The northernmost arm of the Alliance is known as the White Valleys for the thick mists that descend on that part of the world. It hosts the only direct land route from the Alliance to the Armillian Empire, known as the North Road. This road emerges from the High Plains at Three Falls to the south of the valleys and follows the great Misty River north round the edge of the Barrier Marshes then turns west along the coast to the twin cities of Xahe’s Gap in Armillia. Goods from Blackvale in the southwest of the valleys must first traverse the Lone forest and the southern edge of the Barrier Marshes before joining the North Road at Trader’s Crossing. Most of the White Valleys is wilderness with most settlements being less than 150 years old. Despite a committed attempt to pacify the region shortly before the forming of the Alliance, there are still many dangers in the forests, mountains, hills and marshes of the White Valleys. The Lone forest is home to a wide variety of large animals and insects, the Barrier Marshes is almost certainly the territory of several Lizardman tribes as well as other savage creatures and there are orcs and giants in the mountains to the north and east. The Eastern forest is said to be swarming with Kobolds and the hills of Whisper Heath are home to roving bands of Goblins and human outlaws. No one knows exactly what claims dominion of the Blan Deguri – the lonely hills at the heart of the White Valleys – and few are keen to find out. Just south of them is the great Ghostwater Lake, roundly considered to be heavily haunted.
In the North-East corner of the White Valleys lies the village of Hessau’s Meadow. It is the only significant settlement on the North Road between Three Falls at the edge of the High Plains, fifty miles to the south and Xahe’s Gap over 130 miles to the west-northwest, just over the border into Armillia.
The town was founded 150 years ago by the first Lord Hessau, who won his lands in service to the city of Blackvale during the War of Secession from Armillia and the subsequent pacifying of the White Valleys. Lord Hessau led the Blackvale troops that routed the last of the Lizardman raiders from Lone Forest and drove them back into the Barrier Marshes.
Thirty years later Blackvale joined Sentinel City, Anvil, Ghalii’s Gate and GiXor in forming the Five Cities Alliance for mutual protection against the Empire to the north, the tribes of the Wild Plains to the east, sea raiders on both shorelines and the mysterious armies that occasionally swarm out of the Unending Forest to the south.
By that time Lord Hessau had already founded Hessau’s Meadow and construction was nearly complete on Hessau House. Already the fledgling village had suffered a near-disastrous assault by outlaws riding east from Whisper Heath and thus the prudent Lord made sure the village was well defended, utilising the natural layout of the wide valley he constructed one long wall, built a lookout tower and deepened the bed of the Misty River where it flowed into Lake Yvainne to create a series of barricades to any assault from the west. It was his grandson, the third Lord Hessau who discovered Haven Vale while looking for a new pass through the North Wall Mountains and realised the high, secluded clearing’s potential as a secure retreat for the townsfolk. Thus Hessau’s Meadow became the safest settlement in the White Valleys, other than Blackvale itself, and the population quickly grew.