The Hovel Frond Forest is considered the most dangerous forest in Northern Sarvonia. These woods have long been feared by the nearby inhabitants, which is due not only to the dangerous plants and creatures to be found there, but more importantly the devious Diorye’oleal elves. Many an adventurous, or more likely foolhardy, warrior has entered the Hovel Frond only to never be heard from again. It is no fiction that these woods are just as deadly as those who inhabit them.

The Hovel Frond Forest
View picture in full size Image description. One of the most dangerous and eerie forests of Northern Sarvonia - the Hovel Frond. Image drawn by Faugar.

Description. As one comes closer a sense of foreboding grows in the mind and a heaviness lies upon the heart. None know if this is some fey magic of the Diorye’oleal or if there is just some inherent darkness about the place. Many stories tell of deaths, sacrifices, and other evil deeds being commonplace, it is as if all fell creatures and dastardly deeds have been drawn there. When you peer into the woods you can see a visible line between the sweet light that shines in the world and the twilight that shelters under the crooked boughs of those twisted trees.

If one were so brave or foolhardy as to venture into the Hovel Frond they will not likely make it out again. While many a story tells of this places hazards, rare is it to hear a tale of someone who has survived. Within several peds of venturing into the woods a traveler is overcome with dread as they are swallowed by the unnatural twilight. Continuing through the woods brings only greater travails. Hanging moss and vines trail down like a hangman’s noose, attempting to add you to the list of those who have not made it out. Now as the traveler gets further into the woods the thick undergrowth rustles with the darting shadows of carnivorous creatures.

Running from those shadows into the depths of the Hovel Frond will only bring more terrors. Spiked trees and thorned bushes seem to seek you out, trapping, stabbing, and making you bleed. Then as you make your way deeper and deeper it gets darker and darker. It is rumored that if you make it alive to the center of the forest it will be black as midnight. Perhaps you can still make it out alive, be warned though if ever you find yourself in the midst of midnight and see a faint glow do no approach it. For as you come closer to this supernatural glow you will see a throne made of twisted branches and covered with thorns and spike covered in dried blood of those who have also looked upon this throne. A ghostly light emanates from this structure as if it has a life of its own.

Most distressing though, is that which sits upon this throne. It is the ruler of the Diorye’oleal and for anyone not of the Diorye’oleal to look upon him is death. Not quick, but a lengthy and cruel torture that is too evil to discuss. After that a mangled and barely recognizable body is left outside the bounds of the forest. Only one has lived to tell that tale, though most would not call what that poor creature now has, life. Ever if you find yourself near those woods do not enter. If by chance you are under those misshapen branches then run. Don’t stop, don’t rest. Just run! Return to the top

Location. The bulk of the Hovel Frond Forest lies just North of the Tandala Highlands. It is ovoid in shape, being bordered by the Crystal Lake to the North, the Mountains of Oro to the East and an outcropping of the Tandala and the Luquador River lie to the West. From the eastern region a long, broken line of trees makes its way North near the Mountains of Oro. Technically considered a part of the Hovel Frond, though many of the darker aspects of the main body are not present, the Kuglimz have named them the ret’gor (Dark Trees). Return to the top

People. Upon entering those woods you will be attacked by dark phantasms that rip at your mind and visions that test your sanity. These will consume you until all there is, is darkness. When you awake from this black nightmare, if you wake up at all, you will see almond eyes staring at you with a mixture of hatred and disgust. Fine brows pinched together in anger only accentuate the hauntingly beautiful features of the being that studies you. It is the Diorye’oleal, and that study will turn into a case of cruel torture. Assume that you will not see the outside of that forest again.

It is whispered that none may stand before the dark beauty of the Diorye’oleal for their magics are great and terrible things unlike none other in the region. Cold and calculating they distance themselves from all other inferior races eschewing any interaction where they are not the masters. Stories tell of unimaginable powers that cloud the mind and cause phantoms to appear. The Injerín see them as their antithesis and the Kuglimz view them as an incarnation of evil. Ash’mari bow down to these elves as fear ridden slaves and the Losh-Oc use the Diorye’oleal as nightmares to frighten their children. Return to the top

Climate. Cool, creeping mists descend from the mountains to make the Hovel Frond its home. Never leaving, never lightening this ever pervasive fog is the hallmark of this area. Cold invades the skin and the bones causing one not used to it to chatter and shiver till they are about to shake themselves apart. It is said that if the Diorye’oleal do not see you then they will hear your teeth chattering. Return to the top

Flora. Much of the twilight in this forest is a result of the mahood euwen tree. Rare throughout Sarvonia, it has found a home here soaking up the cool mists of the region. Interlocking branches keep the sunlight out and create a unique environment for other flora in the forest. It must be noted that nearly every plant in the Hovel Frond has been tainted and twisted by the corrupting magics of the Diorye’oleal. This includes the arne'pheran and the variety found here known as the black variety. The thorns on this sub-species are twice as long as normal and the thin whiplike branches are more sensitive so lash out more. Several other un-named plants have been seen, and most seem to have some sort of thorns as a commonality between them. Return to the top

Fauna. It is hard to say what beasts live in this foul place, they are adept at hiding in the permanent darkness. Often the only sign of these creatures are flashing teeth and a pain as your body is torn apart. A rabid variety of the Mari is known to inhabit these woods, their haunting cries setting the dark song of these woods. Return to the top

Resources. In truth not much is known about what resources are available. One would think that the abundance of wood means there would be some different wooden goods or prevelant wood working. When Dro'go Minar'ine along with other Kuglimz forces swept into the Hovel Frond, pushing back the Diorye'oleal there was little sign of wooden items found. So, it is thought that even with the abundance of wood, few items are made from it. Return to the top

Myth/Lore. Myths of this place are quite common. In fact most of them share a similar theme, this theme is death. The death of a wayward child who didn't listen to their parents is told to children so they mind their parents. Another tale told mostly by the women tells of an arrogant warrior who went into the woods to prove himself despite his wise wife's warnings. He never returned and is said to wander about pleading for his wife's wisdom. Of course men scoff at this story. Return to the top

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