A Greater Grove
In the extreme east of Abanasinia, beyond the lands of the United Plainsmen Tribes, and over the Eastwall Mountains lies A Wood shrouded in mystery and intrigue. It is bordered in the north by the moss-draped trees and fetid swamp surrounding the ghostly ruins of Xak Tsaroth.
Merwellyn Wood lies south of those cursed lands, between the Eastwall (also called the Forsaken Mountains) and western shores of New Sea. It is said this wood has no civilized name, and the Barbarians simply call it “the Trap”, while the Seekers of the 4th Age called it “The Unnamable.”
According to woodsmen of Long Ridge, the forest contains many rare and exotic plants crucial for magical potions, poultices, and the like. Many have also said it purportedly contains legions of ghosts. Pine, oak, alder, arrowgum, bellbird vines, ironwood, vallenwood, maple and sycamores and more trees all make up the grand forest.
The Climate Forest shares the weather with Abanasinia. It tends to be fickle, with hot summers from late Corij to early Reorxmont. Merwellyn receives more rainfall than the rest of the region. Long stretches of sultry weather fill the space between summer storms. Winter begins in H’rarmont and lasts into Chislmont.
The moistness from the Schallsea clashes with the bitter chill from the mountains produces heavy snowfalls.
History of the Wood and the Grand Druid
The Druids of Merwellyn has helped these rumors along since the Forest’s founding, before the 2nd Dragon War. In those times the wood was apart of a greater Forest called the Great Green in which Darken Wood, Merwellyn and Mithranhana (Qualinesti) were all nearly one great Wood. The Followers of Habbakuk and Chislev lived in harmony with the Kagonesti and Human Barbarians of the Great Green and suffered and defended against the encroachment of the Silvanesti and later the Ergoth Empire.
Merwellyn was established by the Circle of Rolan and has stood since and defended by Forest Guardians for thousands of years, keeping the land secret to the outside world as best as possible and aiding the Guardians of Darken Wood at any time, should the need arise.
The First Cataclysm that sundered Krynn, took most of the Great Green to the bottom of the newly created New Sea, and with it, many great Druids fell in those dark days. The Shadow Years saw banditry, rape and wonton murder prevail across the lands, of which the druids tried to quell in their areas of influence. It was in these dark times that the future Guardian, the Half-Elf Talidaar Quith’Useran Arbagon was born and saved from marauding humans in the Elven Lands of Qualinesti by a Circle of Druid Defenders.
Talidaar’s rise to power thru the ranks of Order happened quickly and was one of the many reasons in later years that the jealous Great Druids despised him. It was Chislev who saw in Talidaar a deep love and reverence of the wood. He was wise beyond his years and did not hunger power for the sake of greed. The Forest Goddess ordained Talidaar’s rise by whispering into the ear of the Grand Druid Kyrel to take notice of the boy. Kyrel did watch the boy’s deeds and was amazed by Talidaar’s accomplishments.
Talidaar became one of the Nine (Druid) after the War of the Lance and after many adventures; Talidaar married and settled down and soon was chosen to become the Guardian of Merwellyn. Twin Girls were born and a son several years later who would later walk in his father’s footsteps as a Druid in his own right.
After several more adventures, one of them being a mission to find a cure to one of Morigon’s deadly diseases that was ravishing the Elven Nations in a journey that would take Talidaar aboard a Spelljammer vessel to the Planet of his Goddess, the planet Chislev. Talidaar’s rise continued and he became One of the Three (Arch Druid).
After participating in another adventure with old traveling companions, Talidaar’s wife Kira was murdered in retaliation for Talidaar’s part which nearly drove him mad with grief. Kira was buried in a sacred Grove and was eulogized by her former traveling companions in a solemn ceremony. Now, whenever Talidaar needs comfort and a place to think, he walks to this grove where a Vallenwood Tree was planted as a seedling from Solace, where the custom has continued since before Solace’s founding. It is now Kira’s Grove.
In 367 AC, Kyrel of the Order of Chislev elected Talidaar Arbagon to the post of Grand Druid of Krynn. It is a job that he would hold well into the next age that was about to crash down upon all of Krynn.
