The Witchfire Trilogy
Near Corvis is one of the staples of local legend—Widower’s Wood. The Wood surrounds most of the city at a distance of a few miles, at some points coming within a stone’s throw of Corvis. The Wood extends north and east beyond Cygnar’s border into what is technically part of the Bloodstone Marches. Inside the Wood it is always dark and foggy. Twisted, black trees claw their way out of the swampy muck towards the sunless sky. Tracks vanish into slimy seepage almost as soon as they are laid. Strange animals can sometimes be seen scampering through the thick branches overhead. Anyone who manages to bring one down will find the dark meat tough and odd tasting.
The only roads through the Wood are narrow, meandering paths that follow the rare spots of solid ground. Even so the muck can be a foot deep at points, making any trip an ordeal. To make matters worse, tribes of swamp gobbers, gatormen, or bog trogs will occasionally ambush travelers.
A few brave folk do live within the Wood, but the city dwellers think the “swampies” are mad for it. These hardy souls, mostly of Morridane or mixed Midlunder heritage, manage to eke out a living by farming small plots of land and trapping the local wildlife for fur and meat. Sometimes they will visit the city and sell their skins in the Quad or barter for things they need. The swampies may be unsophisticated, but anyone traveling in the Wood would be wise to heed their words.
Legends And Warnings
Some claim anyone who dies in the Wood and is left there unattended will rise again in seven days as a swamp shambler. These undead will try to return to their homes and slay those who abandoned them. Anyone killed by a shambler rises as a shambler himself just a few minutes later. Swamp folk claim to know how to make a talisman that will prevent a shambler from approaching.
25 years ago a human prospector named Lars Orven seemed to have found a gold mine deep in the Wood. Every few weeks the grubby prospector would sneak into town with a load of crudely minted ingots. After a year of stashing his hoard with the Black River Transfer Company, Orven vanished. To this day no one has found the mine, and it remains one of the region’s most well known legends. Some maintain Voorie ate him. Others blame the Gertens crime family. The gold remains in storage at the bank.
Most folk in the Wood and Corvis believe in “Voorie,” the great serpent of the swamp. Sightings are rare, but there is often other evidence: slain livestock, claw marks on trees, and chilling calls late in the night. A few brave city folk have tried to find the beast and slay it. Those who returned at all never found a trace of her. Some ignorant farmers call Voorie a “dragon”.