“Lost in the Vale” is the story of Delica Tinderfield (or “Tinder”), a quick-tempered young woman obsessed with finding the missing Prince of Andalusia, and her four teammates; Luke, Daniel, Alex, and Ander. Their group is one of many squads that make up The Outrunners – a branch of the Andalusian Royal Guard comprised of young or inexperienced adventurers who travel the kingdom assisting its citizenry, completing tasks and assignments from their superiors, and spreading the goodwill of the throne.

Their lives are complicated by the numerous issues plaguing the kingdom, such as the rise of organized crime, the spread of corruption among governors and lawmakers, and the centuries-old war north of their borders.

The Setting

The story told in “Lost in the Vale” takes place in the neutral kingdom of Andalusia, a fictional realm set in medieval times. Andalusia is the southern-most kingdom on the continent, surrounded by a ring of mountains that serve not only as a natural geographical border, but also as the first line of defense against any attempted invasions from the two warring kingdoms to the north: Espinosa and Portia. While the events of the story do not leave Andalusia, the history and the events of the world at large have an impact on the lives of its characters (and may be occasionally referenced).

A (Very) Brief History

In the ancient past, the entire continent was one united kingdom called Andalusia, named for the oldest of the three families (Andler) that were said to have first settled the land. For roughly two-hundred years, the three families (the other two being Espinosa and Portia) ruled the land as equals in a period of peace and prosperity. All the while, tensions were boiling between the Espinosa and Portia families who each felt the other had an unequal amount of power.

At first, the fighting was done in secret – political back-biting, blackmail, assassination – but soon, hostilities blossomed into all-out combat. After the tragic slaying of an innocent Andalusian diplomat’s family, a summit was held to discuss an ending to the conflict. The only agreement that could be reached in the week-long summit was the division of the land into three different kingdoms, each named for the three families.

A brief era of peace followed, but it was simply a quiet mustering of forces for the unending war to come. According to the terms of the summit, Andalusia would remain neutral and spared any conflict within its borders. In the north, however, the Espinosians and the Portians battle to this day – trading control of a hotly contested area of land that lies between their two borders.