The Elsir Vale

The Vale is a thinly populated frontier that stretches almost 250 miles between the foothills of the Spine of the World to the east and the Crystalmists to the west, averaging about 70 miles north to south. Several small mountain ranges and dense forests form the vale’s borders.


The scattered human towns and villages of the area grew up along the Dawn Way, an important east-west trade road linking the heavily settled lands that lie to the east across the Spine of the World with the scattered kingdoms of the west. Much of the Dawn Way was built at the height of the Duraened empire, a thousand years ago, to fuel the growing settlements north of the Crystalmists. When the Empire was shattered by the rising of the north, some of the fiercest battles were fought along the great fortified roads and bridges of the Dawn Way, though those that still stand remain in use to this day.

With Duraenedi forces withdrawn from all lands north of the Marches their legions no longer patrolled the great roads, and the swift collapse of the victorious northern alliance left no-one to defend distant outposts of civilisation such as the Vale. Monsters, raiders and would-be warlords seeking to carve out their own kingdoms kept traffic along the Dawn Way light for many years; few caravans dared the long and dangerous trek except in large numbers with extensive guards. Elsir Vale remained lightly populated in those years - only scattered settlements of hardy folk who put the relics and fortifications of the fallen empire to good use protecting themselves.

About five hundred years ago, the nascent city of Rhest came to prominence, securing the vale and a large swath of land north of the Giant's Shield Mountains as well. Soldiers from Rhest secured the roads all the way to Dennovar and beyond, creating a safe passage for trade. More and more traders traveled the Dawn Way, and the kingdom of Rhestilor grew wealthy on the tariffs exacted from the passing merchants. Under the kingdom's shield, the towns along the Dawn Way - Brindol, Talar, Terrelton, and the rest - grew up from tiny hamlets or lonely soldiers' posts to flourishing human settlements.

The kingdom of Rhestilor eventually collapsed under civil strife, monstrous incursions, and magical blights. Almost two hundred years ago, the city of Rhest was burned by a savage horde of goblinoids. Although the warriors of Rhestilor killed many of the goblins and their kind, the city was abandoned and the already weakened kingdom broken. The locks and canals surrounding Rhest fell into disrepair, and the Blackfens swallowed the ruined city.

In the years since the kingdom's fall, the towns of Elsir Vale have come to look after themselves. Most of the local lords still hold titles derived from the old kingdom of Rhestilor. While everybody knows that the kings of Rhestilor are long dead, no new realm has arisen in the Vale.

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