FANDOM


Duchies of the Vale
Vale Map.JPG
CapitalNone
Official language(s) Ean Trade, Valian
Recognised regional languages Halfling, Wood Elvish, Gnomish, Draconic
Government Feudalism
 -  King (Formerly) Marius Corwin III (Former)
Establishment
 -  Castillan Empire Collapses 1 KY 
 -  Watcher King Marius Corwin Crowned 20 KY 
 -  Corwinshire Plague 99 KY 
Population
 -   estimate 100,000 

For thousands of years, the Vale stood a silent and pristine landscape, untouched by civilization, allowed to return to a land of wilderness and beauty. It is a land where the wind always blows, the waters flow to the whim of the Lady of the Wood, and ancient pine forests dominate the landscape. Despite this appearance, the Vale has seen its share of conflict, and hidden deep in the forests, and whispered on the winds, lies a deep and rich history. 

The history of the Kingdom of the Vale began for human-kind during the Empire’s war on the Goblinlord Khanak. The Vale was settled by soldiers, who settled into the country-side in no particularly organized fashion. They lived peacefully, far away from the conflict to the east, and of the troubles of the Empire, much was forgotten. In fact, the Vale would not be united as a country until hundreds of years after its settlement.

As the Castilan Empire crumbled to the east, the Vale continued to exist as a handful of independent states, which as they grew in population and strength had their share of conflict. These conflicts were largely minor, never escalating into a region wide war, until the coming of the Shar’dorei. The war with the Twilight Elves would be harsh and rife with paranoia and fear. In 20 KY, in response to the ravages of the Shar’dorei in the west, Lord Marius Corwin I met in council with the lords of the other small kingdoms of the Vale. It is here that he convinced the other lords to unite the kingdoms against their common enemy. He was elected the supreme commander of the allied duchies, and led the men of the Vale in battle against the Twilight Elves. As the Twilight Elves attempted to cross the river in central Vale, Lord Corwin stood against them. It was here that the force of the Twilight Elves was broken, despite their superior arcane might. It marked the beginning of the end of the Twilight War, and by 26 KY, the Twilight Elves were pushed out of the Vale. 

The duchies, fearing the return of the Twilight Elves, entitled Lord Corwin with the title of Watcher King, and swore fealty to him and his family, so long as they guarded the Vale from its enemies. Reluctantly, Lord Corwin agreed, and was named Watcher King Marius Corwin in 27 KY, thus forming the Kingdom of the Vale.

The Vale remained united under the Watcher King for barely 80 years before the abrupt shattering of its union. In 99 YK, the Vale was attacked on two fronts by enemies without. In the west, a vast army of Twilight Elves marched against Farlan’s Wall and laid siege to the city, while an army led by the Red Wyrm Pyreclaw attacked Southgate. With the crown’s force locked down amidst anarchy, fear, and the threat of spreading contagion it was helpless to protect the duchies as it had sworn to do. As the duchies scrambled to mount a defense on their own, the deathblow was struck to the Watcher Crown, the symbol of the compact formed between the duchies. For reasons known only to few, a sudden surge of necrotic energy exploded from underneath the city of Corwin’s Watch, instantly killing tens of thousands, and reducing the city of Corwin’s Watch and nearly all of the duchy of Corwinshire to a bleak desolated wasteland. 

Simultaneously, the siege of Farlan’s Wall ended as nearly a third of the Twilight Elf force were consumed by holy fire and were remade as a new race. Shortly thereafter, the duchies of Eastgate and Mirnas halted Belthasia’s advance with the magical might of the Towers of the Arcane and the Copper Dragonflight, but only after the fall of Southgate and Nexus.

With two duchies now under the control of the Belthasian Empire and one decimated, the compact that had bound the duchies together was dissolved. The land is rapidly becoming known as the Valley of Five Kingdoms as the future of this once pristine and enchanted land becomes increasingly uncertain.

IndustriesEdit

The Vale has always been a rich, pastoral land, where the earth is blessed by the Lady of the Wood, and the winds always blow from the west. This has made the Kingdom of the Vale perfect for agricultural industry. With the aid of the many druidic circles which remain in the Vale, Valian livestock is said to be the best on the continent, and Valian windmills churn out some of the most exquisite grain flour in the land. Also, with the abundance of ancient and sturdy pine forests in the Vale, Valian lumber can be found used across the continent for the construction of many things, from houses, to ships. 

Exports: lumber, grains, flour, livestock, wool.

