- King Jorrin Thorn (early 30s)
- Queen Si (between 100 and 200)–Queen consort of King Jorrin, and also Queen of Alindariel, a sovereign wood elf kingdom inside Garresh
- Lord Evnan Thorn (early 20s)–now consort to Empress of the Hazon Dynasty
Capital: Maribor, the capital, is more of a rural kingdom capital–pre-war population 10,000 people. Post war population: 2,000 people.
Kingdom: Garresh. Population 300,000 (pre-war 350,000).
Banner: House Thorn’s banner has a green field, a brown shield, and thorny vines winding around the shield.
Garresh is a predominantly agricultural land; most of the citizens farm or raise cattle and sheep. There are some who hunt and work leather in Garresh as well.
There are not many towns of any size in Garresh, even along the rivers, however Garresh and Maribor boast the best roads in Azkon. Garresh was used to feed the Hazon Empire, so all roads lead to Maribor and then north to Hazon City. As the rivers mostly run to the west, few towns were created by them as that was not where the goods were needed. Even though Garresh has some coastal land, the people of Garresh do not have a maritime tradition and rarely trade on the ocean. Some subsistence fishing occurs, but fish are not a major commodity on Azkon as every land has plenty of fish.
Despite having the second largest population, by far, on Azkon, Garresh does not have many large towns or settlements. It is mostly farm and pastoral land.
Recently 30,000 Hazon farmers have moved south of the wall to live and swear loyalty to King Thorn (they are to cede all food taxes to the Empire for the next 20 years and cannot bear armor or arms for 40 years).
Located inside Garresh is the sovereign elven kingdom of Alindariel. Alindariel controls the two major forests of Garresh, both gifts from King Thorn to his wood elf wife Queen Si. Si is queen of Garresh and sovereign ruler of Alindariel, upon her death she will be succeeded by her daughter from a previous marriage. The wood elves have welcomed all other elves into their kingdom.
The wood elves of Azkon were previously scattered on the Wild Plains with no true home since their removal from their original lands. Alindariel is the first permanent home they have known in hundreds of years and will likely be their primary focus for several centuries.
Because it is located in Garresh, the elves are expected to follow the laws set by King Thorn, but he has also promised to respect their independence. King Thorn’s heir will rule Garresh and will be a half-sibling to Queen Si’s daughter; the hope being that sibling sovereigns, each at least half elven, will create hundreds of years of peace and stability for their realms.
Maribor is the capital of Garresh. Previously it had mostly been a nexus for trade and transportation of crops from Garresh to Hazon City. After the Lords’ War, 40 years ago, House Thorn attempted to turn Maribor into a more commercial city, but struggles with the Jara’hem prevented much progress.
In 1,016 Maribor was utterly destroyed by the Hazon Dynasty, nearly all of the city was put to the sword. Following that short, but devastating, war, King Thorn set to rebuilding Maribor to match his vision of an ideal Garresh. To honor his alliance with the wood elves, he had the buildings made from living stone trees (a combination of elven, dwarven, and human magics). The city will never burn again, yet it stands a more welcoming presence to various races.
The city was mostly rebuilt the following year, and can hold more than ten times its current population of 2,000.
Bryden’s Ferry is located in Garresh and has grown from a small trading town to a site of cultural and military importance. The people of the town have, at great expense, increased its access to other lands through building boats, roads, and canals–turning a small town into a hub through which many lands can access Maribor, the Pan Fafnir Mountains, and Hazon City.
The population of Bryden’s Ferry is around 200, most of them farmers, traders, fishermen, and warriors. A growing segment of the town is made up of semi-transient fighters who usually only gather on market days to defend the town against external, and sometimes internal, threats.
They can field a maximum army of 4,000 with citizen levee
Farming, hunting, and animal husbandry is the base of their economy (Sheep, Cows)
Leatherworkers are skilled
A few small towns on the water, not a big trade presence on the water. Some fishing and short trade merchant-marine.
History of House Thorn
House Thorn was founded in the year 816 by Evnan Thorn, who was a country squire that owned a series of successful farms. Thorn lands grew to be the principal agricultural base for the Hazon Empire with its main exports being wheat, barley, corn, pork, chicken, beef, and fish (roughly in that order).
Roughly around the year 916, the Thorns, having expanded their power base, started building the wall between Garresh and the Hazon capital. Nominally built to reduce Jara’hem raids into the imperial city, but the leading patriarch, Serod Thorn’s, real desire was to begin severing ties with the declining empire and establish a Thorn kingdom in his lands. These goals were unrealized in his lifetime, but they have continued down his line.
In 976, Olmir Thorn, the grandson of Serod Thorn rallied the local tribes of barbarians and other Houses to rise against the Hazon Dynasty in a five-year war, known as the Lords’ War, and ultimately drove them back to the City of Hazon. The wall was a key factor in the defeat of the empire, as House Thorn was able to deprive Hazon City of much needed foodstuffs.
Olmir made a pact with the Kahn of the Jara’hem that he would recognize their sovereign status within his kingdom in return for their support on the battlefield. His requirement was that the Jara’hem abandon their practice of raiding towns and settlements. While both leaders saw this as a step forward for their people, these decisions were widely unpopular on both sides.
