Corval is a nation filled with foggy seashores, quiet forests, hidden glens and sprawling farmland. It is a peaceful place (for the most part) where people lead somewhat sleepy lives. Their days are filled with earnest work and simple pleasures. But it was not always so, for the Great War raked its claws over the southwestern lands of Valtyr the deepest, and no nation saw greater strife than Corval. After over 500 years of reconstruction and grief, the Corvalians had finally returned to their humble roots as farmers and fishermen, eager to forget the past and use the fog that surrounds their lands a shield from the outside world of politics, war and intrigue.
To those seeking adventure, Corval is not usually the first place that comes to mind. Rich in natural resources and primarily an export nation of timber, fish, cloth and food stores, Corval doesn’t boast many exotic treasures, or great guilds for that matter. But even among the “westward green”, as it is sometimes called, there are places of interest. I will describe three of them in this post: the Alabaster Rook, Fireglow Mound and Fortune’s Point. Pick up your copy of Valtyr Chronicles today for even more insight into the world and game of Valtyr.
The Alabaster Rook:
North and a little west of the bustling port town of Arnos stands a site which has baffled scholars, sorcerers and priests alike. A 350-foot tall leaning tower of weathered white stone sits buried in an expansive sward of green fields. The tower’s only feature is its slightly crenelated top; no doors, windows, or other signs of entry are present on its surface. All attempts at magical teleportation into the Rook have failed to date. Even the Brotherhood’s faithful have been unable to beseech the Twin Gods for information as to the nature or interior (if one even exists) to this strange landmark. The first traveler to ever come across the marvel (a man named Heldon Craw) dubbed it the Alabaster Rook; he named it after its similarities to a game of strategy called jarai, where pieces are moved on a checkered board in an attempt to defeat an opponent’s dragon. The tower reminded Heldon of one of the pieces to the game and the name stuck.
Throughout the centuries, many scholars have traveled to the Rook seeking ways to decipher a set of engraved glyphs that ring the Rook in swirling pattern. To date, the language (if indeed it is one) has not been broken. However, an old manuscript found near the Dwarven Gate of Kazak-Tem in the year 2416 speaks of a great citadel in the south that holds "the gateway to the stars within its halls of bone”. Some believe that this passage might refer to the Rook, but since none have found a way inside, no one can be sure. To the people of Corval, the Alabaster Rook represents a strange element in their otherwise normal lives and many are superstitious of the white tower, as it reminds them that mystery and intrigue are still present, even in their secluded corner of the world.
Far in the remote northwest of Corval lies a series of low hills and valleys that burn constantly. Despite Corval’s damp atmosphere and nearly constant fog, this area seems charged with a different kind of energy. Pockets of small fires erupt from a mixture of gas trapped within the earth and a special gray soil that alchemists believe has kinetic properties. The result is a patch of land that smolders constantly and occasionally grows into pockets of wildfires. Resilient trees, known as Coalbark, grow in leafless patches through the rocky hills. Gray soil mingles with silt and ash to form a sandy ground of burnt offerings. From a great distance, the air seems to shimmer orange through the fog, but on a clear day the glow intensifies so that it can be seen even in daylight from as far away as the town of Perch.
Within Fireglow Mound are two things of note: the nesting places of the gray drakes of Corval (smaller cousins to the great dragons and treasured mounts of the Gray Drake Knighthood) and a tribe of human shamans and hunters known as the Izuma. The Izuma are completely isolated from the rest of civilized Corval and prefer it that way. The Izuma claim to have a special connection with the land in this inhospitable place and make their homes just on the outskirts of the burning hills. Although they keep to themselves, many in Corval’s military are wary of the Izuma’s tribal practices, which involve constant battles with the Fire Primoridals of the area, as well as the Izuma’s penchant for blood sacrifice and strange rituals. Still, most people never venture close enough to Fireglow Mound to take notice, and many Corvalians believe the stories of barbaric humans, flaming hills and gray drake eggs to be nothing more than a myth.
Once a busy seaside port town like Voscold and Arnos, Fortune’s Point fell hard to the raids of Geldain Ramuk’s men in the Great War. Its three story narrow house flats and crowded canal streets were decimated under the fighting. The once serene monuments and bustling port marketplace were torn down and burnt during a vicious raid. Now, Fortune’s Point is a ghost town filled with bitter memories and dead dreams. The town used to hold a population of nearly 2,100 people. It had a series of roads connected by arching bridges that could take travelers on foot over the cobblestoned streets and into such quarters as the bazaar, port, housing districts and temples dedicated to the Ever Maiden, Annwyn. However, in addition to roads, the people of Fortune’s Point also constructed canals where large flat barges carrying cargo, or smaller gondolas carrying passengers, could travel as well. These waterways linked to most of the same areas around town and offered travelers a different tour of the city. In addition, the canals granted those who knew where to look access to the underground gambling dens, whorehouses and specialty taverns of Fortune’s Point.
These days, rubble lines the once broad streets. Buildings lie fallen over or stand as burnt out husks. The waterways are covered in thick seaweed, creating a verdant carpet of undulating vegetation on the shifting tides. The once lively ports now sit dormant and ravaged like broken teeth jutting from the face of the city. Few know that, despite its ruined appearance and rumored hauntings, there is still one force active within its walls. A group of pirates and thieves calling themselves the Lost Fleet makes their home within the Point’s harbors.
The Lost Fleet harasses merchant vessels sailing between Voscold, Russic and Whitecliff in Mierg, seeking treasure and new recruits for their nefarious activities. Careful not to tread too far east into the territory of the Wyvern’s Lash, another rival pirating group, the Lost Fleet has persisted despite the Gray Drake Knights' vigilance because of an ancient artifact their captain (a cerenoth female named Irela) found within the town’s sunken walls. Irela carries with her a polished abalone shell carved into the shape of a ship surrounded by waves. Upon her command, the artifact allows her ships to be lost in a blue mist and then sink beneath the sea, where she docks in underwater caves after her raids. The shell confers the power for her and her crew to breathe underwater just long enough to exit into one of the abandoned gambling dens in Fortune’s Point. In this way, she has eluded capture or detection so far.