The location of what would become the city of Knurl, like most other locations in the Bone March and locations throughout the old Great Kingdom, began as a Flan settlement. The actual founding of the first settlement is unknown, but those few scholars that have researched the ancient history of the Bone March place it around -1,000 CY. Originally the settlement that sprung up was a trading post where the Flan of the March would bring goods to trade with other Flan, most notably those merchants from the ancient city of Ahlissa. The original name of the settlement is lost to history, but the Flan tribe that lived in the area was called the Two Rivers tribe, which also influenced the name of the Clan of Refugees that took up a similar nomadic lifestyle there after the Cursed Invasion.
This settlement was also one of the first locations where the dwarves of the Rakers Mountains regularly interacted with the outside their mountainous home. The Dwarves brought precious stones, metals, and ore for trade. The influence these dwarves had on the prehistoric inhabitants of the settlement is still evident today in some of the oldest buildings in the city itself are repurposed dwarven buildings from that time. Only a handful of these buildings stand, but foundation walls and long-buried ruins are still unearthed today as the city grows.
The settlement waned as the Kingdom of Ahlissa in the south did, and the number of merchants traveling to what would become Knurl dried up as well. Eventually, by -400 CY, the settlement had shrunk to a fraction of its original size, with only a small clan of Two River tribesmen remaining. And thus, the settlement remained until -229 CY as the first of the Oeridians began to wander northwards. Unlike in the south, where Oeridians often violently conquered the lands of the Flan, in the Bone March, the Oeridians would not come in mass until later. This steady, albeit small, number of Oeridians to move into the land and begin mixing with the population. In 46 CY when the Oeridians finally began moving into the Bone March in large numbers, the peoples of the Bone March had been intermingling and were no longer a pure Flan stronghold.
46 CY marks the year that the Great Kingdom officially began encouraging and organizing the settlement of the region. in preparation for the total annexation of the land into the Northern Province. 46 CY is also the year that the once trading settlement of Two Rivers officially became a Settlement supported by the Kingdom of Aerdy.
In 46 CY Selwyn Knurl, a frontierswoman of renown was tasked with setting up a town that could act as a staging ground for settlers moving into the region. Having been to the Bone March several times Selwyn knew of Two Rivers and picked it as the location for this town. This marked the beginning of Aerdian full commitment of claiming the highland region then simply known as the March.
By 51 CY what had been Two Rivers was now Knurl's Town, named after Selwyn Knurl. Selwyn herself had by then died fighting giants in the Rakers, but her influence on the town's first formidable years was still felt. Selwyn had laid down strict laws for Knurl, making it a safe place for all of the peoples of the region could come and trade. In those early years, this also included many barbarians from the north, barbarians that would soon become a hated foe of the Bone March. Still, in those days, they were simply traders from the north.
The famed Warden's of the March also find their origins at this time. As smaller settlements were popping up across the Bone March and those older towns like Spinepass, which would become Spinecastle, needed protection. Selwyn Knurl sought permission to form an order of wandering wardens from the Herzog of the Northern Province, that had jurisdiction over the expansion into the March, and it was granted. The headquarters of the Wardens of the March was built and remained in Knurl for several centuries afterward.
The Coming of House Kargus
The coming of hostilities with the northern barbarians in 108 CY brought a large influx of soldiers int the land, and accompanying them were the members of house Kargus. A minor royal house from Edgefield, the Kagus family, was looking to grow their family's wealth and prestige and set their sights on the growth prospects in the March. With powerful friends back in North Province the Kargus family quickly took control of Knurl. This made the Herzog happy, as he knew how to deal with a royal family, even if it was just a minor one, better than the independently spirited natives of the March.
Knurl changed drastically over the next ten years and swelled in size. More permanent structures were created, such as Knurl keep and the stone walls that replaced the old wooden palisade. Knurl was transformed into a smaller version of life in the larger cities to the south. Taxes became common, and industry regulated, all of which was skimmed by the Kargus family before being sent south to their lord the Herzog.
Knurl blossomed in those years despite the tightening of regulations. Those seeking their fortunes flooded into the city, most of which stayed and never ventured far out into the March. Even those who did eventually moved back to find more predictable work within a city. At its height, Knurl had just over four thousand inhabitants.
As the grip of House Kargus' control tightened, Overking Erhart bequeathed Knurl and a large part of land to House Kargus, creating the County of Knurl. The move was a counter to help keep the Herzog from the Northern Province from claiming all the land of the March for himself. This, of course, soured relations between Knurl and the Herzog's of the Northern Province.
For the next four centuries, Knurl's counts and countesses became known as loyal supporters of the throne and as greedy and downright vile rulers. Regular trade through Knurl slowed with peace in the region to a fraction of what it had been, so they regularly recruited, outfitted and trained raiders and bandits. At one time, two-thirds of all the bandits and raiders, human and humanoid, in Bone March were in league with Knurl's rulers. This infuriated many, but the Overking cared little as Knurl never missed a tax shipment, and all of the county's taxes were always paid in full.
The City Post 563 CY
The city of Knurl survived the cursed invasion because of one simple thing; it was already a wicked and evil place. Fortunately, the rulers of Knurl had a history of working with humanoids, and this reputation served them well. They were able to bribe away some invaders preventing them from being overrun. Because of this, the City of Knurl was never sacked, and little of its heartland saw prolonged engagements.
Being under the rule of wicked rulers for such a long time, the ordinary people of the county tend to keep to themselves, preferring not to draw attention. However, after Dunstan assumed the throne, large numbers of Tenha refugees, that had been living in Nyrond since the loss of their own kingdom, were welcomed into the county. This influx of people has been changing the traditional dower mood that had existed into a more positive and friendly one.
Despite this renaissance of positive attitude and morals, Knurl still has a large portion of worshipers of Hexter, a holdover from Meldrick and Countess Salvie. Dunstan does not forbid his subjects from worshiping any gods. Still, there is currently no organized temple of Hexter in Knurl. The Temple of Hexter still remains empty since meldrick fled to Spinecastle after Dunstan claimed the throne.
Knurl currently has open and good relations with Nyrond, Ratik, and the Theocracy of the Pale. However, the latter is more of a nonaggression pact. Knurl has no official position towards The North Kingdom, but it is well known that neither side cares for one another.
Locations within the Walled City
1. The Keep: The Keep is a stout fortress, and built atop an old dwarven foundation. While not as impressive as the fortifications of Spinecastle, or Johnstown, the Keep of Knurl is incredibly sturdy and defendable. With freshwater pipped in from the Harp river, the Keep itself could withstand an incredibly long siege. The walls of the Keep are also enchanted to help withstand magical assaults, at least that is the explanation of the slight magical aura that comes from the stones and mortar used in its construction.
2. City Guard Garrison: The Garrison fort was built after the count's keep and was meant to house the count initially, but after several deadly accidents during its construction, many believed it was cursed, and the count never moved in. Because of this, the Garrison Fort is larger than the counts keep and more grandiose.
About half of Knurl's two hundred standing militia, the Guardsmen, also acts as the city guard. About half are stationed here with the remainder living the city.
3. Temple of Trithereon: The first temple erected in Knurl was dedicated to Trithereon. Dunstan worships Trithereon, and his friend Feyas is a paladin of Trithereon and currently acts as the temples head priest. Dunstan is presently searching for a priest to take over the church to free up Feyas for other duties more suiting to her martial skills.
4. Temple of Pelor: After taking the throne, Dunstan moved the head priest of Zilchus to a much smaller building and leveled the temple to erected a new temple to Pelor. The god has a strong following in the north, and the decision to build the temple was as much for political reasons as it was to appease those worshipers of the god in the north. With the addition of Dirwyn, a priest of Pelor and his acolytes, the temple has become a shining beacon for Pelor in the north.
5. Knight's of the March Hall: Feyas, a paladin of Trithereon, also heads up this knightly order founded by Dunstan after securing the county. Generally, half of the order is here at any one time, and those not present can be found in one of the county's four other towns or in one of the numerous villages dispensing the count's justice. There are currently two dozen knights of the order, and they are stationed in one of the larger Towers of the fortified section of the walled city.
6. Wardens of the March Hall: The tradition of Wardens of the March had been wiped out during the cursed invasion. The stories of their great deeds persisted, however, and one of Dunstan's first acts as the new Count was to reopen the Warden's Hall and reinstate the order. Many descendants of the once great organization still could be found in the March, and Dunstan's friend Harga was one such man. Their hall is simple but sturdy, and much like the Knights of the March, there is at least half a dozen to a dozen Warden's found in the Hall at any one time. Warden's tend not to stay long, and they come and go frequently. Harga himself is rarely in Knurl.
7. Morgan's Blacksmith: One of Dunstan's prized possession is Morgan, a female dwarf blacksmith of legendary skill. Morgan is not her real name, of which she never gives out. Where she is from and how she ended up here is a mystery as well, but it is widely assumed she an outcast from the Brokenstone clan. She has let it be known that she comes from a long line of smiths that forged weapons for dwarven and human kings alike. Despite her secrets, Morgan is jovial and cheerful to all, unless they criticize her craftsmanship, or are a dwarf. Morgan will be polite to dwarves but never engages in a personal conversation with them.
8. Quinn's Fletcher: One of the few Halflings in Knurl is Quinn and his family. A master craftsman Quinn and his family make excellent bows. Their short bows and light crossbows are of such exceptional quality they can give a non-magical +1 to the weapon, for 5X the standard cost. Their longbows are of such excellent quality that even some elves admire the craftsmanship, but they have no unique properties. Quinn makes no secret that he is a Brae but has no love of his extended family and moved to Knurl to distance himself from that reputation.
9. Miners Guild: Tarbold Hammerstone is a Brokenstone dwarf and proud of it. Tarbold was recruited to run and organize the miners that are the lifeblood of Knurl's economy and doubles as the Brokenstone emissary to Knurl. Tarbold hires adventures on the regular to head up into the Rackers to take care of problems and to escort ore shipments to and from the Harodford. Tarbold knows who Morgan is but will not say and refuses to be in the same room with her or speak with her. Tarbold however, will not talk of it regardless of what is promised to him.
10. Greymist Weaponsmith / Armorers: Lloyd and Liza Greymist are half-elf entrepreneurs, ex-adventurers, and weapons dealers. They are famous among many circles, not all of which are good. The Greymists came to Knurl to put some distance between themselves and their enemies and the protection that Dunstan, a long time customer, promised them.
11. Zandrel's Alchemy: Zandrel, an artificer and alchemist by trade, is another run away from the North Kingdom that ventured to Knurl to escape the fascist state there. Zandrel is a worshiper of Pelor, and when he heard of the temple opening there and of Dunstan's reforming of the county, he hurried to the town. Once there, he opened his shop and has been a pillar of the community ever since. Zandrel is not an imposing man but has strong morals and convictions.
12. Hobbson's Leathers: Knurl is one of the few places in the Flanaess where half-orcs are treated like regular citizens, which takes many newcomers by surprise. Due to the Cursed Invasion, there is a sizeable half-orc population. This is even reflected in some of the nomad tribes. Hobbson and his family (His wife Tilly is human) are descendants having lived in Knurl for generations.
13. The Rose and the Thorn Brothel: Madam Bliss is another one of Dunstan's friends from his adventuring days. Countess Deora, Dunstan's wife, is not fond of her for obvious reasons. Dunstan brought Bliss to Knurl to open and run what he knew would keep many of the mercenaries he would need to employ happy, a brothel and gambling house. The place is well run, clean, and well-guarded by Knurl's own guardsmen. A cut of the profit is collected for the county's coffers.
