The land known as Huerten was first conquered in the 740s by Diure XXXVIII. It was enfiefed after his death to the brother of Diure XLIII, Count Farure, whose was incompatent at best. His decendants, besides inherriting Farure's lack of governing ability, were corrupt and disloyal, so, from 796 to 821, the barony was gradually sold and conquered until there was nothing left. There was even a a short period, from 816 to 817, when a part of Huerten existed as an island of Rang, having no physical borders with it.
Huerten was reconquered in 855-856 by Diure LVIII, who later became Second Emperor of the Realm. In 859, the land was named after and enfeifed to Baron Huerten I. Diure's reasons for making Huerten into a barony rather than something greater (for the land covered by the charter was as large as some dutchies), are not clear, but it might have had something to do with the land's previous history, and the general uselessness of most of the land. Dispite this possible insult to their abilities, the Barons Huerten have been known to be intensely loyal to their only lord, the king.
Huerten is a border state, and as such receives quite a bit of royal support for its military. Over three hundred landowning knights serve under the baron, and the city of Huerten regularly trains a thousand- man militia out of the local citizens. That number has been known to swell as high as five thousand, but, given the recent period of piece with Terradia, such large armies have of late been unnecessary.
Because of its geographic placement, and because of its special relationship with the king, Huerten is rarely required to send its knights abroad, or even, for that matter, to pay significant taxes or engage in the chivalric rites. Although the baron may have his own thoughts on issues that involve the entire kingdom, only in the most extreme of circumstances will he act in favor of or against his lord. Based on mere discriptions of events, it is difficult to tell whether Huerten's lack of involvement is due to the grace of the king, or the indifference of the baron. Most likely, it has elements of both.
For that matter, Huerten has very little involvement with any of the other regions of Rang, even its closest neighbors. Since the first Baron Huerten built his manor, the barony has stayed out of local politics, remaining neutral on all decisions involving lesser lords than the king.
Below the baron are a dozen or so baronets, all decendants of Huerten I or his brothers, who own several score to over ten thousand acres of land. Three or four more live on the baron's manor. There are over three hundred landowning knights in the barony, and eighty or more unranked landowning gentlemen.
No one knows for sure how Rouch became the established language in the southern regions of Rang, but it is speculated that an early military venture (between 400 and 500) made the language reasonably well known, and, as Rang increased in commercial power, it became clear that any merchant who expected to make any money in the area would have to learn Rouch. Rouch did not become the primary language of the region until Huerten was first conquered.
Huerten supports a total of 6000 Morenthians (the entire population of Maelbourg), which represent two thirds of the entire Morenthian population of Rang. Morenthians are confined, by law, to their town. They are not permitted to leave it except on logged business, and they are not permitted to own land. It is possible, of course, that a few Morenthians converted under false pretenses and dwell elsewhere, but the number of such people is suspected to be very small.
The remainder of Huerten is Andrithan, although Zahira and other minor religions are represented in small numbers.
The region twenty to thirty miles in any direction from the city of Huerten is relatively fertile, and is mostly taken up by farmland and orchards. It is littered with villages and hamlets, and the majority of the baronets and knights live in the Estates.
Most of Huerten is forest, and most of that forest is uninhabited. The Central Wilderness, roughly encircled by the main road which connects the towns, has no known settlements. The winding path that connects Maelbourg and Grenzig is a dangerous and difficult shortcut for merchants in a hurry.
The southern forests, which extend a hundred and twenty miles south of Critzig to the Koril mountains and the Terradian border, are so sparsely populated and seldom travelled that one can walk for days without seeing any sign of human life. Overgrown trails are maintained in case there is a military need, but the recent peace between Rang and Terradia has made that maintenance sporadic at best.
The highlands of western Huerten are more densely populated than the vast forests, but not by much. Several hundred small and widely spaced villages are scattered throughout the area, one of which houses Baron Huerten's third cousin, who controls more land than any other baronet in Huerten. The hilly highlands are, for the most part, unsuitable for farming, but there is plenty of grazing land for small livestock.
The Louthrob Swamplands, which form an awkward bulge at the north of the barony, are completely uninhabited. There has never been an attempt to drain them, so they are totally untraversable, being riddled with fallen logs and concealed patches of waist-deep mud, and lacking navigable rivers. The swamps are unsuitable for farming or grazing. According to legend, a dangerous species known as the Louthrob dwells in that area.
There are essentially two river systems in Huerten. One, the Hornblow, starts at Horn's End (or Andan Huerten Lake, as it is called in the barony), at the city of Huerten, and ends in the Great Sea. The lake and river flow with fresh, drinkable water, which, through minor streams and canals, irrigates the fertile region around the city.
