Once a small but prosperous
lumber camp, the Manthrian village of Myrth stands
amid a forest of rotting stumps and scraggly brush a mere stone's throw away
from the rushing waters of the Mashdai
River. Having devoured its main source of income in its fanatic zeal for
wealth, the settlement of approximately one hundred now lies underneath a cloud
of poverty and disrepair; its once valued lumber supplies replaced by other
areas of the Kingdom of Santharia. Though the
villagers still manage to sell small quantities of wood to Chrondra and to
Marcogg, the importance of their supplies is not
nearly much as in their heyday.
Description. Situated around an overgrown path choked by wild grasses and other small plants, to the casual observer, Myrth is often mistaken for an abandoned settlement hardly worthy of a second glance. As a mere shadow of its formal glory, the broken boards and cracked paint of the collection of weathered buildings seem to verify this assumption.
The handful of wooden shacks and small cottages that actually house permanent residents are clustered in small groups at the village’s northern- and southernmost reaches. Almost identical in layout, both clusters are centered around a communal lumber mill, used to process the day's haul into a marketable ware. The heavy silence that hangs stiflingly in the air as the villagers process solemnly out to the forests at daybreak and return wearily as the sun disappears behind the horizon underscores the eerie ambiance created by the mass of ramshackle structures.
The soft murmur of its rushing waters audible throughout the settlement, the river Mashdai lies nearly flush against the village’s western flank. With choppy crests sparkling like the facets of a beautiful aquamarine, the river laps at the foundations of the spattering of shabby wooden huts that line its banks. Home to the handful of locals who work as fisherman and captain the ferries, these few men and women are the only inhabitants of the settlement who maintain regular contact with the outside world, keeping up to date on the latest news from Chrondra through their interactions with business partners purchasing the town’s wares or travelers passing through. As a result of their interactions with Chrondra and Marcogg, these few Avennorian families seem almost out of place amidst the shroud of gloom and isolation that hangs over the rest of the settlement, and prefer to keep their social interactions among themselves.
Location. Nestled in the remnants of the grove that once stood in its place, the village of Myrth stands directly opposite Chrondra, its fading wealth and depressed economy a stark contrast to the majesty and power of the city on the far side of the Upper Mashdai. Following either the river or the trails leading through the Stormwarden Ridge, Myrth lies about a day’s journey from its nearest neighbor to the south, the imposing metropolis of the capital, Marcogg. To the north and the east, the small settlement finds itself flanked by the numerous towns and forts erected underneath the shadows of the Mithral Mountains and the Sentinels.
population of roughly a hundred consists mainly of the descendants of once
opportunistic settlers from Marcogg and Chrondra with
a sizeable minority of Avennorian
humans. Once a booming young lumber-camp, the village finds its population
steadily dwindling as its members slowly drift back to the larger neighboring
cities able to support their needs.
The sour taste, often accompanying the bitter realization that one’s dreams of wealth, power and prosperity shall never be fulfilled, defines the demeanor of the remaining members of Mryth. While not hostile or exclusory, the atmosphere of Myrth differs greatly from the opportunistic mood of a location such as Courtford, instead adopting a more mordant and pessimistic view.
Save for the handful of Avennorian families who make a living providing a ferry service across the Upper Masdai to Chrondra and to Marcogg, the populace of Myrth is predominantly loggers and their families. Moving in large groups, and often accompanied by a horse and pulled log-bed, the village’s men travel miles through cleared forest daily to reach the sparse groupings if trees to the north and south.
One of the more conspicuous aspects of the tribal composition of the inhabitants of Myrth, given its proximity to both Stormwarden Ridge and the cultural melting pot of Chrondra, is the distinct lack of Serphelorians. While Serphelorian women may have proven quite capable of fending for themselves in fields considered generally to be a man’s realm, the tribe’s code of honour, the katmoh, prizes charity, friendliness and the assistance of others, characteristics that stray far from the principles of greed and a desire for material wealth that serve as the cornerstone for the foundation of Myrth. As such, members of the tribe tend to avoid the settlement, condemning it as a place of vice.
Though it is difficult to prove, it is worth mentioning that some believe many of Myrth’s abandoned buildings, particularly the larger ones, such as former taverns or general stores, located towards the center of the settlement have come to serve as bases of operations for Chrondra’s branch of the infamous Underground. While rumors of such a grand over-arching scheme can be left to the conspiracy theorists, being only a hop, skip and a jump away from the city proper and containing an abundance of free living quarters have made portions of Myrth an ideal hideaway for those ladies-of-the-night, pickpockets and other unsavory characters who have attracted unwanted attention from the law across the river.
Climate. Pressed comfortably between the storms and cool air billowing down from the jagged peaks of the Mithral Mountains and the refreshingly chilled waters of the Upper Masdai as they mix with the hot, dry climate of the majority of the eastern side of the Santharian Kingdom, Myrth, and the forest that formerly housed it, are situated in the perfect environment for plant growth and cultivation. A tempered winter and summer allow for plant-life to flourish year round, carpeting the remnants of the forest floor with doch nut and goldenbell bushes and ptoria weed peeking out from amidst the rotting stumps of once magnificent trees.
Though rain occurs sparingly, often in harsh and tumultuous storms traveling in from the mountain ranges to the east, the soil is kept fertile and moist by nutrients swept in from the north by the river. Though it has yet to be attempted, due to the vast amount of resources and effort required, should the forest remnants be cleared, it is quite possible that the land could be suitable for farming.
Flora. Immediately surrounding Myrth, amidst the remnants of the grove that once stood there, lies a carpet of bushes and weeds ranging from the doch nut shrub to the ptoria weed. As one moves further away from the settlement, the small, scraggly shrubs and weeds are replaced first thin-trunked birch and eventually powerful oak and mighty urban trees. In these depths of the forest, where the towering trees shade the moist ground, an assortment of vines and mosses cover the ground and curl around bases of trees.
Fauna. Once brimming with fuzzy woodland creatures of all sorts, ranging from the cutest chipmunk to the fiercest black bear, as time has progressed, the animal composition of Myrth has drastically changed. Where once wild beasts dominated, as the area has become increasingly deforested, domestic animals have become common. Requiring a sizeable number of beasts of burden to haul felled trees, horses, oxen and donkeys of all kinds are the most common animal life in the region.
Resources. Despite their lack of prosperity in recent times, Myrth is situated upon a gold mine of natural resources. Running along its entire western flank, the Upper Mashdai provides the village with an unlimited supply of fresh water, able to be used for drinking as well as washing, and a steady supply of fish. To its immediate north and south, Myrth is surrounded by a dwindling supply of its life-blood and sole export, lumber. While the village is on the decline, due to the quickly evaporating supply of trees, should it so desire, its prime location would allow it to be converted into either a small fisherman’s hamlet or a quarry-town.
Myth/Lore. Local believers in the Twelvern faith, particularly those who worship the goddess Jeyriall and the Hunter-God Arvins, are under the impression that the village’s decline stems from its inhabitants offense to the gods. Consumed by its lust for wealth, the settlers completely usurped the delicate balance of life gingerly constructed by the Green Prince and, through their flagrant disregard for the forest and the creatures it housed, disrespected the Goddess of the Harvest, the source of all life. As a punishment for the offenses committed against them, it is believed that the two gods cursed the ground upon which Myrth stands, slowly drawing life from the forest and stilling the growth and reproduction of its trees and creatures.