Threads of Invasion
The Eldeen Reaches cover the northwestern region of Khorvaire to the Shadowcrag Mountains. The eastern Reaches feature fertile plains and rolling hills, but dense forests cover the majority of the nation. These forests house some of the most primeval trees on the continent, ancient growths that have survived the rise and fall of empires and witnessed the arrival of humans on the shores of Khorvaire. The forces of magic permeate these woods, and strange beasts and mischievous fey roam the land. Many dangers also lurk in the deep woods, and the humanoids who make their homes in these forests don’t always take kindly to visitors. The deep woods of the Eldeen Reaches remain mostly as uncultivated and pure as they were when the world was young. In the Age of Monsters, when the goblinoids forged an empire across Khorvaire, the Eldeen Reaches were the domain of orcs who sought to live in harmony with the wilderness. The orcs were devastated and decimated in the war against the daelkyr. As a result of this terrible conflict, the forest was seeded with aberrations and horrid creatures formed by the sinister shapers of flesh.
Millennia passed, and humans came to Khorvaire. As the nations that would one day join together as Galifar took shape, the Eldeen Reaches were largely left alone thanks to tales of the “haunted forest” west of the Wynarn River, filled with monsters and demons. Still, over the course of centuries, humans and members of the other common races slowly drifted into the Reaches. Some came in search of land and opportunity. Hunters and warriors devoted to the Silver Flame came to battle evil magical beasts, eventually driving the more dangerous creatures into the deep woods. Others were drawn to the woods, called by a force they could not name. Deep in the ancient forest, those who heard the call met with the Great Druid Oalian, an awakened greatpine who has watched over the woods for more than four thousand years. He taught those who heard his call the ways of the wild and the duties of the ancient Gatekeepers. His teachings inspired all the druid sects that eventually grew up in the Reaches.
Centuries passed. The druid society grew and spread throughout the forest, which came to be known as the Towering Wood. The younger races brought their own customs and perspectives to the Reaches, of course, and Oalian’s teachings had already begun to diverge from those of the original Gatekeepers. In time, the druids fragmented into a dozen sects. Meanwhile, the nation of Aundair claimed the fertile plains along the eastern edge of the woods, and farmers and settlers spread across the river. Despite minor conflicts between shifter and settler, settler and druid, and even among the druids themselves, the region prospered.
The Last War proved to be the undoing of the old order. As the conflict intensified, Aundair pulled its forces back to protect its heartland and eastern borders, leaving the Eldeen Reaches to fend for themselves. Bandit lords sponsored by Karrnath and the Lhazaar Principalities harried the farms west of the Wynarn River, using the forest as a base and staging ground. In the south, Brelish troops crossed the Silver Lake to occupy Sylbaran, Greenblade, and Erlaskar. As things went from bad to worse, an army of druids and rangers emerged from the forest. In 956 YK, the Wardens of the Wood rallied the farmers and peasants, crushing the bandit army before it knew what was happening. With order restored in the north, the Wardens turned their attention to the south. In 959 YK, they finally succeeded in driving the Brelish forces back across the lake.
Angry at the Aundairian crown for abandoning them, the people swore allegiance to the Great Druid, breaking all ties with the lords of Aundair and resisting several Aundair attempts to regain control. Since 958 YK, the people of the Eldeen Reaches have considered themselves to be part of an independent nation, and they were finally recognized as such with the signing of the Treaty of Thronehold. It remains to be seen whether Aundair will try to reclaim its old territories now that the Last War has ended.