Stargrove Geographic Location in Torlas | World Anvil
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“When I saw a Star Grove for myself I understood well why they were considered holy: the circular canopies of the trees twinkled with white lights like distant stars and cast a soft, shimmering light over the luscious vegetation, clear springs, and passive animals under them. Kandar don’t dare to harm the plants or animals within them, explaining their calm around people, and use them for sanctuary in dire circumstances. They can be as small as the one I saw, a scant 20-25 feet in diameter, or as large as any copse in a less arid land.”
Stargroves stick out like a sore thumb in Kandar, even more so than an Oasis, and are considered sacred places. Kandar don't like to put strain on them at all, and they're usually only used by Wanderers who travel in groups of four at the largest, or by smaller hunting groups of tribesmen. When Kandar Wanderers do camp near them, it is only for a night or two, and only the very young, the old, and the infirm actually sleep within the groves. Even then, they only drink the water from the springs and take nothing else.


The most distinctive aspect of a Stargrove is its trees. Leafy in a way that is unusual in Kandar, the trees have tall, thick trunks with far-reaching branches and large, oval-shaped leaves. Whenever there is significant foliage, small lights twinkle, keeping the area softly lit even at night and, in fact, even more beautiful. The trees aren't recognised by people from any surrounding country, and careful examination by Kandar has them certain that the lights somehow come from the trees themselves, not any insects or creatures living in or on them. Since they seem to drop no fruits or nuts, the point of these lights, and how they glow, is a mystery. It seems to be something fluorescent that gathers in points in the leaves themselves, but again nobody is sure how since the Kandar won't allowed researchers to damage the trees to find out, not even to take small, careful cuttings.   While there is grass and undergrowth, it's not enough to hinder movement but does soften footfall. Moss is prevalent, but not slippery. Small flowers grow in the spaces between some trees where dappled sunlight manages to get through, similar to the colourful ones found around the Elden Bones. Stargroves tend to remain at a much more temperate temperature than most of Kandar, and generally more humid too. Stepping in out of the sun is generally a source of much relief, but it also shields from the cold bite of a Kandar nighttime.


Stargroves have some of the richest ecosystems of anywhere in Kandar, though there are no predators as such. Predators do sometimes rest in the Stargroves, but similarly to the Kandar people harm nothing else there, even when surrounded by their ideal prey.   The beating heart of a Stargrove ecosystem is the spring that can always be found near the centre of Stargroves. Particularly large Groves have larger springs, and according to the Kandar some of the largest actually have two or even three springs, but the source of these springs in an otherwise fairly arid land is unknown and have been unable to be traced. The water is also unnaturally refreshing, requiring less than one would expect to slake their thirst entirely. Though few explicitly say as such, it's suspected that there is some form of restorative magic to be found in the springs.   Most creatures found in Stargroves are less volatile versions of Kandar natives, and the vast majority are small herbivores and insects. However, there are many small birds in Stargroves that are rarely found outside of them, though some can also be found eating the insects around an Oasis if there is a Stargrove relatively close by.

Localized Phenomena

Peace seems to reign supreme in Stargroves. Sounds from outside are hushed beneath the gentle rustling of leaves and bubbling of the springs and chirps of the animals. No predators travelling through the Groves attack prey, herbivores eat with care, and the dangerous defensive measures of creatures such as Stormsects are never activated. Unnatural and vile creatures that do nothing but kill and destroy cannot seem to get close, and will give up on the pursuits if their prey near one of these places.


Like many places in Kandar, the reason for the strange geography and effects is largely unknown. The Kandar are certain that the effects are holy in origin, and a very popular myth surrounding their origin is that the Light Daughter cried upon the safe return of the True Guard to her and over the destruction wrought on the mortal plane, and from her tears the springs welled up and gave birth to the Stargroves.   However, some researchers consider it more likely that the source of the springs, and therefore Stargroves in general, is the kind of magic used by Wildspinners. The issue with this theory is that such magic far exceeds the abilities of any known Wildspinners, especially for it to have lasted permanently, and there is still the question of why. Proponents argue that champions of the Wildfather should have been able to, and may have set the areas up as healing posts for the battles fought during the First Sundering. Evidence for this, however, is also scarce.


Stargroves are a very popular site for visitors to Kandar, though they may find that it is the only time their patient guides show a hint of aggression. Researchers are allowed, to be sure, but under careful supervision, and casual visitors will also be supervised much closer than usual to ensure they take nothing from the Groves. Nevertheless, it is one of the things people tend to remember best about Kandar, despite having no souvenirs to remember it by. In fact, a number of artists have travelled far to commit the image of the peaceful Stargroves to paper, especially when contrasted against the desolation that surrounds it.
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2 Jan, 2022 23:22

These really sound gorgeous to encounter, and delightfully peaceful to relax at.

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
4 Jan, 2022 17:47

So pretty! Quite intriguing too, and nicely linked to the rest of the world. The colour for links makes it hard to read on the background colour though: I have no idea what should be read as the quote's signature after "An Exploration of the..." and "By The..." (well, I do know after clicking them, but I shouldn't have to).