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The Cedars - Obsolete 2017-11-28



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The Cedars is an unlucky place. Were it not for the fact it is surrounded by areas that were subject to intense arcane experimentation, it would be just another pleasant deciduous forest with pretty leaves. Instead, the color of the leaves, and the time of season mark changes in the flow of magic.
In spring, mana arrives from the Forgotten Wood, and with it memories that were devoured by its power. Travellers who rest in the Cedars during this time have dreams and nightmares lost by others long ago. Most of the time they are mixed and nonsensical, but they are always vivid and distressing. Consuming fruit from the trees that grow during spring can change a person, inflicting recollections that are not their own.
In summer, the Hidden Valley warps the Cedars, causing relative distortions in visibility. To certain people, certain people and objects disappear—sometimes forever. It's entirely random, and navigating the Cedars during summer becomes an effort in frustration; it has caused enough unwary travelers to accidentally stumble into unintended consequences.
In autumn, it's changed by the Forbidding Hills, where the superstitious claim the spirits of the fallen flock to reenact their battles. Beasts from the Black Range, the Hidden Valley, along with Unnaturals from the Forbidding Valley, and adventurers in the vicinity fight terrible and bloody battles for no apparent reason. Some say it's why the leaves turn red, from the blood and not the change in season.
In winter, when the trees are barren and snow covers the ground, the Dark Forest has its turn. The lights dim, they due to a dense fog that forms over the Cedars. Within it, some of the nocturnal creatures of the Dark Forest crawl out to feast on the leftovers or drag them back to their lairs, usually erasing any evidence of what happens.
It hasn't stopped people from trying. Two years ago, two mercenary groups were chartered for an expedition into the Cedars: Antebellum from Ashville and the Killmasons from Last Chance. In spring, the Killmasons' rations ran out and, too proud to ask the other group, they partook of the Cedars' fruit and had dreams of treachery. When summer came, and members of their group seemed to disappear, they blamed Antebellum and fought to the death.
Antebellum won the season, but when autumn arrived, they were further beleaguered by the constant battles. Unable to escape, their camp became a fortress. Since everything was busy fighting everything else, they only had to deal with a few incidents of attempted murder. When winter came, they scavenged corpses of creatures for anything edible, and waited out the winter.
During winter, Chrissy, the wife of the leader of Antebellum was caught outside the fortress in the fog. She was dragged into the Dark Forest by a giant spider. Four skilled warriors were sent after her: Shahe, Orzo, Soba and Mafalde. They were not heard from again until recently.
After the first year, the fortress became a bastion for the lost, and saw further development by HERB (the Historical and Ecological Research Branch), into the community now known as Clearview. Antebellum is now the Clearview militia, and they help those who have become victims of any of the nearby landscapes. Its population is almost entirely amnesiacs.
The second winter saw the return of Chrissy, Shahe, Orzo, Soba and Mafalde, but they were no longer the same, transformed into arachnethropes—spider people. And they refuse to leave. They sit outside Clearview, preaching bizarre gospel, but haven't caused anyone harm yet.
Mafalde's husband, Reed, can be found in any temple or tavern in Valucre, searching for cures to Mafalde's condition.

Edited by supernal

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