The Goltherlon residing between the High Fores and the Ancytharian Sea is one of the most mystifying, and the most eerie, of any in Santharia. Once the Goltherrhim had created exquisite homes out of the branches of trees, but since their flight, their once charming homes fell into gnarled structures. The canopy of the forest keeps the sunlight at bay and makes the forest appear trapped in a perennial twilight. The animal life is unlike any other in Santharia, and the hauntingly beautiful shadows that the forest creates builds on the belief that elven spirits walk amongst the wood.
Picture description. The tranquil and at time eerie Goltherlon Forest. Image drawn by Eshóh.
The Goltherlon Forest stands as one of the most enchanting in
Though, upon entering the forest, the trees seem to grow sparingly about in
casual tranquility, the deeper one journeys into the forest, the more mystic and
haunting the scenery becomes. The tall trees close to one another, and some may
entwine their branches with another. The roots of trees can sometimes make
travel dangerous, slithering crookedly across the ground before diving into the
earth, only to angrily surface again. Vines travel up the trunks of many a
or oak that has chosen to make the Goltherlon Forest its home.
The thick canopy sends pools of light dancing across the ground whenever a zephyr chooses to wander through it. Because of the denseness of the forest, the rustling of leaves seems to echo off the tree, and the sound of a distant bird may seem like the seducing song of a dryad or the haunting prayer of a lonely elven spirit. The lullaby of the forest is one that tends to stay with people long after they have departed from the forest. The inner forest is shaded in dark greens, blues, browns, and blacks. Moss grows over the trunks and branches of many trees, while on the outer reaches of the forest, the trees grow with trunks and leaves of lighter hues.
Because of the forest's previous inhabitance, there are some distinct attributes that separate the forest from any other. The Goltherrhim were known for their gorgeous tree weaving and vine-training, forming from the forest beautiful homes and exquisite living tapestries from the forest. As though sewn together, the creepers that entwine about the branches of the trees and about one another make out elegant yet haunting designs, the leaves making patterns that change and mold with the passing seasons. Many of these mystifying houses now stand gnarled and knotted, terribly unkempt, and give the wood the eerie feel, as though the empty and twisted homes still hold ghastly spirits. Many birds and rodents may make their homes within these hauntingly beautiful structures.
Also, because of gnomish inhabitance, there are places in the forest where one may find a village where some of the trees have been cleared. Small homes built within the trees, though sturdy, seem to detract from the mystery of the forest, but, to a traveler that may perhaps be wandering through the wood, these villages may be of comfort. Their size holds a daintiness, as most gnomes dwell in halfling-sized homes to fit their small statures. These small villages create a nest from where the trees are pulled away, cut down and used to build houses and fences, and the dim shadows are pulled back from the retreated canopy. Most villages are thus lighted, or lighter, than the surrounding forest.
The terrain of the Goltherlon Forest can be deceiving: the large numbers of trees that make the forest appear to be trapped within a perennial twilight drop their leaves in fall and may hide dangers on the ground, such as ditches or pits within the ground caused by some burrowing animal or run-off from the nearby High Fores. Overall, though, the ground maintains a fairly flat quality. However, this does not necessarily make traveling through the forest an easy task. One must remember to place his or her steps cautiously as the roots of twisting trees may have roots that break the surface. Vines and low branches can crowd the path. Some travelers find the herin’s way safer; that is, they journey through the treetops along the stronger branches of the Goltherlon trees.
The forest is not easily accessible to many. A small north and south entrance is available, though many never journey into the forest, instead going around it along the coast of the Ancythrian Sea. There is one passage to the Goltherlon to the northwest, cutting through the High Fores. The path is called Helsalari ("Firetrail"), and was used during the war between the Goltherrhim and the Helcrani and is the only path from Hecrah to Goltherlon. The path is more commonly used for trade between the Helcrani town of Heleroth and the Golgnomes of the Goltherlon, but is a small path, for while it starts out around 12 peds in width, once well along the road, it has an average of hardly five peds in width, and may offer many dangers.
Location. The Gotherlon lies almost tucked away within the natural boundaries of the surrounding landscape. Just north of the forest lies the Hčckra, a volcano whose activity is both a curse and a blessing, for while the volcano may spout minerals from deep inside the earth that adds to the numerous natural resources of the Goltherlon, the threat of an eruption makes it dangerous to live. Some also fear that the myth of a small band of fire drakes taking up residence in such a place is no myth at all, or that a sephet demon maybe living there.
|Picture description. The location of the Goltherlon Forest, embedded between the Hčckra volcano to the north, the High Fores to the west and the Ancythrian Sea to the east. Maps drawn by Artimidor.|
To the west of the Goltherlon Forest the mountains of the High Fores stand.
Erosion from these mountains is also a source for the natural resources in the
area. Very little danger comes from this range, as the
dwarves that take up
residence there seem to have very little use for the forest save lumber to help
fuel their fires. The Ancythrian Sea to the
east provides the local inhabitants with
fish and delicacies from the sea that many land-locked forests don’t really
have. The sea also keeps the climate of the forest rather mild.
People. The Golgnomes are currently the only tribe living within the forest. The forest itself is a paradise for this tribe of gnomes, who value studies of science over everything else. The plethora of natural resources and unique plants and animals to study here make their location ideal. The gnomes of the Goltherlon are known for having dark, beady eyes that make many feel as though they are untrustworthy. They tend to have black hair, though dark reds and browns are sometimes found among members of the tribe.
