Bloodhollow and Beyond - A Vigil of Vesh Campaign
Population: Unknown. All known information on the people of the Ganjus is included in the section on Vera-Tre.
Language: Middle Elvish
Resources: Rare herbs
Like Vera-Tre, the nation that occupies these woods, very little is known about the Ganjus’history. That it remained remarkably untouched by the ravages of the Titanswar is well known, though whether by chance or design only the elves might know for certain. Because of elven secrecy, the Ganjus did not become the bastion for refugees that most other healthy regions were in the first decades after victory. Even other elves who tried to find shelter in these woods were carefully examined by the druids of Vera-Tre before being admitted as settlers, and only a few desperate members of the other races were even considered. This is not to say that the denizens of the Ganjus were selfish with their plentiful forest. Quite to the contrary -food, goods and healing were gladly distributed to all who approached the forest’s borders. But few were allowed inside.
The Convention of Vera-Tre marked the first unveiling of the Ganjus’ unmarred splendor, and patrols around the outer edges of the forest lessened in both frequency and rigor. Denev-worshippers of all sorts were allowed to hunt, gather, and even settle in miles-wide border regions. Allied diplomats were and are allowed to see a small sample of the forest’s glorious sacred groves and traditional elven villages. The occasional all-important mission is carefully guided through the woods to speed its quest – though, of course, no quest has ever been weighty enough that the elves can’t take time to lead the party well around the forest’s oft-speculated mysteries.
The Druid War showed all Ghelspad another of the Ganjus’ powers when the forest was awakened to fight the invading titanspawn alongside the elves. Though Denev’s druids claim that any healthy forest could be aroused to protect itself in dire need, one must take into consideration how many healthy, navigable forests Ghelspad has left. The Ganjus’ health alone makes it a powerful place. To date, no outsider has succeeded at penetrating whatever secrets may lie at the heart of the Ganjus. Though the elves use force to turn away the curious only when polite requests, pleas, stern demands and threats have all been tried and have failed,
the fact remains that they always manage to apprehend unauthorized visitors, even vigilants, and one way or another, those visitors always leave knowing no more than when they entered.
The outer edges of the Ganjus are fantastically lovely by the standards of the crippled Scarred Lands, however, and one need not penetrate the forest’s heart to fall in love with the majestic trees and find solace in their silent strength. Whatever the central Ganjus conceals, it can only be something good and lovely. No forest could soothe and comfort as the Ganjus does, were it not pure and perfect all the way to the core.
A veritable cathedral of enormous ancient trees, the Ganjus lies in the foothills of the Kelders, and the gently rolling hills and dales beneath the majestic groves make it a perfect home for life of all sorts. On the other hand, the hills and trees make navigation extremely tricky to any who are not well-experienced with the lands. It is a perfect place to hide – even for something as large as a dragon in places – but also an easy place to get lost.
Two main rivers run through the Ganjus, both draining out of Clarity Lake just to the north, one of Ghelspad’s more pristine large lakes. The eastern river flows directly through Vera-Tre and is known as the Elfboon River. The western river is called Clarity Creek, and several smaller streams feed into each of these waterways before they disappear beneath the Haggard Hills. Though the greenish waters of the Elfboon are perfectly safe and pleasant to drink once filtered through linen, the water of the smaller and faster Clarity Creek is known as the most delicious in Ghelspad.
Near the center of the forest, not far from the great elf-city of Vera-Tre is the most sacred druidic grove on Ghelspad. The Grove of the Mother is believed by the Jordeh druids to be the place where Denev herself merged with the land and began her slumber. Here the most significant and solemn of the elves’ religious rituals takes place. Other details of the forest are known only in the form of rumor and legend. It is said, for example, that there is a secret city somewhere in the forest, a city that serves as a repository for ancient elven wisdom and magical secrets.
Flora and Fauna
The Ganjus teems with the healthiest wildlife on the continent. All manner of natural birds and beasts make these woods their home, from deer and rabbits to majestic owls to great wolves and towering bears. The trees range from oak and beech in the south to various pines in the north, and while the shade of the mighty branches keeps the forest floor clear of tangled undergrowth, the Ganjus is nevertheless home to hundreds of varieties of herbs, berries and delicious mushrooms. Natural insects too, thrive here, a welcome change in comparison with the terrifying pests in many other parts of the Scarred Lands.
Magical beasts also make the Ganjus their home, however, and while many of these are good and benevolent, and while evil and destructive creatures are usually driven out before they do much harm, the forest nevertheless provides shelter and sustenance for many dangerous and unpredictable things. Magical wildlife, like the mundane if not more so, is wild by definition and requires caution and respect if one wants to continue breathing. In addition, even the plants of the Ganjus are sometimes equipped with severe defenses and disturbing nutritional requirements, so it is inadvisable to go picking unknown flowers or to stray from the beaten paths.
Another rumor claims that ancient beasts lurk in the Ganjus, hiding from the chaos of the Titanswar and the prying eyes of outsiders. These creatures, so the story goes, are nurtured and protected by the incarnates, as they too hold incarnate souls. Scholars who have investigated the stories either dismiss them out of hand, or speculate that the mysterious creatures are actually dragons, beasts who perished or went into hiding during the divine conflict.