History of the North - The Might of Men
Along the coast, in what was once the elven community of Illefarn, humanity was once again rising in power. Merchants from the south, tribesmen from the North, and seafarers from western islands had created a village around a trading post on a deep-water harbor, first known as Nimoar's Hold after the Uthgardt chieftain whose tribe seized and fortified the ramshackle village. Nimoar and his successors, known as War Lords, led the men of Waterdeep (as it had become known to ship captains) in a slowly losing battle against the trolls.
In a final, climactic battle, the trolls breached the aging palisade and all seemed lost - until the magic of Ahghairon of Silverymoon turned luck against the trolls, destroying and scattering them. Ahghairon, heir to the heritage and learning of Netheril, stayed in Waterdeep, and in his 112th year he again saved the city - this time from itself. In so doing, he created the Lords of Waterdeep. The city grew into the greatest in the North, possibly in all Faerun, With Waterdeep as a firm anchor, civilization forged cautiously into the wilderness.
Illuskan (now Luskan) was taken from the orcs. Loudwater, Llorkh, Triboar, Longsaddle, Secomber, and other towns were settled by pioneers from Waterdeep, sponsored by Waterdhavian merchant families. Though it's been centuries since the last orc invasion, 'there's still constant strife. Barbarians harass merchants, travelers, and towns; the seas swim with Northmen pirates; and wars have marred the land in recent years. Luskan, now a fierce merchant city known to harbor - and support - pirates, waged a war with the island realm of Ruathym over an act of piracy against one of the few legitimate Luskan merchant ships.
The war raged for nearly a year, with Ruathym slowly losing ground. When it appeared Luskan would finally win the naval war and land on the island itself, the Lords' Alliance entered the fray. They threatened war against Luskan if the skirmishes didn't stop immediately. Unable to fight a two-front war efficiently, Luskan canceled its invasion plans. Tensions between Luskan and Ruathym are still high, and their ships are often seen taking potshots at each other as they pass, often just a wave or two away from each other.
The government of Ruathym has recently been sending adventurers into the hills of its island realm, looking for mercenaries who are killing merchants, farmers, and woodsmen. Ruathym believes Luskan still has a presence on the island, trying to win through subversion and terrorism what it could not accomplish through war. To the far north, the Ten Towns have finished rebuilding after being nearly destroyed by the monstrous forces of Akar Kessel. With help from the tundra barbarians living nearby, they've built and repaired their cities, replanted the sparse foliage, and - most importantly - replenished the morale of their citizens.
A recent trader who passed through the area carrying 17 wagons of rare oak lumber said that it was nearly impossible to determine who's a barbarian and who isn't. "They're living together!" he reported in amazement.