In days gone, there was a kingdom which was known to all. There a mighty people tended a land of plenty and peace. They dwelled without fear in the safe shadows of a mighty Wall, a Wall which sheltered them from the terrors in the wilds beyond. Away from these terrors, the people of this land prospered. They thrived. They knew peace after war, and love, and the quiet pleasures of good food and wine. This, their home, they called Ascalon.
From the great mountains in the west to the lands in the east stretched the Great Northern Wall. High it went, lost into the sky's vaults, and higher still its arches, vast and unbroken, an impassable barrier to all invaders. Its walkways were kept by the men of Ascalon: men of courage and skill unmatched, led by leaders taught in the peerless Academy of Ascalon, and the might of man, and stone, held at bay the evil of the North.
Beneath those great ramparts, at its center and its thickest, Ascalon City raised its roofs to the sky, and people thronged in its courtyards. A great lake pooled amidst the broad lanes, under bridges and around buildings, the quiet and cool currents feeding the land. Beautiful and wide is Ascalon City, a light along the wall to shine the beacon of civilization into the wilds. Markets teemed and throbbed with the pulse of a whole nation, children played and sang, people moved and laughed, and the greatness of their beautiful land seemed boundless and timeless.
South of the city a river led, the source of Ascalon's lake, and the land here was called Lakeside County. Beyond the walls of Ascalon City the lands were wild and fair, a land in youth. Between the mountains in the south, called Wizards' Folly, and the city itself, the people of Ascalon had their park. West from the city's gates a small road led off, passing alongside a Theater of dressed stone, south of the Gate which was Breached, was Green Hills County where Duke Barradin's people kept their vineyards. There legendary wines were pressed, and the guards kept the villagers and farmers safe from the grawl and the gargoyles of the catacombs. To the east of beautiful Lakeside stretched the Regent River, winding through a green valley of sun and wonder. Here was wilderness, of sorts, though the great Aqueduct of Ascalon cut its way across its middle and several bridges eased wanderers travels as they passed the cheerful woods. The rangers of Ascalon kept the wilds clear and protected the shrines and statues erected here in honor of Goddesses, Gods, and Heroes past. South from Lakeside, south of Ashford Village, there the mountains rose to the dome of the sky, and shained in a small valley nestled amidst their lofty brows a massive tower was anchored. Here the Elementalists wove their spells and delved the secrets of existence, even as the Necromancers delved the catacombs.
That was, and, is the lay of Ascalon, though Ascalon is now torn and shattered. For to the North of the Great Wall, beyond its mighty stones and parapets of wood, the Charr held dominion, and their savage eyes turned ever south to the might of Ascalon. Their plots were ever for the doom of man's kingdom, and their thoughts lusted for the riches beyond the wall. Their ambitions realized the destruction of what had been a gem on Tyria, and now there can never be enough tears shed for the loss of that brilliant beacon, doused now in savage horror.
As has been said before, the lands of Ascalon were five: the city itself, Lakeside County, which was the center from which all other lands radiated as spokes on a wheel, Green Hills County to the west, the Regent River Valley in the East, and Wizard's Folly to the south. Here follows the tale of the lands as once they were, in what detail may be recalled and brought forth of their former glory.
Little, really, needs to be said of this place, for its ruins are still occupied, and some of its walls and towers yet stand. Once, though, its glory was unmatched, even by Lion's Arch. From the walls a great courtyard reaches inward where the traders gathered to hawk their wares. Beyond, houses stretched up the two levels of the city, growing upward on terraces towards the mighty palace and the Academy. The Academy itself lay on the far side of a bridge of stonework to make the eye dance.
Lakeside was a meadow of green and color, dappled in the shadows of clouds, its hills softened by tall grasses and flowers of every shade. Outside the city walls a mighty theater stood open to the sky. Far in the south of the county Ashford Village stood in its peace. Farmers had their fields there, alongside the fences of Ashford Abbey. The abbey itself was a place of worship and rest for travelers, and an entrance into the dark catacombs which lay beneath the land, stretching their dark arms to embrace all of central Ascalon.
