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Locked in civil war when you first came to it, the domain of Gundarak was ruled by the cruel Duke Boldiszar Gundar from his mysterious arrival in the year 596. Duke Gundar was assassinated in the year 739, his long life a testament to his unholy nature.
He ruled from Castle Hunadora, in the far northwest of
his domain. In the dense and reputedly haunted forest of northwestern
Gundarak. He rarely emerged, preferring to rule through his warlords,
of which there were three. The northernmost ruled out of the city of
Warlord Godren and his counterpart in Teufeldorf ruled from black stone strongholds shielded by massive walls and spikes. Zeidenberg itself rose up around the structure occupied by Warlord Godren, the Ashen Stronghold. Originally built as a symbol to intimidate the lesser nobility of the northern region of Gundarak, the city is now a bastion of Gundarakite power. Count Strahd von Zarovich VI has sent more Barovian soldiers to take Zeidenberg than any other location, and soon they will be prepared for what is likely to be a long and bloody siege. To Warlord Godren’s credit, his defenses are sound, and his people hate Barovians more than they do him. The count had best be willing to lose enough men to fill the city by the time the siege is ended!
The three warlords emerged only at night, adding to rumors that they were the unholy spawn of the duke himself. As for the duke, he was rumored to be anything from a vampire to a demon to a corrupted fey risen from the forest around his castle. His warlords, then, were presumably of the same species as the creature that made or summoned them. None has learned the truth behind this secret and lived, except for perhaps the slayers of Duke Gundar.
The warlords ruled with a severe brutality. They maintained coteries of minions willing to report seditious or even mysterious behaviors to them. These individuals often vanished in the night. If they returned at all, it was often after years in the warlord’s dungeons and with a very different outlook on the ruling forces of the domain. These folk rarely remembered even their own families, and most often relocated to another region in the domain in order to start a new life for themselves.
For minions the warlords commanded both a troupe of untrained soldiers and their secret police. The secret police, a group notorious for deadly and bloody night time raids, was the horror of any native Gundarakite. Worse, more than a few travelers through the domain caught the eye of a member of the secret police’s infamous eyes and ears, and found themselves taken to the dungeons no differently than any other criminal. Whether they plotted against the government or not, these poor souls served as a dreadful example to others in Gundarak: Tread cautiously and do anything in your power to avoid notice!
All of this is not to say that the rule of Duke Gundar was without incident. Though he did his best to squash individuality and free thought, the folk still rose up in several failed revolts. All were put down without mercy, and were later dubbed the Unwise Rebellions. These took place in the years 625, 637, and 701. In each case, the folk were led by a confederation of minor nobles, pressed too far by the duke’s maddening oppression. Duke Gundar responded through his warlords and his secret police, but after the third he took personal action. To see that no other rebellion ever took place, he saw to it that every noble not related to him through was marriage was crucified outside of Castle Hunadora. The place of this massacre still bears the signs of it almost fifty years later.
Thereafter, the duke gave his warlords permission to occasionally make an example of random peasants. These poor souls were either publicly slaughtered for no reason, or else they were hanged by the neck from the walls of the warlord’s palace. It is said that the southern warlord’s atrocities against the fey make even these crimes pale.
The people of Gundarak are built similarly to the
Like Invidians and Barovians, Gundarkite men wear long, drooping mustaches, though younger men also wear beards.
Garb tends towards loose, flowing shirts and heavy pants. Women wear dresses that conceal their figures. Both adorn themselves with wool, in the form of vests or shawls. Jewelry is very rare among both sexes.
Map of Gundarak:
Contacts Provided by the Lady Halovic of the House of Sages and the Western See of Borca
1. Malik Indirovich of the Indirovich Vineyards outside of Zeidenberg, Gundarak.
If the Indirovich Orchards still stand, then Malik Indirovich will be there. A steadfast defender of the ancient grape vines that provide the blood of the land—as the Gundarakites refer to the fine wine made on the grounds—Malik is a trustworthy if reticent man. He and his family have shared open trade with the Western See for over fifty years, and so any who come and use the name of Halovic should find lodging available at a fair price.
2. Regar Araenich of the Peizol Araeniches in Peizeol, Gundarak
Burgomeister Araenich has upheld a series of communications with the Western See, communicating the well-being of certain commodities key to the well-being of the See and the School of the House of Sages. As a fine and upstanding man, the burgomeister will ensure shelter to any who come in the name of Halovic. Conduct yourself in a manner befitting emissaries of this ancient house!
3. The Sage Eilental of Teufeldorf, Gundarak
scholar of the denizens of the Gundar and