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Underground Forest (A)

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Albions Underground Forest map
Realm: Albion
Expansion: Catacombs

Originally a secret entrance into the Lower Crypt, its discovery led to the destruction of the Crypt itself.

LoreEdit

When Arawn made the decision to choose nine maidens to guard his cauldron, he sent nine Inconnu to bring them to Annwn. Because the Maidens were alive, but not of the Inconnu, the Inconnu could not bring them to Annwn in the normal way of traveling (through the Upper Crypt and the Deadlands of Annwn) for that was the path of the dead and the path of the guardians of the dead. Another way had to be found.

Arawn sent the Inconnu to the surface where they then had to travel on foot to find the hidden valley of the Maidens. While the Inconnu were traveling, Arawn searched the depths of Albion and located a vast underground forest that, with a bit of digging by his Inconnu, could be linked to the valley where his Maidens lived. Arawn opened a portal between Annwn and the cavern and sent teams of Inconnu out to begin the tunnel. When one team would begin to tire he would replace them with a fresh team. Arawn ordered the Inconnu to hide the entrance to the tunnel since he did not want all valley residents to come to Annwn. Thus the Inconnu dug the tunnel so that its entrance was hidden by a powerful waterfall. By the time the Inconnu reached the hidden valley of the Maidens, the tunnel connecting the underground forest to the valley was complete.

After Arawn sent a vision of the tunnel's entrance to the Inconnu on the surface, they escorted the Maidens to the waterfall. While a small crowd of onlookers watched in amazement, the Inconnu each led a Maiden safely through the powerful force of the waterfall and into the tunnel beyond. Once the Maidens were through the waterfall, Arawn used his magic to disguise the entrance to the tunnel, so that only those chosen by him would be able to see it. That would allow access to the valley if needed, but keep the residents there out of the underground forest and ultimately Annwn.

The Inconnu led the Maidens down the tunnel and emerged on a ledge that overlooked the forest. The Maidens gasped in surprise, and begged the Inconnu to wait as they studied the forest below them, for they had never seen anything like this before. The trees below had pale trunks that seemed to glow from within. Instead of leaves, the trees were topped with mushroom-like caps in reds, oranges and bold yellows. The Maidens looked their fill and then followed the Inconnu down the path and into the forest. When the reached the forest floor, the Maidens saw that the ground was mostly covered with a mass of entangled roots that connected one tree to the next. The Maidens stared in wide-eyed wonder as the Inconnu led them down a hard-packed dirt path through the forest.

When the group reached the other side of the forest, the Inconnu led the Maidens up a steep path that wound around the side of the cavern. At the top of the path was a flat cliff that overlooked the forest below. The Maidens continued to look at the forest below while the Inconnu silently waited for Arawn to open the portal. Arawn had temporarily closed the portal from Annwn to the underground forest once the tunnel was complete as a precaution. Now that the entrance to the tunnel was hidden and there was no danger of strangers coming in Annwn, Arawn reopened the portal. The Inconnu led the Maidens to Arawn who set them to their task of guarding the cauldron.

Once the Maidens had been delivered, all the Inconnu who had seen the portal believed that Arawn would seal it again. Instead, Arawn decided to send some of the Inconnu to explore the forest further to see if there was any potential use for it. He summoned his chosen Inconnu, Jaro'yen and ordered him to choose a group of Inconnu to venture into the forest. Jaro'yen chose an Inconnu named Divzar to lead the exploration group into the forest. Jaro'yen had a bad feeling about the underground forest, and ordered Divzar and his group to take weapons with them into the forest.

As they roamed through the forest of strange trees, Divzar and his group found it very peaceful. It appeared that the Inconnu were the only ones to have access to the forest, since they hadn't seen any signs of creatures or other people living in the area. They were about to head back and report this to Arawn when suddenly things turned chaotic. A group of strange beings came crashing into the clearing where Divzar and his group stood. Surprised to see someone else in the forest, both groups studied each other for a minute before the strangers launched a few poorly aimed arrows at the Inconnu, then fled back into the forest.

