A brief history and account of the region(s) known in modern day as Misthaven, by Aurelius, travelling scribe.
*I have heard a little of the local lore from study and rumor before beginning my travels to Misthaven. The region is rich in lore and attributed to being the birthplace of the Brudvir and Hrothi alliance, as well as a site of religious importance.
Misthaven county is a booming trade powerhouse found in the Hrothi foothills nearing the great Brudvir Taiga. They are a core part of the Demalion empire, with a strong infrastructure. The heavy focus on production and their location made it a pivotal trade centre for the empire's flow of Hrothi and Neran goods through to the Brudvir warriors.*
Some of the local stories are fanciful at best or downright laughable at worst. The county's odd name stems from rumor and legend. Long in the past it was said to be a place obscured by strange mists and resultantly, unaffected by wars and conflict. Geographically the site is found in a relatively high elevation and in a minor valley caused by a rivers passage. This would more than likely account for the abundance of mist. Locally, innkeepers and bards tell tall tales of the Mist Walkers who made this region their home. They are said to commune with the shadow kin, spectres told to frighten those who behave badly as they sleep. Some of the residents seemingly believe in these fanciful tales and report encounters with shadowy beings themselves. I would likely ascribe this to excessive consumption of local beverages, though some of those reporting the encounters are reputed to be of a reliable disposition.
The county's focus as a key trade route surfaced at the height of the empire's great war if you would believe the tales. Stories would have you believe the county had somehow escaped notice for generations, obscured by mist. Historic records of the region reveal reports of small Brudvir encampments, and one account of a hidden Hrothi hold. Anyway, I digress. At some point, according to the kingdoms lore, Vaizer's call spread throughout the lands and the tyrant Hazar's forces reacted in kind. A nearby garrison set forth to join Hazar's army. That same night, a violent storm struck, sending lightning jagging across the sky as the winds howled. Thick mists rolled down the mountains towards Hazar's camping army. In the storm, none of the local villages heard a fight, yet it's evidence was inescapable. Hazar's forces were slain and the dew laden, gleaming walls of Misthaven beckoned, the mist dispersed. Regardless of tall tales, it seems likely that the local population at some point declared their loyalty to Vaizer in a bold move, by striking at the heart of his opponent's garrison on a dark and stormy night. There has been much speculation over events that night, yet local historians have highlighted that a very successul settlement now exists as the seat of the county with a sizeable representation from both Hrothi, Neran and Brudvir. The warriors are reputed to be very well armed. One theory suggests the local Hrothi struck a deal with the local Brudvir camps of the time, arming them to the teeth and joining them in the conflict. This would seem a great expense for such a region, however it has been noted that amongst the abundance of well forged axes, logging production and crafting have grown substantially locally.
Politics and Economy
I've travelled quite widely, and the county is an interesting place, abuzz and thiving. It's setting is relatively appealing with convenient and well maintained roads direct to the duchy seat and to the major local settlements. Modern residents have a range of backgrounds and interests. Strong loyalties are to the Demalion empire. As far as I can gather, those that declare loyalties elsewhere or move against Vaizer are very quickly removed. Perhaps this is the reason for the seeming strength of loyalty from the locals.
Regardless of the past, the county's recent role has been a focussed one. Local forces stamp out dissidents with force, stabilising and strengthening the surrounding region. As a key production and trade hub in the duchy, the region is well patrolled with solid road networks. Two key settlements make up the local region. One is the county seat of Misthaven. The other, it's twin, a deep Hrothi delve, offers a strong trade partnership, an arrangement that has led to greatly increase local wealth. The count openly supports the local settlements, ensuring all are well cared for and supplied. The local population in the county seat is a relatively even distribution of Brudvir, Hrothi and Neran the other being primarily Hrothi in population. Between the two settlements, a strong flow of Neran, Brudvir and Hrothi goods are exchanged and used to bolster the local economies.
Many craftspeople have been attracted to the region - the unusually large pools of resources employed to develop both the county and it's twin settlement provided a solid ground for it's growth. Seeing great opportunity in the large population numbers, the local streets are often brimming with traders too.
There is an unexpected mix of professions across the two settlements, with Farming being a superb local resource for the primarily Hrothi settlement, and quarrying being a prime occupation for the Brudvir partner. However, this arrangement has supplied copious quantities of fine stone to the talented Hrothi masons. In return, the generous Hrothi readily provide surplus foodstuffs to their ever hungry Brudvir Neighbors. Despite the abundance of locally grown produce, the menu at the most frequented inn seemed lacking. I should recommend my neice Gertrude set up a business here. Something more palettable would likely draw in a great deal of custom. Both compliment each other's trades and support the supply of goods for craftsmen, making the region a model of efficiency. My cousin was considering setting up a blacksmithy - I may recommend this region to him as the large customer base, security and local supply could make this a profitable venture.