Life and SocietyEdit

Though the climate of the Vale reflects the whims of the Lady of the Wood, it is relatively mild in comparison with the surrounding lands, and so life is fairly simple. The farmers and woodsmen of central and western Vale live simple, rustic lives. They have worked the land for generations and possess a strong sense of pride and ownership. The typical Valian has little interest in events beyond his village but a fierce loyalty to his community. It is perhaps for this reason that the faith of the Child Goddess is so strong in these regions. Western duchies are relatively sparsely populated, allowing the farmers great amounts of room to expand and prosper. A westerner concerns himself mainly on caring for the land, producing a good harvest, and leaving his children a larger farm. In general, the western Valian people are generous and friendly, though there are always whispers of Changelings about, and when rumors begin to spread, this typical friendly attitude can quickly shift to distrust and paranoia. 

There is another way of life which is quickly gaining strength, particularly in the east, as the Arcane Renaissance begins to spread out from the wonders of the Gnomish Confederacy of Mithrilgear. The connections of the Lightning Train between Eastgate and Mithral Pillars, and the Airships which land in Nexus, have brought a great deal of wealth and prosperity to these Eastern duchies. It is in these places that the merchant, and artisans have become the dominant classes of society, and those with magical knowledge even more-so. The Towers of the Arcane hold considerable sway in the eastern duchies, with schools in many of the larger cities. Here, the towers maintain a strong political presence due in large part to what they can offer in knowledge to aid in bringing the prosperity which the Renaissance has to offer. The people of the East tend to be urban and sophisticated, enjoying the lavish luxuries that can be brought through the wonders of the Renaissance. It is in these duchies that most of the population resides, and most densely populated in urban centers of commerce. 

Government and PoliticsEdit

Watcher King Marius Corwin III, great grandson of the first Watcher King once ruled the Valian monarchy; his family retained the title and position of the Watcher line since his great grandfather led the peoples of the Vale to victory against the threat of the Twilight Elves over 70 years ago. Since the time of the ravages of the Twilight Elves, the Vale remained largely peaceful, enjoying a relatively safe and idyllic existence, until it was caught between aggressors on two of its borders. 

The Watcher King once maintained control through the support of the duchies and vassal lords, but with the devastation of the capital province and the death of the royal family, that control has withered. With the King's death, the Vale has fractured once again into its constituent fiefdoms, ruled by many of the ancient families that originally invested central authority to the Watcher Crown. In the turmoil surrounding the War of Aggression, many noble families agreed that the crown had failed to uphold its intended duties, and so had proved that it had outlived its usefulness.

As a result of this fracturing of the Crown, the duchies now rule themselves independently from one another, and while there are still many customs and laws that the duchies share with one another thanks to their shared history, many customs have reverted to local laws and traditions from before the union of the country.

There are whispers however, that the royal line has not died out, that there remains a living heir who could claim the Watcher Crown and unite the duchies once again. There is no tangible evidence of this, which keeps the nobility from worrying too much that their power may once again be in part ceded to another king. More disturbingly though, with rumors that many of the citizens of Corwinshire have been twisted into undead abominations, there is a small subset of individuals who believe the Watcher King himself still has claim to the throne, even from beyond the veil of life and death. 

Power GroupsEdit

Due in large part to the unique geo-political situation of the Vale, there are countless sources of political power. Obviously the crown of the Watcher King held considerable power both political and military, but it maintained this in the past only through the grace and authority granted it by the duchies. With growing concerns leading to disunity amongst the duchies, the power of the noble families which serve the dukes continues to grow.

There are also a number of other powers gaining a foothold in the Vale in the bleak and dying lands of the former capital province. Vampire lords who claim rights to lands in and around Corwinshire are increasing in number, as are powerful necromancers and dark sorcerors drawn by the increasing influence of the Shadowfell upon the land. There are also rumors of undead calling themselves Revenants gathering into communities and small fiefdoms who claim no duties to their former lords, and strive to make a new place for themselves despite escaping the natural cycle of life and death.

House Farlan:Edit

Sigil: Bear

Motto: “The Vigilant Never Slumber” 

Seat: Farlan’s Wall

The noble house of Farlan is descended from the great High Imperial Commander Gaius Farlan who led the first human settlers into the Vale during the tumultuous years of the collapse of the High Empire of Men. They have long guarded the Vale against the threat of the Twilight Elves. Their loyalty to the Watcher King was unmatched by any other major noble house, having more men and women in service to the Crown as Knight Guards of the Watch than any other. They even rivaled the minor nobles and lords in shear numbers of young nobles in such service. Their primary concerns are to the protection of the Kingdom from the threats of the Changelings, and continue to be one of the most outspoken houses against redistributing troops and resources away from Farlan’s Gap. Though the Duke of Farlan maintained a strong public support of the Watcher King, due to his successes in protecting the Vale from the Changeling threat, the Duke of Farlan is in a perfect position to usurp the throne through military might alone. The leader of the House of Farlan is Duke Tiberius Farlan, renowned throughout the Vale as both a skilled tactician and swordsman. 

