"The Empire was built upon the the backs of the strong."
While the Empire of Steel and Stone covers a greater area than any other nation it lacks a large number of ports with which to access the oceans. One such port is that known has the Freehold.
The land was reclaimed for the empire in 158 AC when a dwarven force under the command of Captain Stonebreaker secured the port town and subsequently fortified it.
For is efforts in reclaiming the settlement the Captain was awarded lordship over Freehold, a position he has held since.