Name and Title of Vassal State: The Duchy of Lyndenstrath, the Lyndenstrath (colloquial, dwarven), the Jaw (colloquial, men)
Ruler: Duke Brannar Brittletooth
-Dwarves: Your garden-variety fantasy dwarves. Comprise ~70% of the population, particularly inland in the mountains.
-Men. Comprise ~25%, concentrated in the more cosmopolitan ports of Troutglen and Gullstone. Small settlements and homesteads of men are scattered through the realm.
-Gaulletic: Less than 5%, more than 1%. Nearly all are merchants, skilled tradesmen, or imperial officials in the ports. Being accustomed to the more temperate latitudes, the climate is extremely disagreeable. And, of course, the local dwarves despise the few elves that do live in the Lyndenstrath.
-Morsen: A race of sentient walrusmen that hail from the northernmost reaches of the world. On stubby fin-like legs they can walk about on land, though quite slowly. Though cumbersome on land, they are agile swimmers and able to traverse long distances across frigid seas without boat or sail. Civilization is an alien thing to them, and most prefer to live nomadic lives in close-knit communities numbering 10-30 individuals. They spend their lives diving far below the waves in search of clams and abalone, migrating along the northern coasts in search of more fruitful shoals. At the southernmost ends of their range, they come into contact with the dwarves of the Lyndenstrath. There they have learned to trade pearls, nacre, and ambergris in exchange for foodstuffs, nets, iron tools, grog, and ale. Beyond trade, most Morsen have little interest in the goings-on of their Dwarf neighbors or the wider Mycorian Empire. A handful of Morsen, however, do seek adventure and find employment with the Lyndenstrath dwarves. A small, transient population of Morsen settle the unoccupied beaches of the Lyndenstrath, most arriving in autumn and departing for more northerly waters as the seas warm.
Location: Along the jagged northwestern coast of the mainland. Southern border marked by the ridgeline of the mountains. Eastern border marked about halfway along the strait. (Will draw this out later).
History: The Lyndenstrath is a cold and mountainous land of dark evergreen forests. Cold, fast streams course through turbulent runs down from the mountains into fjords. Winters are long and growing seasons short. It is a region ill suited to the civilizations of man, but ideal for their dwarven kin.
In ages past, in the time before written word, dwarves made their home in the northern coast. Their stonecutters carved homes into the sheer rock faces of the mountains and fjords: the first of the great halls of the Lyndenstrath. A collection of petty dwarven kings ruled the region, fighting against one another, or infrequently against nearby kingdoms of Men. Over time, the dwarves of Mithirhall came to dominate their neighbors and united the region into a single Kingdom known as the Lyndenstrath, named for the ancient linden trees that grew there.
During the Gaulletic Conquests, the dwarves of Lyndenstrath offered stiff resistance against the elves. Sealed away in their underground halls, the dwarves hunkered down for sieges that lasted many years. With vast food stores and the ability to supplement those with small quantities of subterranean-grown mushrooms, the besieged dwarves could hold out nigh-indefinitely. Dwarven raiding parties would sortie out under cover of night, harassing Gaulletic supply lines and patrols in small skirmishes before retreating into the dense forest. The dwarves were prepared to fight bitterly against the elves for decades, waging a war of attrition that even the mighty Gaulletic Empire could not sustain.
The elven invaders of the Lyndenstrath faced a tremendous challenge in pacifying the dwarves. But they were able to recognize perhaps the greatest weakness of the dwarves and capitalize upon it.
The weakest link of the Lyndenstrath dwarves was to be found in Belgath Brittletooth of the Kelnhall. The elven attackers were astounded when the dwarven lord emerged from the gates of his subterranean fortress and offered to surrender. A deal was struck between Brittletooth and the Gaulletic Empire that has since been recorded in many dwarven sagas as a tremendous betrayal. The dwarves of the Kelnhall would support the elves in their conquest of the Lyndenstrath, leading the elves to hidden doorways and passages into many of the other dwarven holds. In exchange, Belgath and his heirs would rule the Lyndenstrath as a vassal lord to the Gaulletic Empire.
After the alliance between the Empire and Clan Brittletooth was struck, the elven conquest of the Lyndenstrath proceded swiftly thereafter. The Jaw fell into the imperial fold, and the Brittletooth dwarves governed it with little interference from Garnalaña. Those that fell in line with the Brittletooth Duke were rewarded for their compliance; their ancient holds converted into imperial baronies. Those who had fought the turncoat Brittletooth and the elves had their property and holds confiscated and banished from the realm. Such was the fate of Clan Grizzlebeard, the former kings of the Lyndenstrath.
The Grizzlebeards persist, however. Even now, as turbulence embroils the wider Gaulletic Empire, word has it that one Marko Grizzlebeard has returned, agitating the lower orders and fomenting revolt against Clan Brittletooth and the Empire. Duke Brannar has responded by issuing a bounty against any Grizzlebeard found in the Lyndenstrath: 20 coins of gold to whomever brings their head to the Mithirhall.
So far, however, the bounty has not been enough. Having led a mercenary company on the fringes of the Empire, Marko is reported to be a seasoned warrior. Brannar has therefore dispatched a troop of his own dwarves to Kazan's Cove - Marko's supposed whereabouts - to bring the rabblerouser to justice.