a strange structure, with walls that begin a foot off the ground and a roof made entirely of canvas. When the furious local storms roll in, Rabus simply pulls back the canvas and lets the rain and the slope of the hill wash the filth of the bar’s constant partying away—which greatly annoys his downhill neighbours.
10. High Gate: Of similar design to the Inner Gate, the High Gates’ access point is located at the base of the western-most tower within the the Upper Quarter. Together both gates block off the sloping area leading up to the top of the plateau. These twin walls are designed to allow citizens to retreat to the higher town in the event that the main palisade is breached, and having a gate at either end of the slope allows defenders to better choke the invaders and turn the whole ramp into a killing ground, firing arrows down from the walls and cliff above.
11. Countinghouse: When Lastwall first abandoned Trunau, an Abadaran tax collector in the region named Barran Crumkin decided to go rogue and cast his lot with the Trunau residents, whom he saw as epitomizing his faith’s struggle to promote civilization in the face of barbarity. He gathered other like-minded merchants in the town and founded the Trunau Countinghouse, a temple-bank of Abadar where the locals could safely deposit their wealth and earn interest instead of hiding it in their houses and potentially losing it to orc raids. Today, the Trunau Countinghouse has grown into a large, stately building that sees to both the banking and spiritual needs of locals and traveling merchants alike. Its human proprietor, town council member and banker Lessie Crumkin, can proudly trace her lineage all the way back to the bank’s founder, and takes to her job well enough, though several people have noted not only her skill at arms in the training arena, but also the way she sometimes longingly watches the patrols leaving—particularly their leader, Jarín Rockfall.
12. Harrowtract Hall: Though sizeable and well, kept this dwarven familial hall normally has far fewer dwarves occupying it than neighbouring halls seeing as most members of the agriculturally focused clan normally live and work in the fields and pastures outside the town’s walls. This situation changes completely in times of strife however when, seeking refuge, clansmen rush into town with their families and livestock in tow to fill the hall to bursting; which seems to be the only reason they bother to maintain a residence inside the town. In spite of being safe, the Harrowtract clan members seem ever eager to vacate the hall as soon as is feasible.
13. Stonebearer Hall: Built like a miniature fortress with thick walls of stone, shuttered arrow-slit windows and a slate covered roof to protect against fire, this trio of ornately stone-carved buildings is the traditional home and workshop of the local Stonebearer dwarf clan. A large fenced in area next to the workshop contains a large supply of quarried stone blocks in various stages of refinement. Rumoured to be riddled with deadly traps and to be at least equally spacious below ground as above, five generations of Stonebearers currently call the hall home.
14. Steelskin Hall: Flanking the Ironworks with Blackhammer Hall, this smallest of Trunau’s dwarf halls is home to the Steelskin clan who, while fewer in number than their more prosperous neighbours, possess a skill at crafting amour and shields that is highly valued by the town’s defenders. Although so thoroughly intermarried with their fellow smiths as to be nearly indistinguishable to outsiders, maintaining their own Hall within Trunau remains a fierce point of honour for the clan; one that no dwarf begrudges them.
15. Ironworks: This heavily buttressed stone building sports a half-dozen chimneys and produces a constant cacophony of pounding hammers during daylight hours. With a handful of forges maintained and operated by the Blackhammer clan, it serves as a temple of Torag, along with the rest of the dwarven pantheon, as well as the town’s primary smithy. More than a dozen apprentices produce all manner of common ironwork for the town such as nails, hinges, pots and cutlery. Meanwhile a handful of master-smiths in residence with each specializes in particular metals or products, such as bladed weapons, hafted weapons, shields, ring amours and plate armours. The current forge-priest in charge is a mature dwarf named Mjothar Blackhammer; who took over as clan patriarch following the death of his father Mjothvitnir a few decades ago. Although Mjothar’s venerable mother Agrit yet remains alive as clan Matriarch, she ceded control of the Ironworks’ day-to-day running to her son in favour of pursuing her own spiritual pursuits.
16. Blackhammer Hall: This compound, though perhaps sporting less fanciful stonework than that of the neighbouring Stonebearer Hall, is certainly larger and with more ironwork reinforcements. It serves as the familial compound of the Blackhammer clan; an extended family of dwarf smiths who are largely responsible for most of Trunau’s vitally important weapons-craft. As are most dwarf-owned buildings in Trunau it is built to defend against a siege, and is rumoured to have a better stocked armoury in its basement than the Longhouse; enough to equip an entire legion of Lastwall soldiers or the entire town of Trunau twice over. A fenced-in yard next to the hall is festooned with sparring manakins upon which the Ironwork’s martial wares can be tested while honing the clansmen’s combat skills. The largest of these is a 12-ft tall wooden contraption of wood, rope and pulleys nicknamed “Gog” which three dwarves can operate to mimic an attacking giant.
17. Amberfire Hall: This sturdy stone & slate building rests in the shadow of the town’s spring; all the better to draw the freshest water possible to brew their hearty ale and their namesake whiskey. The larger building in front serves as home to members of the Amberfire clan while the smaller building along the hill’s edge behind it, nicknamed “paradise” by those locals with a taste for fine spirits, houses the family’s brewery. A sizeable storage cellar beneath the brewery serves for ale storage while the hallowed whiskey is rumoured to be kept in a secret vault beneath the more secure hall.
