Crude keeps, hardly better than forts, dot a wild land at the edge of civilisation, helpless to protect the denizens of these sparsely populated borderlands from the barbarian northmen who threaten. This land has always been a hinterland at the edge of civilisation, but in these dark years they are in danger of being cut off from the south completely. The road to the great southern towns are longer and more dangerous than they used to be. Threats abound on all sides, from oath-breaking ex-bondsmen turned bandit, to fell beasts, to the storied fey haunts of the Grimglades. It is a land ripe with danger for the weak whose names and stories disappear into the stoney soil more quickly than their flesh decays. On the other hand, it is a land ripe for picking by those strong and clever enough to carve a demesne for themselves from the haunted and lonely wilderness.
Call oneself a lord here and none will gainsay you as long as you can hold what you claim.