After the initial shock of the encounter and the feeble attack had passed, the Inconnu began to talk rapidly to one another. They talked about how the strangers were about the same size as the Inconnu but had blue skin instead of the pale, purplish-white of the Inconnu. Their eyes were tiny and obviously not made for seeing in the dark like the eyes of the Inconnu. Their attack, obviously driven by fear, was none the less taken seriously. Arawn had to be warned that there were potential enemies in the forest. As the Inconnu prepared a second time to head back to Arawn with their report, they heard the sound of someone falling to the ground just outside the clearing. Thinking it was the blue creatures coming back for more Divzar and his group took up their weapons and ran into the forest to meet their attackers.

In the forest, the Inconnu were surprised to discover that the beings they faced were not the blue people, but a different group. These people were taller than the Inconnu and had long spikes that ran from their foreheads and ears back around their heads as well as a short row of spikes on their wrists. Their skin was a golden orange color with a swirling pattern of reddish-orange. As the Inconnu approached them these strange creatures drew there weapons and a skirmish broke out. Divzar paired off with the leader of the orange people while the other Inconnu each took one. Divzar seemed to have the advantage in the fight but suddenly the spiked one slid his sword into Divzar's stomach. As Divzar tumbled to the ground, the fight ended. The Inconnu scooped Divzar up and fled back to Annwn.

Divzar survived the wound thanks to Arawn's intervention, and told the Lord of the Underworld what had happened. The incident in the forest angered Arawn - how dare anyone attack his Inconnu? Using his magical powers, Arawn learned that the blue people were called Kobolds and the orange ones Shar. He ordered the Inconnu to continue to explore the underground forest and if they should encounter either the Kobolds or the Shar, they were to drive them from the forest. Arawn was not going to allow strangers to kill his people.

Once Divzar had recovered, he began to lead groups into the underground forest again. Both with a group and alone, Divzar spent a great deal of time searching the forest, for Divzar wanted to exact revenge upon the Shar that had wounded him. Divzar and Jaro'yen were out in the forest together when they happened to spy that very Shar and his group in the forest. Since they were outnumbered, the pair could not attack, but they could watch the Shar to see what they were up to. As the pair watched, the Shar quietly took up stalking a group of Kobolds.

Knowing something was going to happen, Divzar and Jaro'yen followed the Shar following the Kobolds into a large, dark cave. Both the Inconnu and the Shar hid from view while the Kobolds explored the cave. As one of the Kobold females approached the far corner of the cave, a wave of evil and fear like none the Inconnu had felt before washed over them. The Kobolds tried to stop the female from going further into the corner, but they could not and another wave of fear and evil washed over the entire room. As they stood frozen by the wave, the Shar rushed past them, nearly falling over the hidden Inconnu. As the Inconnu turned to flee, finally free of the fear, the Kobolds flew past them. Divzar and Jaro'yen returned to Annwn and told Arawn what happened to them.

Arawn listened with interest, but he was not worried about the evil presence the Inconnu sensed. He decided that when the time was right, he would send the Inconnu there to capture the spirit and bring it to Annwn, where it could be kept safely away from everyone. In the meantime, he ordered the Inconnu to stay away from the cavern, an order to which they readily agreed. Arawn then became distracted with other things in Annwn, and never got around to sending his servants to retrieve the spirit.

If Arawn had gone to sense the evil for himself, he would have never let it go free as he did. What no one realized was the wave of evil was Morgana's way of scanning the minds of those in the cave for information she could use. When she scanned the minds of the Inconnu she increased her knowledge of the dead enough to steal the souls and spirits from the Deadlands of Annwn. She also learned something of how Arawn controlled the Inconnu, which she stored away for later use. Morgana's ever increasing evil spread from the cave into the forest and to the valley beyond, and ultimately, into the realm of Annwn where she now controls a good portion of Arawn's Inconnu.

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