The Tanglewild and Sablemane Keep
The Tanglewild has long been a disputed region in this part of the world. This nest of ancient trees and labyrinthine ridges have resisted all attempts to tame them and hold secrets older than the first histories of the Elves. Few civilized eyes have beheld the deepest reaches of the forest, even the Hierophant Druids of Brynd cannot say for certain what lies in the heart of the Tanglewild.
The untamed nature of the Tanglewild makes the forest a haven for outlaws, savages, and monsters. Each Realm whose borders have reached the edges of the Tanglewild has tried pushing the forest back. Sometimes, the forest has yielded to farms, villages and forts. But always, when the power of cities and kingdoms wane, the Tanglewild reclaims what lands were taken from it. Over the ages, uncounted ruins have become lost within the expanse of the great trees and thick flora.
For the past 500 years, the Tanglewild lay within the domain of Gakara, covering most of the realm’s peninsula that spears out into the Sovereign Sea. The Rulers of Gakara have grown rich from the timbers and game the Tanglewild provides. The importance of the Tanglewild to Gakara has been such that the Princes of the realm have wrestled with managing this great untamable wilderness within their claimed borders. Over a century-and-a-half ago, during the reign of the last High Sovereign Ossrac the Old, the Duke of Gakara built a fortified Keep between the towns of Grenfeld and Azhaven to both to protect the subjects living there and to project the Duke’s influence into the Tanglewild.
When the Keep was complete, the Duke appointed his cousin, Shagroth Sablemane as its Lord. Likewise, the new Lord was ennobled as Theign of a fief including the town of Grenfeld and, “all wild lands within the Tanglewild which can be tamed.” Although the power of Sablemane Keep has allowed both Grenfeld and Azhaven to prosper, none of the Theigns have had much success expanding their domain into the Tanglewild. Still, the efforts of the six generations of Sablemanes have colonized a frontier into the Tanglewild as far as the Elderflow River.
After the passing of the last High Sovereign, Gakara is again ruled by a Prince, the Lady Glorianne, and Sablemane Keep is governed by Theign Gonthar Sablemane. Before inheriting his title and Keep, Gonthar lived a life of adventuring in service to his Father, the Theign Braham, and the Prince Glorianne. Gonthar earned a small personal fortune in treasures recovered from his expeditions into the Tanglewild, and quests throughout the lands around the Sovereign Sea. His adventuring career was cut short by the sudden death of his elder brother Karhn during a joust. His father’s failing health forced Gonthar to retire from adventuring and prepare to rule his family’s fiefdom. Since his ascension to the Seat of his fathers and grandfathers, Gonthar has proven to be a popular Theign among the people of Gakara. Bards sing of his many heroic exploits, and the common folk praise his generosity. He uses his own personal fortunes to fund further expeditions into the Tanglewild, and using the profits from these expeditions to relieve his subject of the greatest burden of taxes.
Gonthar is forty years old, and still unmarried. This is of concern to his Prince, as she greatly desires to see the loyal and stalwart house of Sablemane continue. He remains a very eligible bachelor, yet has shown great reluctance to court a wife. It is believed in the court of Gakara that Gonthar still has the wild heart of a freebooting adventurer, that the call of the Tanglewild draws his soul back to days of quest and journeying. Still, the Prince is becoming more insistent, and it is a matter of time before Gonthar is ordered to take a wife, and begin a family. Gonthar understands his Prince’s concerns, but his love belongs to his adventuring companion and mistress, the Dragonborn Wizardess Amrylle.
A union between Human and Dragonborn cannot be fruitful (without the aid of powerful magics that still elude Amrylle’s arcane divinations). Thus, a legal marriage between Gonthar and Amrylle will never be endorsed by the Prince. Furthermore, the Pontifex of the Celestial Church has grown to oppose such interracial unions. Even if Gonthar and Amrylle do manage to discover some means to create a child, it is uncertain if such an extreme mixing of bloodlines would be accepted by Gakara’s subjects.