Wyrdeep Forest, a great expanse of old forest between the Barony of Bourth and the Dragonspine Mountains, has remained virtually untouched by civilization. It is said to be protected by the fey. Some "wild" elves who are not part of the Elven Nations live on the fringes of the forest. The nearest human city is Gallardshold.
Elves of the Wyrdeep
In 4310, as a result of the edict declared by Turamzzyrian Emperor Chaston, much of the elven and half-elven population emigrated north and east beyond the empire's borders. The edict itself ceased to be strictly followed after Chaston's death in 4327, but fear of a recurrence drove continued migration over the following decades. Many of the fleeing elves sought refuge in Wyrdeep Forest, where they passed out of communication with the outside world for over a hundred years. Within the forest, even the elves never penetrated too deeply into the fey realm, which was filled with strange and monstrous creatures, but settled largely in the outer belt of the forest.
About a hundred and fifty years later, the Wyrdeep elves began to furtively trade with human settlements using intermediaries. As humans could never travel far into the forest, these intermediaries were believed to be traders from the elven city-state of Ta'Nalfein. This trade continued unabated and large beneath any official notice for the next hundred and fifty years. While the Wyrdeep was formally within the borders of the Barony of Bourth, the forbidding nature of the forest made it all but impossible for the local human lords to enforce their laws within it.
In 4599, a tax collector sent by the minor lord Gallard Wilke to one of the outlying elven settlements was slain by the elves. Lord Gallard responded by sending his garrison to raze the settlement. As nearby elves rose up to fight the human forces, Lord Gallard appealed to Emperor Krellove, who sent reinforcements from Tamzyrr. These events led to the First Turamzzyrian-Nalfein War. While the larger war concluded in a limited human victory, the effort to enforce claims over the Wyrdeep never made very much headway and was again abandoned after the death of Krellove. Lord Gallard built the fort of Gallardshold on the edge of the forest to keep watch during the war, but the elves were not seen for several hundred years afterwards.
Around 5030, a younger generation of Wyrdeep elves began to emerge from the forest, where they formed a cautious relationship with the humans of Bourth, now ruled by the Caulfield family. Some even opened shops in cooperation with the local humans, in defiance of Chaston's edict that was still officially in effect after seven hundred years, even if it was ignored by the Caulfields. Tensions between supporters and opponents of the edict led to a number of street brawls in Gallardshold over the years.
Under Emperor Aurmont, the edict against elven ownership of land was repealed in 5122, and in the following year during a visit to Ta'Nalfein the emperor formally recognized the status of the Wyrdeep elves as an independent and sovereign nation, its borders defined by the Kannara River to the south and west, the Barony of Dragach to the north, South Hendor to the west, and Highmount to the east.
For more information, see Bourth, The Empire's Expatriates: The Elves of the Wyrdeep, and the Kasendra Accords.
Expedition of 5114
In late 5114, as part of the Cross Into Shadows storyline, adventurers from Wehnimer's Landing embarked on an expedition to Wyrdeep Forest to acquire alchemy components. The journey to the outskirts of the forest was made onboard Nysina's airship.
(A sketch of the area has been provided below by Seomanthe.)