For the more adventurous types, drawn in by stories and rumors of things long forgotten, there are many mysteries in the region yet to be discovered. I happened across a mysterious ruin when venturing through the forest with my guide only last week. I was unable to determine the nature of the place or it's residents. For mercenaries, the strong infrastructure offers relatively easy access to more dangerous regions as a base of operations, while offering some security behind the front lines. It is not uncommon to see groups of adventurous Hrothi travelling with Brudvir and Neran alike exploring the abundant caves in the region, though local tales occasionally seem to report groups who have not returned. However, contrary to typical security advice, I have heard reports that the local Count has been known to delve into unexplored caves. On the brief occasion I asked an official about the reports, he wistfully told me that the Count, being Hrothi still appreciated oportunities to frequent the homes of his ancestors. No one has been able to elaborate on which caverns he has been visiting or why.
The local stance on crime is a harsh one, yet a small number deviants are known to be employed by the local Count. This is found greatly amusing by some of the more mischievous locals. Apparently tasked with inspecting security and strengthening the defenses of the region, security professionals are well paid for legitimate work. Or so the rumor has it. Some of these individuals are apparently paid to sneak into houses and expose flaws in defenses. The local authorities subsequently tighten security as and where needed. This behaviour seems out of order, but upon closer inspection, the houses do seem to be well patrolled and secured as a result. There are stories however of mischief and robberies in the counties to the south. I suspect some of the locally employed ruffians may be finding less constructive opportunities for their skills away from home, though perhaps these are merely seperate groups of misfits who have been given little or no constructive opportunity to put their skills to.
There are reports of a couple of one or more Kypiq living in the region alongside Hrothi and Brudvir in relative peace, something I would have liked to witness, but I have been unable to locate them in my short time here. I am told a shared love of metalwork happens to bind this small and unusual group together.
*The locals are primarily of Hrothi, Neran and Brudvir heritage in the county seat, the former being believers in the Virtori faith and the preservation of the virtues, the latter being servants of Faedin. Despite the difference in beliefs, the benefits they have found from cooperation seem to have bound them together, focussing on their common grounds and openly discussing their views of the world in open forums. Where the same views have since employed with philospohy, development and problems, they have found it to be a very efficient means of increasing understanding and benefit.
Many peaceful miners and farmers are drawn to the region for it's distribution of servicable stone and slopes, and regions of good fertility for farming. Despite the brief periods of tension between the Hrothi, Neran and Brudvir in the past, relations within the county seat have remained strong throughout the generations, perhaps increased by interbreeding though this has met with mixed response.*
The county is not on the kingdom borders, but maintains a key role in supplying the nearby and very active Brudvir forces. To the west, the far less policed tundra regions are increasingly uncivilised. This settlement appears to be one of the closest well developed regions that has adopted a more settled way of life. It is my hope that other areas are able to adopt this example. The result appears to be an efficient, well supplied and well armed force able to, quickly quell uprisings and troublemakers in the local area, likely initiated by remnants of Hazar's forces. That's the official line anyway. Their relations with one of the strong neighboring counties in addition to the duchy seat appears to further magnify their influence, with locals reporting two of the counts from the regions share a family line, one originating with the earliest of the Virtorii faith. I had attempted to enquire into this line, but have been met with an odd wall of silence. This is perhaps a mystery for another time.
I have noted a number of patrols passing by in my travels, in addition to numerous smaller groups of mercenaries and adventurers on the main thoroughfares. They largely appeared to be well armed and trained. I suspect the low crime rate is partly attributed to the regional security checks in addition to the frequent mercenaries. Having asked after a few of the bands, the locals tell me they live in the region, preferring relative safety for their homes, and using the well developed roads for access to their places of opportunity.
One group of Brudvir I happened across explained they were new to the region. Hunters from a nearby county, they had come upon hard times and the local Count had offered food to their camp and more. He had extended the offer of residence, starting a new hamlet and ensuring a ready access to trade in the north east of the county. The Brudvir seemed fiercely protective of the county and it's leadership, perhaps as a result of this attitude, and perhaps a result of the occasional unconventional personal risks the Count appears willing to take. This would seem more in keeping with Brudvir tradition.
Entertainment and Architecture
I was delighted to get caught up in some of the local festivities. A local hub for the surrounding region, the county attracts a number of travellers during festival times. It's local taverns are renowned for the travelling bards that frequent them. Many adventurers use the taverns as places to find companions, buying supplies and further adding to the wealth of the landlords. Raucous laughter can be heard from many taverns. It provides quite a refreshing break from the more mundane smaller settlements, though the beauty of some of the smaller settlements cannot be disputed.
Rumor has it that a small animal native to the area has gained in popularity significantly as a house pet. If my time here allows, I will endevour to get more detail. Stories are popular in the region. Local children do seemingly enjoy tales of the mist walkers, friendly spirits watching over mann who work with the shadow kin to steer the fate of mannkind. Children will listen to anything.
Architecture is varied and interesting. A recent local policy seemingly forbids bland buildings, encouraging creativity and beauty in design. On balance, the area is admittedly quite beautiful. The lush grasslands and rolling hills, set with a backdrop of mountain are quite a sight to behold. The Hrothi caverns are also stunning. I can see the region's appeal and would recommend heartily to the tourist at heart.
A number of individuals along the highways have expressed an interest in settling in this county. Though the county is likely to be well developed and we can ensure strong positions for those interested. At this stage I can recommend expressing interest in governing as a Mayor. The county and it's neighbor offer great opportunity for budding mayors and seem to have a reasonable distribution of wealth and services that should serve well.