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Gazetteer of the Grey: The Forest of Irmine Sul

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“Do good, reap good; do evil, reap evil.” - A proverb of the celestial bureaucracy

Irmine Sul was a night hag who dared to cut flesh and sap from mighty Yggdrasil. She took the bleeding harvest up from Niflheim to Oinos, and planted the cuttings around her cottage. Set in a mulch of chopped corpses, watered by the river Styx, and tended by black necromancy, her crop grew slowly - but grow it did. Legend says that perverted from all natural growth by the Waste, they grew upside down with only their roots breaching into the air. The result looked more like rotting flesh than wholesome vines… but each grew large enough to ensnare a titan in their coils, and upon each root grew thorns as long as daggers, oozing with thick black poison. The forest of giant roots soon stretched for many miles around Irmine Sul’s cottage, twitching and curling like the languid tentacles of some enormous undead illithid. Those unfortunate enough to catch a scratch from the movement of the poisoned thorns swiftly joined the remains of other unlucky travelers and were churned into mulch by the slow grind of the roots, until only bones remained. Irmine Sul herself is said to have perished this way, betrayed by the plants she tended. Even without her ministrations however, the forest flourished. The Forest of Irmine Sul is not without its usefulness. Its poisons can be harvested, the mangled remains looted. And twisted though they are, the shade of its giant roots do mute the draining gloom, making the forest an unlikely respite from the Fade. This property has not gone unnoticed by the fiends; once used as a place of rest and respite by Blood War forces, this purpose was swiftly corrupted: All sides now send soldiers creeping through its shadowed expanse only to prey upon each other with stealth and brutality. The respite camps and medical tents lie empty now, their resources sitting spoiled and unused. Only a fool moves openly in the forest of Irmine Sul these days. Attempts to take further cuttings of the Great Tree have proved unsuccessful – the fates wish no rival for Yggdrasil, it seems. Whatever secret means the hag used to nurture the plants was also unique, for mad attempts to spread them further have continually failed. Perhaps the answer to these mysteries lie at the very centre of the forest, in the cottage of Irmine Sul. Abandoned for many hundreds of years, it is inhabited these days only by the secrets and black lore she left behind - at least, that’s what people guess. No one has ever reached her lair in the closest depths of the forest… or at least, no one has ever done so and made their way out again.

 

Adventure Hook: ‘A Rose By Any Other Name…’ Rumours are circulating that at the heart of the Forest of Irmine Sul, a bud has appeared, as if one of the hideous giant roots is about to flower. Interested parties from across the Wastes send adventurers to obtain it, both to harvest the flower and to investigate (and perhaps prevent) the possibility that the monstrous vines are starting to propagate. Interested parties include:

  • Night Hags from Irmine Sul's former covey, looking for her secrets
  • A Rakshasa who wants to include the unique blossom in his palatial garden
  • A sect of planar druids trying to bring life back to the Wastelands
  • A cleric of Moander, who believes the root to be a sign of his god's return to life
  • A Yugoloth ‘adventurer’ who claims to represent the Lord of Kin-Oin.
  • A band of rogues out to steal the flower and sell it to the highest bidder

One of these NPCs might hire the group, while the others are rival parties for the prize. PCs can work with or against them, but should beware of treachery at every turn.

 

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