The Old Forest

In the center of Namland is a vast forest, ancient and mysterious. Rumors about its strangeness have spread far and wide, and few dare enter it. With good reason, too. The denizens of the forest have a long history with the strange and the unexplained. They call it the Neblina Forest, but it had a different name once upon a time. Very few remember that it was called the Greenfire Forest, and even fewer know why.

Thousands and thousands of years ago when the forest was young, a cult passed its borders and made themselves a shrine to their god, The Thing That Should Not Be. This Thing was one of the great old gods from before the Artists painted the world, and it was cast into the Nightfather’s Tomb when it and his brethren tried to destroy the world the Artists had made. The Thing’s cult was angry and had long suffered the wrath of their patron for endless days. This cult took it upon themselves to release The Thing from the Nightfather’s Tomb and to set right the wrongs that had been made against it. The forest erupted into magical green flames that could not be quenched for decades. The Thing gave its cultists power such that the green flames did not scorch and destroy the forest. Rather, it tainted it, poisoned it, and created a nesting ground for all manner of creatures of darkness.

All those in the land feared the Greenfire Forest, and rightly so. Kings and queens sent their knights to quell the fires and defeat the cultists, but no campaign against them was successful. From the Greenfire Forest came demons, monsters, and more. As the cultists grew in power, so did The Thing That Should Not Be. It raged against its chains, weakening the bonds that held it.

The situation was dire for the rest of the world. What would become of it if The Thing That Should Not Be were to be released? But as the power of the cultists grew stronger and stronger and hope faded from the land, a hero appeared, guided by the last Artist, the Dawnmother. She was a powerful shaper of nature, a druid whose name was Neblina. She rose to the challenge of cleansing the Greenfire Forest, and brought with her an army of countless animals. Her wolves, bears, foxes, hawks, eagles, snakes, and more had gathered behind her.

The stories of Neblina’s conquest of the Greenfire Forest were perhaps never truthfully told. Her animals refused to speak with anyone but her. Rumors circulated of the master druid clashing against demons in the canopy of trees, or striking down spider demons with a rod crafted of The First Tree, or changing her shape into a powerful dragon to tear down the towers and fortresses that the cult made in the name of The Thing That Should Not Be. But rumors are just rumors, and the truth of the matter would never come to light. Though she was successful and the cultists were eradicated, Neblina perished in the battle.

All across the land, legends spread of the great master druid Neblina and her triumph over the cult of The Thing. With the green flames finally quenched, the forest was renamed in Neblina’s honor. Though the forest was cleansed, it remained a place of mystery and fear. The Neblina Forest began to heal and regrow, but was forever dark beneath its canopy of leaves and vines.

The surviving cultists spread themselves apart from each other and abandoned the Greenfire Forest. Though their numbers were few now and their game had ended, they left behind plenty of traps in the forest. The temple of their patron still stood. And in ruined remains of their fortress was a small coffer, sealed with an ancient power, that contained their revenge: a sickness that would aid them in reclaiming the forest and freeing their master.