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Calderon Valley Steadholts (in book 1)

Calderon Valley Steadholts (in Book 1)

Note: Bernardholt, Isanaholt, and Fredericholt are all the same steadholt. This is where the trial concerning Bittan and Heddy was going to take place in book 1, and where various scenes unfold across the series, especially in books 1, 2, and 6.

Brief history[]

Bernardholt is a frontier steadholt in the savage wilderness of the Calderon Valley. This is a dangerous land, with furystorms, Slives, thanadents, direwolves, bears, etc. It is not too far from one of the Great Furies, at best a bellicose mountain named Garados, and his “wife” Thana Lilvia. Garados at its worst is just plain hateful, murderous, and mad. Thana, a windfury, is little better.

Before Tavi was born, Bernardholt was the only steadholt in the entire valley. Soon enough, several more farming cooperatives were established. (Cursor’s Fury)

Bernard “had also served Gram for many years as one of the first Steadholders placed in the then-Count’s service.” (FLF chapter 45)

It originally was the westernmost steadholt in the valley, located near the Rillwater stream. It’s the steadholt nearest to Garados and Thana Lilvia, and nearest to the Princeps' Memorium. Since book 1, more steadholts have been built even further west, to better use the land for crops, for a growing population.

Layout / Size[]

Bernardholt is the largest homestead village in the Calderon Valley, a self-sufficient cooperative of about 100 people (Furies of Calderon). Isana states that the steadholt is home to more than 30 families (Academ’s Fury ch 41). Steadholts vary in size from 30 to 300 people (FLF, prologue) so it is midsized.

The steadholt around them was laid out like virtually every other steadholt in the Realm—with a large hall at its center, surrounded by an enormous barn and a number of workshops, homes, and other outbuildings. Unlike most of the Realm, which until recently had enjoyed a much less dangerous climate, every building was made of solid stone, proof against the frequent furystorms that plagued the Valley. It was also surrounded by a defensive wall—not a fortress wall, by any means, and it didn’t feature battlements, but it was thick, solid granite and showed no signs of weathering or decay. (First Lord's Fury ch 39)

Bernardholt includes a very large stone barn, an enormous ram named Dodger and his flock of Rivan Mountain Whites, several huge Gargants, chickens, a dairy, a blacksmith, etc.

Leadership Changes[]

  1. First, Bernard runs the steadholt, supported by his elder sister Isana. Young Tavi works with Dodger’s sheep, learning from and reporting to his uncle Bernard. At the end of book 1, Bernard is elevated to the Citizenry as a Count, a minor title of nobility (Calderonus Bernard, Lord Calderonus) and given authority over Garrison, its Legions, and the protection of the whole valley. Nominally, he reports to High Lord Rivus Grantus at Riva, but he was appointed to this position by the First Lord, Gaius Sextus (end of book 1).
  2. Next, Isana is given authority over the steadholt, appointed by the First Lord himself, at the end of book 1. The steadholt then becomes known as Isanaholt. She is the first woman in the empire to be granted a steadholt. Sh is also anti-slavery. This makes her important to the Dianic League and a beloved figure of hope amongst women (see book 2, Academ's Fury)
  3. When Isana has to leave the valley after book 2 and serve out her promise to Invidia Aquitaine, Elder Frederic is given authority over the steadholt. He has worked on the farm for years tending the small herd of Gargants with his son Frederic. The name will eventually change to Fredericholt.
Elder Frederic, now the acting Steadholder, had been the steadholt’s gargant master. The great beasts were of unsurpassed utility on a steadholt, but they stank — not unpleasantly, but enormously. They smelled very, very large. (FLF, ch 43)

Spoilers Book 6[]



See map. By book 6, First Lord's Fury, the steadholt has been evacuated and somewhat prepared for a vord attack. A new siege wall now belts the valley near Bernardholt, and another at the western mouth of the valley. Despite the presence of more powerful Citizens and High Lords, Bernard is given charge of defenses in Calderon Valley, including Garrison.

Bernard said, “It’s time for the surprise attack. Your Lordship, if you would be so kind as to light the field.” Lord Gram stood nearby and grunted acknowledgment. Though the Princeps had put Bernard in charge of the defenses, Amara’s husband had also served Gram for many years as one of the first Steadholders placed in the then-Count’s service. (FLF ch 45)
The Valley fortified, book 6