Hurnuth’s plan for the land he was rewarded for assisting in freeing Mhernettla from evil had always been to build a missionary outpost and Templar Stronghold. He had no naiveté about what this plan entailed either. The Elgar Forest is not a place to seek peace and tranquility. Rather, this evil land will serve as training grounds for upper-level intermediate and advanced Templars to hone their skills. It would be like re-enacting the Eternal Struggle within the mortal plane. The goal wasn’t to clear the forest of evil, either — as evil “has a place in the cosmic order” until the End Times when Menxvan and Menxruk become the All-One, Menxned, once again. Psychologically, this training hardened Templars against what can seem like an unending and futile battle. Other teachings, about how certain things — order and laws included — can be weilded for both good and evil, would also be integral in this place. Not everything evil is obvious in nature and the intent is key. As taught, “anyone who commits good furthers the will of Menxvan, anyone who commits evil furthers the will of Menxruk,” but people offer Menxruk respect for its place in the divine duality. Some worship Menxruk, not to commit evil, but to appease the evil god in order to keep bad events at bay, as Menxruk is an evil deity that can both create and destroy. Of course, people individualized how they did or didn’t worship either god. Menxism has a basic tolerance for both good and evil deities. The only deities that there was less tolerance for were ones that sought balance. Those of Menxvanic faith here didn’t proselytize or tried to convert outsiders, such as adventurers or hunters who came to the Elgar for various reasons, but some of the blessings of this plot of land were clearly unwelcoming to those sapient beings of evil alignments.
The Templar Stronghold of Elgaria is still being built up on the “fee of land,” which was some 1000 square acres, Hurnuth was rewarded. The area wasn’t situated too close to Mhernettla nor directly in the mix of those who were also rewarded land. Hurnuth had a hunch his endeavors might not be well received by some of his neighbors, given his very strict stance against evil and the intent of the Stronghold. Still, he would to render aid should Mhernettla require it. He hadn’t accepted the knight title either. As a man of Menxvan, he preferred to stay directly out of political affairs which are fickle by nature, and a title, in his mind, would likely get him entangled in affairs he might take issue with. Of course, something seemed amiss by even claiming there could be nobility and titles in an area so hostile to basically everything — plant, people, and wildlife included. Time would tell how long the Sithire, noble houses of Murkdusk, and whoever else had gotten lands and titles here would be able to maintain their power — himself included, given his self-awareness.
The Stronghold itself is a large complex built on just over a quarter of the property’s acreage. There would be a few long term residents who managed and oversaw this project, but most Templars and priests came and went according to how and where they were needed at any given time. He, along with the priests and Templars he recruited, first purged the land plotted for the Stronghold of evil, which also meant clear cutting much of the vegetation and later replanting the area with imported and blessed seeds for orchards and sustenance farms. Marius helped where he could as well, after the Templar was resurrected in Drache's Temple of Menxvan. This required frequent maintenance of blessings and weddings to cull any saplings or sprouts. Benefactors to the Temple of Menxvan, who wished to forward the ideals and principles of their faith, largely bankrolled expenses that involved importing goods, constructing necessary buildings, and fortifying the area with wooden ramparts first then with slowly but surely built up stone walls. The landscape features a slight hill where a tower/keep is laid out in its initial phases with most building activity focused here first. Templars and priests endured simplistic accommodations in tents while a barracks was constructed. A relatively modest temple is included in the Stronghold’s layout. The rest of the land was kept “wild” for the purposes of training, which also meant the areas not built up were frequently patrolled, day for those less advanced and night for the experts. Should the need arise, the Stronghold had room to expand and enough manpower within the Menxvanic Church to do so.
Outside the city of Drache lies a number of cities, towns and provinces of varying size and populace. Most of the people living outside Drache are natives who speak Arangothian and observe the native customs and rituals. Click here for a list Arangoth's locales, and here to view a map.
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