History

The High Banner district was formed very early on in Xian's history. Only five years after the landing, in 5 AL, the armies of the refugees had pushed the goblinoids far west into the very teeth of the Godbarrow Mountains. The disorganized and fractious greenies were no match for the desperate and disciplined Xianese troopers, and for a while it appeared as if the newcomers would march all the way to the western shore. In their wake, a tide of fortune-seeking colonists flooded in to provide services to the soldiers and exploit the newly-cleared land.

The tide rolled back in 8 AL. The goblins that had been forced into the Mantle Peaks and Altgrimmr ranges had formed loose confederacies, suspending their ancient feuds to strike back against the hated interlopers. They crashed in on the lowlands to the east, overwhelming villages and cutting the bulk of the Xianese army off from supply. The troops were forced to turn around and march back east, cutting their way through to relieve Xian itself. The colonists were left defenseless, and there was no food or time to let them follow the army. The bitterness and sense of betrayal this engendered remains even today.

The ostensible Magistrate of the district was one of the first to die in the goblin reprisals, perishing in his attempt to defend the town of Altburg from the raiders. The squabbling whores, conmen, and sharpers that filled the town could unite on no replacement. Even getting a lone scout east to Xian was a gamble, and there was no hope of serious help getting through the swarms of goblinoid tribesmen that filled the lowlands. The locals fought and cursed as the goblins moved in, and one after another the smaller villages were wiped out in orgies of death and torture.

It was only the disorganized fractiousness of the goblinoids themselves that saved a remnant of the district. With so many tribes wiped out in the initial push, there was far more space for the survivors. The weakest human settlements were overrun and slowly slaughtered, but stronger ones were subject to only desultory raiding while the goblinoids got on with the more important business of killing each other. The humans existed in a precarious state within this ecosystem of violence, scratching out a wretched living in the shadow of constant goblin atrocities. The humans gave as good as they could in return, and a goblinoid who fell into human hands could expect only hideous and lingering death.

This state of affairs continued for almost twenty years before the goblins were finally broken in the east. In 27 AL, the Xianese army finally managed to break through to the High Banner district once more. Their welcome was notably cold. Over the years, the locals had formed elaborate theories of betrayal and treachery, and their hatred of their eastern brethren was almost as hot as their hatred for the goblinoids. The town of Altburg was made a military depot once more and accepted their lot with sullen bitterness. The other villages kept clear of the soldiers as much as possible, and soon enough the soldiers were glad to leave them to it.

These circumstances have continued on until the present day. Life in the High Banner district remains short, bloody, and crude. The soldiers care to defend their fort at Lao's Teeth and the supply depot at Altburg, but give no care for the smaller villages. The locals have very little to do with easterners, and some places have devolved to a state almost as primitive as their goblin enemies. Outsiders are mistrusted and disliked, and adventurers who find some reason to venture into this ghost-haunted land are well advised to keep a firm hand on their weaponry.

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