World of Gaus
The Freehold of Kinsham
Freehold of Kinsham: A democracy located in the southern region Soth. Almost exclusively populated by the Wenshir race, descended from the noble lines of Earth, Iron, Steel and Powder, the Freehold has held the line against Bascard encroachment for over 2,000 years.
Technologically advanced for their era, the Freehold developed the continent’s first gunpowder weaponry, which they have used to great effect in the wars with Bascard – although not too great. Though they are indeed scientifically advanced, their power pales in comparison to Bascardi magic. Because of this their lands have long been diminishing and along the borders are quite battered. If it weren’t for their clever military tactics – such as guerilla warfare, and long ranged strikes – they would’ve long since fallen.
A proud independent people, the Wenshir culture is rich and vast, with longstanding traditions in war, but also song, dance, sculpture, horse riding, and whaling. Their lands, when not scarred by war, are bountiful and beautiful: warm beaches, vast groves of fruit bearing trees, and mountains brimming with ore. They worship their bountiful land above all else, and have used its gifts freely and liberally throughout their long history – some might say too liberally. Indeed, there are talks on the fringe of mines drying out, and soils producing less every year. This is of great concern to Freehold leaders, who require a constant flow of resources to maintain long military campaigns and the citizen’s opulent lifestyles.
Arguably the most important city in all the Freehold, it is the primary bulwark against Bascardi aggression from the north. Like any modern nation, it sports the typical defensive structures one might expect – thick, tall walls, parapets, moats and the like. But, such conventional defenses are quite useless against the terrifying power of Bascardi magic, so more clever solutions were required. Complicated networks of secret tunnels, sniper’s roosts, remotely-detonated bomb pits, guerrilla tactical deployments, and long range artillery the likes of which exist nowhere else in the world.
A stone bridge spans a 30-yard wide moat, and ends in a sturdy gate-house. From there, walls fan out, stuffed with slits for rifles and muskets to poke through. Cannon stations sit atop the parapets, while others are creatively disguised within the wall itself, hiding behind seemingly innocuous windows and drapery.
Further back, another, taller wall rises above the first. Sniper’s nests are plentiful here, and quite impossible to notice at a passing glance. What is noticeable however, are the black and green artillery pieces called Earth-Shakers, which loom stories above. Similar to the conventional cannons manning the first wall, these machines are larger, the barrels are longer, and their movements far more flexible and fluid, sitting on revolving platforms of well-oiled gears and suspensions. There are over a hundred of these huge batteries on this secondary wall, and hundreds more through-out the city, each one with a generous pool of different ammunition types – anything that will keep Bascardi scum from taking one step further than they already have. Some are hidden, but many are out in the open, sporting a crow’s nest and telescope alongside it, to call and spot targets.
The defenses go beyond the physical battlements and weapons as well – the entire city is in a constant state of preparedness. Civilians know exactly where to be and what to do when they hear the single-note Helkree organ playing from the roof-tops. In times of peace, like these days, things seem mostly normal. The people are bright jovial, they go about their business, trade comes and goes – but always under the shadow of guns.
War with Bascard has worked its way to this city on more than one occasion – in that time, it has only fallen once, some 900 years ago – if it should fall a second time, it is likely the death-knell for the rest of the Freehold.
The Freehold sports a culture varied and full of pride, indulging all manner of different societal, economic, technological agendas – but the freedom to divulge one’s collective energies on much else other than defense is a luxury denied to Dolgodrah. The people are proud to be the frontline against the villainy of the God-kings, but there is a current of being stifled here, that permeates all classes. The Wenshir who wish to make something of themselves find themselves traveling to other cities – or out through the northern gatehouse, to the great wide world.
The Gatehouse: The great stone structure that all traffic heading to and from the north must pass through. The area between the first and second walls has been set up as a dense check-point area. A rigorous identification process is performed here on all humans passing through to the rest of the Freehold. Goods, wagons, persons are thoroughly inspected – most are allowed to be on their way, but some are pulled inside nearby tents for further ‘examination’.
You’d better know exactly who you’re going to visit, exactly where they are, exactly how long you intend on staying, and exactly how you plan to leave, or there’s going to be a problem.
Helkree House: The building that houses the Helkree organ, from which numerous audrite pipes spread through-out the city. Hardly a beautiful or harmonious tone, it serves its purpose in alerting the populace of danger. Visitors are welcome on the first floor to read and learn about its history and function, but access to the organ itself is strictly off limits.
Exploding Rain Tavern and Pub – a boisterous and ever-busy tavern, there’s more than a few paintings depicting the glorious descent of Freehold artillery shells descending upon hapless Bascardi. Suffice to say, Bascardi aren’t exactly welcome here in this place, which is unfortunate, because many important and capable individuals find themselves within the green and Mirthweed-smoke filled halls talking and joking with friends. If you plan on getting in, you better play your cards right, and have a good right-hook.
The Racers: On the southern side of the city, a horse-racing arena has been built. Hardly the most impressive in the region, it serves its purpose of entertaining the locals, and giving some of the more competitive a place to hone their skills if they wish to compete. Reego Fain is the current track record holder, with 2:21, beating the previous record by a solid six seconds.
Ironsights: for a fair amount of bronze, available is a shooting range, for soldiers and civilians alike. Some compete professional, others hone their skills in preparation to travel far and wide, and for some, it’s the first time they ever hold and fire a gun, especially tourists.