Generally speaking, the Barony of Midcost enjoys pleasant and mild climate, though it is subject to greater extremes than neighboring Mirwood. Rainfall is a near constant from early autumn all the way into mid-spring, though summers tend to experience long and hot weeks without cloud cover. The winters aren’t cold enough for snow, but freezing rain during the chilliest parts of the year can sometimes be an issue. Farming is a major aspect of life in Midcost. Large tracts of land bearing plentiful bounties of food allow the barony to sustain high populations, generous funding for the conscription of levies, and no small amount of influence across the duchy. After the Assassination of Lord Edmund Thorne, Midcost has been in peril, Lord Thorne was without a rightful heir to the throne, and the lineage of House Thorne has now been lost to the ages.
The capital of Midcost, Highgrove, is a gorgeous township perched atop a gently sloping hill. Famous for its whitewood architecture and brilliant red rose gardens, Highgrove is the seat of power for House Thorne. Every building in Highgrove is constructed from woods, such as aspen or pine, that display a pristine white grain. The most expensive structures are built from naturally white woods, while cheaper ones may have simply been bleached. This motif is often imitated across the rest of Midcost with white paint. Rose bushes and brambles are carefully cultivated in Highgrove. While these may seem like an odd choice, the thorn is a symbol of strength for the people of Midcost and decorative bramble bushes are thus a popular patriotic display.
The people of Highgrove are friendly and quite used to foreigners passing through from Bridgeport. The township is considered one of the last places where they are welcomed rather than suspect. Despite this, Bridgeport natives are easily picked out by their accent and experience a very different welcome. Tension between Thorne and Hudson has manifested itself into strained relations between local populations. Those of Bridgeport are often scrutinized and harassed by town guards if caught alone - so a thriving “tour-guide” business has sprung up in recent years as the situation has deteriorated. These ‘tour-guides’ are little more than armed and aggressive mercenaries paid to taxi their wealthy clients around and keep bothersome guards away.
Among the many smaller whitewood buildings of Highgrove is the Roselyn Thorne Mansion. Constructed by Lord Weatherby Thorne in honor for his daughter Roselyn nearly a century ago, it is considered one of the wonders of Westridge. Standing nearly three stories, the manor was built with only the finest materials available. The outer rooms share more in common with elven architecture, featuring natural open-air spaces divided by grand white curtains. More standard walls and ceilings provide a weatherproof interior for the winters. The Rose Manor is warm, well lit, and considered one of the great prides of House Thorne.
Mullington is the second largest town in Midcost. It is primarily a mustering ground for feudal levies. Not entirely unlike the countless others found across all of Wanduke, Mullington is surrounded by many training yards. Despite the grounds’ comparatively small size, it is still a significant power locus within Whitecliffe and serves as a strong deterrent for Hudson. Roads have been reconditioned leading out of the fields to all corners of Midcost, allowing unimpeded deployment to react quickly to military needs. The town itself is built in the same white wood as Highgrove, though it does not share the bountiful gardens and fair markets. House Thorne has flirted with obsolescence after years of failure to properly maintain or upgrade the equipment of its levies. At the very least, these men are highly disciplined and brave.
Within the town, life is always tense and fairly unpleasant. Mercenary guilds have taken root in Mullington, as their services are often highly rated compared to the levies. Unfortunately, the guilds behave as if they run Mullington. They have far more influence than the sheriff, and crimes are routinely reported to the guilds for bounties rather than the authorities. It is said that the true power of Midcost lay not in its levies, but in the fighter’s guilds that have very old relationships with the region.
Willesden-by-the-Sea is a dilapidated beach village noted for repeated ‘friendly’ conflicts with West Isles fishermen. Willesden residents often row offshore to West Isle waters to enjoy the better fishing grounds, only to be harassed and chased back to shore with their ill gotten gains. In return, salty West Isles fishermen will often come ashore during the evenings to take back their fish. Brawls and ‘fish-fights’ often break out between the rival groups. Serious injuries are rare and accidental, treated with brotherly care by both sides. The fights rarely last more than an hour, with both sides following each other into the tavern to share stories and drink themselves into a stupor. After many generations of this, it is clear that despite the ‘feud’ both West Isle saltboys and Willesden fishermen care deeply for each other … in a drunken sailor redneck sort of way.
Aside from these brawls, Willesden is what you might expect from an isolated fishing town. White paint cracks and flakes off the salt-ruined buildings. The streets stink of fish, and the people are scarcely more hygienic than murlocs. Speaking of the aquatic pests, Willesden is plagued by murlocs year round, raiding from the coastal waters. No matter what the townsfolk do to cull the murloc colonies, they return every autumn from the waves seeking the blood of men and delicious fresh fish waiting on the docks.
The Granaries of Cresthill store most of the Midcost grain for shipment to Rivenland. Centrally located among the agricultural fields, Cresthill is a fairly boring town where the biggest problem is often a rat or mold infestation within the silos. There are no other natural threats experienced by the people, and life is a daily grind of farm-work that leaves little time or energy for other desires.
Weymouth, the southernmost town of Midcost, was formerly part of Palewater. The stories of how Weymouth came to be part of Midcost depend on who you ask. The Hudsons believe it was a coerced arrangement. House Thorne sees it as a favor offered to Bernhardt, who in turn simply state their own troops can’t reach the township in times of emergency. Whatever the case, Weymouth was a victim of a particularly brutal murloc attack many years ago while it was under Bernhardt rule. Nearly the entire town of Weymouth was slaughtered and devoured by the fish-men coming from the nearby swamp before the troops of Midcost under the command of Sir Harold McMullen arrived to protect them, knowing full well those of Palewater were another half day’s ride away. By the time the crisis had ended, it was clear to everyone involved that the town was better off in Thorne hands.
Today, it remains a dull and waterlogged village just off the modified border. A statue of McMullen, the Knight of Thorns who rescued the village, stands proudly in the center. While the buildings are dilapidated, the townsfolk make constant efforts to bring out the best of their situation. Buildings are repaired quickly, cleaned daily, and accented with what flowers will grow. The banners of Thorne flutter in the soggy breeze, and the men and women dress as well as they can despite the mud. Yet from the distant swamp, hungry eyes still watch the town.