Cobal's Hold in its current state
Southern Gilneas, Ashen Coast
Cobal's Hold is a small Gilnean town in the Ashen Coast of Gilneas. The town is a small walled off village underneath the name sake of the town, Cobal's Hold, which is seperated by ramparts and a gate. The town is ruled by Lord Berenal Grayblade of House Grayblade. It was destroyed when the orcs invaded Gilneas and remains in disrepair.
During Strom's colonization of the peninsula known as Gilneas, two families by the names of Cobal and Stanton had established themselves and their followers in the northern most regions of the Ashen Coast, the Cobals establishing Cobal's Hold and the Stantons establishing Karnsburg. Rivalry for land and power in the area caused a war to break out amongst the two families that waged on for years. After the near destruction of both family's holds, a fragile truce was made by the marriage of a Cobal son and a Stanton daughter. With Cobal's Hold and Karnsburg left in a poor state, the two united families combined what remained of their people and wealth and established a town within the Blood Fields, which gained its name from being the main site of battle between the two families.
The town of Bannhurst was established on the Blood Fields and experienced a very lucky start. Shortly after colonization of the area, a large gold mine filled with rich precious minerals was discovered. The discovery of the mine revived the coffers of both families and caused Bannhurst to prosper. The discovery of the mine and the rich natural resources of the Ashen Coast also attracted a large amount of attention, drawing in many families to settle in the Ashen Coast as well, establishing towns such as Keel Harbor, Brandon's Stead, and Rosefield.
While Bannhurst prospered, the Cobals turned focus away from the village of Cobal's Hold. The keep was repaired and bolstered, as it remained the seat of power of the family, but the village was left in dire disrepair, having been ignored in favor of the much more profitable Bannhurst. Crime and poverty ran rampant in the town, only being solved when one of the Cobals was assaulted and killed on the streets. Following this, the Cobals hired a large amount of brutish guards to police the streets of the town.
When war threatened to kick back up, the rebuilding efforts of Cobal's Hold began, as the Cobals were afraid that the keep would be too easy to siege and that the villagers would rebel. When Gilneas succeeded from Arathor and formed the Kingdom of Gilneas, the Cobals and Stanton families merged into House Cobalstant, putting those fears aside. Regardless of the war no longer being a threat, the village was still rebuilt due to continuing concerns of rebellion and a lack of income from the area.
War in the Ashen CoastEdit
Following the establishment of the Kingdom of Gilneas, the area of the Ashen Coast experienced a mix of religions. Cobal's Hold and Karnsburg were strong worshipers of the Holy Light, while such towns as Rosefield and Gregor's Crossing, were strong supporters of the Old Ways and refused to pick up the practices of the Light. To add further religious confusion, worship of the god Deus was adopted in Brandon's Stead and Keel Harbor. Religious tension broke out within the area, especially in the neighboring town of Bannhurst who, despite being under the House of Cobalstant, had the biggest mix of these followings. As the strongest family in the area, the Cobalstants believed that Bannhurst should be kept to Light worship, seeking to oust Old Ways worship and especially worship of the god Deus.
Chapels to the Light were established in the areas of Cobal's Hold and Karnsburg, and a small cathedral was to be built in Bannhurst. After assassinations and stealthy attacks on the Deus worshiping towns of the Ashen Coast by the Cobalstants, war broke out in the area.
Fearing for their people, the towns of Rosefield and Gregor's Crossing banded together in an alliance of their own named the Rose Pact, laying siege to Bannhurst in order to displace both the Cobalstants and the Ashen Coast Coalition. The three way war in the town led to a severe decline of Bannhurst's prosperity, with the Cathedral's construction site destroyed and the great gold mine of Bannhurst being left unmanned. Unable to reap the benefits of the Ashen Coast, the armies of Greymane marched into the region, occupying the wreckage of Bannhurst and effectively ending the war. By the end of the strife, Keel Harbor and Brandon's Stead were left in ruins.
The Cobalstants funded the rebuilding of these two towns, establishing chapels of the Light, while Gregor's Crossing and Rosefield were permitted to continue their practices of the Old ways, and worship of the light was adopted in the area as well. Ultimately, Deus worship was effectively destroyed in the area as most practitioners were either slain or were converted to the ways of the light.
Cobal's Hold remained mostly untouched by the religious war, as the target of the Headland's Coalition and the Rose Pact was Bannhurst. However, the Cobalstants did move from Cobalstant Manor back to the keep in Cobal's Hold during this time, out of fear of assassination.
