The Wheel of Time - The Call of the Horn
Watch Hill is a village north-centrally located in the Two Rivers region.
Watch Hill lies along the North Road, approximately halfway between Emond’s Field and Taren Ferry. The village is uniquely positioned atop a natural dome-shaped hill. To the west of the community lies the Westwood with the Sand Hills and the Mountains of Mist further beyond. To the east of Watch Hill travelers will encounter several miles of excellent farmland ending at the Waterwood. Though smaller than Emond’s Field, Watch Hill is slightly larger than Deven Ride. The community is built in a rough circle surrounding a Green where annual Bel Tine festivals are held. The village is large enough to have an inn, the White Boar, though villagers from Emond’s Field often remark that it’s not nearly as nice as the Winespring Inn.
Many years in the past when Manetheren ruled the region, a watchtower was constructed in this location to take advantage of the excellent view and defensibility of the hill. After the Band of the Red Hand perished during the Battle of Aemon’s Field, the nation of Manetheren died and the watchtower was left abandoned. Later when farmers returned to the area to establish a community, it is believed that they named their village after the mysterious nearby ruin. Whether by the theft of its blocks by needful farmers or the unrelenting erosion of the elements, no trace of the old tower now remains.
Like the other villages in the Two Rivers region, Watch Hill practices a form of gender-based bicameral government. Governance is officially controlled by a Village Council consisting entirely of men who are elected to office by villagers via popular vote. The council is headed by a mayor who is elected in a similar fashion. The current mayor of Watch Hill is Jerinvar Barstere. Additionally, a second ruling body called the Women’s Circle controls matters in Watch Hill as well. Members of the circle are always elder females who are chosen by existing members. The Women’s Circle is headed by a Wisdom who serves for life. The current Wisdom of Watch Hill is Edelle Gaelin, who has served the community for more than twenty years. As in the villages of Emond’s Field and Deven Ride, political control of Watch Hill exists as an ongoing willful struggle between the Village Council and the Women’s Circle. In general however, the Village Council tends to regulate economic matters and the Women’s Circle holds sway over social issues. Though Watch Hill continues to assert political independence, recently many villagers, including Mayor Barstere, have begun to defer to Lady Faile Bashere Aybara and Lord Perrin Aybara.
Villagers live a lifestyle centered around farming and tradecraft. Adult women wear their hair in a Braid and a young girl from Watch Hill is allowed to braid her hair only when the Women’s Circle determines that she is of marriageable age. Men are usually farmers or masters of a trade skill. Every spring villagers hold a Bel Tine festival on the village green where contests are held and unmarried adults are encouraged to dance together around a Spring Pole. Like all inhabitants of the Two Rivers, villagers of Watch Hill are known for a strong streak of stubbornness, a legacy of ancient Manetheren. As a consequence they are a hardy folk unwilling to give up even when times are tough. While on the surface it may seem to outsiders that the conflict between the Village Council and the Women’s Circle is forever ongoing, villagers are actually fiercely loyal to each other. As a result they will fight united with every fiber of their being to protect their property and way of life.
The economy of Watch Hill depends primarily upon Tabac farming and wool gathering. Guarded merchant caravans will journey to the village from Baerlon and Taren Ferry during certain times of the year in order to purchase and return with these commodities. Commerce takes place upon the village green and, as a function of his office to ensure a fair marketplace, Mayor Barstere dons his badge of office while observing all transactions and weighing coins with a set of merchants scales.
For as long as anyone can remember Watch Hill has been a peaceful, isolated village, but recent events have led to dramatic changes.
During the final hours of the Bel Tine festival in 998 NE, villagers were startled by a mysterous howling scream from the night sky. Citizens were unaware at the time that the disturbing sound was in fact the cry of a Draghkar scouting for the Dragon Reborn. Later it was learned that a force of Shadowspawn had attacked their southern neighbors in Emond’s Field. Villagers who believed the event was a sign of dark events to come were proven correct the next year.
The following year Watch Hill was subjected to a military occupation of Children of the Light under the command of Dain Bornhald who was being advised by a mysterous individual named Ordeith. Bornhald had led a regiment of Children to the Two Rivers in search of Perrin Aybara, a man he believed had killed his father. During the occupation of Watch Hill, villagers were subjected to frequent darkfriend accusations and were forced to feed and garrison soldiers while Bornhald searched for Perrin.
Unbeknownst to Bornhald, his advisor was in fact Padan Fain. Fain was working in collusion with the being known as Slayer who was masquerading as “Lord Luc”, a Hunter of the Horn. Slayer betrayed the Two Rivers by opening the Waygate located in the former Manetheren capital and filling the region with Shadowspawn from the Great Blight. As a result, several farms around Watch Hill were burned and many people were killed, including some at the hand of Fain himself. These troubles culminated with the Battle of Emond’s Field, where the forces of shadow became engaged in a week long struggle to destroy Watch Hill’s southern neighbor. Before the final battle was fought, Faile Bashere arrived in the village and summoned the Village Council in a plea for aid. Mayor Barstere responded by rallying all men of fighting age and led them south in haste. These fighting men of Watch Hill proved vital in securing an ultimate victory for the Two Rivers in the battle. In the subsequent days the Children of the Light were expelled from the region and the remaining shadowspawn were hunted down and killed.
After the Battle of Emond’s Field, villagers of Watch Hill began to regard Perrin Aybara as the defacto ruler of the region. This prompted Edelle Gaelin to lead an envoy from the Women’s Circle to Emond’s Field to see if Lord and Lady Aybara were “right for the Two Rivers”. After concluding that they were indeed worthy of rulership, the village council added its endorsement. Since that time, Edelle Gaelin has frequented Emond’s Field in the company of Daise Congar, Milla al’Azar, and Elwinn Taron, the wisdoms of the other three communities, to engage in dispute resolution with Lord and Lady Aybara.
After 1000 NE Watch Hill began to grow in size as refugees from Arad Doman, Tarabon, and Ghealdan arrived in the Two Rivers seeking shelter from troubles in their respective home countries. Though the village has not expanded as quickly as it’s southern neighbor, new homes are being constructed and Watch Hill is experiencing influences that are causing a social evolution to occur to its culture.