Forest of Fire
Days pass, and you begin to grow tired of the endless trees. You occasionally glimpse a tree that is different than the wide redwoods, but the sheer girth of those behemoth-sized plants tends to prevent other types of trees from taking root. The path winds around the bases of these trees; sometimes your horses have to hop over roots while the pilgrims' carts have to be carefully rolled over or around them. You curse the poor maintenance of the road system here in Quempo and resolve to mention it to someone important once you reach Kwinan. One day, as you are following the road, the space abruptly clears, leaving a clearing. But the clearing isn't natural; your horse almost trips over a piece of wood that is charred all along one side. You suddenly remember the reason they call it the Forest of Fire; whatever apocalyptic flame that decimated the forest over a thousand years ago never truly left. As you leave the clearing, your caravan's leader calls a halt. "Did you hear that?" He holds his hand up for calm, and you hear it too. The birds in the area have gone silent. You grip the hilt of your longsword for the next hour as your group eventually moves on. The Forest of Fire is the largest forest in the world. Much of it has never seen the hand of Sedestan civilization. You'd do well to remember that.
GeographyThe Forest of Fire is a large flat expanse of trees stretching across western Quempo. It goes from the shores of the Talen Sea and the Craggy Peaks in the west to the shrubland at the edge of the Great Grass Sea in the east. It easily forms the western half of the nation, and much of the Empire's economy is focused in the region. The forest's lush interior is due to the hundreds of small rivers and streams that come down from the Craggy Peaks or the Kral-Dogash. One is never far from a brook, which would allow the Quempian people to become very numerous if the woods were not equally as isolating and infested with monsters.
Fauna & Flora
Redwoods dominate the ecology of the Forest of Fire; their sheer size gives them access to much of the light and rain that arrives here from the west. Birds nest in their branches and squirrels and other woodland animals live in its roots and boughs. Many other coniferous trees grow in the shadow of the redwoods, counting among them various cedars, pines and firs. They are most numerous at the forest's edge and in the far west north of Darkwater. Since redwoods take decades to grow to their full size, the quicker-growing other conifers are much more successful for a time. Running through the forest are various herbivores such as deer, rabbits and elk. Due to the plentiful nature of game here, many semi-civilized monsters like minotaurs and gnolls inhabit the forest, as well as the occasional enclave of firbolgs or berilar.
Lumber makes up the major industry for the scattered towns of the Forest, with the thick redwoods being perfect for constructing the various fleets of the world. Mills and logging camps dot the forest, with many broken, abandoned or destroyed ones littering the forest floor. The thick overgrowth of the forest supports a wide variety of plants and animals which are used for medicinal purposes. Deadbane and Nëra Trees are two most obvious examples, but flowers grow from many fallen logs and in clearings and a wide variety of shrubs live here.
The Veridian Forest (formerly)
Forest, Boreal (Coniferous)
HistoryThe Veridian Forest (as it was called in the Second Era) was the largest forest to survive the Great Sundering. It covered all of what is now the Empire of Quempo, reaching The Tourmaline Sea in the east. The various cities and small baronies of the Forest were well-integrated into the forest's ecology and well-protected from the monsters and beasts roaming the land. Everything changed when the Arrival began. Due to the sheer size and isolated nature of the Veridian Forest, the various urukani and darukhasi villages that appeared there made a huge impact. Many of the villages that used to exist in the Forest were overrun in the confusion of that event, which made what followed it even more devastating. For then came the Five-Hundred-Day Fire; for nearly a whole year, the forest erupted into bright-red fire. Locals suddenly found their entire towns on fire overnight. Ash darkened the skies for years afterwards, killing much of what survived. Thousands starved as their livelihoods were burned to a crisp in front of them. For the past thousand years, the people of Quempo have still been recovering from the Fire. Most of the forest has grown back, but much of its former area is now dust and sand, barely able to allow shrubs and grass to root. And beasts have returned to the wood in great numbers, which prevents large scale resettlement of the abandoned towns and cities here.
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