During the War of the Many the hobgoblins, in an attempt to keep the ogres and orcs out of their lands, burned the forests as the traveled north to overtake the mountains. For weeks these fires burned until eventually they ran out of tinder; with the dead fields to the east and the muddied rivers to the west they had nowhere to go but to the Breach. This left a scar of ash running down the middle of the land where no true life would exist for generations. Even after life would come back to this place it would become even more dangerous than the forest inhabited by hobgoblins. This land is the Ashened Vale.
Once a dark forest inhabited by hobgoblins, gnolls, orcs, and other inferior races they were still, none-the-less, fought over furiously by the scattered clans. Now they are a barren waste with several feet of ash covering the land, without a single sign of plant life and very little sightings of creatures. For years the Ashened Vale lay still with no life at all, however eventually creatures began to almost rise from the cinders. Some believe that these beasts are the destroyed life risen from the fires, though others know that they are creatures that lived in the Underdark and were drawn to the surface by the heat created from the ever burning embers. Sightings of these creatures are few and far between, as most take to burrowing beneath the surface and living within the ash.
Travelers who come to the border of the Vale are often times weary of continuing their path across the ash. The heat can sometimes reach nearly unbearable temperatures unless prepared, while the predatory beasts that lay in wait are of the type that most people have never seen, nor heard of. Caravans can extend their trip by over a week while traveling around the Vale, though they do oftentimes incur attacks from orc mauraders and the gnoll camps at the southern tip. However some people have taken to crossing the Ashened Vale quite easily now, as they have made a living escorting groups from side to side. Navigating around sinkholes and the hunting grounds of emberworms and the hotter emberlands is a difficult journey, though some prefer this to the perhaps equal risk of continuing within the forests.