The Stirrings of War
The Elsir Vale is a region that has, for the better part of two centuries, enjoyed relative peace and prosperity. With the human city-states of Brindol operating as an anchor for the trade routes from the Dwarven and Elven kingdoms respectively, these distinct people had managed a sense of unity in their mutual prosperity. That is, until the Red Horde rose and miraculously conquered the Dwarven kingdoms, enslaving all but those lucky enough to flee. The Red Horde’s force, a combination of hill giants, ogres, and orcs, managed to sweep into the kingdoms with a level of stealth and tactical efficiency unknown to the group before. The dwarves fought well to preserve their home, but in the end they fell to the overwhelming force.
The menace of the Red Horde has not only unsettled the conquered dwarves but has stricken fear into the rest of the Elsir Vale as the peoples remaining wonder when they will fall victim. The unity of the Vale has shattered, leaving each group suspicious of the other. While the Horde has not marched from its current stronghold at the previous Dwarven capital city of Overlook for 10 years, activity there is rumored to have increased as if they were readying themselves for war. Moreover, the entire region seems to be readying itself for some unidentified conflict. The elves of the Westdeep have begun to expel travelers seeking passage and have sent their patrols further out from their borders for reasons unknown. The last free city of dwarves, Hammerfast, has begun to close its doors to travelers and rumors of experiments with darker forces have leaked outside their gates. The human city-states of Brindol have become more xenophobic, and word of the mistreatment of non-humans by their city patrols have caused much of the trade to these cities to slow to a trickle.
Moreover, the region has growing scenes of unrest. The Temple of Pelor, Order of Bahamut, and Cult of the Raven Queen have begun to directly hire groups of adventurers for reasons unknown. Rumors of destabilization in the courts of the Feywild have begun to spread, and skirmishes between members of the Summer and Winter courts in the Vale’s wilderness have caused growing concern. Those merchants willing to brave the roads bring back more and more disturbing stories, ranging from strange creatures in the forests to old forts that have lain in disuse for a century suddenly occupied by unfriendly people.
The entire Elsir Vale seems poised to rise up in the flame of war. This is where your journey begins.