Silver Oak is a small community of only a scant couple hundred, compared to the larger towns of several hundred people dotting the snaking river that meanders down past this quiet burg. Founded on the edge of a medium sized lake at the tail end of a prosperous river trade route, and nestled around a magical Silver Oak Tree; which has been said to be blessed by the goddess herself. This town is currently a popular resting place for weary adventures; and preparation point for expeditions to explore the Serpents Teeth mountains beyond, which forever shadow this small village.
Some of the more notable places in town are as follows:
Silver Oak Tree
The town Name and symbol, this magnificent silver oak towers over fifty feet tall, and it’s oddly metallic leaves jangle in the breeze like a wind chime and never seem to fall off. Even in winter, the tree itself radiates a mystically warm glow for over a hundred feet around it, making the area pleasantly warm even in the winter.
This tree is rumored to be blessed by some goddess or other, although no one can quite agree on which one it is, although everyone agrees it is most definitely a god of light. The only draw back to the tree is it’s delicate musical jingle turns into a jumble of horrendous noise whenever high winds or severe storms blanket the town.
Most of the townsfolk however view this as a small price to pay for living so close to such a holy monument, and Catherine sells a large amount of sleeping herbs during the stormy times at a reduced price.
The inn was Given it’s name as a joke by town shortly after is was finished being built. Since the original owner, a wealthy merchant who was settling down had made the wild claim he could finish having the inn built before the first snow fall when winter was scarcely two months away.
To his credit Garth Cornwood, along with the help of several of skilled carpenters, and nearly anyone in town who was willing to help for a generous sum money per day helped him complete his inn on schedule. Unfortunately a scarce two days before it’s completion cold weather caused a light drizzle to turn into sleet and then a very light snow, of which only one flake was observed which blew across the breeze to land upon the inn.
Most of the villagers said this was due to the gods ridiculing his claim he could out do the elements and proving to him that money is useless against nature. Aside from this bit of history the inn is unremarkable among similar styles, following the traditional L shape 2 story building With a large fire place in down below.
Although the price for one nights lodgings is much higher than one would expect for a small village, the rooms are spacious, clean, and all meals are included. Due to Garths connections with the traders that travel up and down the river way, he has a large amount of rare and exotic foods available.
Regardless of the true amount, he will claim to have very little left in his store house and thus charge easily 10x what one would normally expect to pay elsewhere, although to some this is well work the expense to sample exotic goods from far off lands, especially Rose Wood Ale, as well as other foods rare unheard of delicacies.
Cracked Mug Tavern
This cozy albeit somewhat run down tavern was named The Cracked Mug, due to the fact that on his opening day Henry Muldoon Slapped down the first mug of ale and cracked the glass entirely down the side. Instead of taking it as a bad omen, Muldoon, who never believed in that "hogwash" named the tavern The Cracked Mug and placed the mug on the fireplace mantle in defiance to what many called an omen of failure.
Whether by force of will, or some of the best drinks for miles around, (Bought off the owner of the Inn and brewed by Henry in the basement and Still out back) The Cracked Mug has become incredibly popular and travelers from all over drop in to sample his selection, and then sleep it off in the inn. Overall the bar is better than average with rock bottom prices compared to other similar establishments in the area.
Black Thor’s Blacksmith
This is a large brick building crouches on the outskirts of town, it’s soot stained sides blackened from a fire in years past and the newly furnished tin plated roof gleaming like a knights breast plate under the glazing sun, this is the towns only blacksmith shop.
The roofs recent addition is due in part to the recent opening of a iron mine at the foot hills of the Serpents Teeth mountains on the far side of the lake. Many of the ore laden ships that travel down the river past Silver Oak towards the capital much further south, are only to happy to part with their goods in return for some of Mallory’s finely crafted equipment.
Owned by a huge (6 1/2’ tall) Dark skinned man called Mallory Ironheart, who pounds the steel as well as any trouble makers with a large dull black hammer he calls Justice. Though short tempered when dealing with trouble makers, Mallory is known to be rather pleasant and given to engaging customers in casual conversation as he works. His weapons are of exceptional quality and nearly unbreakable when wielded by normal folk.
Sad Horse Stables
Owned by the blacksmith and his wife, the sad horse stables used to own horses that he would rent to farmers and others in need. Over the years all have been stolen and he has refused to buy more to be stolen again, so now it is a fairly decent stable that has a sad looking stuffed horse monument outside as the sign with the name on the saddle, where travelers can house their horses for a meager amount of coin per night and have them cared for by his wife Amanda. Grooming, and other care costs additional coin, or is free if the horse is stabled for more than two nights.
Cathy’s Cure Alls
A cozy store right next to the tavern with fine maple floors and the rich smell of drying herbs, ran by an Aging woman called Catherine who sells a wide variety of herbal remedies for nearly every ailment, especially hangovers. Cathy her self is a retired ranger turned holistic doctor and all around healer for any who are injured. She is also known to accept trade of goods and services in exchange for herbs and treatment.
