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Wren
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« on: 08 March 2004, 14:04:00 »

Overview.
Evergrey Bridge, a name that refers to the gleam of the material from which it is built, is sometimes also called 'The Bridge of Tears'. It stands an isolated testament to Santharia's troubled past, bridging the fast flowing Cylian River between Ephirn's Lake and the Ancythrian Sea, connecting the main trade route from Carmalad to Voldar. There has been a crossing on this site as far back as lore can recall, though there is much debate as to how old the current structure actually is. Strategically, Evergrey Bridge has always been a very important crossing and it has been the scene of many minor skirmishes, not to mention the site of a critical clash during the Battle of the Four Swords.

Location.
Evergrey Bridge is the only crossing point upon the Cylian River, and stands some distance downstream of Ephirn's Lake. The Bridge links the Jernais Pass that leads ultimately to Voldar with roads that lead to Doovens, Veltin and most importantly Carmalad and so forms one of the most frequented cloth routes in Santharia. If the bridge is blocked then the alternative is many months of sea travel, or a considerably longer than normal ride, passing south of Hèckra and the Ancythrian Sea

Evergrey Bridge now stands in the province of Enthronia, but in the time before the ascension of Thar the Bridge and the road pass that it bore across the river formed the border between the kingdoms Erphronia and Caltharia. Such is the importance of this bridge that neither tribe was prepared to relinquish ownership, and eventually it was divided in half, so that the southern side belonged to Caltharia and the northern to Erphronia. This arrangement was to have many beneficial consequences and these shall be discussed later.

Function
Its a Bridge. Do I really need to spell this out? A wise person once said: 'Walls keep people out. Bridges bring them together.' Couldn't put it better!

Description
Evergrey Bridge is a hauntingly beautiful spot. The beauty of the landscape in these parts is breathtaking, but also wild and barren. It is not a place to linger, for the road to the East of the River crossing passes through the Southern most fringes of troll territory and their continuing prescence and occasional raids make Evergrey Bridge a less than safe place to be. On both banks there are guardposts that accommodate the men that protect travellers and merchants that travel this way from the Troll Mountains.

To the South the land rises up into the Twinean Peaks, often purple and pink with lowlying Yrom (heather). To the West the wilds of the Heath of Jearnais spread out before you, seemingly without bounds - their flat expanse stretching away to the horizon. And to the North is Ephirn's lake. Though the bridge is for the most part a structure of human concern and function, it is unextricably linked with the light elf Ephirn and his sister Naifýr in lore.

Plants crawl over the structure. The pontoons that hold the structure have narrow lips that low just below the normal waterlevel, making them a haven for plants that like to keep their feet wet ....... yadda yadda

In construction, the bridge on the surface appears to be nothing special. To span the river it is 120 peds long, which makes it nowhere near the longest bridge in Santharia, and 20 peds wide. It is constructed of scoria, a rock formed by cooling lava, collected from the slopes of the Hèckra. The scoria from which the bridge is constructed contains a high quantity of volcanic glass of both obsidian (black) and arshisi (blue) types - giving the structure a slightly reflective blue-grey surface and thus, more than likely the name - Evergrey Bridge.

The bridge traverses the river using a simple arch design. Only the top layer, which form the turetted walls are sealed together with morter. The other stones are held together by the sheer weight and careful spread of gravity across the two arches that span the Cylian and come to rest on a central pontoon. This structure has great intergrity and strength. Such a design is hardly surprising, given that arch bridges are probably the oldest bridge design to use stone and the structure that spans the river to this day is certainly of great age. It is not altogether certain, however, exactly how old the present structure is.

History
The lore that surrounds this bridge is ancient beyond even the reckoning of the elves and there has most certainly been a crossing here for as long as there is memory and written records. However, many scholars believe that the current structure is not the bridge referred to in the myths about Naifýr, arguing that in the earliest times a crossing was more likely to have been a wooden structure resting on several enormous wooden pontoons, not the great technically advanced stone structure we see today. However, none of these scholars can agree on when the current structure was constructed.

Lore and myth is not helpful. Even stories of the oldest times describe the bridge in its current form. Memory of any older structure that might have existed has been lost. Tales of yore cannot shed light on when the current bridge was built, nor even as to who built it and for what puropse. Most consider it to be a human structure, though there are tales, which I will recount in the next section that attribute the building of the bridge to trolls, but given that Santharian trolls have never shown any tendency to build such technically adept structures elsewhere, it is thought that this is a fantasy, albeit a very entertaining story. More likely than trolls actually building bridges seems their liking to let others build them and concentrate more on the part dealing with the waylaying of travellers...

