Heroes of Atroa
Huddled against a hillside on a stony shore, Mistwatch has an exquisite view of Lake Wintermist’s cold water. A sleepy town, blessed with riches pulled from the unyielding stone in the nearby Cairngorm Peaks, grown rich from timber cut from the Winterbole Forest, and fed well on trout and salmon drawn from the clear, mist-covered water, Mistwatch has long known peace and prosperity.
Its people are a simple folk. They make few demands on their lords and are content with their lives, finding peace and accord with their neighbors in spite of the differences that arise on occasion. But the good fortune Mistwatch enjoyed has come to an end. Now doom gathers in the shadows, and it will take bold action and bolder heroes to spare the town from a terrible fate.
Mistwatch’s history is entwined with that of its lords. Back through the family line one finds that the town’s founding rests with the first Zaspar known in this land. Boris Zaspar was a great knight in service to the Nerathan crown, and for his deeds, foremost of which was slaying the red dragon Pyrothenes, he was granted lands extending out from Lake Wintermist’s western shore for as far as he could walk in every direction from sunrise to sunset. The hilly terrain in this area kept his holdings small overall, but large enough for a town and a few farms. So he brought his retainers and peasants to his new home and founded a settlement on the lake’s shores.
The first building raised was Widower’s Watch, named at its completion for Lord Zaspar, who lost his beloved wife to sickness the first year after claiming his land. After his castle was completed, stone buildings replaced the wooden shacks and piers grew out across the water to meet the burgeoning fishing industry’s needs. Bricks paved muddy roads, and a temple to honor the gods arose in the upper land as shepherds and farmers cordoned off fields and pastures in the rolling hills all around Mistwatch. The crude hamlet became a thriving town, a trade partner for nearby Winterhaven, and an important stop for merchants bound west from Fallcrest, Hammerfast, and Harkenwold.
The lands were blessedly peaceful compared to Nerath’s other frontiers. Mistwatchers rarely had to take up arms, because the land itself guarded them, making the town and its folk unattractive targets for the trouble beyond its borders. Some perils plagued them, however. Orcs would sometimes descend from their mountain homes to raid and plunder the outlying farmsteads. Packs of gnolls, remnants of the great horde that broke Nerath long ago, drifted through nearly a century ago. They claimed the Winterbole’s deepest reaches, dislodged the goblins there, and sparked the Goblin War, the most important conflict Mistwatch had ever faced. But these challenges were short-lived, and the Mistwatchers always returned to their quiet ways.
Having never faced anything more dangerous than a few orcs or goblins, the town’s residents were unprepared for true evil when it finally appeared. No-one outside the city is certain of whats become of Mistwatch, but trade has not come from the city in many months, and merchants bound for the latoral hamlet never return. Some passersby claim that the city is shrouded in mists and shadow, hinting that something foul is afoot. The merchants of Winterhaven, Wellspring and Fallcrest refuse to travel to Mistwatch because of the rumors. Knowledge of whats become of the peaceful village may only be attainable by the truly brave.