In the distance, the faint outline of a sleek black veniom-hulled airship can be seen approaching on the horizon. [Grasslands, Airship Dock] Beyond the wooden platform, the flat fields of the Grasslands extend in all directions. The wooden palisade walls of Wehnimer's Landing rise up to the northeast, and the high peaks of Melgorehn's Reach cast a long shadow across a nearby lake. Armored Chastonian soldiers and blue-robed mages patrol around the wooden platform. You also see a sleek black veniom-hulled airship. [Black Veniom Airship] Austere veniom walls rise from a glossy ebonwood floor to an arching ceiling overhead, black in hue and flecked with hints of silver. Warped domes of glass in varying sizes trail in lines from the floor upward, and they whorl with an argent incandescence that bathes the ship's interior. Off to one side are a pair of sliding doors opposite a curtained archway, all guarded by darkly garbed figures, while at the heart of the space is an oval ebonwood table and a number of cushioned chairs. You also see a small note, a wide veniom gangplank and a large glass window. The small note contains a list of ingredients. some ghost white lichen some deep blue riverweed a smooth brown briarstone a small green windberry a bloodwood twig a bright silvery-white feystone a thorn-covered wyrdroot (an elaborate map on an oval ebonwood table) This parchment map is large and detailed, with calligraphy strokes that delineate landmarks in and around Wehnimer's Landing and its outlying areas. Pigmented inks indicate rivers and forests, roads and buildings, and periodically a red-ribboned pin marks locations of seeming importance. [Northern Woodlands, Field] Huge stone walls and ramparts stretch along the area, comprising the northern fortifications of Gallardshold. Armored imperial soldiers march the length of the stone battlements, their eyes always trained to the distance. To the south and east, the fortress city expands, while a narrow trail bends north into an expanse of trees. Obvious paths: north [Northern Woodlands, Small Trail] A narrow trail leads away from the great stone walls of Gallardshold and bends through thick patches of dark modwir trees. A huge menacing forest rises up to the north. Obvious paths: northeast, south [Northern Woodlands, Small Trail] A narrow trail leads away from the great stone walls of Gallardshold and bends through thick patches of dark modwir trees. A huge menacing forest rises up to the north. Obvious paths: north, southwest [Northern Woodlands, Small Trail] A narrow trail leads away from the great stone walls of Gallardshold and bends through thick patches of dark modwir trees. A huge menacing forest rises up to the north. Obvious paths: northeast, south [Northern Woodlands, Trail's End] The trail gradually comes to an end, the dirt path eventually giving way to thick foliage and thorny brambles. Rising up like a great foreboding force, the outer edge of the Wyrdeep Forest stretches as far as the eye can see. Obvious paths: southwest As you step into the Wyrdeep Forest, the environs shift as you come to the edge of the expansive woods. [Wyrdeep Forest, Edge] The outer edge of the dense forest is blanketed in a welcoming array of lush green grass and colorful wildflowers. Wide rows of ancient yew trees fashion a pronounced boundary as they sway to and fro, their twisted limbs stretching and beckoning, inviting passerbys into the forest's depths. You also see a small trail leading away from the forest. Obvious paths: northeast >ne [Wyrdeep Forest, Opening] Wildlife is curiously absent at the entrance, and there is an unsettling calm that hangs in the air like a thick fog blanketing the encircling forest. Faint bursts of moonlight bleed through modest breaks in the foliage overhead, affording barely enough light to illuminate the path. Obvious paths: northeast, southwest, northwest >ne [Wyrdeep Forest, Clearing] The meandering path that leads farther into the forest grows increasingly difficult to navigate, dead leaves and broken twigs forming a protective cover over the almost concealed pathway. Crisp snaps and crackles burst noisily from the surrounding woods in an unsettling cacophony. Toward the east, a small clearing draws attention, a visual distraction from the hypnotic calls of the forest. You also see an olive-hued forest goblin and a large wyrwood tree. Obvious paths: north, northeast, east, southeast, southwest, northwest An olive-hued forest goblin glances around, then pulls out a piece of chalk and draws an outline of ten squares on the ground. The goblin carefully tosses the chalk into a square and then hops through each square one at a time. Just as it looks like she is going to miss the square with the chalk, she stumbles and lands in it. She quickly stands up and quickly makes it the rest of the way, bowing at the end. A reedy gold-eyed darkling just