Rostland: South of the Gronzi Forest lies a vast rolling plain of fertile grasslands, dotted with farms and small villages. This is Rostland, breadbasket of the north and homeland of the Aldori swordpact. Centuries ago, the Taldan colonists who founded Rostland arrived in the north under the leadership of Baron Sirian First, a fiery, impulsive noble forced to emigrate from Taldor after losing one too many duels. In the early days of the colony, bandits struck from hidden camps in the river kingdoms, nearly destroying the budding colony before it had a chance to get started. The bandit leader was himself a master swordsman and challenged the baron to a wager: half the baron’s fortune against the bandit’s head. Unable to pass up the challenge, Baron First took the wager and was broadly humiliated by an ignoble defeat. After he paid the bandit, he disappeared for several years. Most assumed he had f led somewhere, too ashamed to show his face after such a defeat. The people were surprised when the baron returned several years later a changed man, a swordsman like the world had never before seen. Calling himself Sirian Aldori, he promptly challenged the bandit lord to a rematch, whereupon he disarmed and defeated the bandit in seconds. Reestablishing his rule, Baron Aldori issued an open challenge of 100,000 gp to anyone who could beat him in a duel of swords. Thousands answered the challenge from across the world. Some were earnest and honorable duelists, while others tried to cheat with magic or other tricks. It didn’t matter. Sirian defeated them all, forever cementing his reputation as the greatest swordsman in the world. At first, Sirian refused to teach his techniques, but eventually he selected a small group to train. He made them change their names to Aldori and to swear an oath not to reveal anything they learned to someone not of the swordpact. Through the generations that followed, Sirien’s pupils became known as the Aldori swordlords, a force feared throughout the continent. Until Choral arrived, the swordlords ruled Rostland and were every bit as impulsive and prickly as Sirien. The Aldori uniformly distrust the Surtovas, and their patience with the new king wears thin.
The people of Rostland are mainly farmers, craftsmen, and tradesmen. Most are outgoing, happy, and welcoming of strangers—as long as the strangers are willing to conform to the local customs, of which there are many. This welcome is somewhat misgiving, however, as the people of Rostland are obsessed with honor and personal standing, and take offense at the slightest provocation. One wrong word is likely to find the offender in front of the local magistrate or facing a prospective duel. If an outsider takes the trouble to learn their customs, the Rostlandi prove to be fast friends and staunch allies.