Hellfrost: The Long Night
Scayle is generally regarded as being a town of lunatics. The town is built on piles sticking out of the fringes of the Drake Marsh and every building is coated in black, sticky sap. The roof of the baron’s manor house appears to be made out of blackened shields, but these are in fact marsh dragon scales.
Three centuries ago, a marsh drake terrorized Scayle (then known rather unimaginatively as Marshtown). The townsfolk rallied under the banner of a passing knight, Sir Aethwald ap-Herrith, and slew the dragon. The knight became the first baron, and the practice of using dragon scales to roof the baron’s house began. The skull of that great dragon became the baron’s high seat.
Since that day, the baron’s heir has had to slay a marsh dragon in order to claim the title. Although in the early days the heir did this alone, the town quickly ran out of
descendents of the first baron and had to begin founding new dynasties. They wisely decided that the heir could take soldiers with him and need only ceremonially plunge his blade into a dead dragon to claim the title. The current baron, Lothar ap-Nerth, claimed his throne the old fashioned way, slaying an adult dragon in single combat. His only son, Anlai, is rather bookish and dreads the day his father dies—even the thought of entering the marsh terrifies him.
Scayle has two militias. The first is the citizens’ militia, which any adult male may join. The second is a semi-professional army known as the Dragon Guard. Each year, dozens of hopeful candidates enter the marsh. Those who return with a marsh dragon scale are rewarded with membership in the Dragon Guard and their name added to the List of Honor, a carved stone in the main square.
Scayle’s greatest treasure is a marsh dragonscale me-dium shield, which forms part of the baron’s war gear. After defeating the dragon, Sir Aethwald scoured Rassilon for one of the remaining craftsmen who still knew the old art. Obviously he found one, but his journals, which the barons have kept in their treasury for 300 years, give scant details about this part of the knight’s life.
Every year in Huntianmonan, the Dragon Guard hunt a marsh dragon, hauling its carcass back to town, where it is roasted during a night of merrymaking and drunken revelry. According to local folklore, the dragon killed by the first baron had eaten all the livestock in the region and the starving villages in turn consumed the dragon.
The meat tastes foul, but tradition is tradition, as the locals say.
The main export is blackwood sap. Felled in Drake Marsh (which is technically in Aspiria, but the Aspirians never venture deep into the marsh), the sap is used to waterproof ships and wooden houses, being easier to apply than pitch, less flammable, and with a slightly better aroma.Scayle’s second export is acid, which the Dragon Guard gathers from marsh dragons. After killing or subduing the dragon, their bile duct and stomach are cut
out and carried back to Scayle, where the contents carefully emptied into glass bottles.