Blackwood is a duchy located at the northwestern edge of the viscounty of Blackmarsh and is ruled by Lady Brianna Pendleton.
Physical Features Edit
As it's name suggests, Blackwood is an expansive and thickly settled woodland comprised of a variety of different tree species. Though dark evergreens and other coniferous species of trees are the most common, water tolerant and weather resistent hardwood species such as red cedars and cypress trees dot the landscape of closest proximity to the wetter territories in Blackmarsh.
Blackwood enjoys cool weather during the night and day and relatively bearable humidity. In comparison to other regions of Blackmarsh, the miasma is not nearly as prevalent as true fog. The province is warmest towards the middle of the day, but the sun rarely breaks through the thick treetops to warm the ground below. The winters are long, cold and wet, while the short summers are moist and moderately warm.
The people of Blackwood are resourceful, hard working stern folk who spend the most of their time carving a niche within the dark forest in which they can survive. Though initially suspicious of most strangers and highly defensive of their own kin, they are hospitable and helpful to travelers and immigrants alike. Due to Blackwood's proximity to the Dawn and Queen Madelynne's clear policy on education in the viscounty, they are more often than not educated and possess rudimentary academic skills.
Of all of Blackmarsh's provinces, Blackwood is by far one of the most humble. It's economy is kept afloat via trade through the Dawn of fur, game, fish, lumber and crafted materials that are difficult to find anywhere else, but the life that many of its inhabitants live is spartan and practical. There is not a denizen of Blackwood that does not spend their day working towards end's meet and as such, many of the well known established villages and towns enjoy a closely knit, symbiotic relationship with one another.
The primary religion practiced in Blackwood is the Light. Lesser branches of religious orders still exist devoted to the Old Way.
Places of InterestEdit
Ebonloch HoldEditThe ancestral seat of power of the Pendleton line, Ebonloch Hold is a thirty seven foot tall black tower seated in the middle of Ebon Lake. The hold is surrounded by the thickly settled tall trees from which Blackwood draws its name and presents a highly defensible position. There is one clearing that visitors and usurpers alike may use to gain access to the castle and beneath the surface of the lake one may still find rubble from the thick walls that once surrounded it.
Ebonloch Hold has been returned to the hands of the newly made duchess, Lady Pendleton, as her seat.
Templar's VigilEditTemplar's Vigil is the seat of the knightly house of Reeve, a lesser line sworn to the Pendletons. A great and ancient mausoleum housing the remains of the heroes of Blackwood's past, Templar's Vigil is both a spiralling crypt that descends deep into the earth and an impressive baroque castle of dark stone above. The thick treeline that makes up the small island's shore often makes it difficult to see not much more but the battlements peeking over the treetops.
Templar's Vigil has been maintained and manned by a brotherhood of knights known as the Umbrawatch. The Umbrawatch are almost all exclusively of Reeve descent and are fiercely loyal to their Pendleton overlords.
Bleeding OakEditOnce hailed as the Fringewood, the Bleeding Oak is a mass of rolling hills settled somewhat sparsely with trees due to its proximity to The Dawn. The brunt of the territory is intersected by several winding creeks. Whilst the trees that make up the brunt of Blackwood's are typically dark evergreens, the trees in Bleeding Oak's territory bear notably crimson needles and leaves. Local legend says that the leaves of the trees turned red after Blackmarsh's defeat during the War of Acquisition, though it seems to also be common knowledge that they were red even before it.
Bleeding Oak is home to game hunters and established fishing communities further along the coastline.
UmbradenEditThe thickest part of Blackwood and also the part of the forest left largely uninhabited, the Umbraden is a curious network of large trees that have eclipsed the sky above and formed a natural shelter from both the light and human settlement. It is rumored that Umbraden was a site of visitation for Mildred of the Marsh and remains the point where the miasma runs thickest in the province.
Those who have wandered into the Umbraden are said either never to return or to have become a part of the miasma itself, and unwanted children are brought there and left to die.