The other river system, the Roe, extends throughout the inhabited and uninhabited parts of the barony. Very little navigable length passes through Huerten. At the first major branch, near Critzig, the North Roe splits off to the west. The North Roe is the longest river in the barony, extending from the Koril Mountains all the way to the Louthrob Swamplands. The river is navigable from Flen in the south, through Menanny, to a few miles past Orzen in the north. It picks up again some miles south of Maelbourg, and can be travelled with increasing difficulty until well beyond Louthrob.
The main body of the Roe continues past Critzig to Hourtzbourgh, where the Narlak branches off, and passes out of Huerten, into Marothy and Raboran. The Narlak supports much of the trade in Marothy, as it can be navigated by the larger river-boats. The Roe, on the other hand, is not at all navivigable, as it continues on to the Westearth Falls. The village of Westearth sits at the bottom of the falls. As there are neither roads nor rivers that lead safely to it, it is rarely visited by outsiders, and some amount of legend has built up around it as a result, involving everything from powerful wizards to magical creatures to great dragons that fly overhead, protecting the village and gobbling up outsiders who dare to approach.
At the top of the Falls, the Roe splits into the East Roe and and West Roe. The East Roe is only navigable several miles north and south of Dmerzig. It is useful for the transportation of lumber, but not for much else. The West Roe is similarly difficult. Small boats can travel along it with effort ten miles north and south of Grenzig, and slightly larger craft can travel from the Black Lake of Dunweig to the minor branch northwest of Fairy Lake. There has, however, been very little travel in the central regions of Huerten, so there may be some yet undiscovered navigable lengths. If the West Roe could ever be dug out and widened, it would be a boon to trade, connecting Grenzig, Dunweig and Eltweig, but that would be a massive undertaking well beyond the means of the baron.
The largest lake in Huerten is Horn's End, also known as Andan Huerten, named after the second Baron Huerten.
Next in size is Fairy Lake, southwest of the city of Huerten, in an entirely uninhabited region. Before the second conquest of the barony, it was known as Sparkling Lake, for the unusual way its waves catch and reflect any kind of light, from the moons or the sun. After the second conquest, soldiers and surveyers claimed to see actual living fairies fluttering about the water, who would flee when anyone looked at them for more than a moment. Soon, almost everyone who visited the lake made similar claims. Those who visited without having heard the stories, however, insisted on having seen nothing unusual, which throw the stories into some doubt. Whether there are actually fairies or not is a moot point these days, as the lake and the surrounding regions are generally avoided.
The third largest lake is the Black Lake, from which the town of Dunweig makes its primary income. Its name comes from those dark nights when, because of the brown and black sands and thick underwater growths, it is almost completely invisible. The lake is nearly black on the brightest of nights, but when the moons shine only dimly, people have been known to fall in before they had any idea they were close.
- Population: 10,000
- Military: 1000 soldiers. 100-150 knights live in the Baron's Estates, and 100 live and work in the city.
- Features: Walled, contains the Baron's castle.
- Industries: Government, wheet, oats, vegetables, apples, pears, fish.
- Exports: Produce, grain, lumber, textiles.
- Founded 822. Got its current name in 859, immediately after it became the posession of Baron Huerten I.
- Huerten is the center of trade in the barony. Material goods come in from Maelbourg, Dunweig, Eltweig and Grenzig, and are exported to the baronies of Marchhanbar, Kalzen and Raboran.
- Population: 6000
- Features: Walled.
- Industries: Textiles, wool and coal
- Conquered in 748, after a year-long struggle with the Morenthians, who had no wish to be under the rule of the center of Andrithanism. Their former rulers were also Andrithans, but, as the saying goes, there's nowhere as Andrithan as Rang.
- Population: 4000
- Features: Walled
- Industries: Lumber, cattle, cheese.
- Originally under the king's charter. Became a free town in 926.
- Population: 4000
- Features: 1mi diameter, walled
- Imports: Iron, Hemp, Salt
- Exports: Fish
- First conquered in 744.
- Dunweig was the site of an ancient Orithoran temple.
- Population: 2000
- Industries: Wheat, oats, beans, cattle.
- Under the king's charter.
- There are about two hundred square miles of relatively good farmland around Critzig.
- Population: 2000
- Industries: Grains and vegetables.
- Population: 2000
- Industries: Wool, grain, lumber
- Population: 1500
- Industries: Lumber, fish, cattle.
- Originally under the king's charter. Became a free town in 928.
- Population: 1500
- Population: 800
- Industries: Lumber, grain.
- Under the king's charter.
- Flen serves as a gateway of trade to small, under-populated areas of Mennany and Zarabry, but has very little permanent population of its own.
- Population: 1000
- Industries: Lumber, grain, fish, cattle.
- Under the king's charter.
- Population: 700
- Features: Walled.