The Goltherrhim were the previous residents of the forest before the gnomes ever came to be at the Goltherlon. These elves were known both for their beauty (their long, flowing hair and long-lashes eyes), but also for their raging tempers, which could contort their beauty into a mask of hatred. Though they no longer reside in the forest, their beautiful tree-dwellings are still left, though few are kept and many have fallen into grotesque figures.
Climate. Because the Goltherlon Forest is so close to a body of water (the Ancythrian Sea), the climate stayed fairly mild. Most mornings, fog from the Ancythrian Sea will cover the western part of the forest like a blanket until the midday sun burns the clouds away. The morning mist gives the forest an mystic feel, and one might expect a unicorn or some other wondrous beast to come wandering out of the forest or to arise from the surface of the sea.
The winter and summer seasons tend to be equal in a year in the Goltherlon. Usually light showers will start the autumn season, as well as some chilly eastern winds. In the winter, the storms may become violently windy, and though there may be lightning storms over the Ancythrian Sea, these storms tend to break up before reaching the eastern shore. Snow is rather rare in the area, though cold winters may produce one or two in a year. In spring, the great storms of winter become gentle showers mixed with an increasingly warm sun. Eventually these showers lessen and lessen into the summer months, which tend to be warm and quite enjoyable for the inhabitants and the travelers who wander through the wood.
Flora. The Goltherlon Forest is a place filled with ancient trees and elegant vines and flowers. Large black oaks grow as though sculpted out of the very earth itself. Their branches, gnarled and twisted, wrap about each other and form into strange structures and grotesque figures. Their entwining branches and thick canopy provide the endless twilight that shadows the forest floor, where nightshimmer vines creep along through the roots that stick like thick worms out of the ground, these vines climbing up various tree trunks and wrapping about them in a shadowy embrace.
Baych and ashwude trees also stand tall throughout the forest, a strange contrast to their more wildly growing brethren. Within the middle of the forest, the shadows rip away most of their light coloration, along with sou’cald moss, which may turn their elegant trunks a dark blue, sometimes appearing black, usually in the autumn months then the air grows thick with moisture. Near the outer limits of the wood, however, the trees will appear in their natural color, often flourishing into beautiful living statues that give the forest an insidiously tranquil aura.
Bushes such as the goldenbell bush grow about the forests together, sometimes in massive congregations till they appear like waves of leaves and winding branches. In the case that the massive trees of the forest provide a small space of earth, or even a crevice of a tree, shade grasses will grow up elegantly, their soft blades flourishing in the dull light of the wood. These grasses provide food and a nice resting spot for many animals of the Goltherlon.
Fauna. Because the forest is a bit secluded and cut off from most other forests, the wildlife is quite unique. There are animals that live in the Goltherlon Forest that cannot be found any other place in the world. One of these animals is the snowy deer. Known for its petite appearance, the snowy deer tends to travel in herds, and when one comes upon them, their appearance is striking. In the shadowy twilight that exists under the thick canopy of the forest, the deer almost appear to glow due to their white coats.
These deer are a main prey for the herín, another creature who cannot be found at any other place on Caelereth. Part of the cat family, this creature lives among the trees, sometimes finding homes within what used to be the elegant tree-homes of the Goltherrhim. They have long tails that give them balance. Goltherlon is also home to a variety of rodents including hedgehog, rabbit, squirrel, and mice. At first glance, looking about the Forest of Goltherlon, it would appear that there were no birds, but in fact a plethora of birds makes their home in this wood, but most remain hidden among the branches.
Resources. The dense forests of the Goltherlon provide a plethora of trees with which furniture, housing, tool handles, and other such products may be made. The oaks that grow within the forest are indeed strong and can be used to build sturdy abodes. The black birch can be used to make elegant bows, though it is more commonly used to make arrow shafts and furniture.
The soil of the Goltherlon Forest is very rich due to the ever-active movement of life through the forest. Things that die provide the essential nutrients for things new to flourish in the ever-changing forest. Most anything can be planted to grow within the forest if it is planted in the right place. The Golgnomes have successfully grown all sorts of fresh produce, including lythbéls, caroots, onions, and meldaraples. These gnomes have also successfully kept livestock. Many of the Golgnomes successes, it should be noted, may also be attributed to their success in sciences and their ability to create products that may cause plants and animals originally unable to live within the forest to survive quite well.
The volcano Hčckra provides new rock from deep below the surface of Caelereth, which the gnomes especially favor. Slabs of these rocks make good operating and experimenting tables because they will not burn and will not often break. The erosion of the High Fores, located to the west of the Goltherlon Forest, provides many important resources such as coal and iron, as well as many other raw metals. Though there is copper within the crumbling rock, there is hardly enough for those living in the Goltherlon Forest to put it to use as the Thrumgolz have done within the mountains. Sometimes bits of crystals can be found, but once the precious stones are cut and treated, they are too small to catch a very high price.
Myth/Lore. Because of the Goltherrhim’s flight from the forest in 706 b.S. due to their belief the land had been tainted, many are very superstitious about traveling through the forest of Goltherlon. Some say that the spirits of elves walk through the forest, lost, trying to find a way unto Avá’s embrace. The haunting cries of birds that echo through the trees are believed by some to not be birds but rather the voices of these elves singing their prayers to the High Goddess.
Information provided by Rayne Avalotus