House Rachjesk: Edit

Sigil: Dragon

Motto: “Of Blood and Wit”

Seat: Rasfeld

The ruling family of Mirnas is one of the least powerful of the major noble houses, having risen to major noble rank thanks to Watcher King Corwin II. It is said that most of the nobles of the House, including Duke Alastor Rachjesk himself, are descendents of the Copper dragons which inhabit the southern hills and mountains of the Vale. It is no secret that the House has a number of powerful draconic allies, and there are always rumors amongst the noble courts that some of the family’s scions may in fact be true dragons themselves. It is for this reason that the House maintains its rank and power. Whether there exists any truth in the rumor remains to be proven, but regardless, the sheer fact that the House openly admits strong ties to the metallic dragon-flight is enough to make the other duchies think twice about challenging the Duke’s power for now.

House Sigard: Edit

Sigil: Wolf

Motto: “As the Wolf Cries”

Seat: Winterfell

Before the fall of Corwinshire, House Sigard was merely a minor house under the House of Blauvelt with many ancient and ancestral holdings in the duchy of Northshire. For years, House Sigard has held an open claim as the rightful rulers of the county, claiming that their rightful position was usurped by the crown and given to a tribe of barbarians from the north in exchange for their assistance during the Twilight War. For as long as the crown remained, it ignored the cries of House Sigard, favoring the treaty it had made with House Blauvelt. When the crown’s holdings fell, and the Kingdom disintegrated, House Sigard saw its chance to retake what had once been its by right. A violent civil war broke out in Northshire between House Blauvelt and House Sigard, with House Blauvelt revealing its true colors, unleashing all manner of foul creatures in its attempt to hold onto its power. However, it would not be enough. In 102 KY, House Sigard captured Nordfeld and renamed the city to its ancestral name, Winterfell. Over the next year, House Blauvelt and its supporters were pushed north of “the Wall.”

House Aston: Edit

Sigil: Hawk

Motto: “Desire the Night”

Seat: Sentinel Hill

Of all the major noble Houses, House Aston has the largest population of half-elves within its bloodline. Duke Kelorn Aston of Eastfall himself is a half-elf. Because of this, House Aston maintains direct connections with the Kel’dorei who dwell in the deep pine forests of the Vale, as well as beyond the Grey Wastes. Their connections with the small populations of elves have allowed the Watcher King to maintain neutral relations with the small elvish enclaves that exist within the kingdom. Before the fall of the Crown, House Aston requested an increased role and position in the court because of their long-standing connections with the elves and the peace which that connection brings to the Vale. This recent push for political power made some in the Court nervous of House Aston’s true intentions and questions have arisen as to where the loyalties of the house truly lie. 

House Rowena: Edit

Sigil: Raven

Motto: “In Place of Honor”

Seat: Southgate (Formerly); In Exile

Long had House Rowena known of the threat of the Traitor Prince Belthasar and stood vigilant against the machinations of the kingdom on the south face of the Broken Peaks, and they were proven correct when Belthasia invaded their duchy and laid siege to their house seat of Southgate. With the fall of Southgate, and the province falling under Belthasian control, Duchess Honoria Rowena and a number of her family members were able to flee, becoming a nobility in exile. 

Many historians and scholars realize the Rowena family has had a long history with the followers of Belthasar, though the exact nature of that history is uncertain. Rumors abound about this connection; some simply believe the two houses were once rivals in the Old Imperial Court, but others suspect something far more insidious connects the two which House Rowena wishes to remain a secret because of the shame it would bring upon them. In either case, Duchess Honoria Rowena of Southshire is renowned through the Vale as a woman not to be trifled with. She is an ardent proponent for the duchies to unite against the Belthasian Empire now that the Changeling threat has been more or less dealt with. 

