The Eternal Empire
When the Empire conquered this region, some two hundred years ago, a garrison was left to watch over the dangers of the valley: the ruins of the prison and its deadly, insane inmates; the goblins who retreated to their mountain war- rens after the last war; and the warlock said to live in a tower hidden in the hills. A keep was erected and a small town grew around it.
When the Empire withdrew from its borders a hundred years ago, the keep and the town were abandoned by the soldiers, clergy and constables, leaving the townsfolk to fend for themselves. They soon found a new lord looking over them, a bandit lord who proclaimed himself as Baron and took the keep for his own. He ruled here, with an iron fist, for fifty years before a bold adventurer known only as Jaine crept into the keep and slew the Baron. He stole the Baron’s treasure, but was such a generous man that he left a trail of gold and jewels behind him as he left.
The townsfolk, free of the terror of the Baron and his men, grabbed the gold and gems and took off, seeking a new life elsewhere. The town was all but abandoned, and the keep left to rot and ruin. In that time bandits came and went, using the keep as a temporary base, but not for long. There was something beneath the keep that frightened them, and before long it was abandoned once more.
Ten years ago the Empire returned to the ruins of the town, wanting to expand once again. A small village grew next to the remains of the former town; first a garrison took residence, then the church, with farmers gradually at- tracted to the frontier. Adventurers, drawn by rumours of treasure in the ruins in the valley, soon began to pass this way, and an inn and several small shops took up residence. Now the village, thought small, is thriving and no doubt one day will grow into a market town. The keep, however, remains abandoned by the Imperials who now rule the re- gion once more. The clergy have declared it unholy, for reasons of their own, and something has made its lair in the grounds of the keep; something that preys on intruders but never comes as far as the village. If the monster was ever dealt with, the local soldiers might consider taking the keep as their garrison, rather than the simple barrack they currently occupy.