The most likely explanation is that Evergrey Bridge was built about the year 846 b.S. by the Erpheronians to aid their war against the Caltharians. A new structure could support vast numbers of troops and heavy siege equipment that a wooden bridge could not. Certainly the structure can be no later than this, as Evergrey Bridge was a critical strategical location during the War for Ancyros (846-822 b.S.).

The war between the two kingdoms rumbled on for more than 20 years and for the majority of that time the crossing remained in Erpheronian hands, which had a deep impact upon Caltharian cloth trading with Salsir, Horth and the settlements that would go on to form Milkengrad; and so the kingdom's whole economy. The possession of Evergrey Bridge, together with the harsh terms of the Alvang treaty were the major contributing factors of civil war and the eventual emergence of Mertogrand (833 b.S.), who seized the bridge and invaded Erpheronia. It was swiftly retaken by the Erpheronian army and was held by them until the truth about the Massacre at the Silvershire was revealed and in order for the Erpheronian King to preserve his honour he not only beheaded his commander Khisaar, but also ceded control of the Southern half of Evergrey Bridge - drawing the border through the middle of the Jernais pass allowing the Caltharian merchants from Carmalad and Cavthan the right of access over this ancient way and thus a road to Kyrania and Centoria that did not pass through Erpheronian land.

While the animosity between these two tribes rumbled on long after the war finally ended, this shared ownership of the bridge was to pay dividens. The road to Doovens (now in Erpheronian hands) and Veltin ran through the southern Troll Hills. This made - and still makes - the road and its river crossing a prime target of troll raids. More importantly to lose control of Evergrey Bridge to the trolls would open the way to raids far further West. Trolls can travel at great speed, and Jernais would quickly become a target if the trolls found that they could easily cross the Cylian. Quickly the two tribes found that with both sides posting troops at the bridge (more to watch each other than anyone else) they were, between them far more able to protect the pass of Jernais from trolls, simply because of increased man power. Because the arrangement suited both sides it stuck and the arrangement only ceased when Caltharia joined the United Kingdom of Tharania in 482 b.S., though the number of men posted there did not decrease.

The strategic importance of the bridge again became evident in 292 b.S. Pherán'Ephtaerín brought his troops to reinforce the retreating Halfling, Thrumgolz and Monteron Dwarven forces at what became known as the 'Battle of the Four Swords'. His coming prevented an initial orcish landslide at Ephirn's Lake, but before long they were pushed back along the pass of Jernais by the seemingly endless orcish onslaught. Evergrey Bridge was where Pherán'Ephtaerín chose to make one last stand before retreat. He knew that if the Bridge was taken then the most direct route for reinforcements would be severed and Tharania would be divided in two by the orcish forces. In division, he knew, there would be no victory. He hoped that the bridge would provide a bottleneck, limit the numbers of orcs that could attack at one time, handing the tactical advantage back to the allied forces under his command. It was a wise and sensible battle plan, but it did not avail Pherán'Ephtaerín. The Four swords of the allies held the bridge for a sunrise with wave upon wave of orc warriors threw themselves at their defences. However, the myth that orcs are stupid or dull, is just that, a myth without foundation. The orcenhordes quickly realised that a prolonged assult upon the bridge would end in their defeat. While the most expendable of the orc horde continued to throw themselves at the Bridge, many of the orcs moved further upstream, North of Ephrins lake, where the river could be more easily crossed. On the return march south, the Orcs also managed to enlist the Trolls. This combined force were spotted to late by the forces of Pherán'Ephtaerín. Surrounded and out numbered, Pherán'Ephtaerín was forced to retreat and surrender the bridge. Evergrey Bridge had betrayed the Alliance of Four Swords. Pherán'Ephtaerín was forced to retreat, first to Carmalad, and then to abandon the city altogether as it too was overrun by the orcish forces.

And so Evergrey Bridge was in orcish hands, for the first and only time in its entire history. But not for long. A few months after the fall of Carmalad and counter offensive was launched and the city retaken. The orcs were pushed back and the bridge swiftly retaken by the allied races and returned to human control.

