The Chosen Five
Village, Population 977
Most residents of Winterhaven have never traveled beyond the village vale. The majority of villagers are farmers, though the walled heart of Winterhaven employs various craftspeople as well. Wagons occasionally head east down Old King’s Road from Winterhaven to find trade with the next village, which lies five days away. Sometimes wagons come into Winterhaven, causing the villagers to excitedly gather in the Market Square to hear news of the outside world and to buy new and exotic goods.
The land to the southwest of town is a large natural depression, sheltered between the mountains to the north and rolling hills to the east, south, and west. The ground here is surprisingly fertile, and most of Winterhaven’s farmers stake their claims here. This “So’West Vale” (as the locals call it) is dotted with small farmsteads and crisscrossed with pathways and wagon trails.
Indistel Manor sits on the first hill southeast of the farmlands, commanding an impressive view of the area. North of the Manor’s grounds is a modest bakery, and then Winterhaven’s village graveyard. A day or so ride north of town lies the ruins of an ancient keep, though no one has travelled the north road toward it in many years.
The population of Winterhaven is predominantly human, with a scattering of dwarf families, and a handful of other common races, including a couple of elves and a single tiefling. Winterhaven is primarily an agricultural village based on barter and trade, although Lord Padraig keeps a monetary system afloat with his own coin.
Ninety-four years ago in 1385, the Year of Blue Fire, there were several earthquakes, and trade from outside the Vale stopped almost entirely. In the years following, the only news of the outside world to come to Winterhaven has been mostly in the form of rumors passed on by traders and travelers from Fallcrest.
Forty-one years ago, in 1438, a militia was organized to reclaim the ruined keep. Lord Baer Padraig led a force equal parts local men and mercenaries hired from Fallcrest and set out of the old keep. They were harried the entire trip by kobold and goblin raiders, and eventually turned back at the keep itself by ghosts and foul demons. The force took heavy losses and returned defeated. Since then, no one ventures near the cursed place.
In 1467, Lord Baer Padraig passed away after a short illness at the age of 61. His only son, Ernest, assumed his duties as Lord of Winterhaven.
In 1469, the Edwain farm at the western end of the valley was robbed and partially burned. The Edwain couple were murdered, and only their simple boy Jonno escaped. The bandits or robbers responsible were never caught.
On November 5 of 1476, Ena, eldest daughter of local magnate Mitchel Indistel, disappeared one night from town. Some say she ran off with a passing merchant, while others whisper she was driven mad or even murdered by the reclusive matron of the Indistels, Vella. In response to the disappearance, Lord Padraig formed the Winterhaven Regulars and appointed local Warrior’s Guild leader Rond Kelfem as their captain. They are charged with manning the village walls day and night.
Last year in the spring of 1478, a party of six adventurers arrived in town. Travellers themselves are not entirely uncommon in Winterfell, but these were well-armed, dangerous-looking folk who spent a lot of coin freely. They left two days later, as abruptly as they had arrived.
Since the early spring of this year, goblins, kobolds, and other beasts have harassed almost all who travel the King’s Road. Trade from Fallcrest has dwindled to barely a trickle.
A year or so ago, Tomarian’s brother-in-law Douven became convinced he had located a map which led to the site of a dragon’s burial tomb not far from the village. He, and Sam’ael’s mother Sariah began what must have been an extensive dig to the south, but should have returned for supplies some time ago. Some in the village feared the worst, but Lord Padraig said they could not spare any men to investigate.
Alla and Rynn: Human female, 31 and Human male, 35. Alla and Rynn are a married couple who live on the road to the valley. They run a bakery and are often in town either buying supplies or in the square on Market Days.
Bairwin Wildarson: Human male, 47. Bairwin had traveled the world, or so he claims, before setting up shop in Winterhaven ten years ago. Bairwin’s Grand Shoppe offers a variety of items for sale at standard prices.
Delphina Moongem: Elven female, 33. Delphina turned away from her elven roots to live an urban life. This pretty and kind-hearted woman can be found in the square each Market Day selling wildflowers from her cart.
Eilian the Old: Human male, late 70’s. This old farmer is a regular customer at Wrafton’s. Most nights talkative old Eilian can be found in the Inn chatting endlessly with whoever he can find to listen. Many in town have started to worry for Eilian, as he lives alone on his farm down in the valley and seems to be going a bit soft.
Ella Indistel: Human female, 22. Ella is the daughter of Mitchell and Vella Indistel. She is beautiful, with raven-black hair and a friendly manner. She is an musician and artist, and often performs on fair days and holidays in the village, but spends most of her time on the Indistel manor grounds.
