Deep in the South of the Kingdom, bordering the Lightning Peaks and the source of the Black River, lies the first Nome belonging to the Kingdom. This Nome is called Red Stone Nome, named for the red stones found in the cliffs that can be seen from the main settlement.
Historically, this Nome was sparsely populated, with only a few villages towards its Northern border. Most people are hesitant to approach the Southern border as monsters can be found roaming the territory in search of victims that close to the mountains. However, all of this changed a little over 100 years ago.
A young dwarf by the name of Heradon approached the God-Empress of the time to request permission to search the Kingdom for iron. She granted permission for his expedition on the condition that she would keep 60% of the iron found. At the time, the metal most commonly in use for tools and weapons was copper. Iron was imported at great expense and was very rare in the Kingdom.
Heradon’s exploration led him to Red Stone and the Lightning Peak cliffs. The quantity of ore was so great that he immediately mined a quantity and returned to speak with the God-Empress to renegotiate the terms of their agreement. Once she realized how much iron was in her kingdom, she immediately named Heradon the Nomarch of Red Stone and instructed him to mine the ore and send the tax to the capital.
Heradon has completely fulfilled his duties as Nomarch by all appearances. The Kingdom’s stores of iron have grown beyond the God-Empress’s expectations. However, Heradon is still extremely angry at being forced to serve the Kingdom as the Nomarch, having his knowledge of mining and refining taken by force to serve a realm not his own. Long ago, he vowed to take his revenge and leave the Kingdom.
To this end, he began falsifying reports of iron production long ago, stockpiling the excess for his eventual flight back home. Through the long years, he has bribed officials who discovered his plans, threatened the families of those who refused and assassinated the few who weren’t deterred by the accidents suffered by their loved ones.
Currently, his head scribe, Tamhotep, doctors the Nome’s records reluctantly. He only cooperates because his wife is held as a “guest” in his Nomarch’s mansion. He is allowed to see his wife for one night a month. Little does he know that she is a willing participant in Heradon’s ploy, having fallen in love with him before she wed Tamhotep. He promised to take her with him when he returns to his homeland with enough iron to make him a king. She plays her part to make sure Heradon’s deceptions aren’t discovered.
There is a fortress occupied by a small company of soldiers by the Southern border of the Nome, ostensibly to protect the mines from monsters. However, the monsters aren’t interested in the mines or iron and Heradon uses the soldiers as overseers to the slave miners. The conditions in the mine are hellish and most of the slave miners don’t last more than a year. The soldiers recently started journeying into the desert West of the Nome to capture slaves from the nomadic tribes to fill the vacancies.