Forest of Whispers
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Sub zones: Great hive, Lataran temple
Inhabitants: fairies, kensha beasts, echydins, doormat plants, dryads, tonorions, starkala bugs, noghdongs, glouteux, duikers, mumansis, kowo cats, saslenoths, furred parrots, flishes, whisper wisps, eliocanthes, feather boas
Characters: Subeta, Melany, Marken
The Forest of Whispers is situated east of the fairy kingdom and is home to various tribes of Fairies. It's because of their actions that this zone has been named "The Forest of Whispers". Being as mischievous as they are, the fairies often stalk anyone who enters it, whether they want to devour them or not. It's not long, however, before the fairies become so giddy that they begin to whisper amongst themselves, whether it's about how they plan to toy with their prey, or just joking and gossiping. Because the canopy is very thick a natural vault is created which reflects and reverberates every sound, making the forest itself seem to whisper. Understandably this tends to makes adventurers very nervous. Imagine listening to two unseen fairies pondering if they should swallow you head first or feet first. Amazingly, even with so many fairies around there is a huge hive of tonorions underground here. The fairies have never managed to get rid of them because the hive runs very deep under the surface of the Forest of Whispers, and on top of that tonorions naturally nullify magic, preventing the fairies from being very effective against them in the first place.
All that can be seen of the Lataran temple is its majestic dome and entrance that emerges from earth, west of the Giant tree. The rest of the structure is buried deep underground. Millenia ago, Lataran, the god of trickery, illusion, and puzzles is said to have come to Felarya and created this place for adventurers and other reckless people to take part in deadly games for fabulous rewards and the enjoyment of Lataran. This temple is one of the rare places in Felarya where you have a relatively low chance of being eaten, although that doesn't mean that it's actually any safer here... far from it! This gigantic underground maze is full of dangers, puzzles, riddles, and traps, built to test the limits of the intelligence, strength, craftiness, and agility of those who enter. The temple is divided in to several themed courses: "The way of the monkey", "The trial of true humility", "The path of transcendence", "The test of the tranquil spirit", etc...
As soon as you pass through the gates, you are unable to leave unless you manage to finish one of the courses, and once you have finished it, you may never re-enter the temple again (although that should be the least of your concerns). This temple is famed for the incredible treasures that are scattered through its halls. All of these tests, however, are very hard, and some have actually never been passed. All of the puzzles and traps are incredibly vicious and diabolic, often not what they seem to be, such as traps within traps. From this springs the popular Felaryan expression: "twisted as Lataran." Seekers of Sineria are said to use the easier courses as proving grounds for their recruits. The temple is inhabited by various creatures and a few predators that permanently reside here. Among them is the arch-priestess Theodorine Frostmoon who was left in charge of this place and its secrets after Lataran left Felarya.
An immense and intricate network of underground tunnels, dark caverns, and bottomless pits teeming with tonorions and other charming inhabitants. Very little is known about it because few creatures are foolish enough to venture far into this underground hell hole. It is said to be very ancient though, with some researchers even claiming that it's older than the city of Ur-Sagol. Not even the greediest or most reckless adventurers will attempt to explore here, as there is very little reward for so much risk. Tonorions are notoriously deadly and vicious creatures and, because of their natural magic nullifying abilities, no magic of any sort will work inside the Great Hive. In the deepest layers lives Q'Tada'x'silath, the queen of the hive. Besides the insectoid inhabitants of the hive no one has ever seen her, but she is undoubtedly a being of enormous power. One legend holds that Q'Tada'x'silath guards a deactivated portal in the deepest layers of the hive, but both the reason for the portal's deactivation and the reason why Q'Tada'x'silath guards it have been lost, or were never known at all.
The Murmur tavern is a well hidden inn located in the north-east part of the Forest of Whispers. How it was build exactly is a mystery but it's here, standing between two large trees in that dangerous forest. Its owner is Grigor Tarasov, a tough old man with a stern and rather cold attitude, brutally honest and cunning like a fox. Little is known from his past besides the fact he is an outsider that came to Felarya long ago. He runs the place with his assistant and waitress, the neko Melanie or "Mel". While Mel tries to act as "the good cop", Grigor is obviously "the bad cop", always warning people of what they will encounter and dismissing them as reckless fools when they don't listen to him. He claims it's his duty as the innkeeper to warn travelers. Despite the odd and dangerous location of their tavern, they do receive visitors from time to time, mostly adventurers and explorers, and sometimes newcomers in search for a shelter in that unknown world. Murmur tavern provides a safe spot in anyone's journeys, being well hidden from unwanted attention by illusions, and possessing a variety of secret entrances and exits. Grigor himself managed to strike some sort of deal with some of the neighboring predators, mainly fairies, who seem to leave Murmur alone. However those who are outside are entirely fair game and once one exits the cozy safety of the building, the danger of the Felaryan jungle quickly comes back. Grigor regularly hires a mage when it's time to resupply the tavern, opening a small portal to Safe Harbor.
- credits to diablodevil2 for ideas to develop the forest, to Kat for ideas to develop the Lataran temple, and to Feadraug for the Murmur tavern.