Knights of Angels and Days of Yore
History of Villa Vensu Portas
A Bit of Old History.
The village of Villa Vensu Portas is located along the shallows of the only bridge crossing the ‘Abha Ornin River. The ‘Abha eventually runs into the mighty ‘Abha Gullan River, which in turn flows into the Mujra Gellan Sea (or the Mujra Domhai Carna-Nochit, depending upon the rains and the tides). To the west about a hundred leagues beyond the horizon is the city of ‘Urbi Maddis with its temples to the Angels. Many the followers of the Angels believe that Villa Vensu Portas is at the edge of the world; in truth, the old ports and the old cities continue along the rivers and seas for hundreds of leagues.
Tanla ‘Allan Sardi Balgen (eventually renamed as Villa Vensu Portas) started as a place where farmers and ranchers could cross the ‘Abha Ornin River and float their wares down the river to the old ports and old cities. It grew from a farm or two, a ferry, and a rest house about the bridge. Tracks radiated in various directions to the farms scattered in the rich countryside. Trade along the river brought sufficient travelers and merchants to attract tradesmen and artisans to serve those passing through. The rest house became a thriving inn. More farmers and herdsmen followed to meet the increasing demands for grains and meat from those fording across and shipping along the river.
The lord of the area taxed stiffly; so despite his spending foolishly on local improvements to the streets, ford, docks, and ferry and clearing the area of dangerous insects and troublesome plants, the area’s prosperity was great. Trade was good, and the land was untroubled by war, outlaws or disease. The area was beautiful and bountiful – too much so in the eyes of some.
Whether the evil came east – up the river from Mujra Domhai Carna-Nochit (as is claimed by one faction) – or if it crept up out of the southern forestlands bordering the [[Costa Fi’ai Garboh Coast]] (as others assert), come it did. At first it was only a few thieves and the odd group of bandits molesting the merchants. A few hives and nests of deadly insects appeared near the outer farms. Then came small bands of humanoids – kobolds or goblins – raiding the furthest flocks and herds. The seeds of dangerous plants sprouted closer and closer to the village. Under the direction of the local lord, the local militia and foresters apparently checked, but did not stop, the spread of outlaws and evil.
A collection of hovels and their slovenly inhabitants formed the nucleus for the troubles which were to increase. A wicked cleric established a small chapel among them. The folk of Villa Vensu Portas tended to ignore this place, Ghobach, even though it was but three leagues distant. But, its position along the ‘Abha Nimhig River was ideal for the fell purposes planned for this settlement. The thickets and marshes around Ghobach became the lair and hiding places for bandits, brigands, and all sorts of evil men and monsters alike. The small chapel grew into a stone temple. As the good folk were robbed, pillaged, force fed addictive plants, and enslaved (or worse!), the evil servants brought their ill-gotten tithes to the wicked cleric (or to their master).
In but three years, a grim and forbidding fortress surrounded the evil place, and swarms of creatures worshiped and worked their wickedness therein. The servants of the Temple made Villa Vensu Portas and the lands for leagues around it a mockery of freedom and beauty. Commerce ceased. The farmers and ranchers fled to Villa Vensu Portas as the noxious plants and insects returned. Crops withered and were forgotten. Pestilence was abroad.
A Bit of New History.
But the leaders of this cancer were full of hubris and, in their overweening pride, sought to overthrow the good realms of the Angels, who were coming to the rescue of the land being crushed under the tyranny wrought by the evil Temple. A great battle was fought. When the good people of Villa Vensu Portas saw the streams of ochre-robed men and humanoids fleeing south and west from the purifying waves of fire and through their community, there was great rejoicing, for they knew that the murderous oppressors had been defeated and driven from the field in panic and rout. So great was the slaughter and so complete the victory of the good that the walled stronghold of the Temple fell within a fortnight, despite the aid of a terrible demon.
Upon entering the Temple, the guardians of Light discovered horrible truths about the evil within. One of the crimes of the original Temple was the breeding of monstrous warriors (in the overreaching pride, they deceived themselves into conducting long-term projects to eventual furtherance of their evil). Most of these were slain with the sacking of the Temple, but alas some escaped into the forests and hills nearby where they were quickly tracked and purged from the land.
The Temple was ruined and sealed against a further return of such crimes and abominations by powerful blessings and magic.
Life in Villa Vensu Portas quickly returned to a semblance of its former self, before the rise of the temple. Over the next five years, the village and its surrounding countryside became more prosperous than ever before.
A monstrous troll, who was addicted to drinking caustic slimes, plagued the place for a time until he was hunted down by a party of passing adventurers. Carrying the ashes and a goodly fortune as well, the adventurers returned to the village. Before going elsewhere to seek their fortunes, the adventurers also returned a portion of the villagers’ losses.
Other adventurers, knowing of the evil that had once resided in the area, came to seek out similar caches, and several did find remote lairs and wealth – just as some never returned at all. After a time, adventurers stopped coming to the area. It seemed that no monsters were left to slay, and no evil existed here to be stamped out.
The villagers heaved a collective sigh – some pained at the loss of income, but others relieved by the return to the quiet, normal life – and Villa Vensu Portas continued its quiet existence for four years more.
A Bit of Current Events.
But then, a year ago, as the Sun and Moon slid into the new cycle, a caravan from ‘Ubri Maddis was overturned and burned. None of its teamsters survived, and they desecrated bodies burned under the noon sun. Noxious insects have again appeared along that long and dusty road which winds across the rolling savanna toward the eventual horizon lost in the haze of heat and humidity. Bandits began to ride the roads again – not frequently, but to some effect. To the good folk of Villa Vensu Portas, this seemed all too familiar, so they sent word to the Viscount in ‘Ubri Maddis that wicked forces might still lurk thereabouts. This information has been spread throughout the countryside, and the news has attracted outsiders to the village once again. Who and what these men are, no one can be quite sure. All claim to be bent on slaying monsters and bringing peace and security to Villa Vensu Portas; but deeds speak more loudly than words, and lies cloak the true purposes of the malevolent.