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High Sonden, County of

by Michael Berry

Area:
392 square miles

Population:
AC 1000 - 5845
AC 1014 - 5260

Towns: (population values are given for AC 1000 and AC 1014)
Hoogsonden (1620/1500): is located on the Southern side of the river approximately 2 miles from the Tower of the Count of High Sonden

Villages: (population values are given for AC 1000 and AC 1014)
Vidarsteer (444/400): a small stone-built village, nestled in what was once a fort located at the border with the Principality of Aalban.
Aakwoud (228/200): is a village southwest of Hoogsonden, which provides lumber for the County.
Waastroomdorp (108) is a fishing village East, along the River.

Ethnic groups:
Flaems 93%, Hattian 3%, Averoignian 2%, Aalbanese 1%, Other 1%

Languages:
Flaem, Thyatin Common

Ruler:
Countess Sinaria Verlien (born 940, AC 1000-M21 AC 1014-M29, Al C, High Master of Fire 5th circle, member of the Followers of the Fire, member of the Free Anachronistical Society of Aalban).

House:
Linden

Military:
Sinaria has many enemies, and holds her dominion with an iron fist. Her estate is guarded by 50 Elite Tower Guards (F5, plate armor, rings of fire resistance, Long swords+1, dagger; led by Dank van Terlien F17 long sword+3, plate+2) which never leave the estates grounds. A force of 100 light cavalries (F3, studded leather, long swords, and crossbows) regularly guards the mines and the villages of Hoogsonden and Vidarsteer. In addition, a banner from Fort Nordling comes to High Sonden several times a year and trains with her light cavalry. Sinaria has not allowed any battle machinery from being installed in her towers defenses. Instead, she depends on magical defenses and attacks.

Food:
Sufficient

Trails:
The Vesubian River is navigable and Hoogsonden hosts the main port of the County. The port is toll-free. A bridge, Sondenbrug, connects Hoogsonden with Laagsonden, in Bergdhoven; a toll is exacted from those entering the Principality, only. Passage fee are lower than the average, 3 dc for 1st class passage to Willemsbrug, 8 sv for 2nd class ones. A good trail connects the mines with Verlienís estate and Hoogsonden. Fair trails connect other villages to each other. A fair trail leads from Waastroomdorp to Willionsteer, the Fort located at the Southeastern border, then to village of Beraan in the Marquisate of Berrym.

Economics:
Gemstones Mines are the main resource of High Sonden, which counts on fishing as main food resource, but farming and herding in the hills and in the plains produces enough food for self-sustenance and storing. Trees growing along the River provide the County with enough lumber to rely on itself only. Raw gems are exported to the Principality of Bergdhoven, in exchange of luxury goods, and grain. Meats are generally imported from Berrym in exchange for material goods and gems.

High Sonden Monthly Financial Ledger (figures from AC 1000)

Main resources: 1 mineral, 1 animal
3 hexes: hills; rural; pop. 840; tax 84 dc
1 hex: hills, river; rural; pop. 420; tax 42 dc
2 hexes: clear, river; rural; pop. 3360; tax 336 dc
1 hex: mountain; borderland; pop. 56; tax 3 dc
High Sonden: small town; pop. 1169; tax 351 dc

Total population: 1169 small town/suburban, 4620 rural; 56 borderland

Tax Income: 816 dc
Resource Income: 4077 dc
Standard Income: 5121 dc
Council Tax: 2003 dc
Net Cash: 2890 dc
Overhead (55%): 1590 dc
Available Cash: 1300 dc

With 58716 XP/year, in 10 years the Count would gain 587,160 XP
Alternate: 9792 XP/year

History:
Counts of High Sonden
Vidar Verlien 829-853
Willion Verlien 853-914
Vexer Verlien 914-949
Garnaar Verlien 949-959
Sinaria Verlien 959-

When the Overlord was defeated during his invasion of Mystara in AC 512 all the enslaved people and races on Veydra were freed. Among those were thousands of Flaem that were not sent to colonize the Highlands in advance of the Overlord. One of the most prominent families of those Flaem was the Verlien family. Matthijs Verlien was, while under the Overlordís mental control, one of his echelon commanders and most powerful wizards. After the Overlordís mental control of his enslaved forces was sundered, the newly arrived Flaem were freed of the Overlordís mental control and were welcomed by the rest of the Highland Flame.

Matthijs Verlien was selected to be spokesmen for the newly arrived Flaem and he handled negotiations with the Highland Flaem to help find areas for the newly arrived Flaem to settle. Having been separated for over a hundred years the two groups were not dissimilar but the fear was that time had created differences or social stratas among the Flaem. Resettlement however went without any significant problems. Matthijs was rewarded for his efforts to make the reunification of the Flaem and the readjustment of the captive Flaem as smooth as possible. Matthijs was given the land on the Vesubian River just to the south of Duchy of Aalbansford and made a Count in the Kingdom of Braejr. He called his lands High Sonden. The Verlien family has ruled High Sonden ever since and are celebrating their 500th anniversary of rule in this year of AC 1014.

Part of the reason for the Verlien having stayed in High Sonden and refusing to accept offers to take vacant Duchies in the Highlands and later open dominions in Glantri was what Matthijs found under his newly constructed tower in AC 518. While excavating the towers dungeon a natural cavern was found with a great pool of molten lava. After studying the cavern it was determined that the source of the lava was a gate to the Plane of Fire. The Verliens, having such a handly and private access to researching the Plane of Fire became if not the most prominent scholars on the Plane of Fire in the known world. They also have been been some of the most powerful wizards in the Highlands and Glantri.

