Red Hand of Doom
To the west, a little more than two weeks’ travel by horseback across the rocky badlands of the Golden Plains, is the loose human settlement of Elsir Vale.
This thinly populated human frontier stretches about 250 miles east-west, and 70 miles north-south. The vale lies between two mountain ranges, bordered by the Golden Plains on one end, and the Wyrmsmoke Mountains on the other. It is cut down the middle by the Elsir River.
The frontier has been raised among the remains of a long-fallen ancient dwarf kingdom that claimed the entire area and more over a thousand years ago. While the kingdom is gone, remnants of its infrastructure remain, including roads, bridges, and cisterns. The central road through Elsir Vale, the Dawn Way, is one of these roads.
About 500 years ago, a human kingdom, Rhestilor, grew to dominate the region, raising a number of towns along the Dawn Way. Rhestilor eventually collapsed under civil strife and monster incursion. The capitol of Rhest was burned by a goblin horde from the Wyrmsmoke Mountains.
The remaining human settlements learned to get along without a king. Although tens of thousands of humans are still scattered across the vale, no one has attempted to reunite them or raise a new kingdom since.The human settlements on the Dawn Way are (from east to west):