The Grizzly Hills are a forested region of Northrend, home to the capital city of the Iron Dwarves and the cultural centre of the Furbolg world. This region, once the site of bloody battles between Horde and Alliance forces vying for its natural resources, has been left to its own devices in the aftermath of the War against the Lich King - something the Furbolgs, Taunka, and surviving Drakkari have been keen to exploit.
Geography and EcologyEdit
GeographyEditThe overall characteristic of the Hills is its namesake; a vast expanse of hills building on each other and leaving many fertile valleys between them. In the South, however, the region is dominated by towering snow-capped mountains and by the sharp cliffs along the East Coast. The land slopes gently towards the coast, building higher and higher as one turns West until one reaches the Blue Sky River, which has carved a precipitious drop, dividing the Hills into two. The river flows West to the Dragonspine River, and both the Blue Sky and the Dragonspine empty into the brackish waters of Venture Bay.
The Hills have a surprisingly mild climate for their northern locale. Though the winters are snowy and bitter cold, the summers are warm and welcoming, with spring and summer together long enough to farm and to leave the region a brisk, chilly green for much of the year. The cold winds from the Storm Peaks that howl down through Zul'drak chill the northern Hills, however, and it is only the Southern Mountains that preserve the Howling Fjord from that win.
Home to vast forests of pine and cedar, the Grizzly Hills is easily mistaken for unending sea of towering conifers - and it is this great expanse of timber that brought the interest of the Venture Company. But the plant life of the region does not end at great trees useful only for timber. The Hills are home to a number of highly distinctive plant species, foremost among which must be the Amberpine and the Blackroot.
Along the forest floor are many edible species of mushroom and vegetation, providing sustenance to both the Taunka and the early human settlers of the region. Wild carrots, sweetroots, maygrass and morels all grow in sufficient abundance to provide for both the local animals and the higher beings. However, gathering these plants is not without risks, as a number of easily mistaken poisonous plants are also abundant - wolfsbane, nightshade, water hemlock - and quite exceptionally toxic.
The warmth and abundance of the region has fostered an environment in which countless species of beast thrive. In great schools off the coast, predatory fangtoothed herring swarm larger fish and unfortunate sea birds, competing with the other fish common to Northrend. Inland, great wolves stalk through the Western Forest preying on White Tail Deer, bears hunt the rivers for the great salmon flocks, and squirrels fight amongst each other for the rights to lair in Amberpine boughs.
Where farming fails, hunting ad foraging is a viable alternative, and this has been the preferred option for the largely carnivorous Furbolgs of Grizzlemaw for centuries - and, when times are harsh, for the Taunka of Camp Oneqwah.
Conquest HoldEditServing as the Horde's main base of operations in the Grizzly Hills, Conquest Hold was a fortified fort built in the same style as the new Horde bases, of iron and spikes. It was well-known for it's Conquest Pit, in which prisoners, caged beasts and occasionally seasoned fighters fight to the death for the enjoyment of the public, although enlisted soldiers were prohibited from fighting.
While it was originally led by Conqueror Krenna, she was slain in the pit following a disagreement with her sister Gorgonna, who took over after her demise.
Today, the Hold is home to a small garrison. Conqueror Gorgonna remains in command, but her mandate is now to prevent Alliance forces from using the generous resources of the Hills and to slow their settlement at any cost. All that holds her back is the severe shortage of manpower at her disposal - a situation that worsens daily as more men were recalled to fight the Darkspear Rebellion and others turned rebel themselves.
The once-feared Hold is a shadow of its former self, a behemoth of iron and stone slowly rusting and crumbling with every freeze and thaw, and for the first time in over a year, the savage bloodthirst of the pit has abated. No longer do slaves and prisoners fight for the amusement of their captors. There simply aren't enough.
Thor ModanEdit(Needs expansion)
Dun ArgolEdit(Needs expansion)
VoldruneEditOnce ruled by Thane Thorvald Eriksson, the fortress of Voldrune sprang up almost overnight as the Vrykul awoke early in the Lich-War. Built of rough-cut amberpine and reinforced with iron from the great foundries of Utgarde Keep, the site was selected for its strategic value, on a tall hill overlooking the Venture Bay and the only non-mountain route into the Hills from the Fjords.
The majority of the inhabitants slain, it is now ruled by no one and home to a handful of surviving Vrykul. These remnants are too subdued by the death of their 'god' to pose a threat to all but the most unprepared of caravans that pass too close. Where once the huskarls practiced and terrorized the local trappers, now the hill-fort is a quiet and sorrowful place. Until the Vrykul find cause to rally, this outpost of the Dragonflayer Clan will remain little but a memory.
Venture Bay is a contested port town located on the southwestern coast of the Grizzly Hills. It was used by goblins of the Venture Company for a time, although it attracted the attention of the forces of Conquest Hold and the Westfall Brigade who wished to use the port for their operations in Northrend.
While the majority of the goblins have been chased off from the harbor by the Alliance and Horde forces, small pockets of stragglers remained in the town's buildings, until they too were forced to flee the harbor.
SilverbrookEditSilverbrook is a hunting and logging village inhabited by trappers located in the northern part of the Grizzly Hills. It is located to the west of the Blue Sky Logging Grounds, and was under siege by troops from Conquest Hold to the south.
The locals agreed to help the Alliance if they helped them against the Horde and retrieved something for them. However, long before that Archmage Arugal, a former Gilnean patriot, had been ressurected by the Scourge and had already subverted most of the hunting communities of the Hills, converting them into Worgen for his Wolfcult.
Zeb'HalakEditA small temple-fort located on the tallest hill south of Drak'tharon Keep, Zeb'Halak was built to control road access to the keep, to further the defences of the great troll city-state of Zul'drak and to preserve its namesake Ziggurat. Once a firm part of the Drakkari's domain, the frost troll's gradual decrease in number left the temple outside of their easy claim, and a crumbling ruin maintained by a small and dwindling priesthood.
In the Drakkari's struggle against the Lich King, the site took on new importance as a destination for refugees. This proved a costly error when the site fell to the Scourge following Drakuru's betrayal. Warlord Zim'bo, while rallying his forces to retake the Keep, was murdered, and the site has since been deserted save for a handful of surviving priests, tending their shrine.
Amberpine LodgeEditThe Amberpine Lodge was one of many settlements that appeared in the Hills, along with Solstice Village and Silverbrook. It was maintained by hunters, trappers and woodsmen for much of it's time, although it was commandeered by the forces of the Westfall Brigade when they started to push north. It served as the Alliance's main base of operations within the Hills.