The duchy of Hauverstover was founded by Sir Norman of Crosby from lands bequeathed by the Emperor. Generations of Hauverstoverians have descended from his lineage. They are a loquacious bunch. It is said they can talk for hours, enjoying the effective use of malapropism to confuse and bewilder the listener. They have raised this technique to a fine art. On many occasions casual listeners have been dazed and confused when leaving a conversation. Because of this inherent ability, Hauverstoverians are known world-wide as shrewd hagglers.
Hauverstover is a cold, rocky and gritty place. Its main exports are lumber and iron ore. To the east, foothills quickly march toward a high mountain range. The peaks remain covered in snow all year long. Streams flow out of the mountains, across the foothills and into dense forests. There is a large population of Snowy Owls that breed in these areas of permafrost. This bird has become the symbol of the duchy. As one travels westward, the land becomes just a trifle more gentle. However, it is filled with rocks and boulders. Farming is not an easy occupation for Hauverstoverians. Much of their sustenance is from hunting, and this required skill has fostered a proficiency with archery.
The last two winters have been extremely harsh and game is scarce. Scratching at the rocky soil for a bare existence is the lot of many Hauverstoverians. Currently, great quantities of grain are imported from the neighboring duchies. Foreign merchants have recognized a weakness in Hauverstover’s bargaining position and are exploiting that situation. Distrust, anger and discontent are growing.
Hauverstover looks down from the heights and dreams of fertile bottom land to ease the burden of feeding a hungry and restless population.