Friday, 13 March 2020

Drummond's Quarter

Shaped like the remains of a circle from which three quarters have been removed, Drummond’s Quarter sits on top of a triangular mound with steep slopes on all sides, at the top of which are high wooden stockades. Behind these bristle towers and watchposts - many spines which give the fourth-of-a-town the look of a hedgehog. And its people bristle too, with weapons and aggressive martial fervour, and with the unspoken anger of those who find themselves shackled by law, custom and circumstance.

According to legend Drummond’s Quarter was once part of a full town, roughly circular in shape, with each quarter owned by a brother. The brothers became proud and rode against an ancient and mighty golden wyrm, Yehud-Shining-in-the-Twilight, who once lived in the hills nearby. Their punishment was to have their town taken from them and cast into a netherworld of the dragon’s choosing, where it would remain for all time. At the last moment, however, the youngest of the brothers, Drummond, managed to declare an oath to the dragon which saved his own quarter of the town - though nobody knows what was the promise he gave.

This may or may not be true. But the main festival day in Drummond’s Quarter celebrates the return of the souls of those lost in the dragon’s punishment. And the people of the town insist that there are secret tunnels in Blackhaggs Rigg, the wooded hill which by legend is where Yehud-Shining-in-the-Twilight made his home, and that these tunnels lead down into a netherworld where - somewhere - the remaining quarters of the town and their inhabitants can be found. In some tales, those people wait for a saviour to come and rescue them, but in others they have created for themselves a paradise far below the surface of the earth, where they want for nothing and are safe from all dangers. 

Drummond’s Quarter is ruled by its martial orders, of which there are dozens, each with its own tower or keep, and each with its own peculiar focus, be it the capture of enemies without killing them; the use of the greatsword; the net-and-trident; or the skill of trench-digging. Each order is small, having usually less than fifty or so members (who are collectively referred to as ‘electors’), every one of whom spends all of his time in practising so as to be ready to defend the town when necessary. To be a member of such an order is prestigious: most have two or three wives, and a number of chattel slaves to perform the work of their household, and they are the only inhabitants of the town who may vote to elect the Leader. Their daughters they marry off; their sons they treat with brutal harshness so as to burn off all hint of weakness, like the fire sears the skin of a roasted hog and makes it into crackling. The rest of the population live in meek subservience, mostly bonded to measly plots of farming land outside of the town itself in serfdom, although there are a few merchants and other traders and artisans performing necessary tasks. The mood among the non-electors is that which would prevail among any population denied the capacity to develop wealth or status through their own merits - by turns despairing, stoical and violent.

Travellers come to Drummond’s Quarter rarely. The journey is too dangerous, and the town itself is full of unkindness and has little laughter in it. But by the same token, for those who seek adventure its position at the edge of the wilds is of unparalleled potential.


  1. These town descriptions are fantastic. I especially like the all the names you've come up with, they feel realer than most.

    What's the rough historical equivalent for The Meeting of the Waters? Anglo-Saxon Period? Late Medieval?

    1. I have cheated a little bit by using some inspiration from real (but obscure) local place names, although lots I have also made up. The place names in my local area are so evocative it is a shame not to use them.

      It is roughly late medieval but with a lot of anachronistic elements.