The Vale of Eréch
Over a thousand years ago the first Human Empire went to war with the Dragonborn. Both cultures had mastered magic, and steel, and war. Entire cities were lost, lakes and rivers dried in arcane fire, mountains were sundered. No written record survived this time of strife. Ruins and artifacts from the Ancient Empires are rare and prized. What we do know, we know through the grace of His Majesty, the The King Over Sea. His historians recorded for posterity the Blessing of his Arrival.
When both Man and Dragonborn were scattered to the wind, their bellies empty, and their children ill, He came. On a great ship over the Wenden Sea, He came. He unified the scattered tribes of men and pacified the Dragonborn. He laid the first stones of The Spire, the school of our greatest Mages. He planted the first seed of the Druidic Line, which protects us from the Darkness of the West. He made the lands of His Colony safe for all the Humanoid races.
After his Hundred Year Reign he departed for his home across the Wenden Sea. Here in the Colonies He created the post of the The Grand Ambassador. His Majesty sends the Grand Ambassador as his chancellor to deliver us His Word. As Tribute for the Gifts of His Law we offer him Tithe. Every fifth year the lords of the Colonies deliver their gifts to the King’s Eye. The price of the Tithe is made known by the Grand Ambassador, for it is the Command of His Majesty, The King Over Sea.
So it has gone for generations.
The King’s Eye allows the Lord’s and Ladies of the Colonies to have their disagreements, and of course to solve them. This autonomy is reward to the Colonies for the Tithe. Through the Grace of His Majesty the Colonies flourished. The Druidic Line holds, the Mages of The Spire worked great Magics for all the people, and life prospered.
That was until The Year 1015 by His Majesty’s Reckoning. For in 1015 the Goblinoid and Orc races of the North began their conquest of the Vale of Eréch. The first attack came only months after the Tithe; a collection of farms to the North had been put to blade and flame. Lord Brandon Eréch was a wise and skilled leader. He sent spies to the North, called on Mages of the tower, and sent word to the Lords of the Colonies.
Merchant courts in Merchant’s Cross and the Port cities of Tilden and Saleen sent messages expressing their faith in Lord Brandon, and letting him know their markets would be open to him. The leaders of the southern Lordships: Lord Lanuec Stronghunter the half-elf ruler of Télerön and Lord Samuel Quinn of Jamestown, both made clear they could not send men or swords for a war that was not even being waged. The Tithe had been high this year and winter was coming.
Skirmishes increased over the first few months of the war and many said the only thing that kept the Orcs away was a harsh winter. On the day of the first thaw the Orc army laid a might blow to the colonies. They lay siege to the minor Lordship of Umbria. Lord Hûmberg was a good friend and strong ally of Brandon’s, but before Hûmberg’s messenger, his son and Heir Ektin, could reach Brandon, Umbria had fallen. The death of the great warrior Lord Bowden Hûmberg sent a cold chill down the colonies. The Orcs numbers were greater then anyone had imagined. When word reached the south that Umbria held out for only two days Lord Stronghunter and Lord Quinn sent their ambassadors to Brandon.
Lord Brandon took control of the military command in the North. He fortified the villages of Brandon’s Tower, Kaleb and Cadarn. The Delieen Family of Coldmarsh Keep opened its ports to Jamestown. Soldiers were sent from Jamestown by bought to the Coldmarsh, or through Télerön to gather supplies on their way to the North. After the war’s fifth year the Colonies suffered another great defeat. The Mages of the Spire, those whose abilities and knowledge were the paragon of all civilization, had been slaughtered. The arcane fire could be seen as far south as Braedon Village, and as far east as the King’s Eye. Lord Brandon would eventually send a team of soldiers their to investigate, but they found nothing. No Orcs or Mages remained. All they found was the hollowed out halls of the Spire and the cold chill of death.
Brandon left the Vale then, and in secret met with Lord Quinn and Lord Stronghunter in Merchant’s Cross. Together they went to the King’s Eye to plead for His Majesties Assistance. The Grand Ambassador welcomed them with open arms and held a great feast in their honor. During the festivities the Grand Ambassador called for silence, then he called forth the three Lord’s. Brandon told of the plight of the North, of Umbria and the Spire. The Grand Ambassador seemed to consider Brandon’s words for an eternity. When he finally spoke the Colonies suffered their worst defeat yet. The Grand Ambassador chided the Lords as beggars. It was a Tithe year, but where was their Tithe? Autonomy was the blessing of His Majesty. “If you cannot protect yourself from a few angry kobolds,” spoke the Grand Ambassador, “then perhaps His Majesty should elevate more capable leaders.”
Stronghunter was outraged, but Brandon calmed him and the three Lords excused themselves from The King’s Eye. They would pay to tithe. The soldiers of Télerön would be sent home to work the fields and mines of Claytown. The Tithe would be paid Brandon deemed, for it was their duty. The Lordships all stood united, despite the blind eye turned by His Majesty.
War waged on and despite the odds the tides had turned. Although those who patrol the Druidic line could not abandon their post they kept the Orcs from moving west of Brandon’s Tower. From out of the mountains in the south came the Dwarves, and from out of forest everywhere came the Eladrin. A great host gathered at the Vale of Eréch and began to push the Orcs back into the North. Brandon’s leadership was the stuff of legend. With the guidance of his Court Mage Tobias Kalimon, Brandon began to send small groups of soldiers and adventurers are guerilla missions to bring him the tools and victories he would need to defeat the Orcs. After 9 years of battle the forces of the colonies laid siege to the Orc strongholds of Gre’mesh and Vis’kai. No goblinoid or orc was spared.
Nearly 10 years of war had finally come to an end. The losses were devastating to all the Lordships. Another Tithe was coming and rumors abound that it was to increase once more. Lord Etkin Hûmberg son of Bowden began to build the city of New Umbria in the shadow of his father’s ruined walls. Port Tilden found itself cut off from all cities except the King’s Eye as bandits ran rampant through the King’s and Rivertop Wood. Farmers from Suk’s Rest reported that the Elven city of Valeredon had disappeared. In Jamestown, Lord Samuel Quinn has grown ill. Some think he might not live until the Tithe.