Lastwood Geographic Location in Ida | World Anvil
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Located 22 miles (35 kilometers) down the coast from Rookland spanning roughly 160 square miles (415 square kilometers) Lastwood is the only true forest on the continent of Xen. A combination of thousands of years of desertification, and Deadlight activity has rendered most of the continent uninhabitable waste land. However, through several strokes of good luck this relatively small region has remained a haven for natural life.
The close proximity to the coast provides life giving rain that the majority of Xen is woefully starved of. It’s high elevation and rocky uneven landscape make getting in from the ground outside tricky, and the many rivers, streams and waterfalls keep most Deadlights outside anima sensing range, and so ignore the wood almost entirely during the wet months.
During the dryer months when water is less plentiful any Deadlight that does enter Lastwood will inevitably meet the biggest reason the forest still stands.
  Of course, one can not talk about Lastwood without bringing up it’s most famous denizen.

The Gardener

A marvel of technology; The Gardener is an 18' foot tall Acheronian construct that has somehow remained wholly functional for nearly five thousand years. It has presumably spent the entirety of that time tirelessly patrolling the forest of Lastwood.   The Gardener is exceptionally well equipped to navigate the terrain of the cliffs and valleys of the area. Despite it’s size it is extremely nimble. Capable of climbing or even leaping up and down cliff sides with the ease of a person climbing stairs. and has been clocked at speeds in excess of 55 miles an hour at full sprint. Navigating the landscape with such precision it rarely even grazes a branch; seemingly having mapped out the location of every single tree in the entire forest.   The construct is passive to humans entering the wood. Showing relatively little interest in the traspassers, however if it detects hostile activity; particularly any attempt to damage the trees, the Gardener becomes extremely aggressive. It will not hesitate to neutralize anything it views as a threat to the natural order of the forest; be it machine, Deadlight, or human.   Despite appearing lightly armored, and carrying no armaments or onboard weapon systems, the Gardener is an extremely powerful melee combatant. Boasting superior maneuverability, anti-magi shielding, and a still fully funtional self repairing Spiritus system, No Deadlight ever engaged by it on record has survived the encounter. The hand full of attempts to disable the construct for study has ended in catastrophic results.
The Gardener is either unable or unwilling to communicate, so it’s true motive for protecting the forest is unclear. It has been hypothesized based on it’s battle prowess it was originally designed as an autonomous war machine that may have went Stray after the Bael Star meteor wiped the continent clean of it’s masters and it’s enemies both, leaving it with no clear purpose. If true it would imply Stray behavior could effect even origin A.I.s and is not a flaw caused by reproduction methods. But again, that is still mere speculation.


Tempratures average between 17°C (62°F) and 31°C (87°F) throughout the year with only slightly higher highs during the dry season and slightly lower lows during the rainy season. Lastwood is one of the few places in southern Xen the rain falls with any regularity, brought in from weather fronts generated over the Taberela Ocean. The rivers and streams of the Lastwood often flood during the torrental rains of the rainy season, and dry out late in the dry season.

Fauna & Flora

Lastwood is home to a large number of unique plants and creatures. Many of the endemic species were once long ago wide spread across the region, but now can only be found here, and virtually all are endangered.
Below are a selection of notable species.


The Cetou is a mid size nonmigratory bird with striking iridescent plumage. They mainly feed on nuts and barries. The Cetou’s call is a very high pitched single monotone periodic chirp that is reminiscent of a smoke detector with low battery.   Very pretty, extremely annoying.

False Wing EXOLcoatl

Stalking high in the trees of Lastwood is this rare species of Exolcoatl. Their unique shoulder plumage give them the appearance of having wings. Averaging at 3' from the shoulder weighing up to 150 lbs and armed with long slashing claws and needle like teeth, the False Wing is more then capable of bringing down a full grown man caught off guard.


A Living fossil; Atenerels are one of the last true examples of a class of creature that once dominated Ida in the prehistoric past: Mammals. Despite their cute appearance Atenerels have a unique survival strategy for a small prey animal, extreme aggression. Rather then run from a potential threat an Atenerel’s first instinct is to charge and jab with it’s sharp horns, It’s more an intimidation tactic then a legitimate threat, but they have caused serious injury to those that underestimated them.


Saw Dragon.png
This large blood sucking insect employs a uniquely messy, painful method of acquiring the sanguine liquid it craves. It zips around it’s prey doing fly-by slashes with a long serrated extension of it’s head. Once it’s caused enough damage it then starts making passes with it's proboscis extended lapping up the spilling blood without ever making itself vunerable by landing.


Like many common amphibious fish the Mud Hopper spends the majority of it’s time during the rainy season in the water, but during the dry season, when bodies of water are more scarce, they take up a more terrestrial role, using their powerful hind legs and secondary lungs to hop on dry land, eating insects and small animals. It’s said they are incredibly delicious.


Unlike most other related armored synapsids, the Tosionoth is a peaceful herbivore. This heavy shelled animal spends nearly all of it’s time hanging in the sturdy branches of Yuka trees eating leaves …very, very slowly. Despite this, it is hardly defenseless, aside from the shell, any potential attacker will have to contest with the animal’s hooked claws and the powerful arms they are attached to.


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Dec 26, 2023 04:21

This is just beautiful holy moly

Jan 6, 2024 01:31 by Desdemona Rose

This is a great article. I really love the phrase, "deadlights," though it's something that already has a creepy connotation for me since Stephen King has used that phrase, though for something very different. I went and checked out that article as well. The idea of something so destructive is great for building some great horror.   The imagery of this place is great in the writing of the article. I really love the giant tree loving robot. I'm glad it's been able to ward off anyone who'd want to take it apart. It feels like a crucial element to this forest's survival. The critters are great too. One thing I've always respected about nature is how beautiful and brutal it can be. You've captured that well.

Jan 15, 2024 18:06 by Michael Chandra

I want to pet all these creatures except the saw dragons, death to all of those. I want to keep an entire herd of Atenerels, so cute!

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young