arrived. (up the tree) [Wyrdeep, Treetop] The giant wyrwood tree rises above a number of trees surrounding it, providing ample viewing on the forest below. Vines run along the tree's numerous thick branches, twisting and coiling like thin snakes. Periodically, the sound of leaves rustling or twigs snapping can be heard somewhere within the woods. You also see a large wyrwood branch. Obvious paths: down (back down to the clearing) >ne [Wyrdeep Forest] Moss-covered stones slick with strange chartreuse-hued algae border a small stream, its wavering voice gurgling like a victim of strangulation. The pathway is hidden beneath a deep layer of flourishing vegetation that leads travelers along its green trail. Guttural moans seep from the maze of trees that obstructs the view in all directions. You also see a thicket of trees. Obvious paths: southwest You wander into the thicket of trees, the surroundings shifting as you move. [Wyrdeep Forest, Twisting Path] Clouds of fog swirl along the ground, spawning tiny whirlpools of green mist that consume any dead vegetation that exists on the forest floor. A deafening screech pierces the air, but is quickly muffled by echoing footsteps. You also see a pale-eyed wild elf sentinel and a thicket of trees. Obvious paths: northeast, west >ne [Wyrdeep Forest] Dark and menacing, the suffocating density of the forest has seized all natural light, save a small breach in the underbrush to the southwest. An occasional caw ruptures the ominous silence as avian shadows fly overhead, trapped beneath the towering crowns. Obvious paths: northeast, southwest >ne [Wyrdeep Forest] Tufts of grey fur hang on a nearby branch, and an iridescent wing shimmers on the forest floor beneath a sliver of light. Loud snaps echo around the path and resemble random pebbles thrown in distraction attempts. Whispers in a unfamiliar tongue are heard, but have no discernable origin. Obvious paths: southwest, northwest >nw [Wyrdeep Forest] A formidable cluster of yew trees shares the confined space with thorn-covered bushes and blocks farther travel into the forest. An oppressive mist has formed along the ground and swirls hauntingly at the base of the trees. You also see a pale-eyed wild elf sentinel and a primal tree guardian. Obvious paths: southeast, west >w [Wyrdeep Forest] From light deficiency or curse backlash, the deformed trees resemble freaks of nature with their buckled trunks and twisted limbs. Shifting shadows play tricks with the darkness, but the absence of noise prevents tracking. Obvious paths: east, south >s [Wyrdeep Forest] A great horned owl swoops down in an aggressive ambush, catching its victims off guard, but returns to the dark sky and an unseen haven. The darkness is foreboding and inhospitable, and with every step, distorted faces appear in the bark of the trees. Obvious paths: north, southwest >sw [Wyrdeep Forest, Twisting Path] Clouds of fog swirl along the ground, spawning tiny whirlpools of green mist that consume any dead vegetation that exists on the forest floor. A deafening screech pierces the air, but is quickly muffled by echoing footsteps. You also see a luminous woodland arachnid, a luminous woodland arachnid, a pale-eyed wild elf sentinel and a thicket of trees. Obvious paths: northeast, west >w [Wyrdeep Forest, Twisting Path] Hundreds of footprints litter the forest floor and point in every direction, indicative of to and fro travel. Heavy fog laden with a viridian tinge hangs in the air, the diffused light casting a green glow along the ground. You also see a thicket of trees. Obvious paths: east You wander into the thicket of trees, the surroundings shifting as you move. [Wyrdeep Forest] The stream widens as it makes a sharp southwestern turn at an unexpected opening in the forest. While the undergrowth remains unforgiving, a diminutive breach offers a rare glimpse deeper into the shrouded woodland; a small village lies in ruins. Obvious paths: north, southeast >se You move through the forest, and the nearby foliage comes alive, shifting around your feet and slowing you down. Roundtime: 6 sec. [Wyrdeep Forest, Twisting Path] A partially concealed trail forks in numerous directions, and there seems to be a slight familiarity to the area. The viridian-tinged fog thickens, leaving a stench in the air that burns with every breath. You also see a thicket of trees. Obvious paths: northeast, northwest (back to breach) >n [Wyrdeep Forest] A long slender branch hangs from an overhead limb, coiled and twisted into a natural noose. A bed of crushed leaves and broken branches lies on the ground beneath the bark-covered appendage, a faint outline of footprints imbedded in the brush. You also see a brilliant green Wyrdeep viper. Obvious paths: east, south A brilliant green Wyrdeep viper darts up a tree and slithers through the canopy, heading east. >e [Wyrdeep Forest] The lack of ambient light