The Hornsaw Forest
Hornsaw Forest Research
- History: by the year three AV the population within what had now come to be known as the Hornsaw Forest had dropped to 1/10 its prewar level. This decline continued until 12 AV when the grand moot of Kalan declared that the Broadreach forest was lost. The races of the Broadreach disbanded with most humans migrating to neighboring settlements and the forest’s population of dwarves returned to the city of Burock Torn. The Broadreach elves, unwilling to leave their lands, enacted a true ritual that bound them into the tainted forest itself.
- With the forest tainted and its guardians gone, it became a haven to the servants of Mormo from that time onward becoming a bastion of evil in the land, a constant fear and threat to neighboring civilizations. The organized forces of the Hornsaw marched to war against the elves of the Ganjus during the Druid Wars but after the defeat of the Titans forces they returned to their forest and were quiet other than a short siege of Glivid Autel. They were soundly defeated by the necromancers of that city and have remained in the forest’s borders, building their strength and scheming ways to bring about the return of their great serpent mother, Mormo.
- On grim day in the year 115 AV the Broadreach elves ended their ritual and returned in force to the scarred lands. These elves found their forest further touched by the taint of Mormo and it became apparent to others, that the elves, having been bound within the forest did not escape that binding without being changed by the land’s taint as well. Changed though they might have been, the elves were as intent as ever to reclaim their homeland, and with their return came the return of many of the descendents, both human and dwarven, who had left the forest over a century ago. The elves also gained allies through rescuing slaves from the clutches of Glivid Autel, some of these slave were among the small numbers of dwarves who remained within the forest after the elves enacted their ritual.
- For the last 15 years. The elves of the Hornsaw Forest have fought with single-minded determination to reclaim their forest and to cleanse it of the taint of the fallen serpent mother. The elves themselves were not unscathed by their merging with the forest however, those who interact with them frequently note a darkness and a hint of insanity within the secluded elves.
- Geography: the forest itself is a twisted tangle of blackened vegetation and corrupted animal and plant life. No part of the forest was unscathed by the destruction of Mormo; the oak, ash yew, Hawthorne, and willow trees that grow in abundance are awash in blood, their limbs twisted, bent and misshapen their roots reaching deeply into blood soaked earth and their seeds growing into nightmarish shapes creating an almost alien atmosphere. The forest is dotted by ancient, rocky peaks that thrust upward in jagged eruptions amid the tangle of trees and vines; deep chasms mar the forest floor – foul dark places where the essence of Mormo pooled and spawned all manner of twisted life.
- The Borderwood: found along the southern border of the forest where the Titan taint is weakest; here the trees grow strong and straight and the timber is coveted greatly by nearby civilizations. A few rugged individuals have erected dwellings in this section of the forest. Most of these are refugees fleeing from the oppressive hegemony to the south while others are fugitives, brigands or deserters seeking to elude justice.
- The Broadreach River flows from north to south through the western portion of the forest. On the western banks the necromantic city of Glivid Autel rests along the river. Once openly hostile toward the forest’s tainted inhabitants, the necromancers are now said to trade and deal with the Titan spawn of the forest. The necromancers are also known to send out forces seeking slaves and bodies for their dark rituals so most avoid the regions of the River near the city, including the Titan spawn of the forest. The river itself is rugged and marked with treacherous rocks, rapids and falls that reduce watercraft to splinters. Unlike other waters of the forest the water is of the Broadreach is still pure and clean and fit for drinking.
- The Broadreach Horizon: stretched along the northern expanse of the forest. This is the ancient heartland of the Broadreach elves who have returned to reclaim their lands; despite constant raids and assaults by the forest inhabitants the elves continue to fight for their forest. For now the elves are holding their own but just holding their own; with the constant threat from the forests depths it is uncertain how long the elves will hold out. What is certain is that they will not leave their forest nor will they surrender it to the Titan spawn again – they fight to reclaim and restore their lands or to die in that effort.
- The clans: According to the adventuress Rie of Shelzar who recently made public her travel journal of the Hornsaw Forest, there are roughly 30 clans of elves in the Broadreach Horizon. 27 of these clans are thought to be stationary in forested fortress-villages spread throughout the Horizon. Each clan pays homage to an individual spirit of the forest, the clans are divided into three types: plant clans, beast clans and Hunter clans.
- The plant clans are found primarily in the northeast of the Broadreach Horizon, Rie believes that members of these plant clans are least friendly towards outsiders. Examples of plant clans include clan Apple, Holly clan, morning glory clan and oak clan who she believes leads the plant clans.
- The beast clans make their home in the far northwestern corner of the horizon; elves of the beast clans are not as openly hostile towards visitors as those of the plant clans though they are less likely to confront visitors and are apt to hide and let visitors pass through without interacting. Beast clan spirits include butterfly clan, Hummingbird clan, rabbit clan and horse clan who are said to lead the beast clans.
- The hunter clans inhabit central regions of the broad reach horizon, thought to be the most dangerous territory in the region; both the elves and the Titan spawn found in this region are thought to be the most savage and deadly in the horizon. Despite this or perhaps because of this elves of the hunter clans are the most likely to deal reasonably with outsiders; as the elves greatest warriors, they know firsthand how badly they could use any assistance. Each hunter clan considers himself the guardian of its totem animal and tries to emulate the animal style of hunting and fighting. Hunter clans include Fox clan, frog clan and Wolf clan who are said to be the most friendly toward outsiders; the assumed leader of the hunter clans is clan Eagle. Unique among the hunter clans and among all clans of the Hornsaw our three nomadic clans – clan lizard, scorpion clan and Wolverine clan roam the forest in an organized pattern, though Rie was unable to observe long enough to discover exactly what that pattern was.
- Religion and government in the Hornsaw: the elves venerate a triumvirate of three – Denev, the earth mother, Tanil, the huntress and Madriel, the healer. Broadreach elves maintain a matrilineal culture. Property and clan name pass from mother to child and for a woman to move to a new village and adopt a new clan is almost unheard of. Villages in the Broadreach Horizon are generally governed by the five oldest mothers. The elves reverence (or obsession as Rie phrased it)for motherhood make their choice patronesses most understandable and more so it explains why other deities such as Corean, the Champion and the Great General Chardun have little to no followers here despite Chardun’s presence in the battle against Mormo, which was not so very long ago in the memory of elves.