Valdburg Castle was founded 20 years ago when Sir Oscar of Long Meadow was driven into exile from Thranconia. Sir Oscar was the Lord Marshal and best friend of Duke Evard of Thranconia, but when Duke Evard died and his humorless, ineffectual and vindictive wife became Duchess, she arranged for all of the late Duke's friends to be driven away from the court.
Sir Oscar took his wealth and retainers and moved west into the Valley. Here he discovered the ruins of an old keep, near Crossroads Tavern and founded an new barony. His competence and generosity soon saw the barony grow strong, but that growth was curtailed when the competition and hostility among the lords in the Crossroads region flared up.
Baron Oscar has always dreamed of outliving the Duchess and then joining his barony to the Realm, but he is now 75 years old and his dreams are fading. Resigned to dying an outlaw, his current thoughts are turned to whom among his nephews, grandsons and various cousins he will leave the barony.
Military: From his barony of 5000 people, Baron Oscar commands 50 knights (25 are household knights, 25 are vassal knights with their own manors), 200 soldiers (100 of which are full-time retainers or mercenaries, 100 of which are vassals who serve 2 months a year in exchange for a farm). The barony can muster an additional 1000 peasant militia, most of whom are tolerably well armed (leather, shield, spear).
The baron has a stable of 8 Hippogriffs, all trained for the saddle. Most of his household knights take a turn on the flying steeds. These numbers are included in the totals for the Countryside of Crossroads.