Kings and Queens of Greystone Valley

Crown“Why don’t they raise the army anyway?” Sarah stepped carefully through the streets, avoiding sharp rocks that could cut into her bare feet. “These people can’t enjoy having an entire army tromping through their village at the drop of a hat.”

“What land do you come from?”

“Me? Um…America.”

“And does everyone get along in this America of yours?”

“Of course!” Sarah immediately felt foolish for blurting out the poorly thought-out answer. “Well…not really. It’s complicated.”

“It’s complicated here, too. The valley hasn’t had a king in over fifty years. It’s mostly just tiny villages like this one. Each town has its own way of doing things, and none of them likes having someone else telling them what to do. When people can’t even agree on what side of bread to butter in the morning, how are they supposed to cooperate on something more important?”

Greystone Valley is currently a land without a ruler. The valley is made up mostly of villages and other small settlements, each which has their own way of doing things. That means that going from one town to the next has some peril involved, since the laws might change dramatically without notice. Very few towns post their laws openly. Most people assume that their way of doing things is just common sense, even if it doesn’t seem like common sense to a foreigner. It has been this way for over fifty years now, ever since the corrupt reign of King Borgus Rothgar, often referred to nowadays as Rothgar the Fat, Stupid, and Ugly.

The valley used to have a royal family that had supposedly been given the right to rule from the Wizard himself. At first, they were a well-liked group of people, but a series of corrupt and petty members of the royal family led to a revolution where the royal family was displaced. For some years, Greystone Valley went without a king or queen, but then came Erelan Anuvier.

Erelan had been a king in his home realm of Blackwood, which was a world of magic and myth similar to Greystone Valley. During a cataclysmic war in his home world, a burst of magic sent Erelan hurtling through the dimensions until he wound up in Greystone Valley. He quickly ran afoul of the warlord Draygus, who had used a magical orb to control many powerful dragons in an attempt to conquer the valley. Erelan faced Draygus in single combat and defeated him by shattering the magical orb. The dragons, freed of the item’s control, turned on Draygus and carried him off screaming to the mountaintops, never to be seen again. In gratitude, the people of the valley named Erelan their king.

King Anuvier ruled for a period of ten years, until he was found by a powerful wizard from his home world. This wizard, known as Garyl Shadowslayer, was apparently a match for the Wizard of the Valley himself, as his magic was powerful enough to override the enchantments that prevented people from leaving. He took Erelan back to Blackwood, which needed its king. As Erelan left the valley, he assigned his steward, Velannie Rothgar, to serve as his replacement. Thus, Greystone Valley gained a new queen.

Velannie and her heirs ruled well, but once again corruption reared its ugly head. Velannie’s grandchild Borgus was a petty and vindictive young man who took out all of his frustrations over his lack of physical health and beauty on his subjects. He considered any slight against him to be an act of revolution. For example, one day somebody accidentally slipped some ingredients for a magical potion into his soup. The result was silly but harmless, resulting in the king’s skin being tinted blue for a little over a week. However, Borgus insisted that wizards had tried to poison him, which led to him ordering the execution of all wizards, seers, and magical creatures in the land. This resulted in what is known as the Magical Purge, where many of the magic users in Greystone Valley went into hiding lest they face the king’s wrath.

Shortly after the Magical Purge, the people of Greystone Valley revolted for real, overthrowing Borgus and ending his reign. The king had been unmarried and had no children, so there were no heirs to take his place. Rather than seek out a new ruler, the people of the valley chose to live without one. The valley was, after all, small and usually relatively peaceful, and few people wanted to risk appointing a ruler as corrupt and vengeful as Borgus again.

Since then, Greystone Valley has seen a few heroes now and again, such as the legendary Emerald Enchantress who performed many great deeds. These heroes tend to rise up during a time of need as though they were called by the valley itself. However, they tend to fade away just as quickly, either disappearing as Erelan did or living out the rest of their days in peace and quiet once the adventure is over.

Image: Beautiful Royal Crown by Piotr Siedlecki

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