History has only touched High Sonden once, when Halzunthramís first campaign to put down the Flaem rebellion ended in defeat in the hills overlooking the Vesubian River. The Battle of High Sonden in AC 791has been studied for generations of students of military history in Glantri, Thyatis, and even Rockhome. Halzunthram had defeated Rodolphus Vlaardoen in countless running battles and three major battles up the west side of the Vesubian River during AC790 and AC 791. Halzunthram had a 2-1 edge in manpower and was evenly matched with Rodolphus in magical firepower as he entered High Sonden after defeated Rodolphus in the bloody battle of Beraan and had laid the old Flaemish Duchy of Beraan to waste.

Halzunthramís main objective was the Sondenbrug Bridge over the Vesubian. He entered High Sonden from the southeast using the Vesubian River,on his right, to help cover his flank. He deployed his most powerful formations on his left flank expecting the tactically brilliant Rodolphus to attempt any attack on that wing. As he pushed into High Sonden Halzunthram was baffled and made wary by the lack of organized resistance and the scorched lands he travels through. Finally Halzunthram reached the line of hills overlooking the town of Hoogsonden, and the vital bridge over the river Vesubian. As Halzuntrham studied the view he saw deployed in the lowlands below him in a semicircle was a large Flaemish army firmed entrenched behind defensive works. Halzunthram called a conference and issued orders for his left wing to swing around and catch the Flaem on the backside of their defenses the next day at dawn. After which his main body would advance and rush for the bridge.

In the hours before dawn on the 14th of Felmont AC 791 Halzunthramís forces started moving. Powerful formations of Hattian, and Thyatin mages and heavy Calvary moved away from Halzunthramís main body to catch the Flaem from the west. Before Halzunthram could unleash his two pronged, staged attack on the Flaem army Rodolphus struck first. The Hattian and Thyatin forces were ambushed by Flaem mages in ambush with aid of many creatures from the Plane of Fire and their planned attack on Hoogsonden quickly dissolved into a disorganized free for all and fight for survival in the high hills as they were faced with powerful Flaem mages and elemental planar horrors with little knowledge of the terrain and little room to make use of their superior numbers. With much of his magical might tied up away from the assault on the town Halzunthram, made the critical tactical error not to support his left wing but to try to overwhelm the defenses of the town using sheer numbers of his mostly mundane main body.

His attacks lasted all through the day and were only stopped by the tenacity and bravery of the Flaem with the Verlien family leading the defenses and providing enough of a magical edge to help keep the superior numbers at bay. By 6pm Halzunthram had been repulsed six times from the defenses but believed that one more assault would break the Flaem lines. To the northwest the west wing had been fought to a bloody standstill in chaotic fighting in the high hills and was no closer to the town than they were at daybreak and was completely disorganized and exhausted. As Halzunthram drew up plans for his seventh assault on the Flaemish lines a messenger came up breathlessly and gave Halzunthram dire news. In all the confusion on the left wing no provision had been made for guarding the main bodies flank and a Flaemish force led by none other than Rodolphus Vlaardoen had come through the gap between the left and center overwhelmed the battalion left as guards and torched the whole baggage train of the army, including all rations and supplies and had carried off the payroll of the army. The assault on Hoogsonden was cancelled and the army ordered to consolidate. Halzunthram knew his only chance was to get out of these hills and into the Duchy of Altendorf where the rich terrain would allow him to resupply his army so he drew up new plans for an assault in the morning. Unfortunately for Halzunthram, Rodolphus also knew that his enemyís only chance was to get across the river.

Halzunthram was awakened that night with the yelling of his troops and he ran out of his tent and looked down from the high hill he took as his headquarters to see the town of Hoogsonden and the Sondenbrug Bridge on fire. When morning came Halzunthram realized his dreams of a great campaign were over. He controlled nothing but scorched lands that had no crops and no livestock and no food for his troops. He was left no choice but to retreat with his army back to Braejr and resupply thus ending his grand campaign against the Flaem. The town of Hoogsonden and the Sondenbrug Bridge were quickly rebuilt by the Flaem and High Sonden never again saw the armies of Halzunthram.

Notable sites:
Hoogsonden
The town of Hoogsonden has grown into a rather sizeable town and is the main commercial center of the Country. The town is divided into 4 Quarters. The Strangers Quarter were non-Flaem residents and visitors live and reside when in town. The Mercantile Quarter is where establishments catering to all tastes from noble wizard to illiterate mundane can be found. The Arcane Quarter is where residence is restricted to Flaem arcaners and their families. The last quarter is the Entertainment Quarter with all kinds of entertainment including a small stadium where the perennial Serie B championship contending Gems of Hoogsonden play their home matches.

Witpijek is the highest mountain of Steemrange, the range that restricts travel to and from Aalban. Moreover, it hosts the Gemstones mines. The range and the mountain itself seem younger than nearby mountains. It is told that this, together with a seemingly endless source of gems, is due to a connection with the Positive Quasielemental Plane of Mineral. The few curious attracted by this gossip have been harshly dealt with.

The estate of Countess of High Sonden is a 50 acre area deemed off-limits to non-invited guests. No walls or barriers protect the Countessís estate, none are needed. While the nature and extent of the defenses of the Verlien estate are a closely held secret, rumors, encouraged and spread by the Verlien family over the years, have ranged from the truth (magical detection of anyone entering the grounds) to the fantastic (scores of invisible stalker watching the perimeter). Needless to say the rumor of the defenses, along with the well known power of the Countesses magical ability have kept all innocently curious away and have made those who wish to do the Countess harm all the more wary of facing her on her own ground.

Coat of Arms:

Useful links:
Glantrian Political History - AC 828 to 884 by Harri Mški and Giovanni Porpora
The Economy of High Sonden by Aleksei Andrievski
Sinaria Verlien GPD by Ohad Shaham
The County of High Sonden by Thibault Sarlat, Giovanni Porpora, Agathokles.
History of the Flaem by Michael Berry