In response to various requests, King John's assigned me to keep a clearinghouse of information on surrounding lands running. Why he thinks I'm the logical person for this job is beyond me. I guess I wasn't acting busy enough.
I will attempt to update this list whenever you bastards tell me about things to update. Please do not blame me if the information on here turns out to be in error and your horse gets eaten by smurfs and you lose pieces of your anatomy. I'm just recording what I'm told. Caveat Lector, guys.
To the north, Arden guards our vulnerable approaches. It's a very wild and dense forest, and though a road leads through it no-one seems to ever actually USE said road.
To the south, a fortified, narrow pass leads over the mountain spur to the Pale of Amber. A very nice defensive position.
Phil has told me that the rangers of Arden aren't gonna win any prizes, are few in number, and generally could stand improvement. I think this universe is a bit of a fixer-upper.
What lies past Arden is largely unknown. Phil has journeyed a short bit beyond the forest, and reports discovering the city of Ladysmith, along with information which I shall relate here:
Ladysmith was located originally on a crossroads, and was a fairly ordinary corner hamlet.. At some point an exceptional female blacksmith settled there, and her skills proved so popular that trade increased. This drew more merchants and services, and trade increased from that, and after a few decades the place was a trading destination of its own right. The discovery of iron and copper deposits in the nearby hills helped this along.
Today, Ladysmith is a fairly large community. The smith's guild of the city only accepts female members, and the Forewoman of it serves as the leader of the city council, although not an absolute ruler by any means. The city appears to be peaceful but well-suited for self defense.
Phil has made contact with the leaders of Ladysmith, and seems optimistic of being able to conclude some sort of treaty.
Dan reports that he's found records indicating there's some sort of punk-ass dragon to the west who Amber regularly paid tribute to, and has dispatched this year's tribute on his own recognance.
King John seems to have raised some big new island in the middle of the sea to intern some of the Habiru on. Thanks for swamping the docks again, your highness!
And, of course, somewhere far to the east is Oceania, but hopefully not for long.
To the Northeast, off the coast, Sean reports the stairs to Rebma can be found.
Basically, directly south of the mountain spur is a large grassland called the Pale of Amber. It extends miles south until one reaches the Canary River. While I understand it may have extended past that, those wacky Habiru have made with the burning and the pillaging and the slaying and the killing and the salting of the earth, so....
The Pale is dotted with city-states. Most of these are fairly tiny, more town-states or even village-states. Alan has used his mad skillz to bring the 11 furthest to the north directly under the rule of our mightly sovereign. Yay Alan!
From what Alan and Dan tell me, traditionally the Pale has been dominated by four cities: Candle, Roses, Moonwater, and Bow. Well, the Habiru razed Bow. Who knows when it's going to be rebuilt, although I understand some people are already beginning to trickle back. The other three have been aggressively expanding their influence. Seems they're somewhat suspicious of us. Ungrateful punks. They signed alliances with us in the heat of the Habiru crisis, though, and Alan believes they'll keep to them.
We aren't sure what's past the Canary River other than a lot of burnt stuff.