Five hundred years ago, the Samaran Empire conquered much of Varesia, the continent to its north. The colonization lasted decades before the Empire lost its grip on the colonies. Some scholars say that the Empire spread too far too quickly; others believe that the Burning Church rescinded its support, weakening the Empire’s will and might. Whatever the reason for its failure, the Empire left a void when it withdrew. A series of brutal wars followed, and ultimately the formation of new kingdoms and the reestablishment of old ones. A war ravaged land was not the only cost. Much of ancient history and legend was lost in those struggles.
The vast, ancient forest known as Shadowvale has long been the subject of rumor and legend. Few who enter it return and those ‘fortunate’ enough to do so are forever marked by their time in the forest. For reasons known only to the gods, the mists of the Shadowvale have begun to recede, revealing long lost and forgotten lands. The most prominent discovery is an ancient castle, which was once the center of the Kingdom of Wystia. The keep sits to the north of the border between Devon and Brenland. While neither kingdom has made a formal attempt to claim the keep, both may yet assert proof of ancestral right.
Whispered rumors regarding the appearance of creatures out of legend and nightmare are beginning to spread across northern Varesia. Legends abound regarding the mystical Fae, suggesting that they were once numerous in Varesia. Most scholars discount these legends as nothing more than tales meant to frighten children. Some groups, such as the Wardens of the Shadowvale, who stand guard on the edges of that strange misty forest, cannot help but disagree on that subject.
An ever growing encampment has assembled around the official envoys from Brenland and Devon. It is an unusual gathering of disparate people and factions, representing a wide variety of motivations: politics, commerce, the pursuit of knowledge, prophecy, and simple curiosity, among other things. Whether one has a mundane or mystical reason for venturing into the Shadowvale forest, only the gods know what secrets are waiting to be revealed in the Mists.