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Sylvaire, also called the Forest of the Nightmare King, is an ancient forest in Spyre that was cursed around 850 years ago.

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History[]

Sylvaire Forest was home to tribes of centaurs, treants, sprites, wood elves and unicorns. It was ruled by the Court of Elders, formed of the leaders of each of the tribes as well as the Great Unicorn, who wasn’t a leader of the unicorns but was the oldest, and passively revered as a sort of demi-god. Each of the tribes had their own gods. Gods of the treants were mysterious, the faerie's gods were other worldly, and very little is written about the role unicorns played in Sylvaire. There was also a united goddess of Sylvaire, a goddess of mystery, night, and magic, who was present in every culture there at the time.

The Last Great Sylvan War/The Sylvarian Heresy[]

Between 850 and 900 years ago, conflict started between the tribes in Sylvaire over the correct way to worship the Goddess of Mystery. Clerics of Galicaea persuaded the followers of the unnamed goddess to destroy her name, saying that the fact that there were things that were understood about her was a heresy. This appears to have been an attempt to weaken the unnamed goddess and expand their own church.

The Nightmare King[]

Shortly after this time, The Nightmare King appeared. Sylvaire was cursed and became The Forest of the Nightmare King, and evil fey/dark elves began to appear for the first time. This was also the last time a unicorn was seen.

Curses[]

The Nightmare King's curse on Sylvaire means that nightmares and illusions become partially real within it. This curse seems to become stronger towards the center of the forest.

The Trans-substantiations performed by the Unnamed Goddess also seem to have cursed the forest. Her arcane focus was turned into a tree, and associated with transmutation magic. Because of this, the forest beyond the Temple to the Goddess of Mystery is alive and it will change its paths to try and lead travelers away from the center. The more confident they are that they are going in the right direction, the more they will be turned around. The Goddess' sanctum, a cottage, was turned into a curse associated with abjuration magic. It traps Celestial beings that try to enter the forest and prevents certain levels of spells from being cast nearer the center.

Locations[]

Arborly[]

A village on the border of Sylvaire, as part of an effort by wood elves and gnomes to take back the forest.

Briar Wall[]

In an attempt to stop the spread of the curse, a group of infernal warlocks created a boundary around the Forest of the Nightmare King made of thick briars. The wall prevents anything from entering or leaving the forest without the permission of a high-ranking devil. One way to do this is to trap such a being inside a gem and perform a ritual in order to implant it inside a victim to be controlled. If a non-devil attempts to touch the wall, it grows out towards them.

Kalina, along with Arianwen and Aelwyn Abernant were able to pass through the wall by using Fig Faeth to trap her father, Gorthalax the Insatiable, inside a gem and stole it from her to perform the ritual. When Fig and Ayda Aguefort visited the wall, she cast Burning Hands and touched it, and the power was absorbed into the wall and diverted to the Shrine of Thorns.

Shrine of Thorns[]

The Shrine of thorns is a moss-covered shrine within the briar wall. Inside is a wood carving that depicts a woman wearing a dark gown, robe, and cape, with dark hair flowing out in all directions. She is next to a small cottage, holding a spellbook and a broomstick, with her black cat familiar crawling across her shoulders. The spellbook is decorated with a strange rune that identifies her as the Goddess of Mystery.

The Bad Kids are directed towards the shrine by Nuathera as a possible weak point of entry. When Fig, Kristen and Tracker visit the Shrine of Thorns, Tracker finds that she is unable to enter the shrine and is repelled by a wood carving of the Unnamed Goddess. Fig's Burning Hands spell that she used at the top of the briars left a scorched handprint within the shrine. When she cast it again within the shrine, a portal into hell opened.

Temple to the Goddess of Mystery[]

The Temple to the Goddess of Mystery is a long lost temple in the Forest of the Nightmare King, about 2-3 days travel from the briar wall at the edge of the forest. It used to function as a place of worship for all the beings of Sylvaire, but was abandoned when the Goddess of Mystery was destroyed. It is filled with skeletons that appear to have just laid down and died, including the skeleton of the Great Unicorn gazing at a portrait of the Unnamed Goddess with the face destroyed.

On their journey to the center of the Forest of the Nightmare King in pursuit of the crown, they head towards the temple. There, Adaine Abernant discovers the true nature of the Goddess's four trans-substantiations. Kristen Applebees successfully contacts the Goddess to praise her, and Kristen is speared through the heart by the Unicorn's skeleton.

The Cottage[]

The Cottage was the sanctum of the Goddess of Mystery, gifted by the centaurs, and was turned into a curse associated with abjuration magic. It acts as a magic circle of protection, trapping with magical vines any celestial beings that may try to enter. It also prevents certain levels of spells from being cast going deeper into the forest.

When the Bad Kids' party entered the forest, Zaphriel and Ayda Aguefort were banished to the cottage. When Adaine scryed on them, she observed Zaphriel inside the cottage, held up against the wall by the vines, and Ayda, slightly protected by her phoenix heritage, fighting against them.

The Tree[]

At the center of the Forest of the Nightmare King is a tree that used to be the Goddess of Mystery's arcane focus, a broomstick gifted to her by the treants. As one of her trans-substantiations, the Goddess turned the broomstick into a tree, and a curse that deters travelers from venturing deeper into the forest. The tree will change its paths to try and lead travelers away from the center based on the degree to which they feel or don't feel fear. The more confident they are that they are going in the right direction and that they are safe in doing so, the more it will turn them around back the way they came. To reach the center, travelers must literally follow their fears.

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