- "How does an Averlander tell a difference between his woman and his cattle? He can’t!"
- —Reiklander joke
Averheim is the capital city of the Grand Province of Averland, and the original capital of the ancient Brigundians tribe. Averheim has been the chief city of the land between the river Aver and the river Reik since before the legendary Emperor Sigmar was born. It sits on a bluff above the river Aver, and so is immune from its occasional high floods. At the highest point of the city, at the end of the road leading from the towns of Pfungzig and Heideck, the fortress of the Elector Count sits behind powerful walls from which its towers command a view for miles around.
Chieftain Siggurd of the ancient Brigundian tribe reputedly began the fortress called the Averburg after Sigmar made him a Count of his new Empire. He wanted a symbol so powerful and intimidating that no one, neither rebel nor invader, would ever challenge his rule, and through him, Sigmar. Naturally, the castle has been rebuilt, added to, and repaired several times, so the truth is hard to tell. Scholars believe it certainly dates to the early first millennium, but cannot be sure until they examine the foundation, which would mean entering the crypts of the Elector Counts. Their requests have been regularly denied without explanation. Some wonder if, rather then out of a sense of propriety and privacy, it is perhaps because the rumours of Siggurd's shield, spear, and chariot, purported to be magical artefacts of great power, are buried in the crypt with him. If so, the Elector Counts would not be anxious to let others know they possess such powerful weapons.
Averheim is also famous for its stockyards, where the great cattle drives end in the heat and stink of an Averlander summer. For several days, the streets are filled with cattle being brought to market and retainers of the cattle lords eager to spend their pay. The Averheim watch often hires more help during this time to keep at least some control over the "celebration." The stockyards are near the docks where the slaughterhouses are located, so the cut meat can be salted, cured and loaded onto barges for easy transportation. Recently, a cabal of merchants has begun experimenting with ice brought from the mountains and kept magically cool, to keep the meat fresh during transportation. The Salter's Guild of Averheim has threatened violence if the experiment continues. A famous monument in the city is the Pillar of Skulls, marking the high point of Gorbad Ironclaw's invasion of Averland in the 18th Century.
Although the Averburg itself has never fallen, the city was penetrated and Gorbad's forces made it as far as the Plenzerplatz, the city's main square. There, the Grand Count and his personal bodyguards along with the remaining soldiers of Averland set upon them. Slaughtered by the hundreds, Gorbad's army was forced to move on, and the Elector Count ordered a monument built from the skulls of the dead Orcs. To this day, it is said that blood drips from the eye socket of some of the skulls on the Night of Mystery.
In present times, control of Averheim has not been a clean-cut affair. While the family of Marius Leitdorf nominally owns and administers the land and legalities of Averheim, their constant infighting has allowed several rival factions to gain power within the city. Many noble families, most notably the Altraums, have garnered influence with local guilds and merchants. Gossips in the street whisper of criminal connection, and of bribery and coercion. Certainly the local temple of Sigmar has received some hefty donations recently, judging from the latest round of building and decoration. Thieves have become more brazen of late. Whilst the city watch continues to keep the peace "in the name of the Count," they lack leadership and funds to deal with large gangs that have started to rear their heads. No one can say for sure if these groups are the result of political manoeuvring on the part of the nobility, or just speak of a lack of orders. Most believe that rulership of Averheim is the key to the title of Elector Count. With such a prize to offer, it can only be a matter of time before simmering undercurrents of violence boil over, bringing blood on the streets.
- Sigmar's Heirs (2nd Edition), pg. 46