Helm's Reich

The only surviving member of the ruling family of Helm’s Reich was a sickly child, Prince Helseth, so the councilors of state appealed to Lord Auberon Falco, a cousin of Lord Helmstromm to rule the town in regency.

Auberon was a strong, almost dictatorial ruler, which was just what Helm’s Reich needed to restore order. The respect and gratefulness his subjects showed him was so overwhelming, that when the young ruler-to-be mysteriously died, they not only elevated Auberon from regent to ruler of the town, they agreed to rename the town in honor of his family. Helm’s Reich became Falcrest, named after his ancestral house.

Lady Dora had been instrumental in her husband’s success. The talent in which she exhibited brilliance was in coercing counselors and merchants alike to agree to Lord Auberon’s sometimes imperious demands. But Lord Auberon was not one to acknowledge dependence – he treated Lady Dora with the same disdain he had for all.

This was to change when he contracted Crow’s Plague from an Orc ambassador. With mute ears to the Orcish tribes, the ambassador was executed as an assassin. The once strong and healthy king became sickly and weak, and retired to his bedchamber. He mysteriously refused to admit any priests, but had to grant Lady Dora the power to use his seal and hold audience in his stead. She assumed the mantle of leadership eagerly, and set about replacing the elderly counselors with the type of advisors she preferred – young handsome men she could bully and tryst with. Lord Auberon could not believe that his wife could be unfaithful, so confident was he of his power over her.

One of Lord Auberon’s councilors, a moralist, disapproved of Lady Dora, but feared the repercussions of telling Lord Auberon, even when he began hearing rumors that she was consorting with an imprisoned guild master of the Falcrest Thieves Guild. There were even rumors that Lady Dora helped the guild master, Vorn Mallev escape almost nightly and went on midnight raids in highways surrounding Falcrest, thieving in disguise.

Helm’s Reich had remained neutral throughout the hostilities for a number of reasons. Lord Helvus and Lady Bellona Helmstromm, the joint-rulers of the city-state, had internal problems to deal with. They had been elderly, had to choose an heir, and none of their possible choices were attractive to all. Lady Mara was Lord Helmstromm’s daughter from his previously deceased wife, and though none could doubt her sweetness of temper, many doubted her intelligence. Prince Helseth, son of Lady Bellona and Lord Helvus, was nearly the opposite, rather rash and ugly in his temperament but certainly capable.

Lord and Lady Helmstromm were also concerned about the threat of the orcs to the northwest of Helm’s Reich and the pirates in North Coast. They were unwilling to send any soldiers to fight in the Battle of Helm’s Reich, leaving Helm’s Reich itself undefended. They were, after all, above worrying about who held liege over the mining town, as any who wished to enter the Crystal Sea Bay for trade had to pay tax to them. But the orcs, under War King Granaak, were determined to claim the area as the 10th province of the 12 tribes, and were willing to destroy any who opposed them.

The pirates had become more troublesome of late, but this ended immediately after the Rending. The Isle of Eels Cove, which had been their haven, was immediately declared haunted because the Sorceress Cersus, prior to the Battle of Helm’s Reich, had retired to her tower there to craft the Crown of Power to ensure King Thander‘s victory. Unknown to anyone else, Queen Alexa, discovering Cersus’ affair with King Thander, had banished her from court.



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Helm's Reich

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