Holdfast of the Celestial Parishes
“A land suited for reflection, meditation, training, sheep herding, and very little else.” - Ang McRohan, Captain of the Parish Honor Guard

Capital: Lios
Settlements: Braigheach (4,300), Camershron (3,210), Heavenhome (3,845), Lios (8,ooo)
Rulers: Judge Khan Mersenden (dragonblood), Judge Merida Lowen (human), Judge Ceaniel (avoodim), Judge Xang Sidheag (aasimar), Judge Bran Feihung (human)
Government: Theocratic Judicial Council
Races: Aasimar, Avoodim, Changeling, Dragonblood, Eventual, Gathlain, Gnome, Human, Kitsune, Kval, Urisk
Faiths: Aleria, Gerana, Neria, Paletius, Veiloaria
Resources: Agriculture, education, iron, peat, spirits, wood
Languages: Common, Celestial, Draconic, Sylvan
Border Conditions: None

History
During the long days of the NewGod Wars, the land was called Tir na Dafaid, elvish for ‘land of sheep’. It was green, but not lush. The soil was rocky and unfit for growing anything but grass. There were a few herdsmen and gnomish villages that called these hills and woods home, but as far as most knew the land was unclaimed and untamed. After the fall of the Elemental Lords, the gods looked to reward those who served them faithfully. Of greatest concern were the armies of celestial scions that came to Porphyra to fight for faith and honor, the aasimar. These heroic immigrants needed a land of their own to call home, and so Tir na Dafaid became the Holdfast of the Celestial Parishes. Sadly, no one asked the original owners their opinion on the matter.

It began innocently enough. As the aasimar and their allies, which included the avoodim, the kval,
and scattered heroic dragonbloods took possession of the land, odd things began to happen. Small household items vanished; clothes left to dry on the line were dyed odd colors; doors were unpinned- and other pranks became commonplace. Things took a serious turn when livestock were poisoned and wells ran dry. The night Jenna Sidheag, the firstborn of the Sidheags born in the holdfast and of the celestial bloodline of Paletius was taken and a changeling left in her place, the newcomers had enough. A small militia rode out of Lios, little more than a farming town then, and divas, archons, and seraphim rode with them. The subsequent battle would be known as the Three Day War, or the Battle of MacAndrol’s Bridge.

As the militia crossed the ancient bridge, they caught sight of the Wild Hunt, the fey equivalent of Saren’s annual gathering. Hosts of dryads, forlarren, gremlins, korred and spriggans marched to the tune of satyrs; alien creatures from the more humanoid gathlain, kitsune and urisks the settlers were used to. The valley echoed with with war chants and battle hymns as the forces charged at one another. They clashed, and neither side gave an inch. The armies were stalemated two nights and three days. Blood soaked the battlefield, but neither side weakened or gave way. As the sun went down on the third day, the unlikely god Saren wept to see kindred fighting the faithful, and asked Gerana to arbitrate an end to the conflict. The negotiations almost ended before they began—Paletius arrived with a host and demanded the return of Jenna Sidheag unharmed and unchanged.

Cooler heads prevailed, and, knowing that Gerana was a just and fair goddess, both sides agreed. The result of the negotiation was the return of the child, the creation of the Judges Council that would interpret law and arbitrate disagreements, and the demarcation of boundary lines between fey lands and mortal holds.

Current Events
Over the centuries, portions of the Parishes have become more settled, even urban, but most of the land is still rolling hills, rocky crags, green valleys, and free flowing rivers. A majority of the population is concentrated in the four major cities, with the rest living in small farming villages or monasteries. The villages are quaint, with hoofed urisks toting bales for farmers, and a cairn stone in every field. The monasteries of the Parishes have become quite famous for their charity, martial teachings, advancements in education, and for creating some of the finest beers and spirits to be had in all Porphyra. The Highway of Heroes leads through the Ghadabi wastes to the Middle Kingdom, should the call to war come again, but those in power there would rather not deal with the strange mix of heaven and Fey that has evolved in The Parishes. Subsequently, relations with the elves of the forests to the north grow more cordial, a strong defense against the Jotuns and the Pardeshi.

Settlements
The major settlements of the Holdfast are:

Braigheach began as a monastery dedicated to Neria, on the rocky shores of the Loch Braig. Soon a camp of those seeking enlightenment sprang up around the walls of the cloister, eventually evolving into a town which lived off the freshwater lake’s bounty. To serve the community, the monastery began a school for the village young, which today is now known as Braigeach University. Known for its engineering, surgical, thaumaturgical and clerical colleges, the university attracts some of the finest minds on Porphyra.

Camershron’s name comes from the southern elvish dialect meaning two places, one soul. Camershron is said to have been founded twice. The original settlement was on the eastern bank of the river Lowen. It was a town of fishermen and shepherds until Xia Jon Feihung, the master of the local Flower and Compass retired and opened a school to teach Open Palm martial arts to the laity. Hundreds flocked to the town to learn from the master. Soon, the town was bursting at the seams, and due to fey boundary lines they had to spread to the other side of the river. The western half of Camershron was founded eighty years after that of the east. Over five hundred years later, Camershron boasts over seventy martial arts schools, all based on Master Jon Feihung’s Open Palm Style.

Lios is capital of the Celestial Parishes, Lios is the seat of law. It is a holy city dedicated to Gerana and Paletius. The monks and priests that call Lios home serve the dual purpose of mediator between worshiper and god, and counsel for aggrieved parties. Known for its architecture and polished granite walls, Lios is one of the most beautiful cities of the world.

Heavenhome was founded as a monastery and nunnery of Aleria at the foot of Mt. Beatha, next to the Fion Falls. The grounds were very fertile, and the nuns started a small vineyard, and began making wine to support the parish. Not to be outdone, the brothers found wild hops nearby, and brewed beer and distilled whiskey. Tales of the quality of the libations spread near and far, and now Heavenhome is just that for wealthy tourists and pilgrims alike, to enjoy fine food, drink, and hospitality.

Intrigues

  • A few months ago a circle of cairn stones appeared near the village of Erin. The local gnomish magistrate was confronted by a gathlain prince claiming that the site was fey land and the village would have to be moved. Maps from the Days of Drawing are inconclusive. Tensions are mounting between villagers and fey, and a call for a neutral party to look into the matter has gone out.
  • The School of the Falling Snow, a popular martial school for both xia and laity alike, has burned to the ground outside of Camershron. It is believed to be the work of Bahn Ceann, a disgraced xia turned Agent of the Dark Patron, and his followers. They are said to have a school and monastery deep in the hills beyond Camershron, protected by dark fey and Agents of Eshsalqua.
  • Brewmaster Stephens has gone missing, and a crudely written ransom note has been tacked to the monastery door; ten thousand gold pieces. The clerics of Aleria are mostly pacifists, and while the angry citizens mean well, they will more than likely get themselves and Brother Stephens killed. They have asked for skilled adventurers to rescue the portly monk from his captors, who or whatever they may be.

See Also