The Valley of Bones
A large sweeping valley in the Heavenspire Mountains that was once a fertile swathe of farmland in the heart of the old Kingdom of Sparos. Now the Valley of Bones is a desolate, wind and snow swept place littered with the bones of thousands of long dead warriors, which give it its name.
The Valley of Bones is an enormous open expanse that cuts through into the heart of the Heavenspire Mountains from the foothills of the peaks in Ferio Province. It is several miles wide at its widest points and as the flanking mountains rise very steeply at its sides for much of its length the valley is relatively flat, something which once made it ideal for farming, despite its elevation. Whilst the general topography of the valley hasn’t changed, the vicious fighting that took place between the Empire of Turelion and the old Kingdom of Sparos at the end of Machestaro I's reign completely denuded the valley of trees and vegetation and the extensive use of arcane forces and Blackpowder Weapons has poisoned the soil, turning much of it an ashen grey colour. In addition, the bones of innumerable slain soldiers who died defending Sparos and who fought for the Empire against them still litter the ground up and down the entire valley, their bleached bones standing out starkly against the grey ground. There are so many skeletons that in many places it is incredibly difficult to traverse the terrain and the density of the skeletal remains shows quite clearly where the most hotly contested place were. During the winter months the entire valley is covered by a blanket of snow, that covers the skeletons beneath, making any journey up the valley all the more treacherous. About halfway up the valley are the ruins of the enormous line of fortifications that the Sparites of old built all the way across the valley to defend the land and their city of Penelionar that lay to the west. These fortifications still bear the scars of the Imperial attack of yore and there are several large breaches in the wall where Machestaro's forces punched through.
Fauna & Flora
The intensive use of arcane and Blackpowder Weaponry in the Valley of Bones during Machestaro I's campaign to bring the nation of Sparos to its knees means that the whole area is almost entirely devoid of flora. The only plants that have been able to re-establish themselves in the valley are mosses and lichens, many of which have started growing on the myriad bones. As plant life is rare in the valley, few animals frequent it, and it has been observed that most animals will instinctively avoid the area, though the exact reason for this is not known. The frigid, exposed extent of the valley does attract both Ice and Air Elementals, who are able to draw on their favoured resources with impunity.
Very occasionally people will purposefully choose to visit the Valley of Bones in order to view the enormous expanse of the old battlefield, but also to visit the ruins of the city of Penelionar which sits right at the valleys western end. The vast majority of the people who wish to visit the area tend to be of an academic bent and are looking to study the ruins of the long abandoned Sparite capital, but others are drawn by the prospect of riches still thought to be scattered around Penelionar, in structures such as Andromache's Prison. On a more sinister note, sightings of people who clearly have an interest in necromancy, academic or otherwise, have been reported by those that have travelled to the area. It is thought that the necromancers are drawn to the valley by the presence of so many skeletons that can be easily gathered and resurrected as undead servants.