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The Whispering Wood

To a traveller coming west from the nation of Zarucota, the Whispering Wood looks a peaceful and pleasant place to wander and enjoy being within the realm of nature, whilst to the a traveller coming from the plains of the Hunting Range of Algrim, the wood looks a veritable paradise in which to lay down ones head. As you approach closer and closer to the trees, you will likely become aware of whispered voices being carried towards you on the wind, beckoning you forward and tempting you to lie down and rest. You may even come across a cache of gems and gold, lying barely hidden on the ground. I must stress that you take no heed of either whispers or treasure that you encounter amongst those trees, lest you wish to become the plaything of some Fey creature!
Extract from Maximilian Hoherberg von Zottehal’s History of the Known World.   The Whispering Wood is a large expanse of woodland on the continent of Tafran, that is both respected and avoided by those that live near its borders. It is well known to be home to many Fey creatures, some mischievous and others more malign. The wood itself is a naturally thin border between the Material and the Idyllic Planes, which allows Fey creatures to live within its bounds, and explore some distance beyond them, without being specifically summoned or bound to the Material Plane.   The Whispering Wood gets its name from the sounds of whispered voices that are often heard by those near its edges, whispers that are commonly believed to originate from Fey creatures trying to draw people into the trees so that they can amuse themselves by teasing and taunting them.

Geography

The Whispering Wood is a wide expanse of deciduous forest that stretches across the northern landmass of Vóreios on the continent of Tafran, between the nation of Zarucota to the east and the land known as the Hunting Range of Algrim to the west, with the vast mountain range of the Dragon’s Back Mountains marking the northern boundary of the wood and the shores of the Tafranian Sea the southern border.   Overall the Whispering Wood is an enormous expanse of deciduous trees that blankets the whole of the area, making it hard to discern distinct geographical features within the area of the woodland from the outside, an issue exacerbated by the fact that no outsider has made a concerted effort to map the area of the Whispering Wood as it is deemed too dangerous.   Nevertheless, it is known from the reports of those who have travelled in the Wood and made the return journey, or from the few Elves and Fey residents of the area who have travelled beyond the borders of the wood that the northern reaches of the wood have a much hillier and rugged topography, where its northern border encroaches on the foothills of the Dragon’s Back Mountains, whilst the southern border is at points more of a mangrove swamp than a woodland, as the trees grow right down to the tidal area of the Tafranian Sea. In addition, it is frequently reported that the Whispering Wood has numerous clearings, some probably natural in origin, but others definitely not so, that vary widely in size, many of which are believed to be the homes of Fey creatures.

Flora & Fauna

Despite its northerly situation, and the proximity of its northern reaches to the slopes of the Dragon’s Back Mountainss, which frequently bring down colder weather systems to the areas below, the Whispering Wood is almost exclusively an area of deciduous forest, which is unusual when compared to arboreal areas on similar latitudes. For example the majority of other woods and forests on the landmass of Vóreios are coniferous.   The trees that make up the Whispering Wood are, for the most part incredibly ancient, which not only means that they are very large, but that they are also quite widely spaced out as their canopies demand a large amount of space. This means that there is ample space and generally enough light for smaller plants to grow and form a thick underbrush that carpets the floor of the wood. The numerous clearings that have formed and been created in the Whispering Wood are ideal habits for wildflowers, and many of them are perpetually a tapestry of bright blooms, regardless of the time of year, sustained by the magic of the Fey creatures that call the place home.   The inherent magic of the Fey permeates all aspects of the wood, and this magic makes anything that is planted within its boundaries grow extraordinarily well. However, those that live near to the wood will warn you not to pick or eat any fruits, vegetables or fungi that are normally considered edible in the Whispering Wood, as the strange influence of the Fey and the close proximity of the Idyllic Plane means food grown within the boundaries of the wood has strange effects on creatures native to the Material Plane.   In terms of the creatures that live in the Whispering Wood, there are an abundance of deer, boar, game birds, badgers, foxes and smaller mammals and birds, as one would expect to find in a well appointed woodland area. The abundance of potential food animals does mean that larger predators reside beneath the canopy, though they are much more rarely seen.   With regards to sapient species who reside in the area, there are numerous Fey creatures of all types that live there, many of which have formed small communities of their own. In addition there is a community of Wood Elves who have been resident in the forest for centuries, and who have mostly made peace and forged a friendship with the Fey, though Fey creatures from the darkest, least accessible parts of the Whispering Wood still regard the Elves as dangerous newcomers, who should not be fraternised with.

Natural Resources

Although the Whispering Wood would appear to be an obvious source of timber, and a fruitful hunting ground for the people of the nation of Zarucota to the east and the rugged tribesmen from Hunting Range of Algrim to the west, few are brave or stupid enough to attempt to enter the trees with the intention of extracting resources. Those that travel to the Whispering Wood with such intentions are swiftly driven away or killed by the Woods Fey inhabitants.   Perhaps more tantalising than the chance to gain lumber for building or fires, or meat for the pot are the caches of gold and jewels that are easily to be found on the borders of the woods, and which can be frequently seen glinting in the sunlight or moonlight. Those who dwell near the Whispering Wood know that these caches are not for taking, nor are they believed to be real, but are instead thought to be illusions cast by mischievous Fey creatures looking to lure outsiders into the trees to be toyed with and goaded for their amusement.
Type
Woods
Location under
Tafran

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Cover image: by Chris Pyrah

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