A harsh and unforgiving wasteland filled with the ruins of the Qadaq Republic, and are the largest area of the Shieldlands. It is here that many mercenary settlements have grown in the dust of the old regime to earn a living scavenging from the broken cities and trading much needed food, water and arms to the south in return for these valuable artefacts.
The shattered corpse of the Republic lies broken and in ruins across the length and breadth of this region. When the Days of Fire came, all the major cities and towns were severely damaged or destroyed. All commerce and rule vanished, leaving a vacuum that changed the balance of power in the region. The ruins have stood desolate and empty to this day, dark imposing husks of a nation long since gone from sight.
These burned and decayed places still hold interest to the denizens of the region however. Within the structures and deeps of these old settlements lie hidden and forgotten riches that spell salvation to enterprising bands of mercenaries. Scavengers who make their living from searching these places, recover all sorts of items and treasures and trade them to the south for the things they need to survive.
It is not easy to subsist in this manner however. Many are the rumours that herald from the mercenary towns of twisted things in the shadows of the blasted buildings. Tales of creatures that live in the dark of the fallen republic abound and are supported by the many adventuring bands that do not return from their endeavours …
It is true that there is great wealth to be gained by recovering artifacts of the past from the ruins of the old regime, but the risks are great and it seems that there are many more things other than roving Undead war bands to deal with in the dead ruins of the Qadaq Republic …
The Mercenary Towns
With the rise of the mercenary in the Shieldlands, it was inevitable that some of these bands of professional fighters would settle and make homes for themselves in the areas that they find their work. Dotted all over the Barrens are scavenger settlements that rely on these mercenaries for their protection and livelihood.
The mercenaries are a vital part of the protection of these settlements and they benefit from the efforts of the scavengers that delve into the depths of the old ruins and recover lost treasures. The towns pay their mercenaries well and in turn they accompany the scavenger teams and protect the towns from roving Undead war bands that threaten the settlements. The horrors that lurk in the depths of the old cities are only told of in stories in the taverns. They are spoken of in hushed tones with wary glances to the doors and windows. The stories tell of grasping claws and eyes in the dark that wait to consume those that dig to deep. No one knows what they are or where they come from. Some say they are poor unfortunates that were changed by the Days of Fire. Others say they are servants of the demons who have been sent to sow chaos and disorder in the realm …
The Wall of Iron
To the east of the Shieldlands is the imposing shadow of the Great Escarpment. Standing as a last bastion of defense, the Wall of Iron is a line of forts and defenses that stretch from the Rime Sea in the north to the Bay of Storms in the south. For the best part of a decade, this bastion of hope has stood as the region’s only protection. Originally it was manned by the remaining legions of the Qadaq Republic but as the cost of battle with the Undead grew, increasing numbers of soldiers were lost until the remaining troops were combined into what is now known as the Last Legion. This body of men and women are almost exclusively comprised of troops from the southern cities. Each man and woman is called to do their duty in the form of six months of service at the wall. The legion is still under the command of General Titus Lupus, the Wolf of Qadaq who is employed by the patricians to continue a defence as long as he can. He directs the fight from his command post at Eagles Mount. The wall itself is constructed of a palisade made of the strongest Elland Oak banded with iron. Every 10 miles there is a fort built into the wall that holds a force of legionnaires that are ready to defend against any incursions from the east. Ballista and catapults stand on the battlements at regular intervals manned by crews who watch for any sign of attack. If such an attack begins it is these lookout posts in conjunction with legion rangers who patrol beyond the wall, who light the beacons and sound the horns that signify an Undead incursion. The area around the wall is a perilous place. The Last Legion is never able to repel all the attacks from the Lichfells. As such, small bands of Undead are constantly breaching the wall and moving into the Shieldlands, pillaging settlements and returning with prisoners and resources to their eternal masters in the east. Bands of legion Undead hunters travel these areas and attempt to destroy as many of these forces as possible. Those adept at fire magic are welcomed into these ranger bands and operate with regular legionnaires on both sides of the wall.
Eagles Mount is a towered fort standing on a lonely peak overlooking the wall of iron. The Mount serves as a command post for General Lupus, the Wolf of Qadaq and his officers in charge of the defences at the front.
A network of caves forms part of the settlement and these run under the Shieldlands allowing the command structure to send messages safely to the wall without the threat of falling foul to the perils of The Barrens.