Visitors to Keswick will immediately notice something about the landscape that feels both wild and rugged. There is a bleakness that compares unfavourably with the abundant forests of Gloucester to the south and the fertile dales of York to the east. Faced with such adversity, plus borders with not one but two foreign powers, observers are quickly aware of the importance of cooperation and mutual aid if one is to prosper here.
Keswick may lack the moral direction of Winchester or the ruthlessness of Gloucester, but instead is driven by a unity of purpose that the other duchies sometimes lack.
The People Of Keswick
Strength of purpose, unity in the sight of common foes and cooperation in the very act of survival; these are common traits amongst the people of Keswick. There is a need to work together to prevail against the mundane task of living off the land let alone prosper or deal with those raids that might come from north or west. In Keswick, he who stands alone had better be very sure of himself or else he is a fool.
The people of Keswick are fierce in their loyalty to The Crown, for with two borders they are reliant on the rest of Albion for protection in times of trouble. Recently there has been an undercurrent of resentment against the Cornish for thinking of themselves at a time when Albion as a whole was threatened. That is not to say however that Keswick does not maintain a strong regional pride, and folk here are often keen to prove themselves at least the equal of the other duchies.
Keswick is also home to some of the more savage peoples of Albion. The Beastmen have recently made their home here, the half orcs of the Queen’s Rest were once protectors of Milford, tribal elves wander beside the Cymrrijan border and there are goblins aplenty in the mountains.
Keswick is a hard place and as such the people who live here can on occasion lack the social niceties of the other duchies. They are bluff and hardy folk who, whilst they do no always mean to offend, often see no need to spend an hour talking around a subject when a simple question will suffice.
In the very northern tip of Keswick and Albion lies a wasteland, slowly recovering, after the Wellspring of Evil laid waste to much of the region. But the north endures and rebuilding and resettling was immediate.
House Karlennon and their allies have traditionally been linked with the nobility of Keswick, although in recent years they have struggled to maintain much direct influence here. Even so, the red and white of the Karlennons is mirrored in the colours borne by Keswick’s army, rangers and sheriff.
Noble leadership in Keswick is generally inclusive, for when cooperation is essential to survival it is wise to listen to all. Once consultation has occured however the responsibility of decision lies squarely on the shoulders of the noble, and there is an expectation that the people will back him in implementing whatever is necessary to get the job done. The people of Keswick respect those that can provide leadership and direction but who will also listen to their ideas.
No one ancestor has ever held sway over the entirety of Keswick the way that the Hunter does in other parts; indeed all ancestors of Albion are revered here. In recent times however worship of the elder ancestors – Nethras and The Dragon – has spread north from Gloucester, and found a resonance with may in Keswick.
Mannanan and Taranis have never had a foothold here, and – since Keswick is even more firmly landlocked than Gloucester – seem unlikely to ever do so.