Fall of the Warlock Kings
Once a city of hobgoblins, with an elite army of bugbears and goblin field workers to feed them, this proud citadel was called simply Astarte and rivalled Chan and Carnelian as the greatest city of the early Plains of Chan. It was here that the Patriarch arose to rival the Matriarch of Carnelian, a male warrior-priest religion that was hated by the ancient, undying priestess and her followers. War broke out within months of the Patriarchy’s founding, and for some years there was slaughter between Carnelian and Astarte. When the city was taken by Carnelian, every male hobgoblin, and all the bugbears and goblins, were executed, their bodies filling the streets of the city, and the buildings were pulled down on top of them. A great mound of earth was raised over the ruins and then salted. The Patriarch, first and last of his kind, was forced to watch all of this, and then impaled atop the hill and left to bleed out as the Matriarch’s forces marched back north to Carnelian. In time, a tiefling warrior, leader of a band of followers, built a fortress atop the barren hill, which was later found abandoned, all sign of the band gone. Further resettlements took place as the horrid stories became only memories, but each was plagued by losses, by disease, by horror. At last, the Padishah of the Chan Empire, having taken over the site and recognizing it’s good location, settled a thousand soldiers and their families on the hill that had buried the old city, and named it Dun Astarte, Astarte on the Hill. The city that grew there was always troubled by strange disappearances, moreso than other cities, but in time this simply became part of the place, and was known and accpeted. The city survived the Orcish Horde, and became for a time independent under a line of orcish kings, until they were thrown out and replaced by hobgoblin monarchs, who lasted until a century ago, when one of the Infernal Vicars settled in the city and the palace, displacing the monarchy, and leaving the royal family to wander the city, begging charity of the noble families, as they do to this day, still dressed in tattered finery. The palace was buried in a vast snowfall some months ago, and has remained locked in ice, along with some of the neighboring buildings, since that time. The Vicar has been seen by those brave enough to enter, a statue of silently screaming ice. The area is troubled by infernal beasts, and a strong watch is kept. Authority is uncertain; the Great King has not appointed a new satrap to replace the vicar, but no one wants the royal family back. Rumor is spreading of a dark hobgoblin who calls himself the Patriarch, and claims to be the same who was impaled on the salted earth all those centuries ago, and who has, people say, been the curse of the city ever since. Now, however, he wishes to help them throw off the shackles of their foreign occupiers, before, it’s said, the Matriarch can deploy any of her fighting priestesses to gain control of the city. Dun Astarte is a city of claustrophobic streets, narrow windows, shadowy courtyards and suspicion. The population is mostly goblinoids, but there are also numbers of dwarves and tieflings, some orcs, and a few of other races as well, numbering as many as 40,000 in total.