Barony of San Gabriello

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A barony in the Duchy of Tuscana west of the River Clearwater.

Geography

The lands are divided into the lowlands, the uplands and the highlands and bisected by the Kiel Road.

The Lowlands

The land surrounding the city of Bremen is a wide floodplain. With rich alluvial soil, the lands are heavily populated with many farmsteads and small villages. Many of the roads in the area are paved and some, notably the Kiel Road, are tree lined.

The Clearwater is also a major feature, with many villages dotted along the western bank. Because of the spring floods, most of the villages are built upon raised mounds and dykes run along most of the length of the river in the barony.

The Uplands

West of the lowlands, the floodplains turn to rolling countryside, rising up into foothills. This area is very different from the lowlands in terms of population and land use. Consisting of cleared dells and upland pastures between wooded hills, much of the land belongs to hunting estates of the nobility.

The Highlands

The mountainous region between Mordeaux and Duchy of Tuscana are known in Tuscana as the Sierra Blanca. These are bisected by a long north south ridge line now known as the Kiel pass.

The barony extends several miles west of the ridge line with the Fortress of Kiel about half a mile below the ridge directly to the east of it. When it was built, a new road was built which runs north north east of Kiel. The road crosses the ridge in a narrow cutting about 40 feet deep at its deepest. East of the ridge the Supply Road is relatively straight with the slope fairly managable.

For many years Kiel was not accessable from the west as the Ridgeback crossed some miles to the north of it. Now there a two cart wide road from Kiel into Mordeaux, running straight west as a series of switch backs. From Kiel it runs though a long tunnel directly east where it joins the old Supply Road.

The Kiel Pass

The pass was originally crossed by a rough and winding path right over the ridge, commonly referred as the Ridgeback. This path is rarely used as it crosses ice for most of the year and bitter winds continually blow over the ridge.


The Fortress of Kiel

This fortress is built high in the mountains between Tuscana and Mordeaux, originally as a fortress to hold the pass between the two areas. The fortress is build vertically rather than horizontally with the original fortress now the upper most layer of the fortress.

The original entrance to the fortress is from the north along a cliff hugging road known as the Supply Road. Once the conflict between Ranke and Tuscana was resolved, access to Kiel from the west became a major issue, with the existing Ridgeback crossing over ten miles north of the fortress.

The fortress was built on top a high escarpment to protect it from attack from the west. For a period, there was considerable pressure to rebuild the fortress further north, near the Ridgeback and the point where the pass is at its lowest altitude. Instead, a new fortress was built at the bottom of the escarpment and a tunnel built though the ridge. Stone from the tunnelling was then used to create a large platform at the base of the escarpment to provide space for merchant trains.

Bremen

Twinned with Luneburg as the Gates to Hamburg, this city is basically a heavily fortified gatehouse protecting the Hamburg Portals. The area around Bremen is a thicket of villages and small holdings.

About five miles west of Bremen along the Kiel Road is Bellweather Hall. This imposing mansion and surrounding buildings hold the baronial staff and officials. The baroness herself is however only in residence for about a week every month, instead living in the Pagani House palace in Hamburg.

Hagran Trading House

This finely built multi storied building is the centre of trade here in Bremen with all the local merchants being members and allowed to trade in the 'Pit' where all the commercial deals are made. The members enjoy a number of privileges and new applicants to join the Trading House must be vetted and seconded by a number of existing members before being allowed entrance to these halls of privilege and prosperity. Founded and built in 799 by Sharee Dragunstern (of Aquila), the trading house grew from a small coffee house to the elite establishment it is today.