The bridge is still a site of the occasional troll skirmish, and Santharian troops are still posted here all year round, but compared to its violent and turbulent past - site of battle and bloodshed driven by the importance of its location - this is as close to peace as Evergrey Bridge has ever been.

Mythology

The Troll's Bridge
One of the most enduring tales about the Bridge is certainly a tall tale indeed. Popular Etheronian children's stories tell of how the stone bridge was built by a Troll called Kiylk Tu'uq.

Kiylk Yu'uq lived on the highest hill in the Troll lands. He was the largest of all the Trolls in all the world and by far the strongest. Everything that ventured on to his hill was his - all the animals, all the females, even humans who were unfortunate to get lost, even they belonged to him. He kept them and forced them to work for him, hunt for him and when he had no use for them he, well, disposed of them.

One fine, fair day Kiylk sat upon the mound that he had built to better oversee his lands. The air was still and quiet. Kiylk thought that there was no place better on earth to survey all that he had aquired.

That day he could see further than he had ever seen before. And in the distance he could see the peaks of the Tandala.  


Anodd yw dwyn dyn oddiar ei dylwyth

Edited by: Wren at: 3/27/04 0:40
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Artimidor Federkiel
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« Reply #1 on: 10 March 2004, 14:40:00 »

Woo-hoo... Now that was fast! Seems you really got into entry-writing mood when thinking up on what to put into the two sentences for the wallpaper, Wren:D   *considers asking people more for two-liners only in order to get a detailed entry*

Well, let's get to commenting - here's the legend I'll use for my comments as usual:

orange - comments
yellow - corrections, modifications
gray - unclear sentences

And here we go:

---

Overview.
Evergrey Bridge, a name that refers to the gleam of the material from which it is built, is sometimes also called 'The Bridge of Tears' (tyring to avoid a "refer" repetition here). It stands an isolated testament to Santharia's troubled past, bridging the fast flowing Cylian River between Ephirn's Lake and the Ancythrian Sea, connecting the main trade route from Carmalad to Voldar. There has been a crossing on this site as far back as lore can recall, though there is much debate as to how old the current structure actually is. Strategically, Evergrey Bridge has always been a very important crossing and it has been the scene of many minor skirmishes, not to mention the site of a critical clash during the Battle of the Four Swords.

Location.
(Well, concerning your request on a closeup of Koldar's map: It's just a very rough, sketched one, still not elaborated in detail and should only help as orientation. But well, I can try to add the paths to the usual closeup map based on Koldar's trade routes, yeah. Cause the routes should definitely be visible at this specific entry. I'll see what I can do.)

Evergrey Bridge is the only crossing point upon the Cylian River, and stands some distance downstream of Ephirn's Lake. The Bridge links the Jernais Pass that leads ultimately to Voldar with roads that lead to Doovens, Veltin and most importantly Carmalad and so forms one of the most frequented cloth routes in Santharia. If the bridge is blocked then the alternative is many months of sea travel, or nine extra days ride passing south of Hèckra and the Ancythrian Sea (another interesting Wren creation: Anthcyarian... :lol   Hmmm... Defining the exact riding days may need to be re-calculated according to our size definitions... We need to work out a way to make things easier to calculate, e.g. making a page with examples or something. Well, this can still be adjusted later.).

Evergrey Bridge now stands in the province of Enthronia, but in the time before the ascension of Thar the Bridge and the road pass that it bore across the river formed the border between the kingdoms Erphronia and Caltharia (Hmmm... This seems a bit different. Actually, when I look at the maps, the Cylian River seems to be the natural border between Vardýnn and Enthronia, so the bridge seems to connect these two provinces now. On the other hand Erpheronia was north and Caltharia was south, while the river flows north to south - but well, if the bridge leads more NW then that's possible.). Such is the importance of this bridge that neither tribe was prepared to relinquish ownership, and eventually it was divided in half, so that the southern side belonged to Caltharia and the northern to Erphronia. This arrangement was to have many beneficial consequences and these shall be discussed later.

Function.
(Yeah, not really necessary to explain in much detail;)   As usual you hit the nail on the head with your comment...)

Description
Evergrey Bridge is a hauntingly beautiful spot. The beauty of the landscape in these parts is breathtaking, but also wild and barren. It is not a place to linger, for the road to the East of the River crossing passes through the Southern most fringes of troll territory and their continuing prescence and occasional raids make Evergrey Bridge a less than safe place to be. On both banks there are guardposts that accommodate the men that protect travellers and merchants that travel this way from the Troll Mountains.

