The Lastlight Chronicles
The largest settlement in Sunder, the city of Lastlight encompasses 3,000 residents and perhaps another 1,000 in its broader catchment area. It is the initial base of operations for our heroes.
Lastlight has been in existence for at least 700 years, beginning its life as a bad of operations for farmers and miners around an even-older dwarven fort. At the time it was known as Stonebridge, for the impressive half-bridge, half-fortification that once buttressed the valley wall. During the early years of the Great War, the fort was used as a shelter and sanctuary by local townspeople. However, the fort received heavy damage during the fighting, including collapsing many of the tunnels that burrowed into the rocky mountainside. The fort has only been partially repaired since that period, and many of its mysteries remain undiscovered to this day.
Toward the end of the wars, as Altamar commenced its role as the coordinating point for the final push, Lastlight gained its now-familiar name as being the last of the beacons that dotted the Sunder Mountains to warn Altamar of attacks. The city was used as a staging post for many of the last, ferocious battles that ended those dark days, and the mountains and valleys around Lastlight are dotted with the remnants of long-forgotten skirmishes.
The city proper is located on a small plateau on the side of Alric's Hope, vertiginously overlooking a valley that separates that peak from its sister mountain, Grimspeak. The bridge that gave the settlement its original name has long since crumbled down the embankment that marks the western limit of the town, although parts of the bridge remain and continue to buttress sagging cliff-faces. Some blocks have been repurposed, but most lay further down the valley – whether buried amongst the trees and moss, or slowly slipping under farmers' fields.
Stonebridge Fort is now Stonebridge College, with the grounds shared between a chapel to the Triumvirate, a wizard's college, and the local garrison – which flies the colours of both Lastlight and Altamar. Lastlight is the nominal home of the Rangers of Sunder; Rangers technically report into the garrison but are largely autonomous, with official business dispensed from inside the walls or at [[The Unicorn and Serpent]] ('uphill'), with less official assignments from one of the 'downhill' taverns such as The Cauldron.
Farmers are well-respected in Lastlight. It's recognised as being tough work; farms rarely stretch over more than a few acres, and split their wares between chicken, goat and some fruits. There are a number of gold seams up in the hills too, and so miners often come through for supplies. Whether due to the city's position on the trail south into Sunder and The Heathlands, or due to the miners, there always seems to be enough money in town to keep the place in good condition, with larders stocked and relatively few people going poor. The people of Lastlight may live their lives clinging to the side of a mountain, but they're hardworking and industrious, and generally look after one another.
People and places
Local personalities include
* Lady Threnody Rook, Beaconmaster of Lastlight
* Gillam Sucain, Chief of the Rangers
* Master Ebben, Wizard of Stonebridge College
* Tarsten Nemir, chief priest of Iero Triumvir
* Kenric, local elven wrestler
* Wulf Doolan, innkeeper of The Unicorn and Serpent
* Duncan 'The Boar' Boarshelm, crime boss of Downhill
* Klausimir Bale, innkeeper of The Cauldron
* Gerth Camble, prosperous dwarven merchant
Locations in Lastlight include:
* Stonebridge College
* The Unicorn and Serpent
* The Crooked Candle
* The Cauldron
* Beacon Square
Getting to and from Lastlight:
Lastlight is located on a well-travelled thoroughfare to Altamar (87km / 54 m, or just over 2 days travel at normal pace). Heading northeast to Altamar, travellers looking to break their journey would first stop at Ombrey and then The Wayhouse.
South of Lastlight, most travellers would take either the High Path, up through the mountains and eventually down toward The Heathlands and distant Larnach (599 km / 372 m; 16 days of travel with guides, 21 without assistance). Some are tempted to take a shorter trek along the Darkened Path. This takes travellers through dangerous woods and the haunted marsh named Finneg's Mire – and few survive to tell the truth of what dwells there.
Heroes looking to travel to more distant locales find Lastlight a conveniently central site. Farthingsnest in Ord is 9 days west (352 km / 219 m). Greengate is 13 days away (497 km / 309 m), and Tervingen in The Septeme is the same distance in the opposite direction.
The Heart of the World, as the centre of the mountains are known, is around 600 km (372 m) south-west of Lastlight. On open roads that would translate to just over 15 days travel, but the hellish terrain and potential for deadly monstrosities means it's likely to take two or three times' that duration to reach – if it can be reached at all.