For years after the destruction of Brandon's Stead and its rebuilding, the lords of the town, House Greyfield, plotted against the Cobalstants. With the Ashen Coast Coalition's failure echoing in their history for hundreds of years and the family having been degraded down to the lowest rung of the noble chain, the Greyfields hired Alteraci assassins to destroy House Cobalstant. For the most part, it was successful, being a large house and its members spread wide, Cobalstants began turning up dead for months following the contract given. Fearing for their lives, most of the Cobalstants attempted to flee to Bannhurst to Cobalstant Manor, where Lord Hendrick Cobalstant ruled over the town.
Unable to house the influx of his relatives, Hendrick sent them away from Bannhurst, giving them refuge on small holds and minor farms, the majority of them setting up in Cobal's Hold and Karnsburg, which housed a manse and keep respectively, that had been unoccupied for quite some time. During this time, Cobal's Hold's keep had fallen into relative disrepair due to the last use having been during the war. Due to this, it made it easy for the assassins to infiltrate the once fortified keep and slaughter the Cobalstants within, all aside from one, Jackson Cobalstant. Jackson had hidden away within the cells of the keep when it was raided, and due to clever tactics he was able to persuade the mercenaries to drop their Greyfield banners and serve him.
Infuriated with his kin for having turned his family away and in his eyes leading to their deaths, Jackson led his band into Bannhurst under the guise of marauding bandits of unknown origin. After sacking half of the town, Jackson and Hendrick faced off in single combat, where Marsh was beheaded and House Greyfield was made nearly defunct with the murder of Elisa. Jackson's son, Kendrick Greyfield (given his mother's surname to hide Harrison's true origins), was adopted by the Cobalstants and later groomed to be their puppet as the effectively gained control over yet another town in the Ashen Coast.
During this time, a large amount of Cobalstant Hearthstones were destroyed, and the secrets of how to make them were lost to time, becoming an extremely rare object and the sign of a true Cobalstant.
Demise of House CobalstantEdit
By the time the Second War began, the Cobalstants had all but left their towns to rot. Cobal's Hold had once again fallen into crime and poverty as there was poor leadership in the area, being led by a minor appointed lord that eventually ended up passing away from illness. When Cobalstant Manor was raided and the Cobalstant family made defunct, Cobal's Hold, Bannhurst and Karnsburg found themselves under House Grayblade.
Lord Haverin Grayblade revitalized the Bite, making use Cobal's Hold by turning it into a forge town, where the mined minerals of Bannhurst and the Ashen Coast holdings would be sent off to be refined and then shipped back to Bannhurst for processing. By way of this, jobs were finally created in the town, and the Keep was turned into a center for training of guards for the town to cut down on the crime rates in the city.
Arrival of the Seventh SkullEdit
Following the end of the Second War and the closing off of Gilneas from the rest of Azeroth, a group of Lordaeronian deserters turned bandits became trapped behind the wall. Originally just harassing small towns such as Emberstone Village, the Seventh Skull sought to grip Gilneas' economy under its fist. Laying siege to several towns across the Ashen Coast, such as Rosefield and Keel Harbor, the Seventh Skull gripped the southern Ashen Coast economy. After assassinating the Grayblade family and laying siege to the town of Bannhurst, Cobal's Hold was left mostly unaffected.
In the aftermath of the attack, Bannhurst was left completely ruined and the Ashen Coast in disarray. Cobal's Hold was given to House Darkoak of Rosefield, and Karnsburg to House Cloverfield, only for the Cloverfields to eventually die of mysterious circumstances, and Karnsburg to go under the Darkoak's lordship. In the years that followed, House Gregor of Gregor's Crossing and House Greyfield of Brandon's Stead to become extremely wary of the Darkoaks, following the sudden destruction of House Cloverfield and House Grayblade. With Bannhurst in ruins, Cobal's Hold became the new center of power of the Darkoaks, the Keep once again being turned into the living area of the reigning family.
Death of the Darkoaks and the WorgenEdit
While on a visit to Gilneas City to visit his son and sole heir, Galin Darkoak, Lord Balaforth Darkoak was slain, alongside his son, by Berenal Grayblade, the heir to Bannhurst and true heir to Cobal's Hold and Karnsburg. The man was arrested, though was later released on the grounds that he was framed. With no other heirs to the land, Cobal's Hold, Karnsburg, and the Ruins of Bannhurst once again found themselves under the name of House Grayblade, though it was short lived.