To the South rises up into the Twinean Peaks, often purple and pink with lowlying Yrom (heather). To the West the wilds of the Heath of Jearnais spread out before you, seemingly without bounds - their flat expanse stretching away to the horizon. And to the North is Ephirn's lake. Though the bridge is for the most part a structure of human concern and function, it is unextricably linked with the light elf Ephirn and his sister Naifýr in lore.

Plants crawl over the structure. The pontoons that hold the structure have narrow lips that low just below the normal waterlevel, making them a haven for plants that like to keep their feet wet (a bit strange  expression for plants, eh?).

In construction, the bridge on the surface appears to be nothing special. To span the river it is 120 peds long, which makes it nowhere near the longest bridge in Santharia, and 20 peds wide. It is constructed of scoria, a rock formed by cooling lava, collected from the slopes of the Hèckra. The scoria from which the bridge is constructed contains a high quantity of volcanic glass of both obsidian (black) and arshisi (new word? can't find it in the dictionary) (blue) types - giving the structure a slightly reflective blue-grey surface and thus, more than likely the name - Evergrey Bridge.

The bridge traverses the river using a simple arch design. Only the top layer, which form the turetted walls are sealed together with morter. The other stones are held together by the sheer weight and careful spread of gravity across the two arches that span the Cylian and come to rest on a central pontoon. This structure has great intergrity and strength. Such a design is hardly surprising, given that arch bridges are probably the oldest bridge design to use stone and the structure that spans the river to this day is certainly of great age. It is not altogether certain, however, exactly how old the present structure is.

---

Will finish checking tomorrow - very nice entry so far, Wren! :thumbup  


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Edited by: Artimidor Federkiel at: 3/9/04 21:41
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« Reply #2 on: 11 March 2004, 14:16:00 »

Arti - put the Ancient Kingdoms map side by side with Koldar's Roadmap. You have much better resolution on you monitor than me so you can do this!

I can't really see what your refering to in your comments Arti, because the bridge and the road that runs west from it lie right on the Epheronian border! I even overlaid the two images in photoshop to be sure. I'll send you that overlay and then maybe it will be clear what exactly I'm talking about...... This issue becomes important later, so I need to acertain that I'm reading this right.

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« Reply #3 on: 11 March 2004, 17:30:00 »

Oh, don't worry, Wren, the bridge border thingy is perfectly fine, I see what you mean, and that is ok - northern side of the bridge Erpheronian territory, southern Caltharian. I was basically talking a bit to myself while checking the maps, and in my last sentence I somehow agreed with your version as well;)

So on with commenting:

History.
The lore that surrounds this bridge is ancient beyond even the reckoning of the elves and there has most certainly been a crossing here for as long as there is memory and written records. However, many scholars believe that the current structure is not the bridge referred to in the myths about Naifýr, arguing that in the earliest times a crossing was more likely to have been a wooden structure resting on several enormous wooden pontoons, not the great technically advanced stone structure we see today. However, none of these scholars can agree on when the current structure was constructed.

Lore and myth is not helpful. Even stories of the oldest times describe the bridge in its current form. Memory of any older structure that might have existed has been lost. Tales of yore cannot shed light on when the current bridge was built, nor even as to who built it and for what puropse. Most consider it to be a human structure, though there are tales, which I will recount in the next section that attribute the building of the bridge to trolls, but given that Santharian trolls have never shown any tendency to build such technically adept structures elsewhere, it is thought that this is a fantasy, albeit a very entertaining story. More likely than trolls actually building bridges seems their liking to let others build them and concentrate more on the part dealing with the waylaying of travellers...

The most likely explanation is that Evergrey Bridge was built about the year 846 b.S. by the Erpheronians to aid their war against the Caltharians. A new structure could support vast numbers of troops and heavy siege equipment that a wooden bridge could not. Certainly the structure can be no later than this, as Evergrey Bridge was a critical strategical location during the War for Ancyros (846-822 b.S.).

