Scales of War
Elsir Vale is a thinly populated frontier that stretches almost 250 miles east to west and averages 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 northwest across the Endless Plains with the exotic kingdoms and goods of the coastal lands lying to the southeast. Much of the Dawn Way was built by an ancient dwarf-kingdom that spanned the Wyrmsmoke and Giant’s Shield Mountains more than a thousand years ago. While the kingdom has long since receded to a handful of border outposts, such as Outlook, their roads, bridges, and cisterns remain in use to this day. After the dwarf-realm passed, the presence of various monsters and raiders kept traffic along the Dawn Way light for many years; few caravans dared the long and dangerous trek. Few humans lived in Elsir Vale during those years—only scattered settlements of druidic folk who left behind little more than grassy barrows and stone circles on the hilltops.
About five hundred years ago, the nearby city of Rhest came to control 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—such as Brindol—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.
|1000 years ago||The vale was a small part of a mighty dwarven kingdom which spanned all of the mountain ranges around it. The kingdom eventually shrank back to a few border outposts, such as Outlook, but many dwarf-built bridges, cisterns remain, as well as the Dawn Way.|
|500 years ago||The human kingdom of Rhestilor grows out of the city of Rhest and comes to control a great deal of the vale.|
|200 years ago||Rhestilor collapses under civil strife. The city of Rhest is burned to the ground by a horde of goblins. The Blackfens consumes the ruins of the city. The villages of the vale are left to fend for themselves.|
|20 years ago||An army of hobgoblins known as the Red Hand of Doom ravages the vale until is defeated by a brave group of adventurers.|