The Redlands is the name people use when referring to the areas where the Red Death has taken hold. It covers all of the Duchy of Diemed in the Enlightened Skythian Empire, as well as some bordering fiefdoms. Many of the cities inside are burnt down, as the authorities have tried to contain or destroy the infected areas. Farms and villages lay empty, and only a few places can small enclaves of living be found. Packs of zombies roam the streets and countrysides, falling mercilessly upon any humans they find. Many believe that the plague was sent by the Old Gods to punish man for turning away from them.
The bridges across the rivers leading into the Redlands have been pulled down, and both the Enlightened Alliance and the Empire has troops watching roads and fords, killing anyone who tries to leave the quarantined area. Better to slay an innocent, than risk the whole of civilization -- perhaps the one thing the two warring factions agree on.
At the heart of the infected lands lie the city of Zalburg. Before the plague it was the seat of the Duke of Diemed, and its beer and steel fetched a high price all across the White Ocean. It had a recorded population of 27,000, housed 47 temples, and three monasteries. The Red Death came to the city on 1 Septium, YE 1022, and despite the efforts of duke and Temple, the epidemic soon got out of control. On 7 Septium, the city was declared lost by the emperor, and the following day its gates were bricked shut from the outside by Imperial troops. It was then fire-bombed, and a detachment of troops was set to make sure none could leave. Four days later, a dispatch from the commander of the force arrived at General Graf von Stahlbein's camp with a sombre message, "The city is lost, we are all lost, pray for our souls." Scouts were sent in, but they found no living, only packs of zombies.
Recent reports tell of zombies converging on Zalburg, but perhaps even more disturbing are the rumours circulating amongst the living. Several refugees encountered by scouts have said that they are heading to Sanctum, a location believed to be in this very city. This is supposed to be a safe haven, where one can be safe from the Red Death. Some of these people also mention a "Yellow King". Who or what this king is is so far unknown.
There are also several reports about Thulist activity in the Redlands. Several scouts and informants have seen sinister, outlandish flying vessels in the skies above the region.
Other rumours about Zalburg include:
There are doctors there.
The plague has no grip on the city.
One (or several) of the Old Gods are protecting the city.
There lives a great magician who keeps the zombies at bay.
The zombies are gathering to consume the city.
The city is ruled by a great zombie lord, and the zombies are coming to serve him.
See also Pax Corax
[Picture source: 1 unknown; 2 own]