Auerswald

“Forget it Jake, it’s Auerswald.”
-excerpt from “Auerswald! A Musical.”

Auerswald, what’s its deal?

Situated not far downstream from where the Ober and the Tranig rivers run into the Teufel, Auerswald is an important hub for merchants and traders arriving from all three rivers. While not quite as large as its north and south neighbouring cities Ubersreik and Gruneberg, Auerswald makes up for it in its wealth and in its support of the arts. Beginning its life as a simple mining camp, Auerswald has always prospered from its surrounding hills, rich with precious metals, and its fortuitous placement has assured a healthy and endless influx of trade. In the city’s infancy performers and bards would be sure to travel with merchants they knew would be stopping in Auerswald, where their distractions were always well received by the working populace . Since then, Auerswald has evolved into a vibrant and sprawling city, although its fortunes have begun to wane in recent decades, leading to the spread of unemployment and crime.

Auerswald comes under the governance of the Von Bruner family, a line with some favour but not any considerable political clout. Lord Halman Von Bruner is the city’s ruler, but he is mostly a recluse and not particularly interested in the affairs of those under his rule. Still, so as not be remiss in his duties as protector, the garrison in Auerswald has seen plenty of funding from the towns ruler, allowing for a greater standing force and larger barracks. Unlike Ubersreik’s position guarding the Grey Lady Pass, Auerswald’s only military strategic value is as a crossing point on the river, so its fortifications have never been maintained to a high standard.

Since Auerswald’s interests have always been commercial, for most of its existence the mercantile elite have more or less run the town, leaving noble families like the Von Bruners and the Eichs to their own devices. For most of the town’s history, this has meant the Merchants’ Guild and the families that control it (Haagen, Rineheart and Steinhäger) have had a ruling hand in the town council and made sure that the politics and trade of Auerswald were favourable to the Guild and in particular their families. More recently various local merchants, of less “legitimate” origins, have been vying for greater control of the town. Steffan Hell is one such man, and he seems to have a lot of wealth and power to throw around for just a tavern owner.

Geheimistag, 2517- The Great Fire of Auerswald

Some years ago the nearby town of Ubersreik, under the rule of the Von Jungfreud family, attempted to increase its dominion to include a number of mines belonging to Auerswald, including the Hahnbrand silver mine, one of the largest and richest in the lower Reikland. The Emperor dispatched an Imperial Judge to Auerswald to report on the situation, who immediately began levying punitive taxes on vessels using the river, severely impacting the economies of both cities. The Von Jungfreuds responded by raising more troops and issuing veiled threats against Auerswald. Skirmishes broke out, and for a while it seemed civil war was inevitable.
It was under this atmosphere of animosity and uncertainty that disaster struck. On Geheimisnacht, 2517, a number of establishments situated in the poorer districts of Auerswald were set fire to by agents unknown starting a vast inferno that spread over half the city. While the river allowed many to reach safety, barges loaded with blackpowder were caught by the heat, and their explosive combustion killed large swaths of the city’s poor and working class. Even more drowned or were not fast enough to escape the flames. The city’s population was decimated, and despite the docks and the rocky bridge being swiftly rebuilt, Auerswald has still not recovered.

With no solid evidence, rumours abound as to who was behind the act of terrorism. Talk of cultists, rogue hedge mages, criminal organisations and even the resurgence of the Skaven myth has been heard from the survivors of that terrible Geheimisnacht. The possibility that it was an accident, while no less plausible, has been largely discounted. While there was no direct evidence linking Ubersreik to the disaster, the fact the Emperor removed the Von Jungfreuds from their position as rulers over Ubersreik means the popular opinion that they were behind it all still holds with most Auerswalders, and any Ubersreik citizens will receive a chilly, if not fatal reception in the Ashen districts of town.

Aurswald 2

Auerswald

Once Upon A Time In The Empire TheMarchoMan