The Mendevian city of Kenabres overlooks the Worldwound from its perch on the eastern bluffs above the West Sellen river. It’s the gathering place for crusaders headed into the Worldwound, and home to a resolute—if occasionally overzealous—group of defenders.
Before the Worldwound opened, spilling demonic hordes into doomed Sarkoris, Kenabres was a small and industrious town on the border. The people of old Kenabres traded up and down the river, and they drew their water from it via a cunning system of pumps and pipes. After the coming of the Worldwound, the town was overrun with refuges. The citizens of Kenabres at first took them in graciously. This initial hospitality was checked when a demonic infiltrator disguised as a refugee slaughtered 62 citizens in early 4607 ar. Subsequent immigrants were subjected to close scrutiny and suspicion, and were forced to undergo ever more invasive tests to prove their humanity.
Despite the growing difficulty of being accepted into Kenabres, refugees continued to pour in from Sarkoris. A century after the opening of the Worldwound, the town has grown into a small city. A series of walls were erected as Kenabres grew, creating several physically separate districts. Today, the more than 12,000 inhabitants live almost entirely within the fortifications, while gathering crusaders make camp outside the walls to the north of the city.
After the Second Crusade, the church of Iomedae built a stone keep to house Kenabres’s wardstone. One of a series set along the border with the Worldwound, the wardstone keeps demonic forces from crossing the line between it and its neighbors, as long as its attendant priests maintain its power with prayer and ritual. Between the wardstone and the fortifications, Kenabres has been a relatively secure stronghold against the demons—but it has been less secure from corrupting forces within the walls. Starting with misplaced zeal in the First Crusade, there has been a tradition of witch hunting in Kenabres. The “witches” that have been burned at the stake in the intervening years were most often people who were different in faith or just physical appearance. Operating ostensibly under the aegis of the church of Iomedae, the witch hunters have often been a law unto themselves, taking whatever measures they deem necessary to keep Kenabres free of demonic corruption and possession. The prevalence of the witch hunters has waned somewhat in the years since the Fourth Crusade, but they remain at the ready to respond to any demonic threats that may arise.
People who have been raised in Kenabres have for all their lives known the preparation for war and the threat of attack. Even the youngest adventurers from the city have seen the town grow and change in their lifetimes, and have witnessed an ever-changing collection of crusaders passing through. Living in the shadow of a demonic threat is different than living in a normal war-torn land: the looming enemy can’t easily be understood or related to, nor can the demons’ motivations be analyzed and exploited. Growing up with such a threat always present is sure to have impacted the world view of anyone.