THE CIRCLE OF LIGHT
Forests of Earthdawn
Of the Poison Forest
The Poison Forest is a vast jungle that lies between the city of Jerris and the Wastes. Many Barsaivians believe that the mysterious black soot that blows from the Wastes across Barsaive’s western edge adversely affects the bodies and minds of the citizens of Jerris. They also believe that the soot has created the bizarre condition of the Poison Forest.
At first glance, the jungle appears dead. Traveling through it is an unpleasant experience; only rotting trunks, withered vines, and dry, decayed leaves meet the eye. The black and grey of the scene is unrelieved by a single blade of grass or leaf shining with the green of life. The sky is clearly visible above, the bright blue of a clear day contrasting sharply with the stark, blackened branches. The lack of a jungle canopy is disconcerting. One expects to journey through murky green, but instead travels exposed to the sky and elements.
The silence of the jungle seems to beat on one’s ears, for no truly living creature roams there. No birds flutter by; no predators roar out warnings to keep rivals away from their territory. Though the jungle is filled with vaguely familiar shapes, nothing bears any true resemblance to the living world outside the forest.
Yet the forest lives, in its own perverse fashion. The trees, vines, and leaves may seem dead, but they are not. The pools of dank, standing water smell fetid and incapable of sustaining life, yet they seem to sustain the forest in a perpetual state of decay. Though no birds sing, animals crawl over the ground and sluggishly climb the rotting trees.
The paradox is this: the forest is not dead, but dying. As far as anyone can tell, it will continue to die till the end of time. Each animal, each tree, each vine moves infinitesimally closer to death each day, but never truly dies. Because the trees never die, they do not fall and rot, making way for new life to take their place. For whatever reason, the Poison Forest cannot complete the natural cycle of death, decay, and rebirth.