Valley of the Sunken Heart
where the Lone God was broken
"No, I haven't been to the Sunken Heart. Nobody I know has. And if you say you have, you're lying. There's no way you can come out of that place without being changed somehow. A little bastard like you, taking the dangerous trip to the birthplace of the world? Don't make me laugh." - Barimen Fellhound, 7498 ACAccording to myth, the Valley of the Sunken Heart is the one place where the Lone God set foot when he made the world. As to why it says he was 'broken' here...that answer is lost to time. Whatever the mythical or religious significance, it without a doubt can be called the greatest natural forest in the known world. It was beautiful before the Old Capital fell. After the city was swallowed into the earth and the humans evacuated the valley, it became an overgrown wilderness, with qualities at once magical, fantastic, and monstrous. Something vibrant and lush stirs in the soil here, and the fauna and flora share the same heartbeat. Geographic The Sunken Heart valley is a deep depression in the earth, ringed by the mountains collectively known as the Arbor Fortress. There are several smaller rivers running through the surface of the forest. After the Collapse, the existence of a massive underground river came to light. It is postulated that this river is what feeds all the surface rivers and springs. Near the footholds of the mountains there are many boulders and rock slide debris. If explorers begin their journey at the Northern pass, it is possible to trace the ruined remains of the Trade Road that runs all the way to the burial place of the capital city. The valley gradually slopes in many places, until it hits the very center of the valley, where it is a commonly held belief that the 'Sunken Heart' the valley is named after, lies. This is a few miles' distance from the buried city, and is a different item entirely. Flora and Fauna There is a multitude of strange creatures and plants that can be found here. New ones are still being discovered every few years. One of these is the Soft Death, an invasive fungus that sprang up along the eastern edge of the forest and is spreading exponentially farther east towards settled lands, for reasons no one can discern. Many animals have begun avoiding the eastern edge, since the fungus can infect warm blooded mammals by touch and breath. So far it has not threatened the delicate balance of the valley's ecosystem. Glowsilk Blooms also grow here, scattered in the higher meadows. They glow in rich colors at night and are cherished for their petals, which can be turned into a luminous silk that nobles will pay handsomely for. The cost and difficulty of getting lumber out of the valley causes professional lumberjacks to look elsewhere. Nevertheless there are many trees dispersed throughout the valley. Alder, Ash, Birch, Elm, Hawthorn, Oak, Yew, Rowan to name a few. Near the rivers there can sometimes be found low-hanging Willow trees. In the upper canopies there are also Knifers...birds with feathers sharp enough to embed themselves in flesh. They are a frightful annoyance to explorers. While the practical purpose of their pinions is to deter predators there is a large market for clothing decorated by the knife-like feathers. It is seen as a bold, competitive fashion statement. The Archivists send out special expeditions every season simply to gather herbs. The rarest herbs in the kingdoms are found in plentiful supply in the valley, and everything that grows there seems to grow a little larger than its fellows in the outside world.