The Forest of Souls is the largest wooded area in the Islands of R'unor, one of the few which contains a large number of truly enormous trees and its girth extends easily 200 strals from one tip to the other. The forest is however, inhabited by many of R'unor's more dangerous fauna, including the poisonous crystal spider and the elusive forest trolls.

Description. The Forest of Souls is large, semi-tropical forest on the north-east cost of the island of R'unor. The main body of the forest is separated from a smaller branch by Yturren's Wake, along which abundant groves of baam-reed and windsong grow. This lesser branch has no trolls dwelling in it, and is more properly called the "Tinderwood".

Location. The Forest of Souls is found on the north-east coast of the Isle of R'unor, in the R'unorian Chain, due north-east from Nybelmar and west of the Crimson Isles. Return to the top

People. The only "people" living in the Forest of Souls are the Forest Trolls, believe to number no more than a hundred individuals, spread throughout the center of the northern forest. The trolls typically do not leave the forest's heart, except in rare times of famine. There has only been one occasion in living memory when trolls were encountered outside the boundaries of the Forest of of Souls, during the Season of Storms in 1035 a.S. as they escaped the flooding in the low-lying forest for the higher Most of these trolls died while outside of the forest, and their corpses have since become petrified "statues" east of Stoneshallow For the most part, however, the trolls seem content to stay in the forest, where it is believed they survive on the population of wild lurkers, and live under the roots of trees. Return to the top

Climate. The greater part of the Forest of Souls is mildly humid, owing to the waters of the river along one side and the wind from the coast along the other. Heat is not typically a problem, except within the deeper reaches of the forest. Regular rainfalls throughout the year maintain an almost perpetual growing season for the plants within the forest. Return to the top

Flora. The Forest of Souls bears a great division between its northern and southern parts. The banks north of Y'turren's Wake are dark and grim, the ancient trees there having had entire ages to grow old and strong. The whistling tunes of windsong and the clacking of baam-reed around the banks of the forest is an incredibly common sound amidst the animal calls. Further in, diverse forms of mushroom and moss find a way to make their home in the darkened forest.

The Tinderwood bears all manner of curious plants. Flowers that spread spores like mushrooms, leatherhide trees that bear glowing crystals instead of fruit, the flame-proof ash fruit tree, creeping vines with seed-pods that burst in the flames and riotous wildflowers all call this part of the forest theirs. Return to the top

Fauna. The Forest of Souls is a diverse ecosystem, teeming with life of all shapes and sizes. Lightning-quick u'arel cats, dexterous vashkoons, graceful deer and even the mocking gossiper birds make their homes in the branches or among the roots of the numerous trees of the forest. Where this fauna lives greatly determines its kind. The creatures of the northern forest tend towards the extreme of either size.

Tiny crystal spiders, the brutish forest trolls or even wild lurker beetles, all capable of navigating the uneven terrain of the northern forest, or climbing through its ancient branches.

The periodic fires in the southern forest however, mean that those living there are often of a more nimble mindset. There is nothing that lives in the forest that cannot fly, climb or burrow its way away from the flames. Some very few creatures are actual capable of withstanding the intense blazes. The nigh-indestructible tuffchafer may rub shoulders with the dainty floating wyspflies, while the canopy is home to the gossiper birds, and even the gliding pshuta lizards. Return to the top

Myth/Lore. The Forest of Souls itself is a place of great spiritual reverence for R'unorians. The curious orbs of light that have been observed floating within its borders are believed to be souls yet to be reborn. It also holds that the mountain on which M'rotha stood as she declared that all things must need die in their course is one of the Stonetooth mountains at the north-western edge of the forest.

The larger part of the Forest of Souls is avoided by most R'unorians, as the souls within are believed to be unsafe. One legend holds that souls in the forest aren't waiting be reborn, but unable, and must steal a shape for themselves. According to legend, the trees keep the souls from escaping the confines of the forest. For this the trees at the edge are occasionally used for temples doorways, to prevent the entrance of malevolent spirits. Members of the temples of W'ri'caņe will occasionally make journeys to the banks of the river and erect small cairns there in reverence to the spirits. Return to the top

 Date of last edit 16th Passing Clouds 1671 a.S.

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