January 24, 2019

The Forest of Yizdra

Long ago, a hubristic sorcerer, rotten with power, whose cursed name this chronicler knows not, destroyed a proud city and blasted the land surrounding it. That desolate land, poisoned with corruption, was afterwards shunned by all, until nature cured, purified, and reclaimed it. By and by, it became the forbidden forest of Yizdra, named, the wisemen say, after the crumbling city whose ruins haunted its deeper tangles.

Formless things were said to prowl in Yizdra, and so most avoided this forest haunted by sorcery; but, in due course of times' flow, southern folk began to wander Yizdra's paths, its little rivers and rills, its caverns and viny hollows.

Spurred on by ambitious Harbormasters, the Great Harbor-city of Ouon, several leagues to the south, came to claim the forests of Yizdra by right. This shaky claim was based on ancient conjectures that the Ouonese were the descendants of the refugees of that sorcerer-cursed city of old, but the true deciding factor was the short war with Begradus, a kingdom to the northwest. Ouon cast its armies back into the west with steel and blood.

With Yizdra firmly controlled by Ouon, its eld trees, with their tall and sturdy trunks, provided valuable masts and planks for ships, and the forest rendered other resources: meats, furs, rare medicinal plants, and other materials for the famous yellow-sailed fleets of that city.

For the sake of these valuables, the Harbormasters declared the forest inviolate to all except chosen settlers who were granted writs of approval; and, fearing the greedy Begrays to the West, lest they challenge Ouon's claims, the Harbormasters guarded the forest with a triad of stone fortresses garrisoned with gamemasters and truehunters.

Thus, Yizdra became a source of Ouon's power. And the harbormasters coddled and fussed over the forest like a jealous parent over a child; alas, the child grew to disappoint the parent.

At first, a few thieves and slaves fled into Yizdra from the southeast to escape draconian laws and caste prejudices of Ouon. And yet, as time progressed, more and more unfortunates fled into Yizdra's shadows and cursed and spat upon the Ouonese who had exiled them. Over time, as these thieves dwelled in Yizdra, they began to feel at home and grow proud for they learned the secrets of forestry.

At first, these lawless folk fought among themselves, but, over time, as certain strongmen fancying themselves kings of thieves rose, the bandits organized themselves into kinship networks and fortified caves and waged war against the triad of fortresses in the west, and came to seize them one after the other; from this foundation of power, they became bold and attacked and harried travelers from Drossus and Yuvahl to the great harbor city to the south. By and by, an interminable war waged between Ouon and the brigands of Yizdra for several years, but when a strong man, Ulg, declared himself king and united the various gangs into one mighty force, the rich merchants of Ouon had run out of patience. They would end this war straightaway.

The Harbormasters of Ouon could not tolerate the brigands of Yizdra, who fancied themselves a kingdom, but these past years have proven that they cannot marshal an army strong enough to unseat, cowl, and defeat this new pretender king, Ulg.

Ouon, its patience spent, has called upon aid from afar, even as far as Dethor'ah.