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Valley of the Mage

Page history last edited by John 12 years, 5 months ago

Region 6: South-West Flanaess, Sheldomar Valley

 

 

THE VALLEY OF THE MAGE

 

This mysterious realm has too often had only sketchy details given to it, and it has not been until recently that anyone has managed to determine more concrete facts on this, the mysterious vale of the valley elves. The following is the best that I can reveal about the Valley's history, social structure, and inhabitants, though I admit much of it sounds fanciful, it is available nowhere else in canon.

Long ago, the elven peoples had been born from the blood that Corellon Larethian shed for his love, Sehanine Moonbow. This elven moon goddess wanted to take her people to a sanctuary, a land where dreams and visions could and would grant every wish the people could ever want, making it a paradise for the spirits of the elves. Sehanine hated the over-hasty, frenzied rushing of humanity, and its wanton destruction and abuse of the Oerth. She wanted to shield her 'children' from their corrupting and evil influences.

Corrupting was what many elves saw her teachings as being, long before any contact with humans. Thus did they spit in Sehanine's face and turn away from her. Some elves journeyed eastwards over the Solnor, to the mystical continent of Orannia, where they created the elven kingdom of Miranda. Others pledged themselves to the study of Law, traveling west beyond the Twin Empires, to the lands of Kara-Tur.

And one group of elves pledged themselves to Chaos, traveling to the Valley that bore its name - the Valley of Chaos. The awful and foreboding presence here was caused by the negative energy within the valley itself, where gates and portals to other worlds could and did open at random, bringing forth bizarre, horrible creatures.

The elves who came to the Valley of Chaos were reviled by all of their kin, saying that they were bound to serve a master that had no knowledge and sought no end. Even those elves who spurned Sehanine Moonbow's teachings were deeply offended at the shirking of the basic tenets of elven philosophy, just as they hated those elves who traveled to the far reaches of Kara-Tur.

The king of the valley elves was thus bound to Chaos, or perhaps some manifestation of it, like the slaad lords, for instance. They made friendly contact with gnome traders, the only people who would approach them. Later came wanderers from the Great Migrations who could find no home elsewhere, and were also taken in by the valley elves.

Geoff, Bissel and Ket maintained their contact with the valley elves, though they knew not what kind of society these people possessed. By 500 CY, many of the valley elves came marching into Geoff, having a private audience with the Grand Duke at Gorna. It seems that these elves had rejected their old master, who had made them slaves to a lie.

An oaken chest containing 'certain sacred objects' and a set of scrolls which told the entire story of the sundering of the elven peoples were the elf king's gifts to the Duke. The words of the valley elf king were to swear the Grand Duke and his line to an oath - one to guard the history and relics of the valley elves until the return of the One True King of the valley elves. Those valley elves that had left the valley were seeking the King, hoping to find him. It was prophesied that the King would bring the valley elves 'home', though no one yet knows what this means.

Those elves, gnomes and men who remained in the valley were forced to fight the monsters randomly summoned by the Chaos of the valley. Bound to it by blood and oath, they could not leave. It seemed that the valley elves and their neighbors would perish at the hands of these continually appearing monsters, with few mourning their loss.

It was then that Jaran Krimeeah, a wizard from the Great Kingdom, came to the valley seeking a new home, being exiled from his nation for his sorcerous experiments in planar control and summoning. These talents were used by him to restrain the summoned creatures and put them under his control, to protect and defend the valley elves, rather than attack and kill them. For this, Krimeeah declared himself suzerain over the Valley of Chaos, later renamed the Valley of the Mage.

Krimeeah allowed certain visitors to come and go from the valley as they wished, though he never allowed them to stay long. His public announcements were rarely heard In foreign courts, always causing a great stir when news did come, such as the bizarre ebon-skinned elf who was appointed to lead the valley?s military forces, who he called a ?drow?.

Little contact was had with the valley after this time. Valley elves would raid Geoff, Gran March, and the elven communities of the Dim Forest on occasion. Captive valley elves would die a slow, wasting death, so some whisper that the Mage has tied the lives of the valley elves to the very land from which they came.

As the giant mobs ransacked the other western Sheldomar nations, so too did they attack the Valley. A delegation sent from Geoff to ask the Mage for assistance, and given audience with the Black One-or so it seemed. One member of the party recognized the man claiming to be the Mage as an exiled necromancer, one Nyeru of Bissel. The delegates did not tell the ersatz Mage that they knew who he really was, and tried to negotiate with him. Alas, negotiations were fruitless, the ambassadors being forced to flee as the giants attacked the Valley itself.

