Balthasar could very well be the last of his kind, self-identified as a Firbolg, this powerful warrior looks like a giant of a man made into a giant, standing fully 11 feet tall, with broad shoulders and arms and legs the size of tree trunks. Though ponderously massive, Balthasar showed grace in battle and was accepted as a companion of the High Lord Denain when he set forth to reclaim Makalus and restore it to its former glory.
Though showing clever wit and intelligence, Balthasar conducted himself primarily as a bodyguard to the Ogre, Denain, and their Halfling companion, Serafina, eventually earning his knighthood from the High Lord after years of service. An honor which he cherishes as a true act of friendship and trust by his Ogrish friend, and enacts to the best of his ability, serving as the General of the Reaches, a position giving him control over all military personnel and engagements beyond the borders of his liege's realm.
However, the giant-kin's loyalty and friendship may stem from the fact that no other firbolg has been seen in centuries, perhaps hinting to the fact that Balthasar is the sole survivor of some tragedy or natural decline of his kind. Balthasar says little of his past or of his people, and though he has mentioned it a few times, he has never been known to use the natural illusions his people can manifest.
These days, the wizened knight serves in the capacity of his duties to the realm, but has become exceedingly more distant, and even the High Lord is lucky to be in his General's presence, but forgives the warrior's eccentricities out of friendship.
On the Eastern Reaches of the territory held by the World Emperor of Viridistan, amid near-constant skirmishes and contests to claim the region by Viridistan and the City-State (of the Invincible Overlord), sits an ancient, moderately-sized keep that houses some of the most resilient people the Wilderlands know.
Reclaimed a couple of centuries ago after years of fierce engagements between men and goblinoid, Dunkiel was founded by the warlord Efilon on his press to claim more territory for the City-State. He and his army succeeded, executing the bugbear chieftain that had held the keep, and his retinue, by sending them over the cliffs. This act would stick fast in the minds of subsequent generations and earn the keep its current popular name, "Dunkiel" all but forgotten as time wears on.
Seventy seven years ago, however, the forces of the World Emperor took the ill-defended keep and began to garrison it, tenuously holding it for the first few decades, then asserting more control on the outpost in more recent years. A decade ago, the old Vuzughar (landed noble, like a duke) was recalled to the city of Viridistan, and appointed Dal Lago, a trusted officer under his command, as his replacement.
Since Dal Lago took over, banditry, plague, famine, and a number of other maladies have struck the region, as well as increased hostility from the City-State and a number of other disasters and threats have cropped up. The Vuzughar has called for the aid of adventurers in the past, but recently stopped directly recruiting them after a failed coup a year and a half ago. Drastic social changes such as the adoption of the faith of The Black Rider as the city's patron, as well as recent changes in politics and law with Lago's marriage to another noble has only added to some of the unrest that has begun to slowly boil.
To make matters worse, the Emperor and his advisors have instituted an initiative where they send petty criminals and vagrants to the outer holdings of the "Empire" and encourage them to claim the wild territories and the disputed borderlands between the holdings of Viridistan and its neighbors. This initiative has brought many to the region, either in hopes of striking it rich as bandits or adventurers, or to provide services or goods to those who have come to make their own lives. This has made crime rise in the area, but has, conveniently, given Viridistan a buffer zone of rough peoples for which the City-State must contend before they can gain footholds into the Empire proper.
Bihye the Bull
The minotaur known as Bihye has lived in the region since before Dal Lago began his reign as Vuzughar, and some say before Lago's predecessor, and has weathered every malady and mishap that has plagued the region, all the while fending off raids by other monstrous creatures as well as adventurers, though he has been rumored to give aid and advice to the latter to as many groups as he has ended the careers of.
The Bull, as he sometimes introduces himself as (variably Bihye or Bihye the Bull), while being as fearsome as the others of his race, may well be the greatest treasure of the lands surrounding Bugbear Falls, as some say that he actually knows the rites and spells required to bring someone back from the dead, an art that has been lost for generations.
If Bihye can or will perform these rites is unknown for certain, but it is known that if one should seek his council on any matters, especially topics as dire as death, then they should be prepared to bring a king's ransom worth of gems and jewelry, as its the only thing the minotaur will trade his services for.
The Brotherhood of the Seven
This mysterious organization has been in operation for hundreds of years, and has something to do with the slaying of Aldern Foxglove and his subsequent transformation into a ghast, as well as the killings he perpetrated. Aldern's mysterious references to "the pack" could point to this group.
The Brotherhood is known to own Seven's Sawmill on , and due to their financing of Foxglove Manor, seem to have considerable, if not vast, stores of wealth. In addition, the Brotherhood may have ties to/be the patron(s) of cults, one of which was discovered operating at the sawmill, under the direction of a known High Justice of Magnimar.
A letter referencing "Xanesha, Mistress of the Brotherhood" was found amongst Lord Foxglove's belongings, but who, exactly, she is and, perhaps more importantly, what exactly the Brotherhood is, is anyone's guess at this moment, but a search for this shadowy matron has been mounted.