A Wildwood Tale


The magic of the Wildwood has seeped into the wildlife, and as such, there are thriving animal communities of all kinds, all across the forest. The wildlife is scattered across the wood, but each species mostly lives with others of its kind. There's the Fortress of the Mouseking, which was built of stone and mortar many generations ago by many thousands of mice all working together, and which stands as the most defensible fortress in the Wildwood. There's the Nest of Books, a towering librarium of all the knowledge in the world, which has no ground entrance, and is only accessible from the air. There's the Fairy Ring, from which animals return strange and shivering, speaking of a beautiful and cruel Queen in a realm beyond the Wood itself. And then there's the hollow Oak, at the centre of the forest: a city-like community housing animals of all kinds, where everyone works together and there are no secrets.

But beware! For there are also beasts that are more animal still: the Fox who hunts by the oak tree, the Great Mr. Barn who brings death on his silent wings. The witch is always after lizards and newts for her potions and experiments, and the humans in their cottages on the edge of the wood live in hatred and fear of all its inhabitants, and would like nothing better than to set the whole thing ablaze.

And finally, as this is a realm of fairytale, there are true monsters, too...

That's not to say the wood is always dangerous. There are many safe clearings, full of quaint hobbit-like burrows built into the banks of dry hills, and hollows in trees, where many squirrels, hedgehogs, and frogs might happily thrive. One might visit the massive badger's sett, a great and ancestral home, full of mahogany panelling, a rich stone hearth, and many paintings of badgers long since gone. Or one might find sanctuary with the generous Lapindukes of the hills: known for their pride and their speed, and who are all fond of stories. Or perhaps one might live with the otters and weasels on their riverboats, where homes and bars and moth-lures allow for a whole life lived on the move, never touching dry land.

There are gods, as well, but they're all forest animals kind of! The White Stag is the god of the whole forest: seeing it is like seeing an angel, and if you catch it, it grants a favor. There's the bear-god of winter, the boar-god of war. Death isn't an animal, but you can worship it all the same. And then you can also worship night, the sun, the trees, the moon, the stars - aspects of the natural world. Only the White Stag is 100% known to be real, the rest are more legends and myths, the way a pantheon usually works in our world. Praying to them has effects, but they don't answer prayers, if that makes sense.