Daring explorers, its time to once again delve into the wild and strange locals of the world, to dare the beasts and natural hazards outside of civilization, to push forward with another Fridays in AEthrem!
In today's episode, we look at the Sillindri Wildlands - a wide and untouched expanse of forest, separating eastern Thassyl from western Valerica. The woods of the Wildlands are varied and temperate where they meet the sea in the south, but shift to pine forests and sparser steppes and tundra further north, completely ending only where they meet the arctic wastes. Tall mountains run north and south through the heart of the territory, dividing it into western and eastern reaches, with some corresponding diversity in local wildlife. Strong winds among the peaks complicate air travel, and many commercial routes instead opt to travel over the open ocean to the south.
The most well-known native species to the Sillindri Wildlands are the acilon. The acilon are intelligent, but rarely seen - wearing heavy robes and masks on the rare occasions when they interact with humans. While we can only speculate as to their true appearance, we do know that they hold a deep, spiritual reverence for the Wildlands. Humans encroaching within the woodland are quickly descended upon, forced out in a suprise, mass strike and a flurry of arrows that leave few alive.
Less fortunate interlopers encounter one of the many hostile animal species that call Sillindri home. Foremost among these are moon wolves - wild canines that travel in large packs. Survivors of an attack by a moon wolf pack report being toyed with by the animals, harried for sometimes days at a time until they were well clear of the Wildlands. There may be some truth to the entrancing glance of the moon wolf as spoken of in the song "Just a Lady Wolf" - some witnesses claim to have been paralyzed upon looking the creatures in the eye.
The Causeway - established in the passage agreement that Thassyl signed with acilon representatives centuries ago - is the only place where humans are accepted within the Sillindri. This small area stretches across the Wildlands from east to west, but is only a kilometer wide. The acilon do not attack humans within the Causeway, and even creatures such as the moon wolves inexplicably tolerate them here. However, those that stray from its boundaries are immediately at risk - numerous stone markers have been erected to mark the border and prevent these tragedies.
Settlements within the Causeway are independent of each other and any governing authority. The passage agreement prohibits armed soldiers from being stationed within or passing through the area, preventing anyone from claiming the lands from independence-minded locals by force. Communities survive by trading essential supplies and acilon-produced goods (especially pottery) with those moving trade goods through the Causeway. Locals also allegedly form the membership of the Red Mask Society, the group responsible for all smuggling operations through the Causeway, and a hand in any other local crime. Their name comes from their iconic red masks, done in the same style as the acilon themselves, suggesting a connection between the two.
Legends and rumors about the interior of the Sillindri Wildlands abound, but no account of any travel more than a few kilometers in has ever been verified. Pilots have reported on light reflecting off something within the woods as they've passed overhead, giving rise to the stories of greenhouse cities and fields of diamonds that fill cheap fiction magazines around the globe. Unfortunately, treasure hunters that head out to find what exactly the acilon are hiding rarely, if ever, return.
Venture! Thrilling Adventures in the World of AEthrem and its associated characters are the property of Weird Science Games, LLC, Copyright 2015.
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