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an old decree
un withered trees
naught to be heard
nor smell't nor seen
but to be there
and ne'er a'weir
Karmathen be
the place y'seek
no hidden path
no moat bespoke
just standing there
within the Teak


It started with a single tribe of fae called the Bowers, led by a powerful fae sorceress named Eilidh (Ay-Lee).  She was the first to be keen on man's desire to expand inward once they had set foot on Elendaron and not limit themselves to their coastal settlements.  Her suspicions were confirmed as the song of the forest was quickly upset with the cacphonous sound of swinging axes and the teeth of saws.  It could've been another layer to the melody, she reasoned, if man sought to replace as much as they had taken away, but other voices in the choir of the trees began to disappear as well.  The fae  were losing friends of the wood to the new 'sport' of man, and more families of Fae beyond the Bowers began to weep the song of Dusk, of a time when the sky would smother the Earth and shape it anew.

One day, the hum of the forest was altered by a foreign dissonance and the voices began to cry out for help.  Nobody knew for certain where it had started, but the forest was engulfed in flame.  Eilidh and the fae used what magic they had to combat the hungry mouths of flame and it eventually existinguished, but not before causing widespread damage between Dashkanchay and Eneriath.  

The ground was powdered with ash soon after, and Eilidh looked to the sky.

The Dusksong had come true.

The fae were frantic to its meaning as the sun was obscured by black smoke.  As the fires smoldered and extinguished, Eilidh and the fae discovered with heartbreak many of their friends who had been unable to avoid the blaze.  Among them, a red wolf whose fur had been covered in ash by the flame.  He was barely alive and clinging desperately when Eilidh found him, wimpering a new song of confusion and fear.  She was close to putting him out of his misery when they caught the gaze of one another.  It was then that she realized the true meaning of the Dusksong.

It wasn't an omen to the Fae at all, but a warning to those who would disturb balance.

Eilidh, beset with agonizing grief at the loss of her friends, made a pact with the dying wolf.  The Bowers would give the wolf the power to act as their conduit, to take on their magic, and protect their territory of the forest, the Fae, and its inhabitants. Eilidh used her magic to give the wolf the power to take on many human forms, creating the first animal druid.  She named him Gwydion, and sealed their pact by binding her magic within him.

Now, Gwydion protects the forest around Karmathen, the ancestral home of the Bowers, and maintains constant vigil across the three planes (Physical, Fae, and Spirit).  Now, the Dusksong is a magical chant used by the Fae to rein in Gwydion's powers and make him the judge, jury, and executioner of Karmathen.  Whenever man or animal reaches out its greedy hand within the forest, it's Gwydion's jaws that take it off at the wrist.



in peat and mire
was mankind's desire
he forged his own path
with iron and fire
the Bowers spoke true
for then Eilidh found clues
their hearts struck in scath
when the world was renewed,
"Come weep the Dusksong--
this havoc's confronted
when Gwydion howls
new foes will be hunted."

-Durach, the Bard

The town of Karmathen lies within a willow tree on bank of the Avon Aeron, a small river that outlets to the sea to the East from deep within the forest.  While a proposterous notion to humans, a city in a tree, passing into the tree through the 'Teak' reveals a cluster of four or five high rises all linked together, providing adequate living for those who choose to reside there.  The city lies in a realm between realms between the physical world and the fae.  Looking at the world beyond the Teak, the mystical Fae wall that separates the two planes, shows a blown up physical world--as if the city itself had radically shrunk to the diameter of the trunk.  The large, powerful branches of the tree shoot up all around the city, while a tiny gap in its canopy allows for spectacular views of the night sky.

Entering and leaving the city can be done in many ways.  When flying into the city, a portal can be seen high in the air that allows ships to come and go without disturbing the forest below.  While most new foot travelers walk directly into the willow tree in order to enter the city, traders take an extensive network of underground passages appropriately called 'The Root' to transport themselves quickly throughout the forest.  These entrances appear as caves in the physical world, though one can only use them to enter the city after they have passed through the Teak at least once.

While the elves, humans, and some animals are diurnal creatures, the Fae are mostly nocturnal.  The Fae who live in Karmathen all illuminate a wondrous number of colors into the night.  For this reason, most Fae houses sit atop posts throughout the city's high rises, conveniently causing them to glow with activity.  The restless nature of the Fae also means that the city continues to be bright into the early hours of the morning, convenient for any man or elf who perhaps stayed up too late at the Sallow Fen, a popular bar for passersby. 

POPULATION:  ~10,000

Karmathen acts as a hub between nature and mankind for the forest.  The animals that live in the city have been taught by the Fae to take on the form of humans, which in turn allows them to hold meaningful council with the human leaders that travel there.  Despite the atrocities caused by man in the early days of Karmathen's inception, everyone is welcome into the city so long as they come with open minds and open hearts.  Though the city has many strange laws and practices, the most dire infraction after murder is attempting to bring iron or fire into the City.  The Fae that live in Karmathen are weakened by the metal's presence, and the druids, elves, and humans all help to enforce this law.  While a fire would not burn the city to the ground, repeated offenses would warrant Gwydion's intervention.



Edited by Seyge

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