Hellfrost: Icedale Tales
Population: 31,697 (50% Finnar, 20% Saxa, 10% Anari,
13% frostborn, 7% taiga elves)
Religion: Ertha, Sigel, Scaetha, Kenaz
Imports: Ale, grain, iron, jewelry, wool
Exports: Bone, furs, icewood
Were it not for the value of icewood, the Freeholds would not exist. At least not in name, for the taiga elves and Finnar who have dwelt here since the Icewall rose have no desire to stamp their authority over it.
Once Anari and Saxa realized the value of icewood, the temptation proved too strong, and two small towns were built. Some folk do live in small steads or villages, herding reindeer for a living or crafting goods from the scant natural resources. Only the Finnar tend to trade in furs, having no desire to tear up the land or enter the frigid hell of the Frozen Forest. There are also several enclaves of frostborn and a small number of hrimwisards living in an old, partially collapsed castle.
The Freeholds are a harsh environment, and individuals do not last long this close to the Hellfrost. As a result, folk tend to be less concerned with personal property and space, and in most settlements you can wander into a neighbor’s house, borrow something of value, and tell him about it a week later. Fights are common, but are rarely driven by anger and hardly ever result in serious injuries—most are just folks blowing off steam or suffering from cabin fever.
Technically, the Freeholds are governed by a council of men and women from Icedale and Iceport, but in practice the taiga elves and Finnar have an equal say in how the region is governed. The taiga elves usually send a single member to meetings, while several notable Finnar nobles regularly participate.
The Freeholds maintain an army of some 4,000 men, a large number for such a small population. The dangers of the High Winterlands are many, and there is talk of increasing this number. Half of the army is stationed at Icedale and Iceport, with a quarter spread among the smaller settlements. The remaining quarter operates in the wilds to ensure the region remains civilized.