A large tract of pine forest in the centre of the Kreis Plateau, the Hoherwald is very much a miracle of nature, given that the trees that make it up theoretically should not be able to survive at such an altitude. Nevertheless, the trees and other plants that make up the Hoherwald are not only surviving, but are positively thriving, and the forest is able to support a vibrant ecosystem of its own, that is a stark contrast to the hardy grass and heather that dominates the rest of the area. It is no secret that there is some form of magical energy source at the heart of the forest, that is supporting its growth and allowing it to take root there in what is an unnatural place, and this means that the forest is also a draw for Fey creatures, but also for other more malign creatures that are drawn to the forest, driven by a desire to exploit the magic within.
The Hoherwald sits in a natural, shallow valley, that is bordered on its western end by the waters of the Wildwasser River
and the River Eisenbrook that flow from the mountains around the Kreis Plateau
to the south and north respectfully. At the very centre of the Hoherwald is a large crater, thought to have been created by the impact of some celestial body considered to have originated in the Upper Plane of Ulskandar. At the centre of the crater is an enormous fir tree, that is truly monumental in scale, which is thought to be the source of the magic that has allowed the forest to take root and survive so far above the natural tree-line, which the whole of the Kreis Plateau is located above. Not only does the magical energy allow for the growth of non-natural fauna to the area, but it also alters the very atmosphere of the forest, with the centre of the Hoherwald being at least several degrees warmer than that of the outskirts of the forest, and the Kreis Plateau beyond.
The northern edge of the Hoherwald is also the location of the Ducal Field, the ceremonial clearing, just inside the forest’s boundary that is used by the people of the Dukedom of Eisenbrook
as a venue for the ritual combats that decide who will be the next Duke or Duchess of the Dukedom.
Flora & Fauna
The Hoherwald is an evergreen forest, whose constituent tree species are mostly drawn from fir, conifer and pine trees, with an undergrowth comprised primarily of ferns, which are quick to take over any areas that have seen trees naturally die off and fall down.
In terms of fauna, the Hoherwald is home to species of animal that are more characteristic of woods and forests at lower elevations, such as deer and boar amongst others. The intrinsically magical nature of the Hoherwald means that it is a particular draw for Fey creatures, who exist in large numbers beneath its trees. For example, there is a large community of Vittra
that live in the Hoherwald. In addition, there is a community of Elves
that have lived in the Hoherwald for centuries, long before the establishment of the Dukedom of Eisenbrook
, who have taken it upon themselves to protect the forest and its magical heart. These Elves not only stop the Fey creatures that live there from getting up to too much mischief amongst the Eisenbrooker communities that live near its borders, and discourage the Eisenbrookers from wandering too deeply into the forest’s depths, lest they become the target of a curious or roguish Fey creature, or a creature with much darker thoughts in its mind.