The war between the two kingdoms rumbled on for more than 20 years(24 years is closer to 20 ;) ), and for the majority of that time the crossing remained in Erpheronian hands, which had a deep impact upon Caltharian cloth trading with Salsir, Horth and the settlements that would go on to form Milkengrad; and so the kingdom's whole economy. The possession of Evergrey Bridge, together with the harsh terms of the Alvang treaty were the major contributing factors of civil war and the eventual emergence of Mertogrand (833 b.S.), who seized the bridge and invaded Erpheronia. It was swiftly retaken by the Erpheronian army and was held by them until the truth about the Massacre at the Silvershire was revealed and in order for the Erpheronian King to preserve his honour he not only beheaded his commander Khisaar, but also ceded control of the Southern half of Evergrey Bridge - drawing the border through the middle of the Jernais pass allowing the Caltharian merchants from Carmalad and Cavthan the right of access over this ancient way and thus a road to Kyrania and Centoria that did not pass through Erpheronian land.

(Sounds all quite logical to me the way you put it, embedding it very well in ancient history! :nod )

While the animosity between these two tribes rumbled on long after the war finally ended, this shared ownership of the bridge was to pay dividens. The road to Doovens (now in Erpheronian hands) and Veltin ran through the southern Troll Hills. This made - and still makes - the road and its river crossing a prime target of troll raids. More importantly to lose control of Evergrey Bridge to the trolls would open the way to raids far further West. Trolls can travel at great speed, and Jernais would quickly become a target if the trolls found that they could easily cross the Cylian. Quickly the two tribes found that with both sides posting troops at the bridge (more to watch each other than anyone else) they were, between them far more able to protect the pass of Jernais from trolls, simply because of increased man power. Because the arrangement suited both sides it stuck and the arrangement only ceased when Caltharia joined the United Kingdom of Tharania in 482 b.S., though the number of men posted there did not decrease.

The strategic importance of the bridge again became evident in 292 b.S. Pherán'Ephtaerín brought his troops to reinforce the retreating Halfling, Thrumgolz and Monteron Dwarven forces at what became known as the 'Battle of the Four Swords'. His coming prevented an initial orcish landslide at Ephirn's Lake, but before long they were pushed back along the pass of Jernais by the seemingly endless orcish onslaught. Evergrey Bridge was where Pherán'Ephtaerín chose to make one last stand before retreat. He knew that if the Bridge was taken then the most direct route for reinforcements would be severed and Tharania would be divided in two by the orcish forces. In division, he knew, there would be no victory. He hoped that the bridge would provide a bottleneck, limit the numbers of orcs that could attack at one time, handing the tactical advantage back to the allied forces under his command. It was a wise and sensible battle plan, but it did not avail Pherán'Ephtaerín. For as long as his forces held the orcs on the bridge, it did not stop more forces coming. They seemed to come relentlessly, like a black tide. (The best way to capture a bridge is to capture both ends at the same time - so it is said at the film "A Bridge Too Far" dealing with allied Arnhem desaster. So you might e.g. mention here that the orcs crossed the river on boats further south or north like the allied forces and then attacked on the other end to gain victory, so that they actually didn't need to cross the bridge directly to conquer it;)  This sounds militaristically more correct Maybe the elf's strategy held for a certain time when the orcs tried to overrun it, but couldn't, then a more sophisticated strategy was used to force the joined races to retreat.) Before long the orcs had taken the bridge and were on the Eastern bank of the River. Evergrey Bridge had betrayed the Alliance of Four Swords. Pherán'Ephtaerín was forced to retreat, first to Carmalad, and then to abandon the city altogether as it too was overrun by the orcish forces.

And so Evergrey Bridge was in orcish hands, for the first and only time in its entire history. But not for long. A few months after the fall of Carmalad and counter offensive was launched and the city retaken. The orcs were pushed back and the bridge swiftly retaken by the allied races and returned to human control.

The bridge is still a site of the occasional troll skirmish, and Santharian troops are still posted here all year round, but compared to its violent and turbulent past - site of battle and bloodshed driven by the importance of its location - this is as close to peace as Evergrey Bridge has ever been.

---

What more is there to say? Perfect entry, Wren! :smile  Good research, lovely ideas... The story about Naifýr is the only thing I'm missing at the moment, it's only shortly mentioned yet as far as I can see...


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« Reply #4 on: 27 March 2004, 18:43:00 »

sorry arti, I couldn't get it finished. sorry. I'll do my best to finish it on Sunday Morning, otherwise it will have to wait til next update!


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