The Province of Rochenoire has been in the Valier family for generations.
Rochenoire is a full of rolling hills and rocky valleys. Strategically important because it lies near the border and is midway between the two great citadels of Valiant and Vigilant, it saw several minor sieges and dozens of skirmishes during The Last War. After being given as a fief to Arnaud ir Valier in 953 YK it has remained in the family ever since.
It consists of a keep (Blackrock) and an associated small town of the same name; three villages (Rocheux, Chimère and Queso) and about a dozen scattered manors and holdings.
Manors are typically run by a knight who may have a squire or two and a handful of men at arms, and may be responsible for a number of farmsteads.
Holdings are peasant cooperatives with anywhere from five to twenty families which specialise in crop farming, animal husbandry, viteculture or forestry.
Rochenoire is a demense which lies halfway between Ghalt in Aundair and Morningerst in Thrane.
History and Landscape
Rochenoire has the bad fortune to lie mid way between the Towers Valiant and Vigilant and was often the site of many probing attacks, chevauchees and intrigues during the Last War. Two other castles (Pentegrise and Surveiller) which once guarded the frontier in the province were reduced by siege and abandoned years before Rochenoire was built (it was completed during the truce between Thrane and Aundair in the 930s YK).
The craggy hilltops are home to ancient stone altars of Goblin origin and a number of crumbling border watchtowers which once formed a line between Valiant and Vigilant. The rocky valleys are oft the site of damp, old limestone caves which served in antiquity as the homes of primitive Goblin tribes – and during the Last War became the sites of secret caches, points of rendezvous between agents, and smugglers’ dens. These days, if they haven’t been sealed, they are probably Hill Giant colonies or bandit haunts.
The rolling hills are mostly under cultivation by the manors and holdings.
The military strength of Rochenoire has been severely depleted by decades of war and famine. In terms of both population and defenses, the province is under strength.
Each of the three major villages has a militia of about 10-20.
Rochenoire Keep has no knights but it does have two sergeants at arms and a dozen men at arms. The town has 25 militia.
The peasant holdings contribute a small number of levy as well.
All told Rochenoire’s forces would include 4-5 knights, 4-5 sergeant at arms, 25-30 men at arms, 60-70 militia and about 200 levy (which may only be called up in time of war).
Whilst the income from tax is relatively modest for the size of the demense, expenses are high and the disposable income depends on whether or not the harvest has been good, the produce can be sold at a reasonable rate at market in Fairhaven and other factors such as the amount of banditry.
On an average year, the estate is able to bank about 1500-2000 gold.
Corn (ie wheat and barley), goats, goat cheese, olives, wine, truffles and marble.
Game hunting is restricted mostly rabbits, hares, duck, pheasant and wild goats throughout most of the province, though there is also deer and boar. Two hunting lodges were built in the Eldritch Groves in the West and North West by Harrold DuValier in 961YK and 963YK respectively.
The major religion in the demense is worship of the Sovereign Host, with Boldrei being particularly favoured. There is a chapel in the castle and a modest temple in the adjacent town.
There are two remote monasteries in the area though little is known about them.
As elsewhere in Aundair, when two neighbours come into conflict, tempers rise and blood will flow. In Rochenoire, it is the tradition among the lower classes to fight with fisticuffs till one combatant concedes or is knocked unconscious. Among the nobility, it is common to fight with blunted weapons or to tilt at each other. Trial by combat is not unheard of in Aundair.
Melthaias Othrennan – Seneschal of Rochenoire.