House Torenson: Edit

Sigil: Ram

Motto: “All Things to Dreamers”

Seat: Eastgate

Arguably one of the most powerful of the noble houses of the Vale, both through its connections with the Wizardly Towers and through the great wealth and prestige it has gained due to the many wonders and achievements of the Arcane Renaissance. Many scions of House Torenson are wizards of the Towers of Eastgate, and many of the houses more powerful wizards hold prominent positions as court wizards and advisors. Amongst the arcane practitioners of men they are known widely for their extensive knowledge on the topic. Powerful as they may be however, their house is perhaps the smallest. There is always great pressure on young nobles of the House to enter into wizardly pursuits, of which not all are well-suited to. Some take to the clergy of Nestor, and those that take to neither are considered black sheep, mostly ignored by their family, nearly to the point of being disinherited. Another problem which badly plagues the house is a lack of internal direction and nearly outright hostility between siblings and cousins due to the fractured nature of the four wizardly schools themselves. Oftentimes concerns of the Wizardly orders supersede the concerns of the House, even to the detriment of the House as a whole. It is no small problem, and unless something changes quickly to cease this arcane infighting, many believe the house itself will fracture. Duchess Adriana Torenson is a powerful wizardess of the Physicist School, specializing primarily in conjurative magicks. Though she is skilled in the Art, she is less than spectacular at maintaining control over her own family, leaving many in the court wondering how long it will be before her brother Richard Torenson of the Mentalist School will move to supplant her. 

The Merchant Council:Edit

Though not a true noble house in and of itself, the families of the Merchant Council of Eas Landing held as much power as any of the minor noble houses, and together have the wealth and available capital to put any of the major houses to shame. Made up of the patriarchs of the merchant guilds, this council serves as the official governing body of Eas Landing, though with its surrender to Belthasia and subsequent annexation into the Empire, this council has little true power now. Nexus is actually ruled by the Imperial Eye ahead of a more permanent satrap being assigned to rule over the new province of the Belthasian Empire.

Descended from the olive-skinned peoples of the City States of Ea, the patrician families of the merchant guilds have always been fairly direct in showing where their true loyalty lies, and this has never been much to the liking of any of the noble houses, nor the Watcher King himself. However, there is little that can be done to change this situation due to the immense amount of power the merchant guild holds in pure capital. Despite the pressures of the Belthasian occupation, the merchant guilds continue to make vast amounts of wealth; their goods simply go south instead of east now.

House Corwin: Edit

Sigil: Stag (Crowned)

Motto: “Death Hinders Not Our Watch”

Seat: Corwin’s Watch (Formerly)

Though the family was killed in the events leading up to the end of the War of Aggression, House Corwin, as the Royal House for three generations, held considerable power in the Vale. There are few now of the house who are still alive, with only a handful being lucky enough to be abroad throughout the Vale when the capital province fell. Marius' brother, Richard, a paladin of Miranda is the only surviving member of his direct family, and though he would make a just leader for the people of the Vale, he has never coveted his brother's position, and is unlikely to attempt to make a claim, especially now that his House has been decimated.

Nobles and Vassal Lords: There are innumerable other minor nobles and lords granted title and land by the various dukes and barons which perform a number of duties in running the individual kingdoms and serving in their militaries. In addition to protecting the peasants and managing their own estates, the nobles provide troops and taxes to the nobility. Many of these nobles also served the Crown as Knight Guard of the Watch, making up the majority of knights in service to the crown, and so many were killed in the devastation of Corwinshire. 

The vassal lords owe all the power and position they have to the major noble houses now. Though individually they are not as powerful as the greater houses, together they wield considerable influence in their prospective courts, and many vie for position and power from the major noble families.

ReligionEdit

Due to the nature of the duchies’ unique origins, many of the gods are openly worshipped in the Vale. There are few gods which are worshipped across the entirety of the Vale, though worship of the Child Goddess is quite prevalent, particularly in the farming communities. In larger towns and cities, worship of the Lawgiver is common. It is not unlikely for at least a small church to the Lawgiver being in even smaller towns, due to their role in keeping law and order in the kingdom. Worship of the Battle Maiden is particularly strong in the duchies of Farlan, Corwinshire, and Southshire due to their particular military bent. In the east, because of the power of the Merchant guilds and the Towers of Wizardry and the influence of the Gnomish arcane renaissance, worship of Eamon and Nestor are also strong. In addition, there is quite a bit of cult-like worship in the Nordshire and Mirnas. In the north, barbarian shamanistic worship and worship of the Lady of the Wood is not uncommon, particularly in the lawless wilds. In Mirnas are a few draconic cults which offer praise and worship to the dragons which dwell in the hills and mountains of the slopes of the Broken Peaks. Worship of Thanatos has increased since the War of Aggression, both amongst the living population of the Vale, and the dead.

