The Nalfrey Reach
The Fetid Lands
The Fetid Lands: A swampy morass of decaying flora and fauna of that no one in their right mind would ever want to live in. Plagued by some destructive blight, the Fetid Lands spreads a little more every year, infecting plant life and twisting it into a half-living, half-rotted mess. The swamp reaches tendrils down into the healthy lands of the Nalfrey Reach, corrupting all that it touches. These days it threatens to overtake Ruricksgard, Fallasted and Alfadheim, as tendrils surround the old, battered keeps, eroding their farmland and making it more difficult to live therein each year.
Legends say that once a great battle was fought upon the Korangar Spine, the range of mountains running east-to-west across the northern section of the Nalfrey Reach. Ancient tales say that Jormungand and its corrupt spawn fought against the gods on that spine, and that through their combined power, the world worm was put to rest, its blood spilling forth in torrents somewhere in the icy north. It is said that the gods erected four towers in the great passes of the Nalfrey Spine, to act as dams against the great worm’s blood and protect the southern lands from harm.
Many things are said these days. All that is known for certain is that the fetid rot has long since crept by the four watchtowers, and has begun its slow march into the Reach. While the rot spells certain doom for any settlement it envelops, it is ultimately of a decidedly less threatening nature than the legends say Jormungand’s blood was. Religious scholars believe it is unrelated, and is simply a mundane blight; alchemists tend to agree.
Fighting the rot has proved to be an exercise in futility. The most common way is to burn out vegetation in huge swaths between healthy land and infected land. This, however, never burns away the wet, blighted vegetation, and thus is only a method of containment; once the blight has claimed a place, it never releases its hold.
The three keep cities, though once great, have fallen into a state of shameful disrepair. Glorious and stalwart architecture have crumbled to little more than old rubble under the leadership of selfish and foolish barons, a far cry from the warrior lords that once ran the keeps. Farmland has withered and become overrun with corrupted growth in the path of the rot, and all three keeps and their surrounding villages are in hard times.
The three keeps technically owe fealty to Armongard, the central city of the Nalfrey reach. But because their only resource these days are stubborn people too strong-willed or too poor to leave and start anew in greener pastures, the jarl, Jorn Armon, pays them little heed, and leaves the petty jarls to their own devices. Everyone knows the three sister keeps’ days are numbered. No one but those who live there even bother to count anymore.