A Company of Crows
The Gray Vale has grown into a trade center in the North in large part due to the success of Loudwater. This small city has an advantageous location at the confluence of the Delimbiyr and Grayflow rivers. Rich and arable farmland enables the community to thrive. Most merchants in the vicinity use the river to transport goods, making Loudwater an ideal nexus for nearly all commerce in this part of the world. Although Loudwater and other small settlements
enjoy some prosperity, the threat of danger checks their growth. Displaced savages from beyond the
High Forest are a constant peril. Goblins infest the Southwood, snatching cattle, supplies, and the occasional child before retreating to the dim shelter of their foreboding forest. Whispers of Najaran serpentfolk fill the taprooms as locals peer suspiciously at strangers, ever watchful for these sinister infiltrators. All of these dangers and more cast a pall of fear and mistrust over Gray Vale.
The Gray Vale’s borders are soft, shifting with the ambitions of prospectors and settlers, but all who live in this rich valley regard the Star Mounts as its northern boundary, the rugged Graypeak Mountains as the eastern border, and the High Moor as its southern perimeter. The Vale stretches west, following the Grayflow out to the Sword Coast, though the influence of the area thins as one draws closer to the Western Heartlands.
Loudwater: Easily the largest settlement in Gray Vale, Loudwater is encircled by a wall of timber and stone more than 20 feet high. The fortifications and the determined but personable people living here make Loudwater an attractive stop for travelers of all kinds.
Llorkh: Ever an unsavory place, Llorkh has sharply declined in recent years. A string of incompetent rulers drove off most of the honest residents, and now the ruined city had served as a haven for a self-styled bandit king and his lackeys. Within the last year a new “Lord” has taken over the city and is making efforts to rebuild and bring Llork back to “respectability”.
The Star Mounts: This ancient range of mountains marks the southern boundary of the High Forest and takes its name from the queer lights that shine from its heights. Legends claim that these mysterious mountains are home to dragons, elves, strange birdfolk, and more. Perhaps the most unusual story is that in the upper reaches, great crystal towers grow out of the rock. It is uncertain just who or what lives inside these towers (if they even exist), because clouds blanket the peaks year round and few have the courage to ascend the heights.
The High Forest: From the northern slopes of the Star Mounts and stretching for miles to the north is the High Forest, an ancient wood notoriously haunted by fey creatures, gnolls, and drow. Infrequently, wood elves of the forest trade with the people of Loudwater, but they are tight-lipped about what goes on in their sylvan homeland.
The Graypeak Mountains: Sheltering the people of Gray Vale from the distant doom of Netheril
is a range of old, rugged mountains known as the Graypeaks. Barren and capped in ice and snow,
these mountains are said to be home to giants and vicious wild and unnatural creatures. Adventurers who have braved the peaks report ancient dwarven ruins buried beneath the stone, and their claims are supported by old dwarven coins, weaponry, and other antiquities that have been recovered.
Southwood: This young forest separates a portion of Gray Vale from the Highstar Lake and the serpent people of the High Moor. Local woodcutters occasionally take timber from this forest but do so at great risk, for a large tribe of goblins has staked its claim here.