Reign of Winter
Hoarwood Forest was once a verdant woodland of proud, tall trees, bursting with life and home to a vibrant druidic culture. Now, it clearly illustrates the consequences of Irrisen’s eternal winter. Hoarwood’s original provincial capital, the city of Vonosh, is no more. In 3444 AR, descendants of Queen Jadwiga in Vonosh plotted to overthrow Queen Morgannan, and slew her daughter, Duchess Anisya. In retribution, Queen Morgannan executed the residents of Vonosh every man, woman, and child, regardless of guilt or innocence – and razed the city to the ground in a storm of fire and ice. Morgannan then decreed that a new capital be carved from an enormous oak tree to the east of the ruin that had been Vonosh. The great oak was sacred to the Ulfen druids of Hoarwood and their followers, and the druids and peasants resisted in one of the greatest uprisings in Irrisen’s history. Weapons and witchery managed to overcome the Hoarwood Rebellion, and the blood of the insurrection’s ringleaders was fed to the roots of the mighty, sacred oak, killing it. But though the open revolt was utterly crushed, a nascent underground resistance movement had been born-the Heralds of Summer’s Return.
Once the rebellion was put down, an army of artisans spent 4 years completing the construction of the new provincial capital, named for the province itself. But at the city’s dedication ceremony, hosted by the new duchess Osilla Morgannan, the Heralds of Summer’s Return made their first defiant, albeit suicidal, attack. In the melee , Osilla lost an eye, and her first official act as Duchess of Hoarwood was to order that every peasant in the province would suffer the same, an order that her troops grimly carried out to the last child.