Fort Inevitable is a small town just off the Crusader Road, sandwiched between the West Sellen River and the Echo Wood. It is ruled by members of the Hellknight Order of the Pike, but is otherwise unclaimed by any of the other political entities of the River Kingdoms.
Fort Inevitable is located on rolling plains within sight of the southwestern Echo Wood, in the middle of rich farm country. It is surrounded by a strong, stone wall interrupted by defensive towers as well as a larger fortification known as the Commander’s Citadel. It sits on Misty Lake, a small body fed by an unnamed stream that trickles out of the Echo Wood. Within the walls, most of the buildings are two- or three-story affairs with blue- or red-tiled roofs. The few streets are paved with cobblestones and cleaned regularly.
The town is ruled with an iron fist by Lady Commander Audara Drovust, a paralictor of the Hellknight Order of the Pike. She has both complete civil and military authority, and makes nearly every important decision in the town. The Paralictor also carries the titles of high magistrate, tax assessor, director of public works, keeper of the treasury, and chief regulator of business and commerce. In such a freedom-loving place as the River Kingdoms, one might expect that the citizens of the town would chafe under the Hellknights’ draconian rule. Instead, they seem to tolerate the Commander’s heavy-handed method, preferring it to the risk and lawlessness of other nearby towns such as Thornkeep.
Law and Order
The Hellknights forcefully patrol Fort Inevitable and the surrounding lands, enforcing Drovust’s strict laws. At anygiven time, two to four squads of Hellknight soldiers patrol
the town on foot, while the gates are constantly manned by larger contingents. They swiftly intervene to break up brawls and prevent crimes. If they fail to catch a perpetrator on the scene, the Hellknights thoroughly investigate the situation. They maintain a long “wanted” list of known or suspected criminals, and regularly circulate sketches or descriptions of suspects. Bandits and other criminals from nearby towns have a saying: “The Hellknights never forget.”
For town defense, the lady commander oversees a force of 60 Hellknight riders—well equipped, fanatically loyal, and easily some of the best to be found on the Crusader Road. In a desperate situation, the Hellknights can call up a well-trained militia of 130 pikemen from the Fort’s common citizens.
The Hellknights believe that freedom is a privilege, not a right. Those who fail to contribute to the community’s prosperity can and should be put to work by their betters. Debtors, criminals, and vagrants are all subject to enslavement under Hellknight law. Debtors normally become indentured to the holders of their debt after a hearing in the Citadel. Monthly auctions allow the purchase of criminals and vagrants sentenced to slavery. Many people, especially the poor, wind up as the property of rich merchants and landowners. Attempts to escape or resist one’s lawful master are considered serious crimes, and often extend the term of servitude. The Hellknights are as rigorous about the legalities of slavery as they are everything else. It’s unlawful to abduct a stranger and drag him back in chains. Slaveowners who come by their property illegally are in danger of being charged themselves. The Hellknights also forbid slaveholders from engaging in wanton acts of cruelty or mistreatment—a slaveholder who allows one of his slaves to starve or who beats a slave to death is subject to arrest and trial.
Adventurers and the Law
While obvious monsters are fair game to all, the Hellknights do not recognize the right of any self-declared adventurer to kill “villains” and seize their belongings. That’s common banditry, and those who ride back to Fort Inevitable after committing such vigilantism can expect to be arrested— unless they’ve first secured a letter of warrant. A letter of warrant is a license from the lord commander authorizing the bearer and her company to “act in the interest of good order and keep the lady commander’s laws.” That is Fort Inevitable generally construed as doing most of the things adventuring parties typically do—attacking outlaws, hunting monsters, surveying dangerous ruins, and investigating mysteries. Adventurers operating from Fort Inevitable purchase a letter of warrant for 50 gp per year, and agree to turn over 30 percent of the coin, goods, and property they confiscate to the Citadel. The lady commander’s agents also require reports of just what actions were taken with a letter of warrant.