- First conquered in 744. Foundation date unknown.
- This town has retained its current name for centuries. Due to the legends surrounding the name, and due to the location of the town, the town is generally avoided by outsiders.
Several of the towns of Huerten, particularly those on the southern border, were chartered directly by the king. Towns under royal charter are not subject to baronial taxation. Most towns are ruled by common townsmen, although Orzen and Eltweig are near the manors of baronets.
From 890 to 910, Grenzig petitioned to the king to let them buy their independence for a sum of one hundred thousand attles in solid gold and silver. In Farinon 910, the king refused their request for the last time. Obviously intending a direct insult, he sent as ambassador the cheapest of mercenary messengers, a foreigner who, in addition to his poor command of Rouch, could not utter two words without stuttering.
Grenzig's response was a refusal to pay any further royal taxes. Days afterwards, they recinded their offer to buy their independence, and demanded that they be given independence for free.
From then until the winter of 924, the king's ministers made occasional attempts to regain their previous position. Twice, they even offered to let Grenzig buy its independence, first for fourty thousand, then for the full hundred thousand. Given the distance from Duerstadt to Grenzig, however, and the relative unimportance of the town, with wars and other royal business to attend to, and the lack of interest by Baron Huerten, the king was unable to extract taxes from Grenzig. Finally, in 928, when the conflict had dwindled to the almost ceremonial refusal of a single tax-collector once a year, and Grenzig was all but independent, the king, to avoid incurring further embaressment on the crown, signed an independence charter, which granted them independent government until 1024, after which time their position would be reevaluated. They would not be entitled to military support from either Rang or Huerten, unless they hired soldiers from the king at double wages, half of which would go into the royal treasury.
Dmerzig became independent by following in the trail of Grenzig. They started petitioning the king in 901, offered to buy their independence for thirty thousand attles in gold, silver and brass, and offered their official refusal to pay taxes the same day as did Grenzig. Dmerzig was largely ignored by the crown, and when, in 926, the town demanded recognition by sending a troup of one hundred recently trained soldiers to Duerstadt (twenty of whom did not survive the trip), the king agreed to grant them their charter, provided they first paid taxes for two years. Strangely enough, Dmerzig celebrates the day of their independence every year, while Grenzig makes nothing of theirs.
Huerten, itself by far the largest barony in Rang, is bordered by many other large baronies. To the north of the capital, and bordered on its west by the Louthrob swamplands, is Marchhanbar. Northeast of the city is Kalzen, and east is Raboran (which is actually a viscounty). To the southeast of the barony is Marothy, which, like Huerten and its western-border counterpart Zarabry, has an elongated southern end, extending to the Koril mountains. Neither Marothy nor Zarabry has nearly as large a southern end as Huerten, but Zarabry's is somewhat more densely inhabited. Moving north along Huerten's western border, we find the baronies of Mennany, Rennan and Elgony. North of the Louthrob Swamplands, from east to west, are Garitholard, Ersal and Agary.
- Huerten and Zarabry are independent baronies, under no lord but the king.
- Mennany and Rennan are held in common by Count Jarbard of Marath-Jarbard.
- Elgony and Agary are part of the County of Tallury
- Ersal, Garitholard and Marchhanbar compose the entirety of the viscounty of Fallar. The viscount has his personal estates in Garitholard. He does not posess any private land apart from his estates, but maintains a relatively strong rulership over all three baronies.
- Kalzen is partially under the overlordship of Earl Vander of Scolsander, and partially under Count Lumartifal of Danaxaland.
- Raboran and Marothy are parts of the independent County of Illiuv.
- Marath-Jarbard and Tallury are both parts of the Marquisate of Ensaniland, which, in turn, is part of the Duchy of Rheinzand.
- Fallar, Scolsander and Danaxaland are parts of the Marquisate of Ohels (Scolsander is the more northern of the two). About two thirds of Ohels is enfeifed directly by the king, and the rest is under the Duchy of Lochtmark.
- Although Illiuv is generally accepted to be under the count and king alone, the Duke of Lochtmark has been known to claim that parts of it are his own.
k.Rang | -------------------------------------------------------------------------- | | | | | | | | | | | | d.Rheinzand d.Lochtmark | b.Zarabry b.Huerten | | | | | | | | | | | | | m.Ersaniland m.Ohels | | | | | | | | | \-------------------------------\ | | | | | | | c.Marath-Jarbard c.Tallury v.Fallar e.Scolsander c.Danaxaland c.Illiuv | | | | | \ | | | | | | | | | |----------\ | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | b.Mennany b.Rennan b.Elgony b.Agary b.Ersal b.Garitholard b.Marchhanbar b.Kalzen v.Raboran b.Marothy
Here is the version of the map of Huerten which was handed to Ardith in turn 10: