Centuries ago, long before the foundation of the Free City, a petty lord commanded the shores of the lake and the nearby iron ore and silver mines from a sturdy hilltop keep. Today, the refurbished ruin of that keep serves as home to the Free City Militia, soldiers tasked with patrolling the northern hills, keeping watch over the lizardfolk-infested Mistmarsh to the south, and liaising with halfling, gnome, and dwarf communities in the region. A third of the soldiers are always out on patrol, a wide circuit of nearby roadways and wildlands that takes them away from Diamond Lake for a week at a time. Remaining soldiers drill, maintain the garrison, hunt, and familiarize themselves with local terrain.
The bored soldiers present rich mining ground for a cadre of clerics and paladins of Heironeous, who provide spiritual and magical aid to the warriors from a stately chapel within the garrison fortress. Captain Tolliver Trask, the garrison’s aging commander, distinguished himself in a recent war and has the respect of his charges and of the community at large. He trusts three advisors more closely than any of his other associates. The Heironean chief cleric Valkus Dun acts as Trask’s spiritual advisor and foil. Trask’s best friend is Dietrik Cicaeda, the middle-aged Chief Cartographer of Diamond Lake. Chief Scout Merris Sandovar, lately of the Bronzewood Lodge druidic community three hours northeast of Diamond Lake, rounds out Captain Trask’s inner circle. The complete garrison force consists of 60 soldiers.
Militia members typically wear leather or chainmail armor and carry a longsword or shortbow. This force is divided into thirds, with each squad led by a lieutenant. These individuals have the ear of Captain Trask and the admiration of their charges. They are Dobrun Trent, Mikkela Venderin, and Trovost Skunt, who exploits his authority with regularity and aplomb.
The Chapel of Heironeous
A massive wall fresco of a mythic battle between perfect Heironeous and his traitorous half-brother Hextor looms over the chapel’s bronzewood altar. The holy image is lit by dozens of guttering torches at night and by several stained-glass windows during the day. Weekly services exhibit a great deal of fraternity and sober, harmonic hymns. They are open to the public (presenting one of the rare chances for non-military folk to sneak inside the garrison), but are dominated by soldiers and guards.
Most of the guards and soldiers serving in the Diamond Lake garrison honor Heironeous as the patron of justice and martial prowess. The Invincible One’s temple is little more than a large high-ceilinged chamber within the garrison itself, but it boasts the second largest congregation in Diamond Lake, as well as one of the village’s most dynamic personalities in the form of its high priest, Valkus Dun.
Dun came to Diamond Lake two years ago, after the previous high priest vanished under mysterious circumstances. Local gossip holds that Dun once had great prospects in the Free City’s immense Sanctum of Heironeous, but that politics saw him exiled to an assignment in squalid Diamond Lake. Nevertheless, Dun took to his assignment with zeal, and the weekly services have taken on an activist spirit. While the garrison commander urges his charges to stay out of local affairs, Dun instills in them a duty to the villagers and urges them to make a difference in the community. The resulting tension, between the garrison commander and Valkus Dun as well as between the Heironean soldiers and the disreputable elements of Diamond Lake (which is to say nearly all of them), is palpable.
Velias Childramun, an aging priest who has lived his whole life at Diamond Lake’s garrison, handles most of the healing needs of the complex and sees to the occasional pilgrim seeking the soothing balm of Heironeous. Mélinde is a charming young warrior priestess who hopes one day to run the Diamond Lake chapel. She is in no hurry to assume the mantle of responsibility, however, and for now is content to act as Valkus Dun’s closest personal adviser. She spends most of her time training with the soldiers in the garrison’s courtyard, and has a reputation as an excellent swordmistress. Mélinde excels at the game of dragonchess, and whiles away her free time at Lazare’s House, where she takes on all challengers.