Tales from Elrond
Large Town * Population 2,864 (46% Human, 14% Half-Elf, 23% Elf, 10% Dwarf, 7% Other)
The Valley is the unofficially recognized name of the community nestled deep in the Mengul Mountains to the northeast of the Waste of Prathrea. Despite being in the cold and treacherous mountains, the Valley itself is actually a stretch of thick forest with good soil and fresh water sources for agricultural use. Sheltered from the harsh environment, the Valley was an ideal location for settlement, though because of its remote location it was largely unknown by most. The community that eventually became established there was founded by a variety of different races, all former slaves or sympathizers from Sircurem that escaped their captors and settled in the remote Valley where pursuit was unlikely. Led there by a charismatic Half-Elf slave named Letalid, who happened upon the Valley by chance during her early years as an outlander, the former slaves worked hard despite their racial differences and animosities to establish a community, learning to respect each other because they understood they relied on each other for survival, and because they shared a mutual hatred of slavers and the city of Sircurem.
Early on there were many hardships as the community struggled for survival. Much effort was made to conceal their community in the mountains, but word began to spread as members left to make a living elsewhere and the community started to trade with neighbors, the residents of the Valley were ever fearful of slavers arriving at their doorstep. All this changed when an aspiring assassin named Lendwyl Robbins came to the Valley, seeking a location to establish a base of operations for his assassin guild, the Red Walk. The assassin saw the Valley as an ideal location and he met with the community’s elders to express his interest. The residents of the Valley were not interested in forging a business partnership with an individual as dangerous as Lendwyl was rumored to be, but Lendwyl convinced them by telling him that his sights were set on Sircurem as his area of operation. Interested in the bloodshed that would likely take place from Lendwyl’s illicit activities in the city, the partnership was agreed upon.
Lendwyl’s work was indeed a boon to the Valley. He gave a percentage of his earnings from assassination contracts to the Valley and his reputation increased his guild membership, providing him with enough manpower to proceed forward with his ultimate goal of taking over as the premier assassin guild in Sircurem, a position held by a powerful criminal organization called the “Clasp.” This power play lead to a secret and deadly war between the Clasp and the Red Walk, and many deaths occurred (predominantly in Sircurem). The Valley’s coffers grew with this war and even the limited forays by Clasp forces and their allies to strike at the Red Walk in the Valley were not enough to break the partnership with Lendwyl.
Lendwyl was winning the war and the Clasp could see the writing on the wall. In an effort to save some of their operations in Sircurem (which were quite lucrative), the Clasp agreed to get out of the contract assassination business and remain in the city solely as a thieves guild. This was a loss of half of their business, but with Sircurem being such a wealthy city, the Clasp could not afford to lose everything. The division of criminal activities were agreed to and while there are still isolated skirmishes and flare ups between members of both guilds, the truce has held.
Meanwhile, Lendwyl had been making moves to secure his position as ruler of the Valley. Through dirty politicking, monetary exchanges and placing people in power who would do his bidding, Lendwyl was able to position himself as the hidden ruler of the Valley. The community council became a puppet government. Lendwyl had managed to enslave a population of former slaves and their descendants, not with chains, but by using their need to exact their revenge on Sircurem. The residents were still fearful of the slavers and believed that Lendwyl and his guild was what kept them at bay. Lendwyl was ruthless and there are plenty of stories about the evil he was capable of doing, but interestingly, he treated the residents of the Valley fairly and with compassion. He had no problem with removing obstacles to his position or operations, but barring these complications, he was a pleasant individual.
Lendwyl has ruled for many years from his hidden subterranean base in the Valley and no one has seen him in quite some time, though his guild is still very active. Being human, many suspect that Lendwyl is dead and the guild uses rumor of his existence to instill fear, others believe that Lendwyl, through unholy methods, is still alive and stalks the dark, taking the most challenging of contracts.