Teresa’s Lost General Store
This simple wood building is called the general store for those who are lost as to what they need for traveling goods. Teresa herself is woman who seems to have amnesia and no idea of where she’s been except as owner of the store which she claims has been always, which most people assume is as long as she can remember.
Although her past may be shrouded in mystery and some speculate full of dark deeds, Teresa herself is a down to earth caring motherly woman who seems to be able to suggest the correct equipment for any adventurous expedition, no matter where it is to. Overall her store carries a little of everything, from rations, cold weather clothing, and mountaineering equipment, to herbs, weapons, and the odd magic item or two, all at prices cheaper than anywhere else around.
One of the few places in town to sport a spacious window made of finely blown glass, this one story stone building is owned by an elderly lady named Thelma Thurgood, and is home to some of the finest sweet breads, pastries, and cheese loafs for miles around.
Rumored to be the widow of an alchemist, Thelma’s breads stay fresh for an unusual amount of time, often staying soft and edible for over two weeks, even if left unattended on a shelf and never seem to mold. Thelma herself only tells people that it’s a secret family recipe her mother taught her, although there are those who claim she is a witch, and her ingredients are really slow acting poisons that place their victims under her control. Most generally dismiss such accusations as the tales of jealous wives whose bread never seems to taste quite as rich as hers.
Trisha’s Furrier and Fish
This rundown shack on the outskirts of town near the beach is a more recent addition, built by several volunteers hired by a young woman of exceptional beauty. Besides being well known for her enamoring beauty, Trisha owns the only fishing boat in town operated by her five sons, as well as trades furs and does taxidermy work for anyone who wants to immortalize any valued trophies.
Nick named Fishy Trishy by those who find the scent of fish in her shack and on her person almost continuous; Trisha is a cheery lady who tries to repeatedly seduce every person that looks remotely attractive and dares enter her store, be they male, female, or of a monstrous race, all find themselves the target of her desires.
Aside from this (sometimes)unwelcome habit, Trisha is incredibly skilled at taxidermy and does an outstanding amount of fur trading with rangers and woodsmen from dozens, if not hundreds of miles away, for a reason she never can quite puzzle out.
Ronalds’ Toys and Leather Goods
A huge teddy bear made from an actual bear holds the large hand carved sign out front of this hand built log cabin, giving customers some hint at the nature of the occupant, a huge heavily muscled and overly haired tan man called Ronald. He is a surprisingly gentle and loves to tell kids stories of his days as a trapper, as well as make wonderful toy animals from leather and fur. These toy are not only very soft, but bearing a remarkable resemblance to the actual creatures.
Most of his stuffed animals are of Bears, Wolves and Mountain Lions as well as Rabbits and badgers, which he privately hopes will help kids overcome their fear of woodland creatures. Thanks to the growing fur trade business of Trish’s Furrier supplying him with a ready supply of pelts and furs, he also produces a large amount of quality leather goods, from boots and gloves, to backpacks and leather armor of all types.
What follows is a description of the months and how the changing of seasons effects Silver Oak.
Also, Due to it’s more southward location Silver Oak doesn’t receive snow fall, and instead gets large amount of of Bitterly cold rain during the winter months.
Silver Oak Description_______Earth Month
Heart of winter_________________January
The Claws of Winter_____________February
Time of the Sunsets_____________March
Time Of Storms__________________April
The Time of Flowers_____________June
The Drawing Down________________December
During deep winter the rains in Silver Oak drop in temperature to bitterly cold at times, nearly freezing rain that seems almost dense enough to shroud the streets in a perpetual icy fog. During this time most gather inside or at the Cracked Mug Tavern near the town center. This is also the time of remembrance when tales of great heroes and the history of the culture is retold at the festival hall and taverns throughout the city. For the most part tourism is virtually non existent and the town as a whole remains cloistered indoors.
Outside the town the frigid rain drives most animals towards any available shelter and some either migrate or hibernate until warmer rains during The Melting awakens them.
The Claws of Cold:
Beginning sometime during the 1st week of February the frigid rain is coupled with a driving, almost gale force wind that chills the rain to ice, which collects in nearly every surface, coating the plains in a sheen of ice that is nothing short of breath taking during the sunsets and sun rises of that month.
It is at this time that the population is most indoors and the flow of ale and song is highest they continue to partake in The Time of Remembrance and add new tales to the old and tell of the adventures local villagers and traveling heroes have partook in over the past year.
Beyond Silver Oak the landscape seems nearly barren of life and the howl of the wind through the frozen trees is a mournful music that accompanies many guards watch.
Time of Sunsets
At the end of the claws of cold the winds move higher in the atmosphere and freeze the occasional rain into ice crystals making the sunsets during this time of year to be beyond belief as the setting sun is reflected off the frozen ice crystals in the upper atmosphere; as well as the frozen plains making it a double display of color.
Combined with the gentle winds now almost singing among the frozen trees can make the land itself come to life with poetry to rival that of the most skilled bards.