Both Olmir and the Kahn were killed in the war against the Hazon Dynasty, and their successors were disinterested in honoring the agreement. Both sides accused the other of breaking faith and unity for the rest of the war was uneven.
While the Thorn lands were originally a Duchy, the Thorns had a desire to declare their lands an independent kingdom. However, internal strife and infighting between the Houses delayed them from openly declaring their sovereign state. For the forty years following the rebellion, House Thorn remained nominally a Duchy but operated as a de facto kingdom.
Olmir had one son, Mendin Thorn. Mendin was less open to compromise than his father, and his 23-year rule of the Duchy (981 to 1004) was marked by militaristic growth and autocratic oppression of any uprisings/rebellions from the Jara’hem. While the Thorns remain largely agrarian, the growth of their military tradition has been strong since the war.
Mendin was widely unpopular as he kept in place the war taxes established during the rebellion, frequently called up citizen levees to fight against the ever-growing Jara’hem raids, and silenced dissent and rebellion with capital punishment.
Mendin was assassinated under mysterious circumstances in 1004. His sons, Jorrin and Evnan, are the last remaining Thorns.
Jorrin, 31, and Evnan, 22, are the last remaining Thorns. In recent years they have worked to re-
establish peaceful relationships with the Jara’hem. Jorrin is viewed as more open-minded than his father and has met with some success in his recent dealings with other houses and the barbarians on his lands.
The Thorns experienced a crop blight on their lands starting in the year 1016.
Evnan Thorn encountered the refugees from Silver Hill directly following the Rift Crisis in July of 1016. He enlisted their aid against the Jara-hem.
In August of 1016, while investigating the disappearance of his brother, Jorrin Thorn was able to reach an agreement with the Khan of the Jara’hem. With the resurgence of the Hazon Empire, the Thorns and the Jara’hem agreed to the original compact laid down by their respective grandfathers. The Jara’hem would cease raids in Thorn lands (but would be welcome to raid Hazon lands) in return for assistance in fighting the empire and securing Thorn lands.
In September of 1016, Jorrin Thorn was rescued by the members of the town he had been traveling with. In return for their heroism, he granted them the right to establish a temporary town in the Southwest part of his lands until January of 1018. The town was to be named “Haven.”
In October of 1016, the Thorns and their new allies fought against the Hazon Dynasty. The wall was breached and all defenders killed or captured. Maribor, the Thorn capital, was put to the torch and all residents were slaughtered.
In November of 1016, Jorrin Thorn was reunited with his brother Evnan–discovered in a Hazon prison. Evnan had no recollection of the previous months. The Emperor of the Hazon Dynasty died of natural causes this same month, and his sister claimed the throne. To help her unify her lands, she signed a peace treaty with the Thorns.
In December of 1016, Jorrin Thorn crowned himself king of Garrresh. Evnan Thorn wed the Empress of the Hazon Dynasty. King Thorn signed a charter with the Town of Bryden’s Ferry and accepted the oaths of three elected and two royally-appointed council members.
Following the war, the Jara’hem are much reduced, numbering perhaps 600.
In the year 1,017 House Thorn focused on improving relationships with the Hazon Dynasty and Jara’hem. The Thorns also rebuilt Maribor. However, border disputes between Hazon and Jara’hem resulted in the obliteration of the barbarians and further Hazon settlement (with Thorn approval) into Garresh.
Spirit mages have started to spread the tale of the history of the Jara’heim and House Thorn. The Jara’heim started their bloody fued with the Thorns when they came, attacked, and killed Ruus Thorn. There has been much strife since, until Olmir Thorn attempted to come to terms with them during the Lord’s War. Olmir’s work was undone by his son, Mendin Thorn, who killed him and the leader of the Jara’heim, returning them to their war. Jorrin came to offer them, once again, the same deal, but ultimately had take back his word after he made peace with Hazon. The Thorn and Hazon armies descended on the Jara’heim encampment, and forced the Jara’heim to move, join, or die. The Jara’heim took each of those options.
- Slavery is a crime against all living things and should be abolished at any cost
- One’s word is their bond
- Through a balance of strength and compassion one can achieve greatness
- To defeat any remnants of the Hazon Dynasty (achieved)
- To overcome the division caused by the Jara’hem and unify the people (including the Jara’hem) of their lands (achieved)
- Work with the other Northern Houses to achieve a sense of unity between them
Relationships with other Northern Houses
- Hazon Dynasty–Following the Second Dynasty War (War for the Kingdom), the Thorns have signed peace and cemented that peace with a royal marriage. The wall is undergoing demilitarization but not deconstruction.
- The Knights of the Peak–The Thorns tangentially helped the Knights get reestablished by taking out the Empire in the Lords’ War. The Knights have full military access to travel through Thorn lands. Knights are not popular with the Jara’hem. Knights would support Thorns in a just or defensive war. No border tension with Thorn.
- House Dranir–They control the trade within the northern regions. They have trade agreements with House Thorn. No border tension with Thorn.
- House Kran–More neutral with Thorns. Not a lot of competition and the Thorns don’t do much magic as the Library or Empire, so Kran isn’t against them. They have worked together peacefully in the past, and Evnan Thorn trained there to learn the arts of resistance to magic.
- Library of Arn–The Thorns have hired them on occasion. Mutually beneficial relationship, but that’s it.
- Province of Jade–Not much contact between them and Thorns