The Tides of Shadow
This westernmost fragment of ancient Cormanthor hasn’t seen elves or eladrin in generations. Its entire area is claimed by Cormyr’s crown, which keeps the land as a private reserve. Royal forest guards patrol the woods, clearing squatters and battling occasional orc incursions. Cormyr’s royalty has been assiduous in denying the forest to poachers and settlers. Recent tavern talk has it that the policy is not out of a desire to keep the environment pristine. Instead, it seems the practice has more to do with an ancient prophecy. An old song, long thought mere nonsense, speaks of a “Queen of Thorns” who sleeps beneath the trees, quiescent and sated, but prone to disturbance. If this queen wakes, the kingdom of Cormyr would be wiped away—the prophecy does not explain how or why. A small community in the King’s Forest called Dhedluk (population 1,000) is home to farmers and woodcarvers. Cutting live wood has become a taboo so strong in the community that it is punished nearly as severely as murder. Those caught in the act are hanged on the arch of a defunct portal on the outskirts of Dhedluk.