The Holden Stone

Reflections of a Fantasy Writer

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The Valley of The Dominion

(as recorded in the Guard of the Dominion Manual in the year 997 YD.)

The known world of Colonium is comprised of two continents joined by a narrow landbridge to the east and a wider peninsula to the west with a floating bridge across the Straights of Imar. It has been conjectured by the men of the Dominion that the Nespian Sea between the two continents was formed by an ancient meteor strike. The western peninsula, the Midlands, is a sparsely inhabited, wind-blown steppeland, much fought over in the 10th century YD. The landbridge to the east is a rarely traveled stretch of sand and desolation.

The center of life of each continent is a great fertile river valley. The Valley of the Dominion feeds off the Durin River which flows from the Lake of the Edeveil in the Ashe Mountains through the plains and hills of the capital of Durinbyrne, and on west to the sea. On the other side of the Midlands is Norgondy’s capital, Norgarth, at the mouth of the Norgol River.

The Valley of the Dominion is separated from the Midlands to the north by a tall ragged mountain chain, the Scissors. The Scissors have only one known pass through them ending at the deep Kairugon Gorge, once the ancient site of Kairugon Hold. Ruins of a miner’s village half-way up Anwae Pass sits below the mountain peak where legendary Derlin’s Pond is said to be. The fort castle at the township of Anwae guards the southern entrance to the Pass.

The Lake of the Edeveil stretches from the eastern end of the Scissors to the northern reaches of the Ashe Mountains. If the Norgon army ever tries attacking the Dominion, they will most likely go east around the Scissors, south past the Lake of the Edeveil, then around the Ashe into the Southern desert and up to the Mesas in the southeast province of the Dominion, the country’s one vulnerable and most guarded border.

Bounding the Dominion on the west is the ocean. The coast stretches from the Scissors past rocky shores and hidden coves to the Durin Delta, with its sunny hills and famed Bridgerockian vineyards, then south past the arid pig-herder province of the Westers before rounding the Southern Desert. The Norgons, never known to willing sailors since the sixth century YD, are never expected to attack by the sea, but the Dominion keeps the coastline sporadically guarded.

There is one Dominion border that has never been guarded: the long shoreline of the Lake of the Edeveil. Still, as everyone knows, no human who has ever tried crossing that lake has come back alive, let alone reached the other side. The Dominion’s Guard has never worried about the Norgons crossing it.

To the west of the Lake of the Edeveil, are Belven Woods, the darkest and deepest of the Dominion’s forests, good for hunting and home, from time to time, of caravans of traveling Capsen dancers and fortune tellers. Otherwise, very few men venture into the Belven Woods, except at Harvest Thanks when the high court of Durinbyrne honors an age-old tradition of dancing the night away around a stone set inside a grassy bowl in the center of the woods. A guardsmen post west of the Belven River is manned in the fall for their protection.

Along the Durin River flowing out of the Lake of the Edeveil are the two great cities of the Dominion, our capital, Durinbyrne, and the smaller port city of Bridgerock from where the famed vineyards are heavily guarded. Durinbyrne sprawls over six hills in the center of the two Dominion Valley. The ancient black tower in the center of the old city is its tallest tower. The lower floors have been converted into a bar and brothel, popular with the guardsmen. There are stories about many floors above it, but no one has found the stairwell to them. The Grey Tower, the ancestral home of the kings of the Dominion, is also in the oldest section of town, as well as "The Barn," the guardsmen’s barracks with its stall-like rooms, Old Red prison, the king’s stables, and, in the poorest section of Durinbyrne, the Houses of the Korin orphanages.