Merwellyn gains prominence across the lands via the tales of the bards of Abanasinia. Talidaar works to promote respect for the natural resources of the world. He seeks to maintain the balance, and though the secret has gotten out of the location of Merwellyn, he makes it known that none should approach the wood with ill purpose. It is a time when Druids are treated with more respect and reverence and the populations of Ansalon are made more aware of balance of nature and not to defile the lands or the oceans, for the Druids will know and will protect and inflict revenge for the lands and the seas of the Orders of Habbakuk, Chislev and Zeboim.
The Age of Mortals
During Beryl’s time as Overlord of Abanasinia, she terraformed the lands to grow the forests of Qualinesti, Kharolis, Darken Wood, and Merwellyn. Talidaar gave up the mantle of Grand Druid Became a Heiropahnt Druid before the End of the Summer of Flame. Talaidaar practiced for a time Mystism of Nature to cope with the loss of Chislev granted power. Talidaar loved the thought of the Forests coming back to a time like that of the great green again, but saddly he found out it by the influence of the Green Overlord and that Talidaar must maintain the balance. He did all that he could to stem the influence of Beryl’s forces of Goblins, Draconians, and other evil creatures and human bandits and The Dark Knights of Neraka.
The War of Souls
During the great storm that swept over Krynn, Merwellyn was personally attacked by horrendous Lighting strikes hit many sections of the grand forest, causing massive fires that sweep thru the wood, destroying 60% of the grand wood.
Nothing is heard of for quite some time of Talidaar or the goings on of inside Merwellyn. The woods that are best left alone for it is said none have returned from Merwellyn since.
Talidaar Half-elven is recovering from the loss of his daughter and his Forest. He rejoices that the Earth Mother has returned but his shoulders are weighed down by the many sacrifices he has made. He is favored above others by his Earth Mother, Chislev. He bears the Staff of Chislev.
He works to rebuild Merwellyn to it once greatness, ever vigilante to the balance, and has recently traveled to Khur to aid the Elven Exile Nation, serving The Speaker of the Sun and Stars Gilthas Solostarin. This experience is gratifying in that Porthios never liked Talidaar enough to let him into his court, even when as Grand Druid, Talidaar helped fight the Nightmare’s hold on the ancient wood.
Soon after Porthios and Alhana was exiled and Gilthas was named Speaker of the Sun, Gilthas reached out to Talidaar for advice.The High Chamberlain would not let Talidaar to court as he feared what the Knights of Neraka would say and more importantly do.
So now, the dark horse son has come back a people that rejected him his whole life, Talidaar his come to help his people in their most dire and perilous time. He sits in council to the Speaker of the Sun and Stars.
The Council of the Protectorate
- White Wind, Chieftain of the White Eagle Kagonesti Tribe
- The Ancient Trell, 5500 year old Treant of the largest size.
- Tyoniera, Unicorn
- Crystar and Asturi, First Female and First Male, of the Solarus griffin
- Xyches, Queen of the South Formian City
- Zellrix Steelhoof, Chieftain of the Centaur Wood
- Spriggit, Mostlysometimesoftenbutnotalwayssortofleader, of the Sprites
The Council of the Protectorate was formed in the first two years of Talidaar’s Stewardship of the Grove. The effectiveness of the Council’s ability to act in the mutual defense of their home was first seen in the attack against the Wood, by the Death Knight Arkis Rage. Merwellyn Wood did not fall.
Demographics of Merwellyn
The populations of the various tribes, camps, and groups of peoples within the Wood are always changing, but a sort of generalization can be made, understanding an 8% margin for error (or there about):
- 75 – 100 Treants
- 175 – 225 Kagonesti
- 65 – 85 Griffons
- 350 – 400 Formian (ant-people)
- 40 – 60 Centaur
- 18 – 30 Dryads
- 45 – 80 Sprites
- 70 – 95 Brownies
- 40 – 70 Quicklings
- 20 – 35 Shambling Mounds
- 75 – 110 Pixies
- 25 – 40 Satyrs
- 15 – 45 Qualinesti
- 70 – 100 Khapra (Squirrel Rangers)
- 11 – 30 Aarakocra (Bird-men)
- 3 – 14 Darken Owls
- 6 – 30 Chooshe
Partial List of Non – Intelligent Animals and Creatures
- Ape, Carnivorous
- Badger, Giant
- Bat, Common
- Bat, Giant
- Bear, Black
- Bear, Brown
- Bear, Cave
- Goat, Mountain
Overall Population variance: 1557 – 1820. Again, this is only a generalization of numbers, and does not reflect the multitude of non-sentient animals, and the odd few magical creatures that make Merwellyn their home from time to time.
