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Nowhere else in Dema are danger and natural beauty so intertwined. The Forest of Ilda is almost mythical to those who live beyond the far western reaches of the Moon Realms. In a teeming jumble of flora rivaled in biodiversity only by the jungles of Panacea, Ilda sustains a broad ecosystem nourished by green-watered ponds and lakes unique to its borders.
Almost all of Ilda’s plant life is bioluminescent in vivid blues, oranges, and pinks, a pulsing cornucopia that extends dozens of feet into the sky, thriving in one of the darkest and most lifeless regions of Dema. Ilda is considered haunted by the neighboring Freesteeds, as voices familiar from a traveler's past can occasionally be heard whispering from the trees. Perhaps they come from a variation of the maldormacs that spin glowing webs in the canopy, or a sinister unknown hallucinogen given off by the pollen of one of the thousands of plant species. While the specters that supposedly haunt The Forest of Ilda cannot be verified, danger is a constant. The countless animals and monsters adapted to this region have excellent vision adapted to both the glowing light and darkness. Some blend among the woodland with shifting camouflage, or coat the low hanging branches in potent acid. Few have been properly studied by the Scholasta despite decades of effort.
This verdant expanse was the site of multiple grand civilizations in ages past. The extensive ruins in the subregion known as the Hinterlands of Weyra alone are notable for having hardlight bridges explorers can walk on. Hardlight barriers seal away tantalizing treasure hoards and perpetual motion dynamos with ornate shrines built around them. The glowing wooden foundations of the shrines still stand centuries after normal wood should decay. A select dozen species of tree from The Forest of Ilda are some of the most prized construction materials for shipwrights, craftsmen, and Human dynasties willing to pay fortunes for a slice of the wilds.
Yet, the vast majority of attempts to harvest Ilda’s natural resources in great quantities end in bloodshed. A powerful group of Nightriders lives among the Forest, a reclusive and little-studied tribe known in Monturyn as the Phei. Owing no allegiance to any of the four overtribes, bands of adventurers usually only penetrate into Ilda’s interior as far as the Phei’s war painted ambush archers desire. Apart from a brief agreement to shelter Nightrider refugees at the edge of the forest from 12-19 LS, the Phei let no outlanders linger in their inner villages or sacred Grove of Dreams. It is within the Grove that rituals dedicated to unknown beliefs are carried out by the light of the living temples.
What secrets lay undiscovered in the tangled Forest of Ilda for your characters to reveal? What captivates the Phei so thoroughly that they’ve sealed off an area larger than The Auric from all attempts at exploration? The legacies of forgotten woodland kingdoms here at the fringe of the Moon Realms could forever alter the great dramas of Dema that you will tell.
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