From the journals of Selias Jodame
Master of Lore
Advisor to the Council of Biblia.
When I was a small child, my family once took my brothers and I
to see the famed wild horses of Silver Valley. The equine species
were known throughout Northern Jontara for their beautiful full
manes and silver-tipped hooves. Never knowing the touch of man or
elf, they roamed the valley freely, only occasionally to be observed
by the curious from the cliffs high above.
Upon our visit, I had the pleasure of meeting an young man named
Jaron Galarn. It seems the lad had become the self-proclaimed tour
guide and caretaker of the herd and their valley. He lived in a
farm with his family just over the ridge from the valley, placing
it right along the main path to the best view spots. Jaron was quick
to greet travelers, his easy smile softening even the most wary
Accompanying us to the valley, he spoke at length about the horses.
He knew everything, from simple details such as head count, color
variations, daily activities, feeding places, to elaborate stories
of their origins and more humorous stories of men who tried to tame
them. "No one has ever ridden one of the Silver Valley horses,"
he said in an ominous tone.
There were rumors and legends about them, scary tales of a great
evil entity from another plane who once tried to gain entrance to
our world by opening a great portal deep underground. The skies
grew dark and the ground shook. The entity came through the portal
and tore its way up through the ground, breaking the surface just
inside Silver Valley. It is said that the equines met this invader
with such ferocity that it was driven back into the crevice that
it had opened and fell into a deep chasm never to be heard from
again. Some say the horses still remain in the valley to protect
us should the entity in the pit ever return.
His stories were many and I never forgot the awe-inspiring feeling
I had when I first set eyes upon the herd as they ran through the
It was not until I had completed my studies in Finnia that I had
a chance to return to Silver Valley, and this time the journey was
much less pleasant. I had been instructed by my masters to survey
the remains of Silver Valley. I was shocked to learn of its destruction
and even more so by the details of what had come to pass.
With the courtesy of the Shifter's Guild, I arrived in the village
of Valaskar with little delay. Tearhaut, my guide for this trip,
informed me of strange patterns within the mana of this area and
warned me that such unforeseen dangers might make the return trip
a bit more expensive. I shrugged off his allusions to price negotiations
and set to my task. The village had been deserted, not so much as
a stray animal remained. With no locals apparent, I set out towards
the cliffs of Silver Valley.
As I reached the top of the hill, remembering this as the place
the young Jaron had led me to as a child, I looked down into the
valley and found desolation. The trees were dead, the flowing grass
along the hillsides gone, replaced by a strange dark mist. And the
equines... I turned away from the sight. The valley had the unmistakable
signs of undead. The thought of those beautiful equines turned to
such a fate tore at my soul.
I returned to the city, found Tearhaut, and said it was time to
go. "So soon?" he replied with a raised eyebrow. "Yes,
there is nothing left in the valley except shadows. Shadows of what
Here is the legend as I have heard it told in
various inns along the northern coast of Jontara. Considering its
detail, I can only speculate that the original teller of this tale
was a participant of the event...
group of men had arrived at the settlement of Velaskar claiming
to be sightseers. As most travelers in the village were in fact
sightseers there was little to be suspicious of but this was a large
group of men, seven and twenty and more seemed to join them each
day. It soon became apparent that they were more than watchers of
horses and it was Jaron Galarn who discovered their true purpose.
Taking them on a tour to the valley, as he was known to do, he observed
them paying little attention to the equines and more attention to
the grounds around the valley. That night, he snuck into their supply
tent at the end of town and discovered it was full of mining equipment.
The men intended to mine the cliffs of Silver Valley, no doubt expecting
to find silver.
Jaron went to the town's council of elders in anger. "These
men want to destroy our valley!" he proclaimed. The reaction
from the elders was surprising to say the least. "What valley
do you speak of Jaron?" they replied. Jaron looked aghast.
"Silver Valley of course!" The elders stared at him blankly.
"There is no such valley. Why do you waste our time with such
nonsense?" Jaron was removed from the council chambers and
told not to return till he was sober.