Notable Residents of the Wood
Talidaar may be retired from Political life, he still takes students from time to time to mentor druids of the future. Twelve apprentices have joined Talidaar in rebuilding Merwellyn, several, (much to Talidaar’s chagrin,) kender have come to Merwellyn to become faithful druids of Chislev.
- Liam Half-Elven has been a longtime assistant to Talidaar as a Arch Druid.
- Jaxa Odan is a master Ranger Archer, and leads a small band at Sylvan vale.
- Lashia Ambrodel Arbagon. A Wizard of the White Robe who maintains a school of High Sorcery in new Ports. She is Talidaar’s second wife.
Notable Locations in Merwellyn
Dae Dyrnastaerynfalos, The Shelter
The Shelter’s walls are made from living wood. Each of the five “points” of the pentagon are Redwoods. The walls are formed from roots that start roughly 40 feet up the sides of the trees, and angle down to 36 feet in the middle, merging with the neighboring tree’s roots, in all, constructing a keep nearby to the Main House where Talidaar had lived since arriving in Merwellyn 65 years ago. The pentagon shaped structure, to serve, as his family’s keep is 500 feet per side, each floor is 420,000 sq. foot. It is three stories in height, plus 1 basement, and 1/2 subbasement, thus the total sq. footage of the Keep is 1,890,000 sq. foot.
The Arbagon family moved into the keep just ten years ago. Talidaar immediately saw to the destruction, and removal of, the old house. As soon as this was done, he coaxed the forest back to the cleared ground.
Close Family such as Damara and Wydara has bedrooms at the Keep, as do Merrilee, Las and Nebris. The Twins have a large room down the hall from Talidaar and Lashia. The Kender Longshot Farwalker stayed with the Grand Druid for several years, and a room was made for him in the Keep, but he has yet to stay there. Talidaar’s longtime Asst. Liam Tabat, a Half-elf Druid that has served him since he was an Arch-Druid, has a room in the keep also. Aside from these, there are ten guest rooms, a library, a study, a large kitchen, the staff’s rooms, five water closets, the dining room, a smaller private breakfast room, the twins’ nursery/playroom, a war room – complete with a rack of maps even Longshot would approve of, and a conference-sized table – and of course, the living room.
The courtyard has a rock garden of precious stones from Thorbardin, and an amazing bathhouse. Talidaar was able to tap an extremely deep underground water source, which now fuels a natural hot spring. This spring feeds the top of three pools, each staggered beneath another. This pool is the hottest, generally reserved for deep tissue relaxation used in medical practices. The water from this pool overflows down one side, to the next pool below. The second pool down is slightly cooler, though still quite warm, and is the one used when people want to relax in a casual setting. The water overflows down one side, to the third; lowest pool. This pool is cooler than the two above, but still mildly warm, used for bathing. Underground pipes to the sea drain the water from this point away.
Talidaar, Lashia, Las and Nebris each maintain separate, personal laboratories in the basement and subbasement levels. These contain indoor plumbing for three large sinks, small ovens/kilns, and racks upon racks of glass alchemical bottles, jars, measuring devices, pipes and tubes. A convenient bookstand, one table of thick sturdy Ironwood, one table of stone with a slate top, one table of wood with a ½ inch thick steel top, and several stools fill the room. An open fireplace sits in one wall, with iron, copper, and silver kettles on hooks ready for use. The laboratories are – thanks to Lashia and Las – magically shielded against explosions, fire, acid, and lightning. The doors also – thanks to Talidaar and Nebris – automatically seal, preventing any gases from escaping.
A small courtyard, half enclosed, serves as Merrilee’s private training hall, complete with Kicking and punching bags, Weapons racks holding every conceivable melee weapon, and several targets of varying shapes and sizes.
