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“Valek’s Landing,” by Ethan Sincox

Winner, March 2013 Gazetteer Writing Contest

Valeks Landing inset - color 400x500pxValek’s Landing – A small town in the province of Ardun, situated on the northern coast of Lake Escaya. Valek’s Landing is located at the mouth of the Escaya river, just 25 miles from Graldash, at the foot of the Newiron Hills to the east, and 70 miles from Wrenwood, the capital of Ardun, to the west.

Founded in 1450 SR [Editor’s Note: the current year is 1459 SR], Valek’s Landing is governed by Valek Rostennius, formerly of Wrenwood. Thus far, it is mainly a collection of wood and thatch structures, located on the lower banks of the north shore, the one exception being the governor’s house, a stone structure that overlooks the landing proper from the cliffs above.

Governor Rostennius received his charter for Valek’s Landing under the Rediscovery Edict of 1437. This highly restrictive grant, given by the Supreme Council of Ranyon, allows for the legal mining and trading of Laninstone, a rare ore reputed for its inherent magical properties. With the mining and smithing of Laninstone almost exclusively limited to the dwarven communities of the Bir-Muzad mountains, the council is spending vast amounts of resources in an attempt to locate new sources of the precious ore.

Surrounding Valek’s Landing on the cliffs to the north and on the southern bank of the Escaya river are the ruins of Bavar, an ancient city abandoned more than 200 years ago after much of it was destroyed during a territorial battle with the Essant. The city of Bavar, formerly a key city in the Glynnish trade routes was, at its height, the quintessential example of the architecture and city planning for which the Glynn culture is known. Now not much more than crumbling foundations and overgrown cobbled roads, we still know much about Bavar due to the vast amount of trade records kept in the archives at Wrenwood.

After several months of research, it was in these old documents that Valek Rostennius finally located what he was looking for – proof that Laninstone was traded in the Bavarian markets. Always in quantities small enough to avoid unwanted attention, the trading was regular enough, and over a long enough period of time, to indicate a persistent source may have existed. By providing the Council this evidence, Rostennius practically guaranteed his charter would be granted.

Aside from the search for Laninstone, Rostennius has managed to re-establish Valek’s Landing as a potentially important waypoint in the Glynnish trade routes. Current exports include tin, fish, wool, and gallwood lumber.

Points of Interest:
Temple of Lainwyth – Remarkably enough, the old Bavarian temple of Lainwyth, the Glynnish goddess of death and magic, still stands mostly intact on the high hill north of Valek’s Landing. Missing only its wooden roof and glass windows, it is a testament to the skill of the Glynn craftsmen who build it. For more than two hundred years, rumors have persisted that the last priest to use the temple for worship, one Brother Plairus, left behind the hoard of magic items which had been collected as gifts to the goddess. His untimely demise and secretive ways insured no other living soul knew the location of the cache. Undoubtedly, this probably accounts for why such rumors still exist today.

Tower of Ornecaus – Located on a small rocky island just off the southern shore, a lone tower stands watch over the mouth of the Escaya river. Said to have once belonged to Ornecaus the Younger, a mage rumored to be of elven descent, it does not appear to have been occupied for several decades. However, on overcast moonless nights, locals swear they have seen candlelight from one of the two windows visible from the shore. Unfortunately, accessibility to the tower is all but impossible, due to the high cliffs that make up the island.

Brunan’s Outpost – East of the Tower of Ornecaus, high on the cliffs overlooking a shallow bay, can be found the ruins of an old keep, called Brunan’s Outpost. This moderately fortified structure was used to maintain a continuous watch over the entrance to Bavar’s primary tin mine, located some 250 feet to the north. The mine, long depleted of tin, and the outpost, with nothing left to guard, both sit in similar states of disrepair.

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