Tales of the Bloodstone Lands
The Rawlinswood forms the northern border of the Great Dale, weaving its way south of the Giantspire Mountains and the plains of Narfell until it peters out near the Cold Road and the Firward Mountains.
The Rawlinswood is a mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees along its southern border but quickly becomes a soggy taiga as one travels north from the Dale. Treacherous muskeg bogs fester above a deep layer of permafrost, giving rise to clouds of mosquitoes in the Rawlinwsood’s short summer. In its northwestern reaches, the forest climbs sharply toward the Giantspire Mountains, covering rugged foothills and deep, shadowed vales. Like all the Great Dale, it also rises toward the east, and its easternmost reaches are quite hilly. The forest narrows to a narrow band only twenty-five miles wide about two-thirds of the way along its length, moving from west to east.
The now-abandoned settlement of Denderdale is located here along the northern edge, almost enclosed by the reaching arms of the forest. This is the best place to try cutting through the forest. The way isn’t long, comparatively, and those who are eloquent or desperate enough may be able to hire a guide to take them to the south side of the forest or back.
Rawlingswood is the home of the Nentyarch, an ancient Nar demon-binder, and his fortress Dun-Tharos, hidden near the thick center of the wood. It is said that the Nentyarch appears to a different Nar tribe every fifty years and claims a young man from that tribe. Tales are told of tribes that resisted the Nentyarch, only to be found on the plains months later as a pile of rotting corpses.
A new horrid evil has clawed its way out of the black earth, poisoning the Rawlinswood and filling its green gloom with blood, disease, and madness. The sinister Rotting Man, Chosen of Talona, leads a dark circle of evil clerics and druids devoted to the Lady of Poison and, through these blightlords, a growing host of blightspawned volodni warriors that menace all the nearby lands.
The region braces for the conflicts as the Rotting Man attempts to claim the Rawlingswood from the Nentyarch, some hoping that they would destroy each other, or that the loser weakens the victor enough for the forces of good to finish them off, yet an eerie détente exists within the woods as these two great evils size the other up.
All is not lost for the Rawlingswood however, in the northwest of the forest, where the Rawlingswood climbs up the Giantspires is a hidden kingdom of Sun and Moon Elves known as Myth Telvondial. Knights of the Hidden Vale once appeared to combat the forces of the Nentyarch and the Rotting Man. Just to the northwest of the forest is the Damaran settlement of Tellerth, hard by the Long Road. For years, the Knights worked to stop the encroachment of Damaran and Impilturan loggers into the western reaches of the Rawlinswood, but the Knights are no longer encountered patrolling this area. The humans now face the Nentyarch and the Rotting Man alone.