Eventually the plains and meadows of Lakeside give way to mountains in the south: the mountains called Wizard's Folly for the mighty tower the elementalists had raised among their heights. Here a performers' troupe gathered and sought refuge near the range's base, and, above, the magic of the mountain wove life into pure elements.
Green Hills County
Ascalon's West was a bountiful land, rich in vines and grains, harvested by happy people. Barradin's estate held command of the vast central plain and his guards kept watch over his peasants and the catacombs. Outside their patrols, the grawl would gather and raid, hunt and trouble lonely wanderers, and in the far western caverns the Stone Elementals would wander, but for the most part, it was a peaceful land.
Regent River Valley
The road to the east led to Fort Ranik and passed through the Regent River Valley. A wild land, kept by a few rangers and trails, here many creatures had found a home, some unwelcoming of visitors. Skales dotted the rivers and spiders the trees. Grawls also had some presence here, and bandits roamed along the roadways.
The depths of Ascalon housed three main foes of peace: the restless dead, whose cadavers wandered the poisoned caves, the nests of devourers, and many gargoyles. Here necromancers perform dark rituals and train, and adventurers come down here for what they may glean off the monsters and stories to tell their grandchildren.
Vicious insects, as large as a man and larger, a beast with two tails, each tipped in a spike. They tend toward groups, some of them able to fling their tail spikes like arrows when they attack, others running in to attack with forelegs, and still others graced with an innate ability to cast spells both to weaken and even to explode corpses nearby. In the days before the catastrophe they were pests at worst, though dangerous to the weak or unprepared. Those who hunted them said that it was best to kill the casters first; their ability to explode their fallen brethren's corpses could be devastating.
Squat beast-men, covered in mottled grey skin, faces usually contorted in hideous roars, the Grawl were a torment to farmers and travelers. Savages, their warriors favored bows and their parties traveled often with shamans to keep them healed. Keen fighters would assault this shaman first, if it could be done: their healing was a burden and a tax on aggressors and a gift to their friends; yet when they fell, their warriors soon followed.
Giants with 8 legs and the unholy ability to spit poison at great range made them more than pests; fortunately they remained confined to the far reaches of the Regent River Valley. Their greatest threat lay in the surprise of their assault, as they plummeted from the branches of the trees above and sent their deadly volleys at the unsuspecting.
A great many skales populated the banks of the rivers and waterways of Ascalon. Small creatures, like overgrown frogs standing on their hind legs, they congregated in large numbers, which was their sole strength. Divided, they fell easily. They were given to magical attacks, to projectiles at range, particularly among their elders, and some even had some small spells they could cast.
The black bears of southern Ascalon were mighty creatures and very aggressive. Their skin was hard and their stamina great, and though all they fought with was fang and claw, it was enough. In the Regent Valley and in the foothills of Wizard's Folly they roamed, making traveling off the roads perilous near them.
The elementals (stone and ice) fought with massive fists of rock and ice, cudgeling any who ventured into their domains with ferocity beyond even the bears. Their appearance was like a man, albeit a very large man; a giant with a stone head and a gaping mouth of rock. Watching their destruction was always surprisingly quiet - like a gust of wind dislodging pebbles on a mountainside.
Cadavers and Corpses
At Ashford Abbey, the Catacombs opened its maw and within its throat crawled the undead. Though like stitched-together bones they seemed, rickety and scarce able to hold together, their stamina and strength was great, and many brave souls lost their lives fighting them, joining their dread ranks in eternal restlessness beneath the high ceilings.
The gargoyles of the Catacombs were large and deadly, throwing about spells and balls of energy, tough as the stone they sprang from. Their realm was the Catacombs beneath wsestern Ascalon, near Green Hills County, though now they roam abroad across all the land.
*** This article was written by Bilsybub and because it's wonderful guide for all of you who decide to buy Guild Wars and want start first adventure, I decided to post it here. ;)