It is on the second week of this month that The Time of Remembrance draws to a close and many gather on the outskirts of town during the morning and evening hours to witness natures majesty in creation. Some of the most valued works of art in Silver oak are of the sunsets during this time, rendered with such breath taking care that one can almost feel the cool wind across their skin.
Time Of Storms:
Starting early on in this month warmer winds blowing up from the south clash violently with the still frigid north winds creating frequent and spectacular storms unequaled in any other part of the world.
In full fury these storm lash the forest with semi solid hail chunks, earth shattering lightning bolts and wind strong enough to break dead branches. Fortunately Silver Oak is accustomed to these furies of nature and is able to easily withstand these sky-rending displays of fury with little difficulty.
Though these storms can last for hours at a time, most only endure for a little over an hour, although they can occur 4-6x daily. Throughout the month many of the farming and hunting families prepare equipment for planting crops and hunting which begins during The Time of Melting. It is also during the time of the birth of these violent storms that the largest number of children are also born.
With the approach of summer drawing closer the rains increase in warmth, becoming cool and melting off the accumulation of ice from the long winter. With the warming of the rains trade ships then resume their trade along the river from the Southern capital and other communities, restocking the merchants and bring with them a fresh flood of adventurers eager to explore the Serpents Tooth Mountains and traders happy to sample the cheeses and ales that have been aging though the winter.
As the ground softens guard patrols resume their routes along the river bank, farmers being tilling the earth with Plows and magic so as to plant their crops as soon as possible.
The Time of Flowers
As the rain continues to warm and bring life back to earth, monsters and animals awoken during The Melting reclaim their previous territories and other creatures migrate back to the lands surrounding Silver Oak. The warm rain and resurgence of life is also celebrated by the blooming of flowers upon the river banks, turning them into carpets of color following the river to the horizon.
Silver Oak’s Flower Festival is held during the second week of this month and includes a large Bazaar where craftsmen sell the products they have produced during the winter months and travelers eagerly await the auctions of some of the more valuable pieces of artwork and craftsmanship produced.
The products to be featured at the auction are often donated by craftsmen, with proceeds from these auctions going towards assisting families that have fallen on hardship during the winter or by tragedy, as well as serving to maintain or rebuild the village as is necessary.
Summer tide is one of the most enjoyable months to Silver Oak residents as the rain is at its warmest and the days lengthen, where most can find time to participate in their favorite outdoor leisure activities and travel to other communities to visit relatives or friends.
Tourism however is about average, the animal and monster population having evened out to a more predictable pattern. Many of the young are taught skills involving wilderness and combat during these times as the countries soldiers travel and conduct their own training drills, passing their skills to a newer generation.
This time of year is the time of the longest days, and the moon brightly lights even the nights. It is during this time of year the rainfall is the least, for the most part trappers and farmers begin preparing for the harvesting season and traders sell great amounts of carpentry supplies as families with recently born children enlarge their homes and others perform any necessary maintenance, taking advantage of the good weather to make construction easier.
The changing of the leaves in Silver Oaks forests heralds the beginning of autumn as well as the cooler nights and increased rain that hearken shorter days ahead. Many hunters use the fall foliage as camouflage to hunt elusive or dangerous creatures that abound during this time, attempting to fatten themselves up for the long winter.
Farmers begin harvesting early crops and tend to the wild groves as apples and other fruits ripen. Tourism falls off slightly during this time as the increased monster presence makes travel both difficult and dangerous, although river transport continues unabated.
The brightly colored leaves begin to fade to a darker shade and the wind takes on a slightly cooler feel as autumn falls across Silver Oak.
The beginning of Leaf Fall is one of the busiest times in as farmers strive to harvest crops and acquire necessary grains like wheat before the months end. The end of Autumn heralds two special times for Silver oak, one is the naming ceremony; where all children born during the previous year have their chosen names announced officially beneath the Silver Oak.
The other significant occurrence is The Harvest Festival. A time of great joy and celebrating, as a huge week long feast and is held in the town center. During this time outsiders are most welcome in the town and the entire population partakes in the festival. Pregnancy though out Silver Oak is also highest around this time due to the larger prevalence of recreation and more relaxed partying atmosphere.
As the rain grows ever colder people begin to stockpile their goods in preparation for the winter and guard patrols increase as monsters begin to brave the outskirts of the town in search of easy food.
Also during this month is the annual visit of the acting group Trevor’s Troubadours, a traveling troupe of actors that travels the trade lanes via river boat and perform numerous plays for the benefit of Silver Oak.
The Drawing Down
This month is a flurry of activity as merchants everywhere scramble to get the last of their needed supplies imported by hip and families make any last repairs on their homes. Adventurers are encouraged to leave before Deep Winter strands them within Silver oak for the duration of winter, as travel during the winter months is often dangerous and fool hardy.
By the end of the month as the rain turns bone chilling cold and the nights long and bitter; the last of the ships have visited Silver Oak and none are again expected untilThe Melting.