A dark and dangerous forest
The Darkness in the ForestThis forest is has a well-known reputation throughout the north, which is due to the fact that the woods are overrun with Dark Entities. This makes it incredibly dangerous to pass through and even more dangerous to live in. The forest technically has everything one would need for survival, but you don't die of starvation here, but something far more gruesome.
Sea routesIt's way more common for traders to go by sea to access Elken, due to the stories and legends that come out of the place. No one wants to get caught in there, and having a large amount of wares to move through the forest slows you down considerably and makes you an easy target.
I would warn anyone from going through those cursed woods unless they have a death wish. That forest has been the cause of many deaths through the years, we have lost so many people to the jaws of those horrible dark creatures.
Secret ResidentsIt's a common thing for people to say that no one lives in the woods except for the dark entities, and that would be correct if you only count humans. However, a small group of fae, known as Ilnetian Light Fae reside there. They are secluded and like their privacy, which is why they chose to retreat to an area where no one dares to enter. All light fae are able to combat the dark entities with Light Magic and it is therefore no problem for them to live there.
Ilnetian Light Fae
A small group of Light Fae who chose to remove themselves from the fae realms and live the way they want.
A pale worm which is allergic to sunlight, commonly found in dense forests.