Since the Greyhawk Wars, it is rumored that both Rary the Traitor and Mordenkainen of the Circle of Eight seek an artifact discovered by the Mage, a magical artifact that could animate the shadows of fighters and monsters, creating things made of shadow-stuff to fight at the command of the artifact wielder. The Scepter of Shadows seems to have been found by the Mage during his explorations of the Demiplane of Shadow, and he is now 'plane-hopping' in order to throw his wizardly foes off his trail, until he can determine how to strike back at them.

 

Society and Culture: The Mage exercised the power of life and death over his subjects. Staying out of the valley for too long would cause the valley elves to wither and die. Also, Krimeeah could unleash the summoned monsters under his control to slay any who would dare disobey his commands.

It is not known how the old elf-king ruled, but it seems that the humans, gnomes, and elves of the Valley were each kept in their own separate communities, working as a greater community to provide each other with the basic necessities of life. There was little opportunity for leisure or revelry-the people of the Valley worked year-round to feed themselves and pay tribute to Krimeeah.

Theirs was indeed a sad fate, though, strangely enough, they did not seem to mind. The humans would farm and hunt, and the gnomes would work the mines and forge weapons. When the people needed to release their tense emotions, Krimeeah would allow them Earthday and Godsday as time to revel and regain their strength.

The valley elves had much more important business in mind-tracking down their missing kin. In addition to raiding surrounding communities, they also gathered information to try and find the missing elf-king, and discover anything they can about the One True King. Krimeeah fears this prophecy, and yet he wonders whether he can make use of it. Until he finds out, he spent his time plane-traveling and engaging in the usual research and experimentations of his profession.

 

Military Structure: The valley elves fielded no actual standing army, relying on highly-trained guerilla units of archers, rangers and scouts to slay their enemies by stealth, rather than fight them one-on-one. This tactic had only mixed results against the giants, who ravaged the valley before Krimeeah managed to slay the cloud giant leading them.

The only other times the valley elves have had to battle is when out raiding, or when monsters and adventurers came wandering into the valley. The same tactics would apply whether attacking another or defending their own land, using deadly sorcery as a supplement to their archery. They do not take slaves or gold, taking instead things like grain, oats, farming tools, or any of the other necessities of life one might need.

 

Ruler: Jaran Krimeeah came from a disgraced lesser House of Aerdy, which had been demoted by Ivid I because it had supported Rax in the Turmoil Between Crowns. The family?s wealth and numbers dwindled steadily over the next century, until at last Krimeeah was the last of his kind. Ivid IV banished him for the crimes of his ancestors, being unable to kill him. Ivid did not dare kill Krimeeah as he wished, due to the latter?s great wizardly powers.

Jaran Krimeeah is a thin wisp of a man. Tall and lean with long blond hair and a matching moustache, his eyes appear haunted by death and misery untold, sometimes glaring with frightful intensity. Dressing in low-key red and white diamond-patterned robes, he walks like a shadow, his feet never seeming to move beneath his flowing robe.

Krimeeah is as cold as the Black Ice, and a calculating adversary. He came to the Valley seeking a place to rule on his own, where he could die in peace. His black mood expresses itself strangely, as he often makes sarcastic comments about the meaning of life, what elementals think when wizards summon them, or some other philosophical topic that creeps into his mind. His strange rants have left those few who have met him wonder if he is insane.

In truth, he is mourning.

On his travels after being banished by Ivid IV, he had stopped in Keoland, the home of the wizard Dramidj. At that time, he was trying to find a place to retire in comfort, and more importantly someone to love. He saw the person he sought in Dramidj's wife.

Their affair was camouflaged by magic, as Krimeeah would divine when Dramidj was away, then sneak off with his wife via magical means. This affair continued for three years or more, Drawmidj had become so obsessed with his work as a magic-user that he all but neglected his wife.

That did not prevent him from flying into a rage when he found out about being cuckolded by his wife. He attempted to slay Krimeeah in a wizardly duel, which Krimeeah would have won, except that the woman they both loved gave her life for her husband's, giving the dying Dramidj her life-force. Anguished, Krimeeah immediately fled west, seeking somewhere, anywhere, he could live out the rest of his days.

It was thus that he made himself lord and master over the hapless inhabitants of the Valley, as his proud Aerdi heritage would not allow him to commit suicide, and yet compelled him to rule. He turned his interests to researching the outer planes and exploring them for strange and powerful magical items, even as Dramidj joined the Circle of Eight and plotted revenge against his enemy.

 

Foreign Relations: The Valley of the Mage is feared and distrusted by all outsiders, none of whom know what actually goes on in the valley, or the past of its lord and master. The Grand Duke cared nothing for the valley, and an expedition from Gran March was slain. Those few adventuring bands that attempted to explore the Valley for the great riches it was rumored to contain never returned alive, and no one else, except the merchants who met the valley elves at the entrance to their lands, ever dealt with the cursed valley.

 

Region 6: South-West Flanaess, Sheldomar Valley, South-Western Flanaess, Sheldomar Valley map

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