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Ostland

North and east of the Middle Mountains runs the Forest of Shadows. Shaped like an arm wrapped around the shoulders of the Middle Mountains, almost the whole of the province of Ostland is covered by the ominous Forest of Shadows.[1b] It earns its name, for it is the gloomiest of the Empire’s forests, its ancient trees having grown so close together that their branches nearly interweave like tightly clasped fingers. It has always had a reputation as a dangerous place, home to Giant Spiders, Beastmen, and the secret meeting places of Chaos cultists.[1a] The forest is thick with raiders and Chaos warbands, and only heavily protected convoys have a chance of passing through.[2a]

Overview

The Forest of Shadows, which runs southwest from the Nordland border to the River Talabec, is what most people think of when the think of Ostland. Dark, dreary, and overgrown, the Forest of Shadows is like a mad wizard’s attic: Many bizarre secrets lie within it, some older than the Empire and best left undiscovered. It does not give up its secrets easily, and many residents of Ostland are sure the forest resents their presence, and that even after thousands of years, it has never adjusted to having Humans and their axes and fires under its eaves. Woodsmen and others who venture deep into the forest are sure that, sometimes, when they are not looking, the forest redraws the paths through it to confuse those who anger it, and perhaps even causes their deaths.[1b]

The Forest of Shadows not only is home to large amounts of game, such as deer and boar, but also fell creatures such as Giant Spiders, who wait for Men, Dwarfs, and Halflings to stumble into their sticky traps. Even the plant life can be deadly; amidst the thick undergrowth lurks Bloodsedge, a thorny bramble with animal intelligence that feeds on the blood of living things caught in its grasp.[1b]

Hiding also within the forest are creatures of Chaos. Tribes of Beastmen and Giant Spider-riding Goblins compete for food and spoils with outlaws fleeing the Count’s justice. The greatest threat comes from bands ruled by the terrible Minotaur Ragush Bloody-Horns, who struck fear into the heart of all who lived in the area between Smallhof and Boven. Known for his insatiable tastes for flesh, Ragush once hung the corpses of the entire population of a village from the nearby trees for later snacking, calling it his “larder.”[1b]

Deep within the heart of the Forest of Shadows, somewhere in the triangle between Smallhof, Ferlangen, and Bohsenfels, there is a small clearing with a grim, horrifying history. At its centre is a single weather-worn standing stone twice the height of a man. It is so stained and discoloured that few can guess what the stone’s original hue was. Now, tainted with untold aeons of blood sacrifices, a rich rusty tone colours the whole stone, indeed seeming to arise from within it. The stone itself has four sets of ancient iron manacles hammered into it, each rusted with time and flecked with dried gore.[1c]

The grass around the stone is littered with bones: Human, Elf, Dwarf, Halfling—even Beastman and Orc. The once shining armour of bold knights lies rusting alongside the obscene garb of Chaos Warriors. To the north of the stone, with all sockets facing north toward the Chaos Waste, sits a vast pile of skulls, both old and fresh, each of which is silent acknowledgement that this place, named The Blood Fane, is sacred to Khorne, the Blood God and Skull Lord. An old Beastman is its caretaker but he knows he is growing weaker and that Khorne will send a challenger to replace him.[1c]

The Doom Lord, Dieter Helsnicht built a secret fortress in the Forest of Shadows and concealed it so well that it was never discovered by the Witch Hunters who searched for him for years. There he slowly built up his strength and plotted his revenge.[4a] He was defeated here at the Battle of Beeckerhooven, but his body was never found. Shambling corpses and terrifying Wraiths are often seen wondering the abyssal forest, and tales persist that the Necromancer still haunts there.[2a]

In his tower in the Forest of Shadows, Melkhior continued W'soran's work on the Grimoire Necronium.[3b] One of his servants, the Necrarch Zacharias, fought Melkhior in a magical duel. Melkhior was the victor, but years later Zacharias returned, somehow vastly more powerful than he had been, and had his revenge on Melkhior.[3a] Zacharias now rules over the Forest of Shadows from a rebuilt keep, studying the books so long denied to him and both the Orcs of the mountains and the people of the forest live in equal fear of the vengeance of Zacharias the Everliving.[3c]

Source

  • 1 (Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd Edition - Sigmar's Heirs
    • 1a pg 7
    • 1b pg 73
    • 1c pg 74, 76
  • 2 Warhammer Armies: The Empire (8th Edition)
  • 3: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd Edition - Night's Dark Masters
    • 3a: pg. 59
    • 3b: pg. 62
    • 3c: pg. 64
  • 4: Warhammer Armies: Undead (4th Edition)
    • 4a: pg. 97

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