Major SettlementsEdit

Farms, ranches, hamlets and towns dot the hills and fields of the Valian countryside. Shepherds ply their trade along the gentle foothills of the north and south slopes of the mountains, lumber mills line the edges of the great forests, and rich fields of wheat and other grains grow along the edges of the Vale River. While half of the population of the Vale lives as farmers, ranchers, shepherds, and peasants devoted to the estates of the nobility, the other half lives and works in and around the kingdom’s growing centers of trade and industry. The kingdom has two major metropolises, Eastgate and Corwin’s Watch, six other major cities, each of the political seats of the duchies, as well as numerous other towns and villages. 

Corwin’s Watch: Before the crowning of the Watcher King in Kingdom Year 27, Corwin’s Watch was little more than a minor city at the thinnest point of the Vale River. With the crowning of the king after the battle of Watchman’s Crossing, the city grew considerably over the course of only a few years. It is now the second largest city in the Vale, and serves as the Valian capital and center of all political power and favor in the kingdom. Not as large or dense as Eastgate, Corwin’s Watch benefited greatly from the wealth which flowed from the duchies as royal taxes. Straddling both sides of the Vale River, Corwin’s Watch stands on the very place which the men of the Vale turned the war against the Twilight Elves. Watchman’s Crossing, once a ferry-point, is now spanned by am impressive stone bridge, connecting the old city with the new. 

On the north bank of the river, the large temples of Luana and Miranda dominate the temple district, though there are a few other smaller temples and shrines to some of the other gods. Other impressive structures include The Citadel of the Watch, where Watcher King Corwin and his family live and work for much of the year. On the south bank, also known as the New City, stand a number of embassies, the largest of which being the Gnomish embassy, and the four towers of the Wizardly Orders. 

Since the Devastation, the city has become a bleak and depressing shadow of its former glory, many referring to it as Death's Watch. The trees and grass are sickly, twisted things, and what few animals remain are equally twisted by the dark necrotic energies that permeate the city. Very few but the bravest treasure-seekers and adventurers have ventured into the former capital since its destruction, and far fewer have returned to tell the tale. Those who have survived the city describe it as a place of nightmares. The dead walk openly in the streets, and all manner of foul unliving creatures now make the once beautiful city their home. It is said the sun never shines over the city, with only the occasional sunbeam breaking through the brooding dark clouds which hang over the city. There are surprising claims that there remain some living in the city, huddled in enclaves, fearful of the horrors which walk above them. Most are likely escaped from vampires who nest in the city's ruins, unable to escape the city, too terrified of what lies in wait for them.

Farlan’s Wall: Standing as an ever vigilant bastion against the Changeling threat is the great city of Farlan’s Wall. Its western wall bears the only gate in the wall that seals the Farlan Gap. Its great watchtowers are manned at all times, watching ever westward through the gap. The people here have dwelt in the Vale longer than any other group of men, and are extremely proud of their kingdom. They were the first to experience the ravages of the Twilight Elves, and know perhaps better than anyone the threat of the Changelings.

The two most prominent buildings in the city are the Keep of the Wall which is built into the very wall of the city where Duke Farlan rules, awaiting the return of the armies of the Twilight Elves, and the Temple of the Battle Maiden. What few know about the keep is that in the lower quarters, buried deep into the earth is the best trained organization of counter-intelligence operatives in the kingdom. These spies are exceptionally skilled at detecting Changelings, and their soul purpose is to defend the Vale against natural spies of the Twilight Elves. 

The people of Farlan’s Wall are a rustic people, unmoved by promise of progress and wealth. Their concerns have remained unchanged for hundreds of years. Amongst the aristocracy, worship of the Battle Maiden is strong, though anyone in power in Farlan knows well to pay lip service to the Goddess of the Wild. Most of the peasants strongly worship the Child Goddess, so there is a small grove near the city’s heart which the druid’s tend. Many faithful come to the park with offerings for Thirsha’s protection and blessing. 

Eastgate: The City of Light and Mist is the largest human city in the Vale, thanks largely to the arrival of the wonders of the Arcane Renaissance brought along the rails of the Lightning Train which connects it with Mithril Towers. Nestled against the mountain, Eastgate is an impressive site to behold. Its western facing walls are tall and inscribed with runes of power and arcane machines belch steam into the air above the city. 

