Valley of Broken Wards
More than 2,000 years ago, the two largest civilizations of the era were locked in a great war. Though the battles fought were on a grander scale than the world had yet known to that time, the two behemoths seemed evenly matched. Each of them scrounged for allies and intimidated any unwilling neighbors into aiding them, for neither empire was sure which small weight would tip the scales in their favor.
Sandwiched between the two hungering rulers, a small city rested in a hidden valley. The people there preferred privacy and small town living to the hectic society that seemed to be spreading to every coast. They were the last town to receive demands from the warring factions, due in no small part to the fact most outsiders didn’t even know the town existed. As both empires sent proud ambassadors that demanded their compliance, they were surprised to be flatly rejected. For a whole week the ambassadors from both sides tried to intimidate, then reason, and eventually plead to sway the favor of the city, but the city was not composed of people prone to being influenced.
In all the great battles that took place, the darkest day of the war, when mighty giants began to point fingers at one another like squabbling children, was to take place in this unassuming village. Though both sides blamed the other until their last days, no one would ever truly discover what happened the night the valley violently burst with raw arcane energy. Not a single soul from there was ever heard from again. The large explosion in the valley was akin to a fuse being lit; the world a loaded powder keg. All the other small nations, outraged at the events cared not which giant made a martyr of the peace keepers, but vowed they would never sit idly by or bow to the foreign task masters again. It was the beginning of a new era, when the meek said “Enough!” and the great would tremble.
In the after math, the newly instated leaders of the world went to pay respects at the village that started it all, the first people to say no. However as they arrived they noticed that magic still permeated the valley. Chaotic and unstable, the valley proved too dangerous for the leaders to even make it all the way to the village. Worse yet the High Mages reported the magical taint was gradually seeping in all directions. All the great casters in all the lands searched for a way to disperse the residue. However, all were unsuccesful. Resorting to the final measure they put in place a great ward to seal off the entire valley with a massive wall of force. Inside the wall, a great number of anti magic zones and other affects all designed to soak and disperse the lingering mana back into the ley lines gradually, though none were sure how long the process would take. Contingencies were also placed, so that 36 crystals were all linked to the wall, and that when the area was safe enough inside to reenter, all the crystals would glow and on the next full moon the great wall would begin to collapse.
This is the tale of the courageous first adventurers and explorers to step in the valley after 2,000 years. A valley with a name long since forgotten, known this day only as the Valley of Broken Wards.