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The Forest of Veils

The Forest of Veils separates Ironwall from the Gray Mire. It is the largest, thickest, and most dangerous forest in the Free Kingdoms, so-named for the thin boundaries between the material realm and the Court of Fey that can be found here. In years past, it was the site of the elven capital of the Alphosian Empire, and was the place from which the elves first entered the material world and began their dread-march across the Free Kingdoms.   Lay of the Land
  • Labyrinthine Wood: Even for seasoned travelers, the thick, twisting forest trails are difficult to navigate (some even say dark magic is at work in there). It is avoided by most anyone.
  • Realm of Mystery: The forest is too dangerous to have been properly explored and mapped. Even the rangers of Alphos knew little, and their secrets have been lost to the Elveswar.
  • Arcane Relics: Magical treasures are scattered all about the forest; among the more common are known as spell-stones. These towering obelisks are covered in magical runes, and essentially function as massive stone spell-books for any wizard to study. They were built by the elves to ensure they still might have access to magic, if lost in the woods.
Dangers to Dare
  • Giant Spiders: The Forest of Veils is overrun by giant spiders; some are as intelligent as men, warped by the powerful forces at work deeper in the woods.
  • Alphosian Loyalists: What few elves from Alphos survived the Elveswar make their home in the dark corners of the wood, plotting the return of their great Empire and mastering terrible Void-magic.
  • The Court of Fey: The boundary between the Material Plane and the world of the fey grows weak here, and fey creatures both good and ill frequent the forest; satyrs, unicorns, sprites, hags, and creatures far more mysterious.
Folk & Friendship
  • The Fey: The faerie-folk love mirth, mischief, and fun. They are a touch reclusive, but friendly creatures. At their worst, they pull pranks on errant travelers -- which, compared to the forest's dangers, should be seen as a welcome respite.
  • Druid Circles: Numerous groups draw their Druidic power from the Forest. Generally speaking, they have one of three goals: protect the Forest from men, protect people from the Forest, or destroy the remnants of the dark magic wrought by Alphos within the woods. Some are associated with the Court of Fey, and others serve treants.
  • Gnomish Enclaves: The gnomes and firbolgs are tasked by the Arch-Fey with defending and maintaining the gates that lead to the The Court of Fey. The two races could not be more different -- firbolgs are stout-hearted warriors that stand 7' high, and gnomes are diminutive tricksters -- but they possess a camaraderie born of a strange creation myth...
Dungeons to Delve
  • Dal Nysteri: These underground halls can only be accessed by pouring the blood of a dragon over an altar deep in the woods. It was used by elf-wizards during the Age of Alphos to conduct magical experiments.
  • The Ruins of Alphos: Not merely ruins dated from the Age of Alphos, but the sprawling capital itself. It is equal parts dungeon-ruins and imperial holdout. Walking down the cracked-cobble streets, one might encounter a giant spider, or an elven wizard and his cadre of guards, marching down the city streets in defiance of their fallen homeland. Houses are the same way; some are empty, abandoned, or monster-filled, while others are furnished and considered home by some immortal elf.
Details to Discover
  • A rusted suit of armor, standing in a forest clearing, but with gears and bendable joints – it bears the seal of Glimm, the ruined city of the gnomes!
  • A small burial cairn dedicated to a soldier of the Elveswar.
  • A great spell-stone, polished by hand, and covered in elven symbols. It hums with magical energy.
  • A pool of crystal-clear, perfectly still water, which, when viewed at the right angle, looks to be portal to another land.
  • A clearing in the forest, where – whenever the wind blows – the sounds of laughter can be heard.
  • A cave mouth on a river bed, obscured by the thick growth.
Legends & Lore: The Twinsouls (or the Gnomish Creation Myth): The towering firbolgs and diminutive gnomes were once a singular people, chosen by the fey lords and the faerie queens to serve as scouts to the material world and emissaries to its people. The name of their people has been erased from history, but the Sylvan tongue refers to them as having “twin-souls”, blessed with the might of firbolgs, and the gnomes’ talent for magic. Such power and wisdom brought with it haughtiness, and eventually a belief that they were better than their fey roots. So, their creators split them into two distinct parts; the gnomes retained more magic than the firbolgs, but none of their strength or talent for bravery, and both were humbled for it. Now, for every gnome born, there is a firbolg, and when asked about their reclusive nature or why every gnome counts at least one firbolg as a close companion, they typically refer to this story.

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