green_forest_hh by zzorn
picture by zzorn

Glitterdark Forest

The edge of the Glitterdark Forest is all we know about. A few brave woodcutters and berry gatherers choose to work daily here, but never nightly. The wood is of the finest old oak, and such men usually make a very good profit, as long as they are careful and avoid the dangers.

There is a special kind of berry which grows here too, the Glaeter Berry. Similar to the raspberry in shape, they are usually quite large, sweet, and juicy. Exported to far lands, a pound of these berries will bring a hefty sum. When brewed, the alcoholic drink produced, called Glitterwine, has slightly hallucinogenic effects, making it a very expensive drink sought after by only the richest of merchants and noblemen.

Attempts to grow Glaeter Berries on farms have all failed. Glaeter Berries grow sparsely on the edge of the woods, and the deeper one goes, the more favorable the harvest. Unfortunately, many souls who wandered thusfar were never seen again.

The exact nature of the horrors contained within the forest is unknown. One who tarries on the edge might glimpse a fleeting shadow, or see movement in the corner of their site, but when one tries to focus on the being, it vanishes from view, or has already run away. I feel that some nearby residents know more than they will speak of, but no attempts of bribery or threat will make them tell. Perhaps they do not know, and as a common superstition among all people, feel that speaking of or speculating on such things will bring evil to their household.

On my journeys, I also noted small patches of little black flowers. When asked, the locals would not speak to me of them. The woodcutter I was with would not go near them. I have captured a few samples and will study them on my return to Haran.

-Laris

Glaeterdraum

(Note: The following information contains the secrets of Glitterdark. This will not be known to players except through investigation and exploration.)

The true name of the Glitterdark Forest has been lost to humans as the centuries have passed. Once known as Glaeterdraum, Glitterdark is a mispronunciation. In the faerie tongue, Glaeterdraum means, "The Forest of Dancing Lights", which makes its current name not only ironic, but repetitious as well.

Five centuries ago, Glitterdark was a place of lights and music, peace and joy. Populated by fair folk of all types, its people despised the scientific and tyrannical rule of Ardmor. They knew, however, that the people of what is now Moraf hated Ard nearly as much as they did. Moraf alone could not successfully rebel against Ard, and so the disillusioned leaders and common folk of conspired with Glaeterdraum for freedom.

In exchange, Moraf agreed to become allies with Glaeterdraum, to maintain leadership by council, not by kings, and to host a festival in the city of Creche each year to celebrate their alliance and mix their cultures and knowledge.

But Moraf did not keep their agreement for long. Only twenty years after gaining freedom from one king, they placed themselves under the thumb of another. Eldest Protianna forgave them, because the king was nearly a figurehead, and the council still held the most sway over decisions and judgments. The yearly festivals continued, and wealth, prosperity, and knowledge flowed to both nations. Moraf promised to be a very powerful nation within the century.

And powerful she did become. That is until Reginald the First.

Reginald was the son of Ferinald, a figurehead king of Moraf. Growing up among wealth and riches made him crave even more. He began to build armies in seeking to expand Moraf's borders. When the Council protested, he disbanded it. Who could argue? The most vocal of the Council he beheaded. His armies were his, and through force, he took what power he needed.

Letters came from Eldest Protianna. "Stop your actions. Reduce your armies and return your power to the Council, or the treaty shall be rent." These were her words, and she tirelessly tried to persuade Reginald.

Eventually, Protianna fell into ill health. None of her healers could save her, for this was a sickness of the heart. She had grown to love the people of Moraf, and now her protective spell over Moraf was dying, and she could not stop Reginald.

With her death came the end of the protective spell cast 110 years before. Her daughter, Raethiana, rose to position of Eldest in the Council of Glaeterdraum. Not as forgiving as her mother, and indeed, angered at her mother's early death, she sent an ultimatum to King Reginald. "Return to the conditions of the alliance or Moraf will fall into despair. Your hold on Moraf will become unstable, and all those who rule after your stead. So long as your blood grips tightly to the strings of your nation, so shall all be confusion. Wealth will not remain with you, and Moraf will cease to prosper."

Laughing at her words, Reginald saw this as an empty threat. He canceled the festival that year, and instead held one of his own in Haran, in his own honor. He cut off all trade with Glaeterdraum, and began plotting to make the forest nation his first conquest.

But Raethiana could see all, and she knew of his intentions. She cast a spell of growth on the trees to consume the Moraf city of Creche, less than half the population escaping with their lives. Before the battle began, Glaetedraum had already increased her borders. Then she cast the curse that caused all of Moraf's woes. Reginald's generals would fight army to army, and his forces dwindled. Trade staggered as merchants became ruthless and thieves grew in number. For centuries thereafter the corrupt leadership would always be fighting against each other, turning all gains into losses.

But for Glaeterdraum, Raethiana, in her relative youth, had ignored an ancient truth. Karma. What you do to others will be done to you.

Glaeterdraum quickly became a dark place. The spell she had cast to swallow Creche also increased the leaf cover, cutting the sun away from the forest floor. New plants and creatures reveled in the damp darkness, and thus, over time, the common folk's later mispronunciation, "Glitterdark", became a fitting name.

The folk of Glaeterdraum also became corrupt. Hatred consumed Raethiana, and soon she forgot who she hated, and why. Many others also gave into their darkest halves, and those who didn't fled north to the cold country of Aerraldraum.

Now Raethiana is dead, as are most of her race. Her grandson, Maeth, remains and rules Glitterdark as Highest Maeth. He has no council but his own.

The fae that lived on light all died or fled. The forest is now populated with many of their darker cousins, who create even darker creatures. Some even steal old bones from the Orc garbage heaps in Sarnak to construct strange unearthly life. The shadows in Glitterdark are not always mere shadows, but images of dead spirits or creations of Maeth.

As for the curse, Donald III has placed it at bay by ruling fairly, creating and listening to a wise Council, the Inner and Outer Circles. The curse still exsists, however, even though most Morafians have long ago forgotten about the details of their own history.

Hidden under piles of words in the old libraries are scraps of knowledge that might someday lift the curse. Memories of the old and secretive in New Creche might also hold the secrets. Or perhaps the secrets lie within Glitterdark itself. Surely many other secrets lie covered there under a thick layer of leaves.

Aerraldraum

Few know of Aerraldraum, north of Glitterdark, because few have been there and returned. Those who have tell contradicting and unbelievable stories.

Sublinks

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