The Forests of Allacraus
Most of Allacraus is covered by a large, dense forest. The forest is ancient, older than most of the cities on the continent. It's widely known as an incredibly dangerous place, with few venturing into the woods in any depth and returning alive. Everyone knows terrible creatures seem to spontaneously appear there, and that the most dangerous places are the rare open clearings and groups of dead trees. It's also infamous for the harvesters, sometimes called the vultures, a mysterious group that appear out of the forest to collect the bodies of the dead in Allacraus villages and whisk them into the forest, never to be seen again. Few have ever seen beneath their stylized bird masks with long, hook-like beaks and the creatures never speak. Those wishing to keep the bodies of their loved ones must pay a tithe of bodies, with large numbers of animals permitted to substitute for each humanoid kept from the harvesters. Though they keep a regular schedule, unusual events can cause additional harvests without warning, and if the harvesters cannot take the dead, they take the living. One town that refused to offer the tithe was warned several times before being utterly eradicated in a single night. Travelers a few days later found the ruins of the town, harvesters everywhere collecting bodies in total silence.
The forest is quite dark, with the canopies of the ancient trees grown so closely together that they almost weave themselves into a barrier against the intrusion of the sun. While the trees might seem dark and ominous, the real danger is to be found in clearings and patches of dead timber, where the barrier that the forest creates with the nightmare realm below grows thin and permeable.