Hengistbury is a small village (population approximately 150) on the banks of a winding river located in the rustic and rural county of Holdenshire.
While normally a sleepy little village with a few essential services and not much excitement, it has recently become the focus of a rather disturbing amount of activity. Kobold tribes, normally located far to the East, have begun encroaching in the nearby plains and hills, someone or something is haunting the old castle, strange creatures move across the countryside and a myriad of other oddly disturbing events have been noticed.
The citizens of Hengistbury and the nearby community of Thornbury are on edge. Children have gone missing, Lizardmen are moving in, some even say that sinister rituals are being performed out on the Weirhenge. How much of this is true nobody really knows for sure, but everyone seems to agree that things aren’t right.
The county is governed by Lord Pemberton and his lady-wife, Lady Sybill Pemberton. Lord and Lady Pemberton reside in Hengistbury Keep, on a small hill overlooking the village. They are benevolent rulers, but even they are beginning to worry about what might be happening around them.
The county is patrolled by a ranger, Brand Torek, a large, easygoing bear of a man, proficient in staff and bow. He reports directly to Lord Pemberton. He has several part time assistants located throughout the area and calls on them if things get out of hand.
In addition to a variety of small shops, houses and other essential buildings, several locations in Hengistbury are involved in various adventures.
Brand Torek’s Cabin: Brand Torek is the local Sheriff, by appointment of Lord Pemberton. His cabin also serves as his office although he is not often found within. Brand is serious about his job and spends most of his day patrolling the county on foot. The cabin is not particularly fancy and sits near the Northern edge of the village, but residents of the area know to come here if trouble is at hand. If Brand himself is not there, it is always possibly that one of his part time deputies is nearby. Both Yara Bloodclaw and Jayel make occasional stops at the cabin to check in and see if help is needed. Brand’s niece, Ariadne, is generally close at hand and can take messages for Brand if needed.
Samuel and Sons Trading Company: Samuel and Sons is the chief supplier of foreign produced goods in Holdenshire. They are also the chief market for locally produced goods to the wider world. They run a brisk business purchasing furs and fish as well as surplus crops and a few other locally produced items. In exchange they bring in manufactured goods such as glass items and worked leather. They ship their trade goods up and down the river and so are located near it.
Recently, there has been some sort of trouble at Samuel and Sons and this has attracted the notice of the home company. They’ve sent Willem Von Nederveen to investigate the problem and determine what to do.
The Temple is managed by Lady Sybill Pemberton. Initially dedicated to Erastil, the God of farming and hunting, it is fair to say that the town of Hengistbury grew up around the Temple rather than the Temple being built where the locals lived. The Temple is a wooden affair and sometimes serves as the town meeting hall when large gatherings are called for and as the local infirmary and hospital when needed. It’s walls and roof are built of stout oak harvested from Queenswood and bear many intricate carvings of wild animals of the hunt, field grains and other symbolism related to Erastil.
Lady Sybill ministers to the sick and infirm in Erastil’s name. She does not preach to the townspeople, instead believing that by her good works she can influence them sufficiently to ensure a welcome in the hereafter. She is practical, though and understands that Erastil may not meet everyone’s needs. For example, those of the Forge fall outside of Erastil’s domain and, as such, require different beliefs. During her tenure she has seen fit to allow the placement of various symbols of other good aligned deities in and around the temple. If Erastil objects to this, he has remained silent on the matter.
Every Autumn, in celebration of a good harvest and successful business dealings and the general good health of the two communities, Lady Pemberton – just as her predecessors have always done – organizes a Harvest Festival for both Hengistbury and Thornbury. Farmers bring their final harvests and livestock, the various businessmen and gatherers bring their wares and anyone passing through is welcomed to the celebration. An informal judging is held and the winners in several categories for ‘Best Of’ goods each year are given a small carved trophy of Erastil’s bow and arrow done in oak. In addition, Lord Pemberton grants such winners six months of tax amnesty specifically so that the locals can enjoy the fruits of the winner’s labour at a reduced cost for part of the year. Lord Pemberton believes that this encourages the competition as well as allowing the less fortunate access to the same high quality goods as those who are more well off.
The highlight of the Autumn Festival is the cheese roll. On the last day of the week-long festival contestants gather on a steep hill located roughly midway between Hengistbury and Thornbury. Specially created Black Cheeses are brought out and, on starters orders, the cheeses are released while participants give chase hoping to catch one of the cheeses as it speeds down the hill. Secreted in one of the cheeses is a single platinum piece supplied by Lord and Lady Pemberton. Any contestant catching a cheese might be lucky enough to open it and find the prize. Competition is quite fierce, made only more so by the free pints of hard cider made available to the contestants before the roll. Most years the platinum piece goes unclaimed, but if this persists for more than 5 years Lord Pemberton will order a second platinum piece to be placed in a cheese. Those cheese that are not caught are taken back to Clothbinder’s Cheese Shop unopened and stored for future use. Some of them are becoming quite old indeed.
Hengistbury also offers the following goods and services:
- Penner’s Pig Farm is located to the West of Hengistbury. Penner has an interest in pirate history and memorabilia and may know the odd thing or two about the river and it’s environs.
- Clothbinder’s Cheese Shop features many fine cheeses. Temrus Clothbinder makes the cheeses for the annual harvest festival cheese roll. The cheeses wrapped in black are not to be touched.
- The Forge in Hengistbury is run by Rorus Klain. Rorus is a smith of no small skill and supplies tools and weapons to both locals and soldiers for miles around. He has a large order that needs to go West soon.
- The Krebs Apothecary, run by Heinrich Krebs, makes many fine potions, philters and salves. He’s been known to make the occasional “aid to romance” as well as curatives, digestive aids, and special cleaning supplies. Should someone have need of smoke sticks, alchemist’s fire or other such adventuring goods, Krebs maintains a ready supply. He prefers to be known as Krebs the Apothecary.
- Stedd’s Shoppe is the home and business of Stedd Grimwald, Stedd is an unfortunate dwarf with no beard and a sad story to tell. He also sells a variety of potions from his shop front. He is not the first choice for potions and the like since both the Apothecary and Kalle Sirkesalo can provide potions of better quality. He does, however, tend to have a wider variety on sale.
- The Bakery, as run by Steffen the Baker is very popular early in the morning with the smell of fresh breads wafting in the air. Most of the people in town stop by here before going on with their day. If the PCs need to find someone before the Bleeding Heart opens, this might be a good place to look.