While the young Lord Berenal Grayblade sought out a military life and left minor lords to run the towns in his stead, the Worgen curse swept across Gilneas in the years to come. While the Ashen Coast were mostly unaffected, Bannhurst became the site of hunting parties, seeking out the wolfmen in the ruins. After a large pack of Worgen were found in the ruins, and Gilneas City had been lost, the people of the Ashen Coast destroyed the bridge connecting the Ashen Coast to the rest of Gilneas.
Continuing the chain of good luck that had fell upon the town since Haverin's revitalization of the Bite, Cobal's Hold remained mostly unaffected by the events. Thanks to the swearing of House Greyfield to House Grayblade, House Greyfield managed the day to day affairs of the town in Lord Berenal Grayblade's stead.
Arrival of the HordeEdit
The final blow to the Ashen Coast was struck by the hands of the Orcish Horde that had arrived near the end of the first invason of Gilneas. During this time, Rosefield, Cobal's Hold, Karnsburg, and Brandon's Stead were destroyed by the Horde. Cobal's Hold held out against the orcs for quite sometime, but was overpowered when siege weaponry had arrived. Unable to hold off the siege, the town was completely ransacked and the walls nearly destroyed. The Keep was raided and left in disrepair and Hevrin Greyfield was slaughtered.
By the end of the siege, the Greyfield family was neary wiped out, having been butchered when the orcs invaded and the various towns were ransacked. Thanks to the timely intervention of Lord Xavier Gregor and his sons, Lady Greyfield was saved just before the orcs could kill her. The people of House Gregor and House Greyfield followed Lord Berenal Grayblade and lent their men to the banner of The Blades of Greymane.
Following the death of Maribell Cobalstant, Graston was put under the regency of Lord Johan Muckerton the Fifth, an affluent man whose family owned the second largest winery in the Ashen Coast, until Lucia Cobalstant came of age. Though the choice was questionable, the original choice for regent, Markus Silverwall, had died a week prior, leaving no time for further deliberation. However, Lord Muckerton's tenure as regent of Cobal's Hold was one of incompetence and corruption, with most of the funds going into sumptuous furs and silk, as well as expensive imported wines and food from around the world. After finally having had enough, following the beginning of earthquakes emanating from Flame's Berth Lord Muckerton received a visit from Duke Grayblade personally, who removed him and his courtiers from the position of defacto rulers of Graston after his continued incompetence resulted in the inaccessibility of the Cobal's Hold mines, instead appointing a member of the Inner Circle to whom Muckerton would be subordinate to. Meanwhile, what food remained was to be distributed to those who needed it.
However, following Duke Grayblade's departure, Lord Muckerton instead attempted to rebel against him, rallying the house guard through bribery and imprisoning Dame Tyrisa Haverland, a Wolf's Guard assigned to Cobal's Hold by the Duke. Returning to Cobal's Hold with his wife and Roderick Gallowood, another of his Wolf's Guards, the Duke confronted the overconfident lord at the gates, ultimately intimidating the bribed guards into opening the gates and apprehending Muckerton. Finding Lucia unharmed in her room, they discovered that Lord Muckerton had plans involving her ransom or harm if hostilities broke out.
Charged with high treason, conspiracy to murder a noblewoman of Gilneas and imprisonment of one of the King's scions, his execution, was to be carried out immediately. As a last ditch attempt to save himself, Muckerton pleaded with the Duke that he had been possessed by a demon that controlled his actions and had been scared off by the Duke. Unconvinced, Duke Grayblade called his bluff by bringing forth Dame Haverland, who was a paladin. With no choice but to submit himself, Muckerton was exorcised by Dame Haverland, ultimately revealing that the incompetent lord truly was possessed, by an imp part of a Legion plot to infiltrate the Ashen Coast. When pressed for information, the imp revealed that they were but the lowest rung of infiltration, and a list of possessed or disguised demons was discreetly sent out to the Inner Circle to deal with. Sir Remegis Velanaris was later appointed as Regent of Graston.
Being the center of the Cobal family's power, Cobal's Hold has a distinct culture to them. Having been constructed long ago, the town of Cobal's Hold has undergone various structural changes, the walls and Keep keeping the vibe of an older construction method, while the town resembled modern Gilneas construction up until its destruction at the hands of the Horde.
Cobal's Hold held a strong fervent belief in the Light, with very little practice of the Old Ways within the town, and never having any following of the god Deus.