Reign of Winter - Snows of Summer
Like in most peasant communities in southern Taldor, the People of Heldren mostly keep to themselves. Far from the politics of Oppara and ever-watchful for Qadiran aggression, Heldren goes on as it always has, as a relatively small and unimportant hamlet of farmers, herders, and woodcutters. Could the recent appearance of unseasonable winter weather in the nearby Border Wood be a harbinger of worse things to come?
- Armory – A dirt path winds its way up a low hill west of town to the single door of this square stone tower. The tower is 30 feet high, with battlements on its roof and arrow slits along its walls. The tower serves as Heldren’s armory and a place of refuge for the villagers in case the village is ever attacked.
- Isker’s Smithy
- General Store – Heldren’s general store carries everything a villager needs, as well as most gear an adventurer requires. Heldren sits on the road to Zimar, so plenty of trade passes through the village. The store’s proprietor, Vivialla Steranus , takes advantage of this brisk trade to stock her shelves.
- Town Hall – Rather grand for a village of this size, Heldren’s town hall boasts a clock tower overlooking the town square. Its clockworks were imported from Qadira some time ago, and are kept in working order by Orillus Davigen , who can usually be found up in the tower tinkering with the machinery. The clock tower’s bells ring every hour from 6 am to 6 pm (the villagers prefer to keep things quiet at night), and can be used to sound the alarm if there’s a fire or to muster the militia in case of attack. The town council meets in the hall every week on Starday, though there’s usually little to discuss beyond minor disagreements between neighbors. The hall is big enough to host almost the entire populace for monthly village assemblies and large social gatherings, such as the annual Longnight dance. On the wall outside the front door hangs a notice board, where flyers are posted with local news, job openings, and goods for sale.
- Willowbark Apothecary – A well-tended garden sits in front of this equally neat house, the home of Tessaraea Willowbark , Heldren’s resident apothecary.
- The Silver Stoat – Heldren’s only tavern, the Silver Stoat, stands right on the town square across from the town hall. A fixture of village life, the tavern fills up with patrons in the evening as they gather to share gossip, hear news, and reward themselves for a hard day’s work. Anything that’s worth knowing in Heldren gets talked about here, and if asked where he got a particularly juicy bit of gossip or information, a villager will likely say, “I heard it from the Stoat.” Husband and wife Menander and Kale Garimos run the Silver Stoat as if it were their family kitchen—there’s always a seat at the table or a space by the hearth for a guest, or a warm bowl of Menander’s hearty stew for an empty belly. Menander works in the kitchen, cooking up his famous venison flank steak and numble pie. Kale tends bar, serving up the tavern’s signature brew, Three Devil Ale, which she brews in-house using imported Chelish hops. Heldren doesn’t get many visitors, so there is no true inn in the village, but travelers are welcome to a spot on the floor of the Stoat next to the fireplace for a night, as long as they’re up early and on their way. Those who linger risk a rude awakening from Menander’s wet mop in their faces.
- Livery Stable – At the stable next door to the Silver Stoat, Sophia Imirras offers horses (and a single pony) for hire or sale, as well as stabling and grooming. Sophia also has two carts, a wagon, and a carriage for hire. Both luxurious and ostentatious, the carriage sees most of its use at village weddings.
- Town Square – The most notable feature of Heldren’s town square is the large statue of a beautiful woman right in the center of the town. Usually just called “the Lady,” the statue has been here for as long as anyone can remember, and no one knows who it actually represents. Some believe the Lady was the founder of Heldren or some ancient, forgotten Taldan noblewoman or even a mysterious fey forest goddess. Others have more sinister theories—an evil witch turned to stone for her wickedness or a magical statue through which the satrap of Qadira can spy on Taldor. On any given day, a few entrepreneurs selling goods or produce can be found on the square, and a market is held on the last Fireday of every month. Elder Natharen Safander also hosts the annual Harvest Feast in the town square, during which the people of Heldren erect a giant bonfire in the square and bedeck the Lady in garlands of flowers.
- Ionnia Teppen’s House – The leader of Heldren’s village council, Ionnia Teppen, lives in this simple two-story house just off the town square.
- Temple of Erastil
- Heldren Sawmill – Heldren’s sawmill stays busy day and night cutting timber harvested by the village’s woodcutters into planks for shipment to Zimar and other cities, and stacks of lumber are always heaped outside. Partners Alexius Demetri and Lycio Vallant oversee the sawmill’s operation, which makes them two of Heldren’s wealthiest residents. Their large house on the north side of town is easily Heldren’s largest private home, nicknamed “Sawmill Manor” by the town.
- The Butcher of Jalrune – The name of this butcher shop refers to the supposed nickname of its proprietor, Perkin Tarimm , who is a retired Zimar corsair. Customers are welcome to enjoy one of the pickled sows’ ears in the large jar on the counter while they wait for Perkin to prepare their cuts of meat.
- Old Mother Theodora’s