by Carteeg Struve
Small Town: Nonstandard AL LN; 510 stl limit; Assets 45,340 stl; Population 1,976; Mixed (Humans 65%, Dwarves 30%, Oguna 3%, Other 2%)
Authority Figures: Fortmaster ‘Major’ Dregan Yoheshi (Dreeg’-an Yo-hesh’-ee), NG male hartdar.
Important Characters: Lieutenant Neumari Hiden (Noo’-mair-ee Hy’-den), LN female human, Townsman Merius ‘The Blessed Traitor’, CG male minotaur.
Government: Military Council
Religion: Not Prevalent
Trade: cattle and pigs, dairy, grains.
Alignment: LG, LN, LE
A minor settlement directly on the border of Sakkaras, Gef-throth (Gehf-thrawth’) has been the target of many raids by the Savage Minotaurs to the north. In the past Gef-throth was never gifted much in the way of defenses due to other larger settlements being of higher priority. That changed when one of the sons of Gef-throth became the founder of the Midland Guard. When Jermon Cavlin became leader of Lord Sovereign Montegron’s elite forces, the Bhadlum government slowly began to increase patrols in Gef-throth in order to help keep in the Sovereignty’s good graces.
Most of the town is clustered together behind a single fort wall stretching across its northern border. The wall is always manned by those on the lookout for minotaur raiders. However on occasion some of them will sneak around to the far west or east into the Gef-throth farming fields in order to avoid the wall and attacking from the sides, but ground patrols do what they can to keep the rest of the town safe. Still, every so often, sizable forces do attempt to charge the wall directly. Most times they are repelled. The rest of the times, the Bhadlum military will come in from other larger settlements and quickly expunge the threat, letting Gef-throth to be rebuilt by the survivors who are too stubborn to rebuild their lives in a safer place.
Life and Society
Although the town lives in constant preparation for its next attack (and sometimes eventual re-destruction), the people of Gef-throth have an attitude that seems to buck reality. If fate has it in for us, then we’ll do without it, is a common phrase said to those who think the site is a lost cause. Gef-throth harbors no ill will to their government for bestowing them less of a defensive force than other neighboring towns and cities. They know they are not a population center and thus are not worthy enough to secure to a greater extent. In fact, when Bhadlum began to increase the number of soldiers guarding the town when native Jermon Cavlin began to serve Lord Montegron as Second Protector, many of the town requested that the manpower be reassigned back to the more highly populated regions in order to better defend them. They know their country’s limitations, and on the whole they believe in the good of the country if not all of the Midlands.
Just about all able-bodied men, women, and older children know how to fight to some extent. A family that hasn’t lost any family members to minotaur attacks likely hadn’t been living in Gef-throth for too long. Yet fighting and defense do not appear to be as rooted into the everyday lives to an outsider who visits on a usual day. Normal business continues as it would in any village or town. Cows get milked. Grain stalks are farmed. Pigs get slaughtered. Only when one of the alarm bells on the top of the wall or around the town parameter are sounded do people drop what they are doing and grab the nearest weapon they can. Such is life on the border.
The town is run by the Fortmaster who is an officer assigned by the military. The Gef-throth Fortmaster was originally an assignment for disgraced officers, meant to keep them out of more important matters elsewhere. However in recent decades, the Fortmaster of Gef-throth has become both a position of honor and a welcome challenge. The town’s defense is the Fortmaster’s primary concern, however several of the day-to-day affairs do come before him (and once her) in order to be settled. Still, when the concerns of security take up most of the Fortmaster’s time, a popularly elected citizen is chosen to govern the town’s non-military needs. This Townsman only holds the position until the Fortmaster can fully return to his full duties, but there have been cases in which the Townsman has needed to hold the position for several years.
As an oddity and irony, Gef-throth’s current Townsman is a minotaur originally from Sakkaras. Three years ago, Merius approached the northern wall with only himself, his lover (now wife), and his young daughter. After convincing the patrol not to shoot them, he warned the town that others of his kind found an underground cavern are were going to sneak up on the town from the south, avoiding all other patrols until they were directly on the town weaker border. Fortmaster Dregan Yoheshi and his second-in-command Lieutenant Neumari Hiden quickly discovered the minotaur’s warning to be true after the scout sent to investigate didn’t return by the appointed time. The scout was discovered by a two-bull scouting party of the minotaurs, and the scout died after taking both of his enemies down. The town evacuated, and most of the populous marched south towards where Merius said the cave entrance was and attacked the raiders head on. After the threat was repelled Merius’s family was accepted as one of the town’s own, although many of the soldiers, including Yoheshi, are still skeptical of Merius’ motives. Merius has never given a reason as to why he betrayed his own kind, nor do the people press him on it. Later, when Yoheshi seem to be burdened with masses of reports regarding some type of military preparation going on throughout the Midlands, the people showed Merius their thanks by appointing him Townsman, much to the Fortmaster’s dismay.
The most noticeable structure in the town is certainly the wooden wall that stretches with slight angles and bends across the northern side of the town. Only blocking the portion of Gef-throth where the buildings are clustered, it has proven to be a useful deterrent to the often-enough minotaur attacks from the north. Like most buildings in the town, the wall has been built and rebuilt many times. The wall stands against a vast majority of the attacks, but usually once or twice a decade it will fall. Usually when the wall fails, the town or at least most of it soon follows.
The wall is just short of 30 feet high with a walkway near the top, which allows the patrols to get a decent view of the lands to the north. Every ten feet along the wall is a bell that is usually covered by a glass casing. When a bell is rung, the town begins to ready itself for attack. The glass casing is simply to prevent the bell from being accidentally hit or rung from strong gusts of wind. On rare instances false alarms have been given, but so long as it doesn’t happen too often, Gef-throth takes such instances as ‘good practice’. Stairs lead up to the walkway at six spots along the structure, none of them near the ends.
Barracks – Almost all of the military that serves in the town’s defense are assigned from elsewhere in the country. Since the locals view the defense as a natural part of living in Gef-throth, very few enlist for the purposes of coming back home and do what they did every day before they left. As such, the barracks serves as home for most of the personnel who watch from the wall or patrol the outer farmlands. The barracks is located directly behind the wall, and for anyone other than officers, it acts as a communal home. For the officers, the barracks contains a few private bedrooms and offices. The two highest-ranking officers are assigned private homes purchased by the national army. A small guarded armory is located next to the barracks on its south side.
Protector Park – Although Jermon Cavlin’s home was burned down years before his name became well known, the site upon which is stood has not yet had another house stand upon it. Instead a small park was made (and remade) in which a clearing is surrounded by sixteen trees. Each tree represents one nation of the Midlands in order to honor their hometown hero. The park was altered slightly during the last year after Cavlin’s death. To the western side of the circle is a black stone, which glistens brightly in the light of the returned moons. Inscribed in the stone is the symbol of the Midland Guard, the sword and the stars, and below it is an inscription written in letters none have yet been able to read. No one in Gef-throth knows where the stone came from.