In a Certain Realm...
Heldren, a place to call home
In a Certain Realm starts in the small village of Heldren, located in eastern Aglarond in the outer reaches of the Yuirwood. Most of it’s inhabitants are half-elves, descendants of the star elves who are rumored to dwell deeper in the forest. Living in the shadow of the dark nation of Thay, the people of Aglarond are at the same time wary of strangers and wiling to embrace refugees and slaves escaping from the Red Wizards who rule Thay.
Situated on a long peninsula that stabs like a knife into the heart of the Sea of Fallen Stars, Aglarond is a land of open water and deep woods. Here humans and elves have intermingled for centuries, and nowhere else in Faerûn is there a greater concentration of half-elves. The land has long stood as a bulwark holding back the Red Wizards of Thay from the western lands. This is a thankless task, but the people of Aglarond take it up not for the survival of other countries, but their own.
Many of Heldren’s villagers boast rashemi blood, as generations of escaped slaves fleeing Thay have settled in the village. Sometimes these fugitives move on ; some stay but never truly integrate, always living on the fringes of the settlement. And some eventually marry into Heldren. These men and women have brought with them their tales and customs, foods and stories. Because of them Heldren is the most Rashemi of all of Aglarond’s settlements. Stories of the leshy and of rusalka, of the dreaded hag Baba Yaga and Vassilia the Beautiful can be heard late at night in hovels and in the Silver Stoat.
Heldren is a small village of 171 people, mostly farmers, herders, and woodcutters. A small armory sits atop a low hill northwest of the town square, ready to provide a safe refuge in case the village is attacked. Heldren’s town hall and its single inn, called the Silver Stoat, are the two largest buildings in the village, followed by the sawmill that brings income to the quiet settlement. Like many small villages, Heldren contains a general store, a blacksmith, a stable, a butcher shop, a barber, an apothecary, and a wise woman who sees to the village’s needs. To provide spiritual guidance to the village, a small temple stands near the center of town. Though the place is dedicated to Selune, its resident cleric tends to the community regardless of an individual’s particular faith.