Teshendale 1368 DR
"One of the darkest days in recent years came when the Zhents took Teshwave while the rest of the Dales stood by. To be sure, Daggerdale and Shadowdale were crippled by the actions of Zhentarim agents, but we should have acted. Now Teshendale is no more and Shadowdale and Daggerdale have paid for their inactivity with Zhentish invasions and raiders. If Teshendale had not fallen, Shadowdale's battles and the war in Daggerdale may have never been fought. Such is the price of complacency." - Elminster
Teshendale is a ruined land. When Zhentil Keep's forces struck at Teshwave, it was not to subjugate the Dale but to destroy it utterly. Each town or village was systematically burned, and every Teshendalesman the Zhents captured was either put to the sword or taken back to slavery in Zhentil Keep. Thousands of refugees were forced to flee to the other Dales, and the confusion and chaos of the flight enabled the Zhents to extend their grasp into Daggerdale.
The folk of Teshendale were miners and foresters with few farmers. The land is rocky and wild; the Teshendalesmen would often trade their quarried stone for grain from milder Dales. The Zhents seized the quarries and logging camps, and have spent more than 50 years stripping the land of its natural resources. The walls of Zhentil Keep are made of Teshendale stone and its fires stoked with Teshwave timber. Descendants of Teshendalesmen taken as slaves still labor beneath the whips of Moonsea overseers.
The undisputed masters of Teshendale are the soldiers from Zhentil Keep. No other people live in Teshendale. The Zhents maintain several armed logging camps near the Border Forest, and also maintain armed, slave-worked quarries in the rocky hills. Teshendale's granite and timber belong to Zhentil Keep now.
The center of Zhentish activity in Teshendale is near the old town of Teshwave. A powerful Zhentish garrison of nearly 2,000 soldiers is camped in the city's ruins and permanently assigned to control the surrounding area and protect the Zhentarim interests.
The garrison is commanded by Guthbert Golthammer (CN male human Ftr6), an ox-brained warrior who won his position through the influence of his father. Guthbert is an amiable fellow, fearless in battle. He spends much of his time trying to chase down Randal Morn in Daggerdale.
The true power in Teshendale is wielded by Guthbert's advisor, a loyal member of the Black Network named Asdag (LE male human Clr6.) Asdag, a priest of Cyric, is a staunch follower of Fzoul Chembryl.
Raiders and Bandits
Teshendale's empty lands are almost overrun with evil raiders - orcs, goblins, ogres, and worse. Many of these tribes find occasional employment with Zhentil Keep, while others stalk the Zhentish caravans and raid the Zhentish camps. Human brigands and highwaymen also plague the area.
Recently, a bandit prince calling himself Tyran the Outlaw has become prominent in the area. Tyran (CG male human Rgr11) is the descendant of an old Teshwave family who is organizing a band of woodsmen and trackers to fight back against the Zhents and the humanoid raiders. The Zhents have placed a 500 gp bounty on his head, but Tyran continues to defy them. Even if he succeeds, there are so few Teshendalesmen left that it would be nearly impossible to rebuild the Dale.
Built at the location of a small set of rapids or cascades along the river Tesh, the town of Teshwave was razed by the Zhents. Only a few buildings escaped the town's destruction. The Zhents use Teshwave as their headquarters in the Dale, and the area is usually crawling with Zhents and mercenaries.
For a century or more, Mount Tesh has been avoided. Even before the fall of Teshendale, people reported disappearances and weird dancing lights on the mountain's slopes. The most alarming incident was recorded just a few months before the Zhentilar conquest when an entire hamlet vanished without a trace. Now that Teshendale is largely abandoned, few people have had reason to go anywhere near the mount.