Wasteland of Trenches and War Scars
Inhabitants: Animate war machines, imps, mandragoras, mohrgs, necromancers, oozes, quickwoods, shadows, skeletons, vermin swarms, will-o’-wisps, xill, zombies
Hauntings: Restless corpses of fallen soldiers, memories of lingering massacres, crazed fey
A scar sprawls across the heart of Ustalav, scourged not by necromancy or monsters, but by vicious human cruelty. What was once the lush Ardealian farmland known as the Furcina Plain now lies dead and barren, its residents slain, its farms scorched and salted, and its land scored by the trenches of warmongers compelled by greed and pride.
In 4687, infuriated by the mismanagement of Ardeal’s wealthy lands and taking advantage of the new prince’s inexperience, the knights of count Aericnein Neska seized control of Furcina. Managing to avoid royal censure through delays and manipulations, Neska sought time to force Count Olomon Venacdahlia into ceding the lands to him. The stubborn count of Ardeal proved too proud to concede the largely fallow lands, raising a small army of unprepared nobles and conscripted peasants to drive out Neska’s well-trained knights. Although well outnumbered, Barstoi’s soldiers fortified themselves amid the land’s very fields, digging miles of trenches and ramparts to withstand the waves of Ardealian conscripts. Bloody skirmishes and grim conditions typified the 6 years of battle that came to be known as the War without Rivals.
Facing growing royal ire, Count Neska withdrew his troops from Furcina, but not without striking a crippling parting blow, his retreating knights burning the regions’ fields and forests and salting the ashes behind them. The demoralized Ardealian survivors reclaimed a worthless wasteland scattered with the bones of their fellows and the ruins of once-bountiful villages. Although Prince Aduard’s court eventually forced Barstoi to pay recompense, it was a pitiful sum paid over the course of decades.
Today, the Furrows—as locals came to call trench-scarred Furcina—remains much as Barstoi’s troops left it decades ago. Although some life desperately struggles through the ashes and poisoned ground, the land is largely dead—yet hardly abandoned. The village of Feldgrau, once the region’s largest community, lies silent, its residents slaughtered and buried in a mass grave, yet their memories linger on. Dilapidated noble estates rest like gigantic, empty skulls amid their dusty lands, the House of Ensland and Candlehalls being the most infamous, frequented by insidious gamblers and cavorting ghost lights. Only dust and poison sludge runs through the parched beds of the Millrun River and Bainecreek, where contagion and muck take on a predatory semblance of life. Crossbough Bridge, the site of the villainous Coronel Jebaid’s capture and drowning, still stands resilient, though none who enter its covered expanse ever reach their destination. Among the dead rows of the Ripe Earth Orchards something unnatural has brought a new, deviant life to the blackened fields, while amid the charred Thrushsong Woods the ash ghosts of ancient trees and terrified fey wander in search of vengeance. Yet most sickening are the black veins of the Peasant Graves and Dead Man’s Maze, the two largest labyrinths of trenches scarring the festering land, where the embittered remains of armies were left to rot and never told of their battles’ end.