Ernest Padraig, Lord of Winterhaven: Human male, 42. Lord Padraig is descended from the noble family that has ruled the area for generations. He was the only son of his father Baer. He has never married and is childless, a cause of some concern to the townsfolk. The people of Winterhaven were happy with Baer’s authority, and seem to find Ernest’s rule no more arduous. However, his power is not absolute – he has been unable to raise a force from among the villagers to investigate the kobold problem on the road.
Irel: Tiefling male, 28. Irel lives in a cabin in the wooded area on the ridge of the valley. He apparently has an extensive garden and is in town on Market Days to sell various herbs and tinctures. The only tiefling in the area, he seems to feel out of place within the village walls, and prefers the solitude of his home.
Jonno Edwain: Human male, 13. Jonno is a mentally disabled orphan who works cleaning the town stables in the mornings and helping Salvana Wrafton around the inn at night. Jonno’s parents were both smallhold farmers down in the valley. They were murdered ten years ago by robbers, and the child was informally adopted by Salvana. He is genial and well-loved and lives in a small spare room off the back of the inn.
Miller Linderson: Human male, 16. Miller travels into town three days a week from his family’s farm in the valley. He is apprentice blacksmith to Thair Coalstriker, and occasionally loiters around the village to cause mischief.
Mitchell Indistel: Human male, 53. Mitchell is the largest landholder in the valley. He holds mortgages on several of the smaller farms, and is known for his tightfisted manner and being a stickler for technicalities and due dates. His wealth is said to rival even Lord Padraig. He owns a large manor a half-hour’s ride south of the village where he also dabbles in horsetrading and maintains a small winery. His wife is Vella Indistel, and they have had two daughters – Ena and Ella.
Ninaran: Elven female, late 20s. (deceased) Ninaran arrived in Winterhaven two years ago, and quickly gained a reputation as a skilled huntress. Most people regarded her as quiet and uptight, but they appreciated the fresh game she sold on Market Days. She was also a proficient trapper, and often returned with live small game and birds. Little did the villagers know that Ninaran was a spy for the Death Cult. She met her end after she harrowed The Guardians of the Gate in an attempt to keep them away from the Shadow Rift.
Rond Kelfem: Half-elven male, 28. Rond is the captain of the Winterhaven Regulars, a core group of ten soldiers who perform guard and police functions in and around Winterhaven. Rond also oversees the Warrior Guild, who once a week train some citizens in basic sword and shield skills in exchange for militia pay. He is not very well-liked in the village, although some chalk it up to the demands of a militaristic life, while others contend that he’s just an ass.
Salvana Wrafton: Human female, 26. Wrafton’s Inn provides residents and travelers with food, drink, and warm beds. A crowd of villagers gathers here nightly to drink, gossip, sing, and play games of chance. Salvana is well loved in Winterhaven both for her tough but warm personality and her beauty. This fiery redhead has been courted many times, but her true love seems to be her Inn.
Sister Linora: Human female, 44. Temple priestess of Avandra, Sister Linora (or “Sissy Lin” to the village children) runs services in the temple thrice weekly, but otherwise is not often in town. She prefers to travel among the homes outside the walls, dispensing care to villagers and animals and lending advice for various farming projects. She is also caretaker to the local graveyard, and unofficial town historian.
Thair Coalstriker: Dwarven male, 52. Thair is the village smith, and is often found in the smithy where he offers a variety of weapons, armor, and mundane metal wares. More than 20 years ago the village’s last smith and both his apprentices were killed in a fire, so a delegation was sent to Fallcrest to find a replacement and they returned with Thair. He seems to like life among the mostly-human villagers, and enjoys a reputation as a hard bargainer and rowdy drinker.
Valthrun the Prescient: Human male, late 60s. Valthrun is a sage and scholar who lives in a tower within Winterhaven’s walls. On occasion he shows up in Wrafton’s Inn to socialize, but mostly keeps to himself knocking about in his tower. He is knowledgeable about the area, and is often consulted when advice is needed about the coming harvests, or if there is a property dispute involving traditional or historic borders.
Vella Indistel: Human female, 45. Wife of Mitchell, but she rarely leaves the couple’s manor. Rumors variously surface that she is a drunk, or that she drove daughter Ena away in one way or another. When she does visit town, it is always in the company of her husband or daughter Ella. She rarely interacts with the townfolk, and seems to think herself above the “common” people.
Casilla Eber: Human female, 11, Milli Aelon: Half-elven female, 8, Travona Noros: Human female, 10, Wynerra Ovair: Human female, 11. These four girls are all daughters of local smallholders and are frequently seen in and around Winterhaven together.