in the suffocating darkness makes it impossible to discern the time of day. Eerie howls and muffled scampering confirms the presence of unseen beings, but offers little solace as the approaching sound resonates through the trees. You also see a brilliant green Wyrdeep viper, a primeval oak spirit and a large dark green vine. Obvious paths: south, west >s [Wyrdeep Forest] Flowing with urgency, the stream empties into a dark, ominous cavity. The water's roar is deafening, drowning all sounds from the enveloping forest. Sharp and jagged rocks Obvious paths: north, southwest (sw loops back to Twisting Path) (from the large green vine...) You grab onto the vine tightly and prepare yourself to push off and swing on it. You push yourself off while holding the vine, swinging out of the area! [Wyrdeep Forest] Thorn-covered vines wind their way across the ground and up each tree, strangling the forest in an unforgiving grasp. Complex cobwebs decorate each branch, their skilled weavers veiled in dark shadows. A smidge of light sneaks through an opening overhead, but is quickly snuffed by the shifting forest, leaving the area in near darkness. You also see a slender green-haired dryad and a large dark green vine. Obvious paths: northeast A thick thorn-covered vine slithers in grasping and twisting as it arrives. >ne [Wyrdeep Forest] A small brook heads off through the trees to the west, but the thick vegetation blocks movement in that direction. Clusters of exotic-looking mushrooms, ranging from very small to a width of nearly a foot, blanket the ground in a muted array of color. Obvious paths: south, southwest >s [Wyrdeep Forest] Fractured and low-hanging limbs are draped in fine, hair-like moss, and form a natural cage around the branching walkway. Hushed moans perforate the quiet and haunting cries linger in the air. You also see a tawny-eyed wild elf druid. Obvious paths: north, southeast, south >se [Wyrdeep Forest] Tufts of blood-covered fur, some with remaining chunks of rotten skin, are scattered across the ground in an obvious display of recent bestial combat. Nefarious shadows slither in and out of the trees, their silent movement detected only when the sounds of crackling underbrush echo through the area. Obvious paths: south, northwest >s [Wyrdeep Forest, Twisting Path] Clouds of fog swirl along the ground, spawning tiny whirlpools of green mist that consume any dead vegetation that exists on the forest floor. A deafening screech pierces the air, but is quickly muffled by echoing footsteps. You also see a thicket of trees. Obvious paths: north, west >w [Wyrdeep Forest] Surrounded by a seemingly endless chamber of enclosing growth, the forest threatens to suffocate trespassers and keep its secrets cloaked in mystery. Wild vines with a snake-like girth and thorns as sharp as daggers slither across the ground making the journey rather treacherous. Obvious paths: north, east, south >s [Wyrdeep Forest, Twisting Path] Hundreds of footprints litter the forest floor and point in every direction, indicative of to and fro travel. Heavy fog laden with a viridian tinge hangs in the air, the diffused light casting a green glow along the ground. You also see a thicket of trees. Obvious paths: north (2n loops back to natural cage, then s to small brook, then sw to large dark green vine) (back to clearing) >nw [Wyrdeep Forest] Surrounded by pebbles and rocks meticulously placed, a wooden sign tilts on a splintered stake. A solitary wyrwood tree looms above you, its twisted branches hanging uncomfortably still. Adjacent to the circle of stones is a makeshift shrine covered with clumps of animal fur, bloodied claws and teeth, and what appears to be cracked feystones. You also see a thicket of trees. Obvious paths: southeast (back to clearing) >n [Wyrdeep Forest] The air is stagnant despite the fact that the dark green leaves on the imposing villswood trees rustle like a silent alarm. A faint trickling of water can be heard in the distance. You also see a thicket of trees. Obvious paths: south (back to clearing) >e [Wyrdeep Forest, Briar Bed] Thick growth has reluctantly given way to a small clearing, prickly vines and sharply barbed briars threatening entanglement to any who attempt passage. Broken clay pots and scorched slats of faewood are strewn across the ground, a faint smell of smoke hanging heavily in the air. >search You make a careful search of the area and discover a narrow opening! >peer open You peer through a narrow opening and see... [Wyrdeep, Golden Glade] Great wyrwood trees enclose this glade on all sides, their trunks as light as amber, their branches a pale green tinged with gold, looking almost unreal. The air is peaceful, infused with wild scents from the surrounding forest and alive with the song of birds in the distance. The grass covering the glade is lush and full, like a bed of viridian silk spread throughout