The Dawning Dream Setting
Located in core regions of the continent of Endrys, Mournvale is the heart of many human societies. Despite a few rare instances, most scholars agree that the primitive human tribes all originate from the modern-day region of Mournvale. The many people of the vale today still practice the archaic worship of the Old Gods, largely in the same ways as their ancestors did centuries ago.
The first example of human civilization exists along the coast of the Lucid Sea, nearby modern-day Stormsail, in the ancient underground city of Nosla. Within the ruins explorers found remains of what seemed to be an entire wall of stone that was carved and painted in various colors, depicting a brief story of the history of the dwellers in Nosla. This was later given the moniker of the "Wall of Stories". The wall depicts a great many renditions of the Gods of The Circle, stories and accounts on how the Gods aided the early peoples in their first attempts at colonization of the region. The central piece of the wall actually depicts a representation of whom scholars believe to be the God Rhe in a chamber far beneath Nosla. Rhe is depicted as inspiring or guiding the early peoples, which is fairly accurate to the beliefs of the faithful as Rhe is symbolized by her affinity of the earth and of homes.
Following Nosla, more settlements began to rise throughout early Mournvale, as humans began their first steps in making an impression on the world. Many years into the growth of these settlements, there was an event known to ancient Valerians as the "Night of Fire and Chains". An entire host of Dragons from beyond the Saltspine Mountains flew south, supposedly fleeing a greater power, and besieged the few human societies that were just sprouting. Obviously there were few threats that a Dragon could not trample and soon the humans fell to their knees, crying for their lives to be spared. Feeding their egos, the strongest in the dragonflight agreed to spare the Valerians on the condition that they become slaves and serve dragonkind for their entire race's existence on Dreatas. Thus began an age-long period of tyranny and slavery among the people of the vale, the first but most certainly not the last of Mournvale's notorious calamities.
The long period of slavery both strengthened and wizened the Valerians, for the Dragons brought order and high intelligence with them. The people learned a great many things from their draconic overlords including the use of written word, control over the arcane, forging of steel and other metals, and even the concept of noting wealth through minted currency. The first human-made coins are known as Scales and depict an iconic dragon head on one side. Then, one fated day lead to the birth of an important man named Kelmor. This man, born a slave, later led a massive rebellion in the name of Khaal against the tyranny of their overlords and overthrew all Dragons from the region. Following their independence, Kelmor founded the original kingdom of Mournvale with the seat of its power in Mournloch. Kelmor also later founded the Order of the Blood Hunters, a faction which serves humanity in disposing dangerous monsters from around the reaches of civilization. King Kelmor went on to become one the most well respected and influential rulers of human history, leading Mournvale into a long period of peace up until his death.
Little fact is known surrounding the death of King Kelmor, besides the deeply rooted tale of a powerful military coup at the end of the good-king's longer than average life. Kelmor's death is also strongly defended as the reason for the first Umbra on Dreatas. An influential military leader returned from defending the frontlines of the kingdom to meet with the King. Less than a day later in a bout of treachery the military leader claimed the bloody crown and sat the throne declaring himself not as King, but Emperor of Sangletian Empire. Little is known of this Emperor mostly in fact that the successors to his reign hated him and his kin so much that they simply erased them from history, in an act to spite him most likely. This Emperor led massive wars of aggression against neighboring tribes and growing baronies in order to carve out a large swath of land in his own name. The Emperor was known to be ruthless as much as he was tactical, embracing slavery once more in Mournvale but also employing Blood Magic for the first time. His rule was so powerful, so unyielding, that in a short ten years the Empire grew to include most of northern Endrys. As his enemies had hoped, however, the great and dark Empire began its decline after the Emperor's death and the inheriting of the ruling lands by his own two bickering sons.
