The Umber River Strategem
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.
Much of the Dragonjaw Mountains are also part of Aglarond, although the northwestern range is generally considered part of Thesk. However, the lands beyond the fortress at Emmech are past the direct protection of the armies of Aglarond and are thinly populated for this reason among others. This is an unforgiving part of the country, beset not only by monsters but by the ever-encroaching forces of Thay. Today, the minions of the Red Wizards are more rare, but the area’s monsters still pose a grave threat to homesteaders and travelers alike.
Although Aglarond is at roughly the same latitude as Cormyr its weather is much more moderate. No place in the country – even the heart of the Yuirwood – is farther than ninety miles from the sea, arid most of its cities are actually on the peninsula’s rocky coast. The waters moderate the weather, so the seasons are rarely as harsh as they are elsewhere.
Aglarond is isolated from the rest of Faerûn by the plateau of Thay to the east and the Sea of Fallen Stars on three other sides. Thus it separates the Easting Reach of the north from the Wizards’ Reach and the Alamber Sea of the south. The Pirate Isles lie only a hundred miles or so off Aglarond’s own western islands, but since piracy is punishable by immediate execution in Aglarond, most buccaneers give the land a wide berth. The length of water that separates Aglarond from Thesk is known as the Sea of Dlurg. This is more of a bay than a proper sea: At its narrowest point, about midway clown its length, only fifteen miles separate the city of Furthinghome from the Theskian shore.
While the Yuirwood covers much of Aglarond, the land between the trees and the shore consists of fertile, rolling hills that make excellent farmland. Farms are rarely more than ten miles from the shore. The half-elves who make their home under the Yuirwood’s leafy canopy discourage large-scale settlement of the forest with a mixture of compromise, diplomacy, and the occasional veiled threat. Despite such efforts, though, the woods continue to recede every year. Grasses, shrubs, and vines quickly reclaim abandoned farmsteads, but trees are slow to return to territory stripped from the Yuirwood long ago.
- Life and Society*
Aglarondans prefer to live alone and in peace, but they’ve rarely been given that opportunity. The rest of Faerûn does not think much of the peninsula nation (if they think of the place at all) but the same can’t be said of the Red Wizards of Thay. Before the recent cessation of hostilities, Aglarond lived under the constant threat of invasion by the zulkirs, who saw the peninsula as the first stepping-stone in their ongoing campaign toward world domination.
Despite this, the outside world rarely touched Aglarondans who weren’t part of the nation’s well-trained military force. While not ignorant of foreign affairs, most Aglarondans chose not to be affected by distant events. The humans quietly fished the Sea of Fallen Stars and tended the broad fields and pastures between the shore and the trees. The elves harvested nature’s bounty beneath the Yuirwood’s leaves.