14. Harvin's Potter: Harvin himself is not a potter, but instead a former mercenary with one arm and a bunch of kids. Bea, his wife, has raised 15 children, 10 of which work at the Pottery, the youngest being only nine years old. Four of his sons and daughters serve in the town's militia, the Guardsmen, and one, Kara is a Warden. Harvin and Bea are worshipers of the old faith and are mostly Flan.
15. Stanton's Tailor: Stanton is an older gentleman and has lived in Knurl his whole life and remembers Countess Salvie. He is a wicked man at heart but plays the part of sniveling toady well. If he thought that he could bring back Salvie and the old ways when he was better respected (At least in his mind), He would. Stanton often talks about the old days with reverence, but he never talks poorly of Dunstan. Stanton is a spy for Kesic and his band of mercenary bandits.
16. City Warehouse: The City warehouse is a big vaulted building guarded by city Guardsmen around the clock. Sergeant Brag, a half-orc, oversees the detail here and takes it very seriously. Brag is not the brightest, but he is fiercely loyal to Dunstan. This is where the ore is stored before being shipped out, usually to Nyrond through the flinty hills.
17. City Market: The Market place is open year-round, and the local farmers bring in their produce to sell every week. Once every three months, the market is host to a large fair that brings in citizens from farther afield to sell and trade. It is not uncommon to see members of nomad clans from the March in Knurl for these festivals.
18. City Square: Once ringed by statues of the former counts and countess of Knurl, the empty pedestals now circle it. The Square is where all important public functions are conducted. Full of benches and small garden islands, it also acts as a park.
19. The Hawk and the Dove Tavern: The Hawk and Dove has become a favorite place for the mercenaries and adventurers that make their way to Knurl to relax and unwind. The Hawk and Dove is also the favorite place for rural peoples that come to the market or are in the town for business. The largest of the Inns and Taverns in Knurl, the H&D, is three stories. Owned by Flower Emberstrike, granddaughter of Elvean Emberstrike, a renowned bandit that used to be a thorn in the side of counts and countesses of Knurl. Elvean is a local folk hero, much like Robin Hood.
20. The Emerald Tavern: The Emerald tavern is the closest thing that Knurl has in real luxury. Tabitha Quarten is the Daughter of the original owner and prides herself on obtaining the best that she can and has regular shipments delivered via the Ore caravan's luxury items. Dignitaries and Merchants that want the best that Knurl has to offer stay here.
21. The Willow Inn: The Willow in is run by Hans Bertram and his family. Their patrons are made up of the working class of Knurl. It is a simple affair with a few rooms for rent. Hans is an honest man, as is his family, and are natives and loyal to the new count.
22. The Last Inn of the March: The oldest Inn in the town and has seen ten different counts come and go over that time. The Last Inn of the March is currently owned and operated by Karlin Gall. Karlin is a shady fellow that keeps the Inn open by offering the cheapest beer and food in town, and it shows in the quality. Karlin Bought the Inn off the last owner that was getting on in years and has turned it into the place where shady deals can be made. Being that it is on the City Square, the Guardsmen keep a close eye on it. Karlin is a survivalist and willing to do whatever he needs to ensure it.
23. The Docks: Sitting on the Harp river banks, Knurl has a fair amount of boat traffic, but mostly in the form of ships docking to drop off goods. The docks can handle about ten average-sized merchant riverboats to be moored there at any one time. A small shack with a detachment of four Guardsmen are on duty here round the clock.
24. Fishmongers: While it is true that the Fishmongers do sell fish, it is also an open-air flea market where those who wish to sell goods can do so. Every morning one of the City Attendants opens the market at five in the morning and collects coins from everyone wishing a table. They pay one silver and are then are assigned a table. The queue for the table begins forming around four in the morning for those who wish to ensure that they get one.