Standing prominently on a rocky outcropping which forms part of the city’s walls is a massive marble statue of the Lawgiver holding a pair of great golden scales over the city alongside the Temple of Miranda. Rising through the clouds of mist over the city are the great towers of the Wizardly Orders, standing as a stark reminder of the true power of Eastgate. Built on the mountain’s cliff-side, shrouded in mists and shadows is the citadel of the Torenson House.

Beneath the steam and smoke lies a city of wonders. The merchant district which surrounds the large gates leading deep into the mountain’s Lightning Train station never sleeps. The city is lit by arcane magical lamps that bathe the city in a constant glow that can be seen even in the darkest of nights for miles. The sounds of arcane powered machines echo through the air at all times. Along with the merchants hocking their wares of strange and new arcane technology from Mithril Towers are hundreds of factories, smiths, and workshops. Eastgate has the largest population of wizards and gnomish artificers than anywhere else in the Vale. 

Few outsiders know of the side of Eastgate that exists beneath the cover of mist and light. With great progress and wealth comes greed and lust for power. With the ruling family caught in the shadow wars of the Wizardly Towers, the merchant guilds are free to operate as they desire, much to detriment of the lower class. The middle class of the city holds the true political and economic power. Crime is also a large problem as thieves’ guilds, often-times funded and supported by rival merchants, operate freely throughout the city defying the gaze of the great statue of the Lawgiver. While the nobility and wealthiest merchants pay lip-service to the goddess of justice and law, the authority of the church is considered laughable to many common people.   

Sentinel Hill: Built atop a massive plateau overlooking the plains and hills of Eastfall, Sentinel Hill is the center of the Aston House’s power. Overlooking the surrounding countryside stands the Tower Keep prominently at the city’s center. It is believed that the hill itself once was the base of a great Giantish watchtower which fell to the dwarves at the end of the Giant Empire. It finally is believed to have been reduced to its ruined base in the centuries following the cataclysm which drove the dwarves back into the roots of the mountains, some to flee the destruction, and others to come to their kin’s defense.  

Deep beneath the streets and sewers built by the people of Eastfall it is said ancient wonders of the Giantish Empire still remain to be discovered by any who would brave the ruins. What few people realize is that the city of men is actually built upon the ruins of the magical Elvish city of Sarai’sindor, the Spires of the Moon. Ironically enough, the most prominent temple in the city is Grove of the Moon, tended by the Druids of the Ravenclaw.

Important SitesEdit

The land of the Vale has been inhabited by many different civilizations long before the formation of the Watcher Kingdom. Human cities stand built atop ancient Elvish, dwarven, even Giant ruins. In addition to the majestic spires of Eastgate’s Wizardly Towers and the impressive fortresses of men, Vale contains a number of sites dating back to the Celes’dorei Empire as well as the Giant Empire and beyond. A few natural wonders found within the Vale’s borders are also worth mentioning. 

Farlan’s Gap: a narrow passage between the northern and southern mountain ranges which make up the Vale, is the only passable stretch of land separating the Twilight Elf Empire and the Kingdom of the Vale. Possibly one of the most impressive constructions made by the men of the Vale closes this gap. Across this gap stretches a nearly 30 mile long stone wall whose only major gate stands at the city of Farlan’s Wall. This gate has been closed since its construction shortly after the Watcher King took the throne of the Vale. It is a well known fact that should the Twilight Elves ever march an army against the Kingdom of the Vale again they would certainly have to breach this gap. 

King’s Forest: A great and ancient forest, consisting primarily of silver birch trees alongside other species of birch and spruce fills the center of the Vale following the northern bank of the Vale River and stretching northeast of Corwin’s Watch. The western portion of the forest, north of the city, was once a hunting preserve established by Watcher King Marius Corwin II. This forest, once considered enchanted and mysterious, is now dark and brooding. The silver birch trees are now gnarled husks of what they once were, and the strange beasts which once were prized game for the Royal Hunts have been perverted into foul monsters and walking corpses. 

The Phoenix Stones: Standing as a final waypoint marking the boundary of the Vale’s eastern borders, and separating it from the bleak desolate waste beyond stands a number of mysterious cairn stones stretching all along the eastern border from the peaks of the Mithril Mountains to the Broken Peaks. Etched into these massive stone monoliths are runes of arcane power from an age of magic long past, in which even the most powerful masters of the Wizardly Towers strain to understand. Their once purest white marble surfaces are now pitted and blackened, and covered in an ever-present fine gray dust. Their original purpose remains a mystery, and it is said on dark moonless nights the ancient arcane monoliths glow with an eerie fire-light.