18. Commons: The central feature of Trunau’s community is a wide amphitheater with a stone floor and a raised stage at one end. By day, the Commons serves as Trunau’s training ground, upon which its residents engage in martial training under Patrol Leader Jarín Rockfall—depending on their primary role in town, some dedicated warriors train nearly every day, but even those more valuable in other capacities are expected to train at least 1 day per month. By night, however, the Commons transforms into a place of relaxation and celebration as townsfolk meet, enjoy local entertainment, conduct ceremonies or indulge in any other cause for festivity. Children’s school lessons are often conducted on the rows of tiered seating, the stage is used for announcements and the occasional theatrical performance, and in general the Commons represents a pleasant outdoor meeting point for all residents.
19. Ivory Hall: The seat of power in Trunau, the Ivory Hall was originally festooned with the skulls of the most ferocious orc champions and chieftains felled in Trunau’s first siege, their hollow eye sockets mute testimony to both the constant threat under which Trunau exists, and to the residents’ unwavering commitment to surviving it. Later generations of councillors found the display too grisly and similar to the orcs’ own trophy-keeping traditions, however, and discarded the bones. Today, the hall gets its name from the brilliant white of its walls, and serves as the home of Chief Defender Halgar of the Blackened Blades. She puts the manor to good use, allowing several of her grown children to house their own families in its many rooms. The only part off-limits to the rest of her rough-and-tumble children is the Meeting Room—with commanding views of the surrounding countryside, she uses it to host war councils and entertain visitors such as traders, emissaries from Vigil or Castle Firrine, or the Pathfinders who often use Trunau as a launching point for expeditions into Belkzen.
20. Flame of the Fallen: Trunauans are all too familiar with the orc practice of gathering the bones of slain foes and creating grisly monuments out of the remains. To honor the fallen dead and deny their enemies the opportunity to turn them into skeletal mockeries, Trunauans go to great lengths to retrieve the body of any citizen slain in battle. Those recovered are burned in a great pyre along the cliff at the town’s crest, their light and smoke traveling up into the endless freedom of the sky. During times of siege, the beacon is kept burning day and night to hearten the defenders and challenge to the orcs—though some cynics say that it’s kept lit to keep townsfolk from noticing and despairing every time a new corpse is added.
21. Longhouse: The largest structure in town, the Longhouse is the main meeting house of Trunau, hosting both council meetings and, on days when the weather is foul, all of the various training sessions and celebrations normally held in the Commons. In addition to its great common room used for feasts and meetings, the structure also contains several barracks where young unmarried warriors of either gender can live in order to focus more on their militia training. Chief among these is Councillor Jarín Rockfall, who despite his simple chosen title of Patrol Leader is the councillor in charge of training and leading the town’s militia. After the death of his wife—also a talented ranger and warrior—at the hands of an orc raiding party, he and his sons moved into the Longhouse and devoted themselves to protecting the town, counter-raiding the orcs who would victimize them, and training all Trunau residents in the martial arts, to ensure that no more families are sundered. In addition to personally leading patrols, he’s in charge of organizing and posting the watchtower rotations and helping dwarf Councillor Kilar Goldhand make sure that the vast stores of siege rations, weapons, and potions in the longhouse’s extensive basement remain viable. With the exception of the Siegestone, which is far too heavy to be moved without a block and tackle, all of the stores beneath the Longhouse are kept under lock and key, with only the six councillors having copies of that key.
22. Plague House: Before the fall of the Hordeline, this was a small church of Iomedae serving the local farming communities. When Lastwall’s forces retreated and Trunau decided to stand and fight, the priests of Iomedae joined them—yet unlike the other residents, head priest Arthuris Bain and his two assistants refused to retreat within the fortified walls, confident that Iomedae’s wrath would strike down any raiders who dared to come for them. Though the priests fought valiantly, the church was burned to the ground almost immediately by the rampaging orcs, and all three of its residents were slain. The church stood as a burned-out husk for decades, then 50 years ago was hastily reconstructed as a place to hold those afflicted by a plague sweeping the town. Though removing the sick from inside the town walls doubtlessly saved many, the plague house burned down in a fire only a few nights after its completion, taking with it a score of patients and healers. Whether the fire was an accident or the work of an arsonist attempting to stop the plague for good, no one knows, but no one ever proposed building on the site again. Today, the site—known as both the Burned Church and the Plague House—is left alone, save for the occasional children’s dare to stand in the center of the blackened beams at sunset. However, lights have recently been seen moving about in the church at night, but even the best trackers unable to find any evidence of tracks there the following morning. The whole town buzzes with wild speculation after each new sighting.
B. Beacons: Due the ever present threat of orc raids, which are usually carried out at night to better take advantage of their darkvision, Trunau maintains a half-dozen beacons, made of dry lumber stacked high, throughout town which can be quickly lit to provide light and rallying points for the defenders.