|"As we travel to the fair town of Chaumburgh,
which is at the heart of the shire, I wonder if you may be thinking, "Vanished Wood?
I have never heard of it, let alone know where it is, or how it came to be." It is a
sorry truth that there are few who ever travel more than a few leagues from their own
hearths, and it is no different here in the westlands of the Middle Kingdom. So if you
have travelled far, o'pilgrim, and have never met folk from any of the great Baronies or
Provinces of this land, let alone its humble shires, let us pass these last few miles with
the story of how my home came to be......"
the sprawling forests of the Northshield, and west of the Inland Sea, lies the
western-most province of the MidRealm. It was in these ancient lands that Cariadoc of the Bow first
laid the foundations of our mighty kingdom, and became the first king to sit the Dragon
In those early days, if one rode more than a day from the shores of
the Inland Sea, the land was wild and untamed, and a mighty ocean of trees covered the
land. A small band of doughty woodsmen and farmers carved out of this vast greenwood a
small steading they named Sylvan Vale. For several years this small village prospered by
harvesting the many gifts of the forest, but as is the way with all things, sooner or
later, anything born in Spring must blossom into Summer, fade into Autumn, and then
decline and pass away in Winter. Such was the way of Sylvan Vale, now long lost in the
history of the Middle Kingdom.
But the Kingdom continued to grow, as did the great port cities along
the western coast of the Inland Sea. As the Kingdom grew larger, new settlers moved west
and began to carve homes out of the forest. In time, all the land west from the Sea to the
Great River that separates the MidRealm's western border from the wild Saxons beyond was
settled and cleared.
The Shire of Vanished Wood was born out of the ruins of Sylvan Vale,
though few would guess that the gently rolling plains and scattered groves of the shire
were once the great forest those early woodsmen called home. Though it has been many years
since the western lands have seen one of their own wear the crown, it is evident by the
number of homesteads and villages spread throughout the shires, that the people here are
prosperous, if somewhat forgotten. From its humble beginnings as a cotter's grove,
Vanished Wood has grown prosperous as a home to many talented craftsman, fine warriors,
and even a few landed knights who make their homes within the shire's boundaries.
"Ah, but enough history for now! Look you at the walls of
Chaumburgh that stand before us! It is lucky we have come while there is still light of
day, or we'd be camping out here until dawn.
Do not concern yourself with the toll, for you are my guest, and Gueric, the sergeant
of the watch, is a fast friend of mine! In return, remember to respect the laws of the
city, and do not forget that the seneschal enforces the evening curfew."
You shake hands with your companion, and nervously approach the
stern-faced sergeant of the guard, the sunlight glinting off of his steel skullcap, and
the sharp blade of his pole-axe. Sure enough, he winks at you, and steps aside to let you