Lanterns in the Mist
One of the Palatinates, a group of Ustalavic counties no longer ruled by their hereditary noble families, Canterwall is renowned as the “breadbasket of Ustalav”, providing practically half the food of the nation.
Canterwall lies in the west of Ustalav abutting the Hold of Bel Zen on its western border; to its south lies the prison county of Virlych; to the east are the two Soivoda counties of Ardeal and Amaans; finally, to the north, is Canterwall’s Palatine ally of Lozeri.
Threats to Canterwall
Despite the fertile nature of its farmlands, Canterwall is far from an idyllic place, as its borders are threatened by powerful enemies. To the west of Canterwall lie the hostile lands of the Hold of Bel Zen, teaming with Caliban hungry for slaughter and pillage. More recently (in the broadest sense of the word since it has been there since 125 the creation of Virlych, a haunted wasteland surrounding the Whispering Tyrant’s prison, to the south has created another dire threat. The only reason Virlych is not a bigger threat to Canterwall is that it is regularly patrolled by brave knights from Lastwall who patrol the area to ensure the Whispering Tyrant does not return.
In the early decades of the 1st century the county of Canterwall was known as Tamrivena, and was in a precarious situation. Ustalav had only been freed from the Whispering Tyrant’s control in 125 and Tamrivena was still in the process of recovering from years of abject enslavement. The Caliban of the nearby Hold of Bel Zen sensed the county’s frailty and conducted numerous cross-border raids in that time. They were driven back by the tactical cunning of Tamrivena’s rulers and the strong bows and axes of its rangers time after time.
This changed with the ascension of Count Andachi. Knowing he did not have his ancestors’ genius for warfare, he pleaded with the Ustalavic court for help, but his requests were mired in endless bureaucracy. Mile by mile, the caliban hordes pushed further into Tamrivena, and even the Count’s pleas to Lathander went unanswered. In desperation, he turned to a darker patron; he pleaded with Zon-Kuthon for aid.
The Dark Prince heard his prayers, and sent the mercenary Kazavon, who quickly reorganized Tamrivena’s army, brutally training them to be ruthless and efficient. Kazavon led the army across the border and massacred the disorganized caliban hordes. By 301, the enemy had been driven off Tamrivena’s land, retreating into the foothills of the Kodar Mountains. It was then that Kazavon revealed his true intentions: instead of returning to Ustalav, he built a stronghold at Castle Scarwall and began to gather forces of his own. When Count Andachi realized Kazavon’s cruelty and lust for power, he turned against the general, raising an army and marching against Castle Scarwall. The Count was easily defeated and publicly executed. Kazavon expanded his realm and ruled with terror and war for over a decade, until he was destroyed by an army led by the Lastwall hero Mandraivus.
The first of the Ustalavic counties to overthrow autocratic rule was Lozeri, in 717, in a relatively non-violent coup. The ruler of all Ustalav at that time, Prince Valislav Ordranti, was disinterested by this political manoeuvre and quickly recognized the new arrangement in Lozeri. Shortly thereafter, the two counties of Vieland and Tamrivena followed suit, the latter county re-established itself and changed its name to Canterwall. These three counties became known as the Palatinates. In the case of Tamrivena, the reliance of the whole of Ustalav on its food production was considered a major reason for the crown not contesting its political reformation as Canterwall.