HISTORY OF TRUNAU
Since its border was first established after the defeat of the Whispering Tyrant in 3828 AR, the Hold of Belkzen has steadily expanded south into Lastwall, pushing back line after line of crusaders and leaving countless miles of shattered border fortresses to rot within the orc-held territory. In 4515, beleaguered soldiers and farmers pushed to the limit by nearly 300 years of active war since the fall of Harchist’s Blockade crafted a new border dubbed the Hordeline, a sad affair consisting of little more than earthen ramparts and wooden palisades, and made their stand along the Kestrel River. Still, it held long enough for those communities behind it to feel some measure of hope that the orc menace had finally been halted.
It was not to be. Shortly after the Hordeline’s construction, its western stretch fell, and orcs flooded south into Lastwall. The commanders of Lastwall reluctantly ordered yet another general evacuation, pulling back to a new border farther east, and leaving those residents in the relinquished territory to flee to safety with whatever they could carry, desperate to stay one step ahead of the rampaging orcs. Yet not everyone fled. Enraged by what they saw as Lastwall’s cowardly betrayal, the farmers and retired crusaders in the placid settlement of Trunau refused to run. Positioned on top of a rocky, naturally defensible hill, the community dug in, sharpening stakes and digging pits, their numbers swelling with refugees and soldiers unwilling to retreat and abandon their friends. When the orcs inevitably arrived, they found their ferocity more than matched by that of Trunau’s defenders, and after taking heavy losses assaulting the cliffs and log palisades, the invaders retreated south to loot vacated settlements.
Heady with victory, the surviving residents made a pact, known today as the Standing Vow (or simply “the Vow”): to hold their land against all comers, paying tribute neither to raiding orcs nor to the armies of neighboring nations. They would stand their ground and live free, no matter the cost. For the last couple centuries, the people of Trunau have held to this oath, and it’s a matter of great pride that despite catastrophic raids and the rigors required by life in hostile territory, the town has never fallen. Even more important to some, however, is that unlike Freedom Town to the north—a town of criminals and exiles settled just inside the Hold of Belkzen in order to avoid Lastwall’s strict laws—the people of Trunau have never lost their fundamentally civilized nature, nor have they resorted to paying for protection from an outside entity.
While many have come to Trunau over the years looking to escape shadowy pasts, Trunau accepts no dead weight; only those who are willing to work and contribute to the community can share the safety of the town walls. When the orcs come, every man and woman, regardless of wealth or profession, is expected to aid in the defense. Those who acquit themselves well and conduct themselves with honor find that Trunau’s residents care little about who newcomers may have been in their lives before—only who they seek to be now.