Year 23 of the Dark Age, the Sangletian Emperor dies of unknown causes, and the legacy of the Emperor is sundered unequally between two rival brothers. These two brothers begin what is to be one of the bloodiest, most savage, wars of all time. The feuding not only lasts for a staggering eighteen years, but also invokes some of the most terrible tactics learned from the previous Emperor. Many accounts tell of the earth blackened and caught flame, as well as the darkest practitioners transforming horribly into malicious monstrosities, as a result of the incredible amount of Blood Magic employed on both sides. The war finally came to a close as the Western Emperor stormed the black city of Termos, on the southern tip of the Skyreach Mountains, and besieged the Eastern Emperor personally. What happened next was lost, most certainly as all witnesses of the atrocity were killed. What most saw when arriving in the former capitol was described disastrously as though one saw the secrets of how the world shall someday end. The once near-perfect city with its intricately planned infrastructure was swallowed by a corrupting evil that consumed all life. Not a single body was described to be found, nor were there anything other than a massive crater with few remnants of the once strongest structures surrounding it. Year 41 of the Dark Age, the Sangletian Empire was simply no more, its remaining nations were split further and further until finally only mere city-states remained. Some of these city-states fell further into obscurity, apparently plagued by nightmares beyond reckoning.
The Sangletian Empire is easily the most dark period in the time of Mournvale and in human history. Though the people of the vale found themselves resilient to the decades of tyranny again, when the resurgence of Kelmor's line was once again found. Emeril Kelmor was only a boy when he unified the dying state of the vale, and by the time he grew into a man the kingdom was reborn once again. The boy marched from settlement to settlement, rallying Valerians under the glorious banner of the Shield of Kelmor. The newly forged Second Kingdom of Mournvale was in dire straits for the first reign of the royal family. It was not until Emeril's second son, the third crowned king, before it began to return to some semblance of order and growth. Much of known technology and arcane knowledge was lost during the fall and chaos of the previous empire. Emeril was remembered for standing not over, but with the people as they faced the many challenges of rebuilding their homes. It was also during this time in which the first incursions between Mournvale and the goblinkind began, in the south along the Silver Peak Mountains.
Many years of relative peace follow the rebirth of the kingdom. Although the first appearance and rising menace of goblinkind foreshadows a dire threat for their future, the Valerians are for the first time capable of creating new inventions and developments in the arts. Many bards colleges are built alongside various prestigious arcane schools in the major cities. This time period is known to locals as the "Great Calm", and beyond minor squabbles with criminals in cities and banditry outside the people have little to fear for a long period of time.
Year 284 of the Dark Age, the defenders at Fort Desolace finally are unable to holdout against the goblinkind invaders from the south. After initial forces invade the lowlands at the base of the Silver Peak Mountains, the Warlord Grauthear marches north with the bulk of his forces (previously unseen and unexpected to the human defenders). By this point, the goblinkind are realized much too late as a serious threat by the general public and a common belief is spread that the goblinkind are another bloody effect of the under sight of the Sangletian Empire. A terrorizing siege is unleashed at the capitol city of Mournloch, one of epic magnitude and near perfect planning and executiton. The final defenders stood with King Heltegard Kelmor in a valiant last stand in the fountain plaza of the keep, as goblinkind forces overwhelmed them. It is said that Grauthear had personally duelled King Heltegard honorably, promising to spare his remaining warriors and give them free leave after their fight. At the end of the impressive duel, Grauthear brutally beheaded the king and declared an end to humanity's claim on Mournvale. The kingdom suffered an incredible loss that day, when it lost both its crown city and the last of the legendary line of Kelmor. Following the Siege of Mournloch, the remaining Dukes of Mournvale signed a peace treaty to the demands of the goblin Warlord Grauthear. The treaty when signed however was oddly light on the demands, asking only that the remaining territories pay tribute to Bloodstone. Most commonfolk of the vale believe this to be a trick, and all know that the war with goblinkind is far from over. The next war Mournvale sees might be it's last, however, with no clear leader to unite the hearts of the people.
It is Year 307 of the Dark Age, and eight kings have succeeded the line of Emeril Kelmor. The remaining three dukes of the fallen Second Kingdom of Mournvale are Duchess Mariana of Stormsail, Duke Travon of Northfield, and lastly Duke Phillipe of Vindral. The remaining dukes of Mournvale currently manage to maintain a loose coalition between the duchies known as the Ducal Assembly, where the dukes and appointed councilors discuss the fragile politics of the realm. Some time has passed since the Siege of Mournloch and only a single duke remains from that time (Duke Travon), and the people have grown somewhat accustomed to the constant threat of goblins from the south. It would seem the remains of the kingdom are growing complacent as the remaining Dukes mostly strive to remain neutral to goblinkind, and the general public are growing forgetful of the events of the past. Only one strength remains in the people of Mournvale, their resistance to overwhelming odds and their adversity to tyrants. Valerians have suffered through worse, and it is often noted among themselves that they will again.