Forest of Veila
A vast forest that stretches across the northern part of the continent, it takes up a fifth of the world's landmass. It's the largest biome and home to one of Ethiea's largest cities, and, as the stories go, Miltiades himself. Well known for its arid climate and massive trees, it also contains a variety of plants and even a few animals. The ancient trees stretching high into the sky can be seen long before people reach it, and when viewed from the air creates a long rolling sea of greens that reach off past the horizon. The enormity of the forest weighs heavily on those around it, it's dark unexplored depths creating mystery and intrigue for the average citizen while also keeping them far from it's edges. Rumors, hearsay, and local legends provide them with all sorts of wild stories to tell when ever some one wanders into it and gets lost. The vicious pack of desperadoes roaming the borders unfortunately picking off more stragglers than many would like to admit, preferring to dismiss the number of stories as exaggeration while keeping a good distance from the trees.
Located almost directly half way between the equator and the northern pole, it warms up considerably in the spring and summer seasons while cooling off for a more temperate fall and winter. As the heat begins to taper off it allows the moisture that's built up in the air over the long summer to fall. This creates a few days in the middle of the fall where it rains lightly, replenishing the only lake in the forest and briefly creating small creeks at the bottom of ravines and between hills. The water is quickly soaked up by the land and the trees and is gone long before the mild winter begins. Commonly staying around freezing temperatures during the day, it drops drastically during the night and little activity is seen of it's inhabitants until the sun rises once more. Most of the land is characterized by foothills, valleys, cliffs, and rocky outcroppings that become more prevalent and exaggerated the farther north you travel. The southern area in contrast is much smoother, gradually transitioning to small rolling hills and flat stretches of land. Eventually the forest begins to thin out, the trees becoming substantially smaller with the appearance of small rivers and streams. This marks the end of the Forest of Veila and the start of Dredjen, a much younger forest that collided with Veila as they both grew larger and halting both of their expansion. The northern edge of the forest is cut off by the sheer sides of mountains rising up and forming an impassible wall. Steep sides with sharp outcroppings and virtually no hand holds makes it impossible to climb, and the peaks soar up through the clouds making it hard for most fliers. The cold winds creating wild down drafts that sweep across the blackish colored rock, freezing any moisture in the air to the stone. This particular mountain ridge is often referred to as 'Ethiea's Teeth.' To the east of Veila is a wide and expansive desert, the trees thinning out to small stretch of grassland before fading into hard dried ground. The climate in this area is warmer and gets the least amount of rainfall each year. With few plants and trees as well, very few live in the area or travel through it unless well prepared. Veila also reaches all the way to the the gulf, the coast line making up the majority of its boarder stretching from the south to the west. Rocky shores and salty breezes keeps the air fresh and mild all year, the winds carrying over the trees and helping to maintain the stable temperatures. The highest concentration of people live along the gulf, aside from Veila, small homes visible from the water.
Fauna & Flora
The most notable and widely known feature in the north, the Forest of Veila is made up of ancient super-massive trees. The high reaching branches interlocking to create shade and help regulate the temperatures beneath them, protecting the smaller flora from being scorched by the heat. The farther in towards the center of the forest, and towards Miltiades' Forest, the trees become bigger and bigger, the trunks diameters easily reaching anywhere from fifty to a hundred feet. The soft ridged bark is harvested by farmers in Veila, who make sure to rotate through sections of trees regularly as to not damage the them. The giant trees have vast networks of roots that reach deep underground and spread out to connect to the other trees around them. This interconnected system spans the whole forest, the other plant life connecting to it to access the water and nutrients beyond their reach. A variety of flora is found in the Forest including mushrooms, wild flowers, ferns, bushes, vines, mosses and lichen, and even a few other trees. Smaller species of trees most commonly being found along the coast line and south edge, a few are scattered about the entire forest, some forming tiny copses with their own little ecosystems. Very few animal species call the Forest of Veila home mainly due to the lack of water, however there are a few who have adapted to their specialized ecosystem. This includes a few species of insects including a type of bee and a couple of butterflies and moths who feed off the flowers acting as pollinators. Most well known is the pack of desperadoes that dwells along the coast and southern edge, a savage canid like creature that is extremely territorial. One of the only carnivorous species on the planet, they operate in a family based pack and rarely interact with anyone outside of it. Often ambushing travelers and merchants and killing indiscriminately, they also take what they can, mostly food items and materials for shelters. A smaller mammal that resides throughout the Forest known as the silvied (sill-ve-edd) in the south, and the raakiet (ree-key-at) in the west. It's a rabbit like animal with sharp claws and facial features that resemble a shrew, their mouths filled with small needle like teeth. One of the non-sentient creatures of Ethiea, their diet consists of insects and berries.
The Old Forest is home to many rare and hard to find plants and herbs, some exclusive to the area. These include poisonous flowers and roots, delicate remedies for harsh illnesses, and even some that are dried and sold as seasonings. Some of the flowers and planets are also cultivated and sold as decorations and gifts, loved for their colors and unique shapes. The most commonly sought after resource is the bark on the older trees, it's carefully removed and used as the main ingredient in tree leather. It has a soft and supple texture with grooves, ridges, and bumps. As the bark ages it becomes thicker and softer, creating an almost cork-like consistency before it begins to peel off. The hardest natural resource to find and collect in the Forest is a shimmery blueish-black metal, that shines a bright silvery-green in the light, located around the base of the mountains on the northern edge. Small deposits of ore form near the surface of the rocks, it requires a sharp tool and patience to collect as it can take weeks, and in some cases months, to mine enough for a single project. Items crafted from it are extremely valuable and sell at high prices, they're known for their sturdiness and ability to be molded with fine detail. Weapons are the most commonly crafted with it, being near unbreakable and light weight. Second is jewelry, small pieces being able to hold patterns and shapes with out falling apart or wearing away.