Fifty year old Vallenwood Tree planted as a seedling from Solace. Red and Black Roses bloom at her grave.
A serene small lake formed during the sundering of the first Cataclysm. It was named such by an elven Druidess who discovered it in the early fourth age. It is 68’feet deep and contains rock bass freshwater eels, freshwater shovelnoses, catfish, nixies and a swanmay and many other kinds of freshwater sea life.
The Northern Swamps
The northern swamps connect with the southern swamps of Xak Tsorath. There are a few rope bridges that span some of the impassible parts here, constructed by bandits that used the swamp as a safe haven during the early 4th age. There are some bridges that were improved on by draconian forces that were based in the area during the War of the Lance.
An ancient Lizard Man camp and shrine to Sirrion and Chislev. It a deserted ruin.
Small listing of flora and fauna of the swamp
Algae, Amphibians, Shambling Mounds, Mangroves, White Cedar and Balsam Poplar and shrubs like the Lowland Pussy Willow, Ironwood Trees, Saws grass, Seeking refuge in and amongst the towering trees and swaying sedges, a myriad of swamp things make their homes. Slithery venomous water snakes, and a few draconians left over from the War of the Lance live like hermits. A number of bullywugs and lizard men also still live throughout the swamp, living in balance.
Forsaken Mountains in the North and West
Nests of Griffon’s Giant Hawks, Aarakocra, a couple of Rocs, a Mature Adult, Copper Dragon named Croraxes that has used stoneshape and move earth to create a lair for himself.
The Sun Hawk Mercenary Camp
Talidaar allowed his daughter Marilee to have the south lands of the Forest to build a Mercenary Camp for The Sun Hawks. The Sun Hawks paramilitary force that works for hire for Neutral causes to maintain the balance. Marilee prayed for wisdom of Shinare for the success in the causes.
Most of the Sun hawks are Rangers, but some are Thieves and even a few Sorcerers. The Sun Hawks also boast a Air Force in making a bond with many Giant Hawks that lived at the Kharolis Moutians. The Air Teams are trained in Air to Air and Air to ground combat. They are trained in the the use of Lances, Bows, Crossbows and bombidiering.
Sadly, Marilee Arbagon was slain recently by a witch’s curse. The Sun Hawks are currently disbanded. She is laid to rest in Kira’s Grove.
An ancient tree village sprung up during the early years of the Age of Darkness. Great Druids of Chislev and Rangers of Habbakuk used this tree town for their close family to be safe and defended in. the Tree Town was almost entirely destroyed in the Fire of the Storm.
White Eagle Kagonesti Tribe Settlement
The tribe came here during the plague that hit only elves, a curse of Morgian towards in the years before the Second Cataclysm. Talidaar gave the tribe sanctuary in the Wood, and they defended Merwellyn with zealousness until the Great Storm that heralded the War of Souls. They lost several tribe members in the great fire. When Talidaar discovered the Valley of Chislev on Southern Ergoth, many of the tribe members moved there to create a new defended land, dedicated to the each mother.
The Formorian Kingdom of the South
Led by Queen Xyches, the Formorian Kingdom stretches deep into the earth, and spreads out for 60 acres underground
In the north woods, a section of the woods have been defended by the fey for a millennia. Kings and Queens, Barons and Empresses has lead the fey over the course of time, currently a Sprite, a Pixie Queen, and a Bossman of the Brownies have formed a triat unity government that has kept the peace in this usually chaotic and surprisingly anarchic.
A central tree serves as the seat of government and justice and arbitration.
The Centaur travel throughout the whole wood, but they gather here in the glen. Would be Mothers arrive her to have their fowls by the Centuar midwife named Yulann. A Nature Mystic also lives in the glen, divining the future of the tribe. A offshoot of the Centaur of Darkenwood, the tribe traveled here sometime in early A.C.
The tribe is led Zellrix Steelhoof, who has made peace with all the inhabitance of Merwellyn, but have a natural fear of the Fomorians of the south.
Mentioned or described in the World book of Ansalon from the Tales of the Lance boxed set. Other information collected using More Leaves from the Inn of the Last Home. The rest of Merwellyn is designed and worked out by David Richardson and James Scamihorn.