the area. You also see a row of green-gold bushes with a small white berry on it. Obvious paths: none (taking the airship back...) [Black Veniom Airship] Austere veniom walls rise from a glossy ebonwood floor to an arching ceiling overhead, black in hue and flecked with hints of silver. Warped domes of glass in varying sizes trail in lines from the floor upward, and they whorl with an argent incandescence that bathes the ship's interior. Off to one side are a pair of sliding doors opposite a curtained archway, all guarded by darkly garbed figures, while at the heart of the space is an oval ebonwood table and a number of cushioned chairs. You also see a wide veniom gangplank, a large glass window and a small note. Obvious exits: none As the airship starts to rise into the air, one of the darkly garbed figures stalks over and swiftly draws in the veniom gangplank. The airship floats through the sky, the surroundings shifting. You peer through the window... [Gallardshold] Less a city, than a military fortress and trade outpost, Gallardshold sits on the edge of the Wyrdeep within the narrow march between the rest of the barony and the forest. Despite several layers of wooden stockades facing the woods, thick stone walls and only two obvious large gates for entry and departure, the stronghold cum caravansary has a sense of transiency, as if it is on the verge of being consumed by the forest at any moment. Wagons laden with timber trail away from the city, its only traffic. (...) [Waterford] Visible below, Waterford embraces the bank of the much narrower Tempest River, the perfect grid of its streets interrupted only by the curving of the river. Innumerable warehouses built of thick stone line the river, more often than not connected to stone wharfs, though many now have the appearance of minor disrepair. The Hall of the Wharfmaster, once the hereditary protector of the city with the approval of the King of Hendor, yet stands gaily decorated with banners, overlooking the river. [Nydds] Directly above the city, the spiritual and academic heart of Nydds is on full display. The guided water falls that envelope the Rings sparkle and reflect light while disappearing in and about the library's gardens. Surrounded by statue-decorated courtyards and gardens, the Hall of Solace catches the eye with its black and white tiled rooftop. Beyond the landmarks, are the well-known octagonal walls of Chantry College, joined by bridges to its sister colleges that populate the center of Nydds. [Brisker's Cove] Four black stoned towers guard the port of Brisker's Cove, two at the mouth of the inviting bay, and two ominously overlook the interior approaches to the city. The bay, itself, is covered in the motion of many masts of ships and the colorful banners attached to them. The port offers the appearance of a busy hive crammed behind the walls which connect the towers, its inhabitants, their horses and wagons, constantly in motion. [Phannus] Perched upon the highest hilltop of a ridge of hills framed against the orange background of the Sea of Fire, the dull sandy colored walls of Phannus are decorated with bright blue and red banners emblazoned with golden suns. The square symmetry of the trading city is highlighted by the mishmash of tents and small buildings which surround the city, the home to traders from Seareach and Tehir merchants. The roads which wind their way from the city toward the coast or disappear into the nearby sand dunes. [Sea of Fire] A caravan of Tehir traders form a thin line of movement across the barren wasteland of the Sea of Fire. In defiance of its harsh conditions, the people native of the burned land, appear to head in the direction of a small oasis hidden from their sight and only revealed by the view from above. To the west of the caravan, a dark wall of dust rises carried aloft by the extreme heat and winds, hiding the horizon. [Sea of Fire] The sands of the Sea of Fire stretch out in all directions with unending waves of dunes in different hues of brilliant orange. Little life appears readily visible from so high a perch, but for the occasional burnt and withered copses of trees. The glass of the airship does little to reduce the heat of the region, seeming to radiate warmth at touch or close inspection. [Vornavis] The northern city of Vornavis stretches out below along the coast and cliffs overlooking Solhaven Bay. The dark tiled rooftops run almost seamlessly up against the massive parapet-topped wall that separates the capital from the free port and the dangers so often attracted by the city on the bay. The Baron's Hall and its gleaming white circular towers watch over from the city's prominent central hill, the dark green swan banners flapping in the ever present coastal winds. The airship slowly descends to the ground. One of the darkly garbed figures stalks over and lowers the veniom gangplank for exit.