Jaron was not a stupid man. No one simply forgets a major landmark
and source of so many legends overnight. There was sorcery at work
here. Determined to do something, he set out towards the miner's
tent but before he got ten feet someone stepped out of the shadows
muttering something and threw a handful of dust in his face.
He woke up in his bed at the farm and proceeded with his daily
chores, without a single thought about the previous night's events.
In fact, he found himself so busy with his farm work that it was
weeks before he had even a passing wistful thought about his horses.
Then while working in the barn he stumbled over something and fell
to the ground. Searching the area for the stray obstacle he found
a silver-tipped horseshoe... and it all came back to him in a rush.
A season had passed, and he had done nothing to prevent the miners
from tearing up the valley. He went into town but found that no
one there remembered him. Everyone, even his best friends met his
gaze with odd looks and confusion. Not wanting to fall victim to
the strange spell again, he set out for the valley, hoping to find
something he could use against this treachery. It was what he did
not find that disturbed him.
The valley was empty. The comforting sounds of thundering hooves
were gone and the air was heavy with silence. Where were the horses?
Jaron spotted the entrance to the mine. Quietly as possible, he
snuck down into the valley and headed towards the mine entrance.
It was late and no workers were about. He grabbed a stray lantern
and entered the mine. It was there he found the horses, though he
wished he had not.
The horses of Silver Valley were alive but not well at all. They
were bridled and chained, wearing large saddle bags full of earth
and rock. His beautiful horses had been reduced to beasts of burden,
their spirits broken. The sight of them caused him to cry out in
dismay. He ran to one of the horses and began attempting to remove
the heavy chains which restricted their once- graceful movements.
This was futile as he was distraught, and his previous cry had alerted
a guard nearby. One moment he was looking into the sad eyes of the
chained equine and the next he was seeing stars as he slumped to
He woke up in darkness at the sound of harsh voices. "What
should we do with him? The forget spells didn't work! If we spell
him again he may come back with help next time!" one voice
said. Another voice, this one calmer, darker, "Dig a grave
outside the mine and bury him." The other protested, "But
he's not dead!" "If you bury him, he'll be dead soon enough.
Jaron was dumped roughly in a long wooden box and the lid was immediately
nailed shut. He searched frantically for anything to aid him in
an escape, but the strangers had stripped him of anything useful.
Desperate, he began screaming at the top of his lungs. "Release
me! Let me out here or you'll regret it!"
A sad voice replied, "Quiet in there. No one remembers you.
In time, we will not remember you. Accept your fate lad. Try to
die with some dignity."
"Dignity! What dignity is there to die in a box?! You must
let me out! I can hear in your voice that you do not wish this upon
me! Release me and help me free the horses!"
Again the sad voice replied, "My fate is set friend, as is
yours. I must serve the master with my talents and you must die
in this box. Do not bother in your attempts to turn my loyalty.
That possibility has long passed."
Then suddenly an excited voice exclaimed, "Muylari, there's
cracks opening up in the grave! I don't think we can dig any deeper."
"Shut up fool! I told you never to use my name." A
short silence. Then... "It is deep enough. Toss the box in
and fill up the hole."
The darkness once again lurched around Jaron as someone hefted
the box and began carrying it away. Before he could begin screaming,
the sad voice spoke one last time, "Good-bye Jaron Galarn.
Accept your fate."
"No!" Jaron screamed. "I do not accept this fate
damn you! You cannot leave me here to die and simply forget me!
Do you hear me Muylari?! I will return to free my horses if I have
to rise from the grave I swear! Do you understand Muylari?! I
this land and all who would do harm here! I WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN!!!"
A roll of thunder breached the silence and then Jaron was suddenly
falling as his box was dropped into the grave. The hard impact knocked
him out, leaving his last words echoing in his mind as the sounds
of earth raining upon the top of the coffin filled his ears. The
last thing he felt before dizziness and suffocation took over was
a sudden shift and a sinking feeling as if falling a great distance
into some subterranean chasm. Then everything, even his thoughts,
stopped in blackness.