Larren’s Creek is a 22.86 mile (36.9 km) long tributary of the West Grant River in Lycoming County in the New Country. A part of The Great Crescent Bay drainage basin, its watershed drains 89.1 square miles (230.8 km²) in six townships. The Creek flows south through sandstone, limestone, and shale on its way to the sea. It is a fast, but shallow creek that has some importance in the way of things.
The valley’s first recorded inhabitants were the Susquehannocks Wood Elves. The first settler was Larren Burs who move deep into the New Country to stake his claim. In the next century, The Creek and its watershed were a center for logging and related industries, including 53 sawmills, grist mills, leather tanneries, coal and iron mines. An Imperial Census reporter said, "No other stream in the New Country had so many mills in so small a territory". For transportation, a plank road ran along much of the creek as it was too shallow for a well ladened barge.
Larren’s name is associated with so many things in and around the Creek. Larren created a trading post and stood as a translator between the Colonists and the Native Wood Elves. He had a Wood Elf spouse and his line has shown great longevity since. The Larren Post is both a store and a hamlet along the middle of The Creek. The village of "Larrenville" is further upstream. The Larren Lumber company is run by a distant branch of his family and runs lumber down The Creek. There is a Larren Hill, Burs Hollow, and a few other landmarks in the area that are named after Larren Burs.
The Region around The Creek has been an important one through all time. Various Wood Elf Tribes have competed for this territory. Besides the plentiful game, clean water, and deep stands of trees, there are three nodes of power along this stretch of water. The nodes in the region became the main source of power for the Five Wood Elf Nations.
The Goblins have long attempted to take the territory as well. Their goals were to take the nodes for their Dark Shamans. Except for one brief success, the Wood Elves have managed to hold onto the region.
Between the Last Goblin Horde and the Plague brought from the Old Country by the explorers, the Wood Elf numbers had diminished by the time of The Settlers arrived. By the time of the Second New Country War, there was no one would could claim to be a pure Wood Elf, only those Humans with Wood Elf blood and following some of their old ways thought of themselves as Susquehannocks or of the Five Nations.
The Battle of Larren Hill in First New Country War was decisive as the Sasanach forces were thrown back before they could reach the First Fork Node. The loss of manpower and the inability to exploit the node lead to their latter defeats at Cruising (Now Mifflin) and Hummelston (now Hummelstown).
The River Battle at the Top Branch of Larren’s Creek was the decisive river battle of the Second New Country War. It was there that the People of the New Country established their river superiority and prevented their supply lines from being cut off.
Like all creeks in The County, Larrens Creek served as an area for settlers to establish homesteads and farms. As logging became a major industry in the century after the First New Country War, the creek was a source of power for sawmills and other mills. The first sawmill on the creek, in what is now Mifflin, was built in the time of Larren’s child Raujer (who was the crown representative for the region for most of his life). The relatively low flow of water in the creek did not allow rafts of logs to be floated downstream. This lead to the Plank Road.
The Larrens Creek watershed once had 53 sawmills within 22 miles (35 km) of the mouth (as well as other industries of the time). No other stream in the country had so many sawmills in so small a territory. Twelve sawmills were on the Second Fork, six on the First Fork, one each on Canoe Run and Lawshe Run, and the rest were on Larrens Creek itself. Eight were structures rebuilt on the site of previous sawmills, and only four were steam powered (the rest were water powered).
Larren’s Creek was used for the transportation of brownstone, namely that of Hummelstown brownstone. Taken from the Hummelstown Quarry in Hummelstown the brownstone were transported throughout The New Country using the vast water-ways. This Brownstone became the traditional building materials in Cities and Towns all around the New Country.
The Plank Road
About thirty years after his death, a plank road or puncheon was built along Larrens Creek from the village of Larren at the creek’s mouth north to Salladasburg, connecting along the two works as well. The plank road was a toll road run by "The Larren Creek Plank Road Company". It served the sawmills, grist mills, mines, and leather tanneries along the creek. There was a connection to the Grant Roads along the way.
Hemlock logs were used to build the plank road. At that time, the tree’s bark was a major source of tannin used to tan leather. The wood was not used much for lumber, so hundreds of thousands of stripped hemlock logs were normally left to rot. There were sawmills and experienced lumber workers available from the local timber industry.
The earth under the plank road was first graded, then ties (similar to those used for railroad tracks) were set into the ground. Next long narrow stringers (similar to rails on a railroad track) were nailed to the ties, with a distance between stringers of about 6 feet (1.8 m). The road surface consisted of planks about 8 feet (2.4 m) wide nailed to the stringers and was fairly smooth. The road had turnoffs (as it was not wide enough for horse drawn vehicles to pass each other). Toll houses were at regular intervals, with variable tolls for pedestrians, riders on horseback and various carts and wagons.
It is along this road (and others that parralleled it) that all the goods from The Creek were moved. This vital resource route helped keep the Cities in The Great Crescent Bay in timber, stone, and leather goods.
As any student of magic can tell you, tapping the power of nodes (places where magical flows interset) allows one great energy. In fact most students of magic spend an inordinate amount of time finding these spots, attuning themselves to them, and defending them from all comers. The Wood Elf called them holy places and both worshiped and protected them. Magicers of The Five Tribes/ Nations would tap these nodes to produce magics and healing.
However their skills are nothing compared to the Sorcerers of The Old Countries. In fact the First New Country War was instigated by a cabal of sorcerers allied with Old Nobles who wished to rule undisputed over The New Countries. Seizing Nodes by military means was their primary strategy. The history books tell us how well that worked out. And that war left a sour taste in the mouth of the New Countrymen in regards to Magic.
The Second New Country war was brought about by the shifting of the power lines. With the change of magical power that supported the old Bloodlines, new ones struggled to take their place.
Two of the nodes in along The Creek were weakened by the Cataclysm (a hyperbole for the disruption of the flow of magic). The last node is the home of a proper sorcerer’s tower. The Brownstone Tower as it is locally called is watched over by the New Order (of Azreal) like most nodes in The New Country. Here they keep the magic from "boiling over" and making magical threats or altering the weather.
Yet, one of the weakened nodes, it keeps having odd "spikes" of power. The New Order watchmen are keeping an eye on it, but it seems not to be bad or dangerous. Little do they know, it is.
As time passes the number of hauntings in the area increases. The number of odd things that occur is increasings. Most people chalk it up to the "vivid imagination" of the people who live in these parts. Sometime soon these tales are going to grow dangerous.