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REDSTONE (County of)

Location: Western spur in the centre of the Isle of Dawn, adjacent to Westrourke and West Portage. SD

Area: 57,864 sq. mi. (149,670 sq. km.).

Population: 60,000 including 25,000 in and around Redstone Castle.

Languages: Thyatian (Thyatian dialect and Redstone dialect are both common), Alphatian (Hillvale dialect).

Coinage: Thyatian Standard: emperor (pp), lucin (gp), justiciar (ep), asterius (sp), denarius (cp). Alphatian Standard also very common: crown (gp), mirror (sp), judge (cp).

Taxes: 25% income tax collected quarterly on the aristocracy, nobility, and wealthy; 20% income tax collected quarterly on everyone else (Va. 1, Ya. 1, Fy. 3, and Ei. 1). Thyatians abroad must still pay their taxes. Expensive and magical items are also taxed 25% of their worth. 10% imperial commercia sales tax on all goods except food, clothing, and fixed assets; levied on imports, rebated on exports. Tax on slave owning equal to 50% of the slave's value annually. Property tax levied based on quality of land, roughly 6% of its value annually.

Government Type: Dominion, member of the Thyatian Empire.

Industries: Agriculture (grains, vegetables), trade, military concerns, sheep, pigs.

Important Figures: Anaxibius Torion (Count), Stefania Torion (Countess).

Further Reading: Dawn of the Emperors boxed set, previous almanacs.

Description by Stefania Torion.

Redstone was made into a dominion at the end of the Final Alphatian War in AC 1009. Emperor Thincol granted the castle and the surrounding land to my husband Anaxibius and myself, changing Redstone's status from a region of Westrourke to a county in its own right.

The Land

This Thyatian dominion is a tempestuous land filled with a wide variety of landscapes. In the northwestern part of the county a huge plateau parallels the coastline. This plateau is covered with grasslands known as the Sutherlands. Herdsmen make their living atop the plateau, trading with the main settlements of the area: Lar and Vildis. The cliffs of the plateau drop almost vertically into the Western Sea of Dawn. The shore is riddled with caves, many of which can only be seen when the tide is low. This area is a haven for pirates and other outlaws, which raid the shipping of Ylaruam and Vestland for the most part, avoiding that of Thyatis and of Ostland (the nation many of the pirates hail from, and generally return to when their freebooting days are over).

To the northeast lies lush agricultural land, producing food for the county and for the city of Newkirk. The largest village in the area is Lodar, at a fork in the Lod River near the Carryduff Hills. We are currently considering turning Lodar into a barony to help better administer the area.

The central area of Redstone County is more sparsely inhabited. To the east are the dense forests of Ashton Woods and Lurben Forest, which are inhabited by giant wolves that sometimes attack travellers. Local lore claims that evil fairies control the packs of dire wolves. The only safe passage in the area is on the patrolled Westrourke Road, which goes from Dungannon all the way to Newkirk. At the eastern border of Redstone County along this road is the fortified village of Crosston. Crosston was battered during the Alphatian invasion, but has largely recovered, and already plans are in the works to improve the village's defences and construct a true castle there, to ward against future invasion.

The west central region is dominated by marshlands, with the two largest swamps being the Fengallen Marshes and the Kilyleagh Curragh. The area is infested with bugbears, and Count Anaxibius often leads patrols into the region for training and to cull the bugbears. So far, the bugbears have maintained their hold on the region thanks to the special lizard mounts they use which allow them to cross the swamps quickly. The marshlands are split in two by the rise of the Carryduff Hills that run between the headwaters of the Lod River in the north south to the Redstone Lough.

To the south are the Neagh Flats and various hills and ridges [Hills of Dooagh, Ballydonegan Hills, and the Bastion Ridge. Ed.]. This area is mostly cleared of dangerous monsters, and many fishing villages as well as farms are scattered all along the coast. Here grain and vegetables are grown, and sheep and cattle are raised.

Out to the west of Redstone Lough, beyond the Balbriggan Reefs, is the Isle of Westhold. This is a hilly island slightly over a hundred square miles in area, with a village and lighthouse perched upon it. The inhabitants live by fishing and gardening, and managed to avoid occupation by the Alphatians during the recent war mostly because they were ignored as insignificant.

The People

Redstone is the main training base for the great legions of Thyatis on the Isle of Dawn, resulting in a large military population. Almost everyone in the military has performed at least one tour of duty at Redstone Castle. They speak only Thyatian as part of their military discipline. This section of the population is generally young, confident and brave. During the nights and off-duty, they often become the rowdiest bunch in town. The local inhabitants are a mixture of Thyatian and Alphatian ethnic origin, though all are Thyatian citizens, and defended their country valiantly against Alphatian aggression during the recent Final Alphatian War. The city of Redstone itself is heavily fortified and dominated by the great citadel, hewn out of red stone. The nearby Port Donaghadee serves as Redstone's harbour, and is itself fortified, with a pair of long walls running down from the city of Redstone to the port of Donaghadee itself, allowing access to the sea even in times of siege.

It seems that everywhere you go, each village has its own share of ghosts and fairies hidden among the villagers. Almost everyone can swear on their grandmother's grave that they've seen a ghost or have been helped or cursed by a fairy. Just look at the names of some of the places. Forest of Sidhe: anyone care to guess what was seen there? Let us not forget the leprechauns and their pots of gold. Did I mention that there is also a Redstone's Lough monster? Suffice to say that no authentic Thyatian explorer, sage, expert or official has ever seen it.

Don't Miss

The greatest sight in Redstone is Redstone Castle itself, built out of rosy red stone that seems to glow in the dawn light and in twilight. Construction on this enormous fortress began in AC 2, and was completed at the end of AC 5, though there have been several improvements and renovations since. It has stood ever since, for over 1000 years, a marvel of Thyatian engineering. The walls to the castle itself top 50 feet in height, and various towers reach over 100 feet. The tallest spire in the castle, where the court of Redstone resides, peaks just below 450 feet. This magnificent Thyatian citadel is replete with artillery, including superb air defences and can easily accommodate up to 15,000 soldiers and staff, as well as the mounts for half of them, and hold provisions (stored in underground vaults) for several years.

Throughout its entire history, Redstone Castle was only conquered once, in the year AC 1007, by the invading Alphatians. To say Redstone was defeated, however, would be an exaggeration. The commanders surrendered when the rest of the surrounding territories fell to the Alphatian attackers. It took the combined Alphatian armies of General Bentharzim, General Joshtintan and General Martigan to obtain that result. Redstone Castle has therefore never been taken by force since its creation. Even during the Spike Assault war, Redstone Castle was isolated and bypassed, screened off by an Alphatian army rather than assaulted. It then served as the locus for Thincol's counter-offensive, with troops landed at Port Donaghadee marching up to Redstone Castle's relief, and out from here the Thyatian legions spread, pushing back the Alphatians once again until Eriadna sued for peace to end that war in AC 962.

Visitors to the County of Redstone should patronise its taverns, which the locals call pubs. There, they serve their ale and whisky, and all tell tall tales of the Wee Folk and the magic of the fairies.