“There is nothing there, nothing but serenity. No voice but whispers. No sound but silence. No life but undeath.”
- - Unknown Shiarchon
The Serenity Woods is the common name for a forest in northeastern Koldenwelt, known for its mysterious undead inhabitants aligned to the mysterious Outworld.
The Serenity Woods were never home for a large civilisation, and although some primitive Deiwe tribes called these woods their home, they didn't create cities, and their villages were small, their inhabitants being too superstitious (or was it just superstition?) - to expand further, considereing the forest they lived in as a living entity which its inhabitants should revere and worship. During that time, the Woods were called Nemos Noibhos - the Holy Forest - by its barbarian denizens.
However, a few millenia ago, the forest changed. No man knows what had caused this, but some hostile, alien presence entered Koldenwelt - starting with Nemos Noibhos. It wasn't summoning monsters in flesh - no, the presence was much more intangible. Slowly, plantlife began to wither and die, then the livestock, then the forest's Deiwe denizens. Villages turned into nothing but dust and bone within hours, but their inhabitants were denied death - instead, they were possessed by the presence and turned into undead, whose otherworldy strength increased the might of the unseen force of death even more.
Eventually, the entire forest was converted, and its entire population becane its immortal guardians, which are now known as the Serene. Buildings and temples made of bone and rock were built by these relentless undead, and under control of their mysterious master, who is now known by the name of Praetanath the Lich Lord, the Serenity Empire was founded, with no subjects but skeletons and ghosts and with no other goal than expanding its domain. Those who managed to escape the mysterious woods grew to fear their former home, eventually giving it a new name, the Serenity Woods.
And these woods expand.
The Serenity Woods are by definition completely devoid of life - from animals and men to even the smallest parasites that inhabit the land. As such, nothing there can decay or decompose, and this is the reason why trees, long dead, still stand like skeletons in the woods, and bones of the long dead inhabitants of the forest still walk like the living, haunted by ancient, otherworldy spirits. There is an exception to this rule, however - any flesh that enters the woods starts to vanish, and although the process is slow at first, within days all living who enter the forest become undead eventually. The powerful magic source is said to be located in the middle of the Forest, and although none survived to tell the tale, it is said that the portal between Koldenwelt and wherever the dark presence came from - usually referred to as the Outworld - is this magic source.
Although the Serenity Woods are known to have some cities within them, their exact location is actually unknown - the Woods are constantly changing and ghost towns vanish and reappear miles away from their original locations - that and few actually entered the Serenity Woods and survived its necrotic aura.
- The Gate - One of the few locations in the Woods which position is stable, the Gate is an extremely powerful magic source that is believed to be the source of the undead infestation of the forest.
- The Unseen City - the mighty citadel constructed from dark obsidian and filled with alien, otherworldy shapes, the Unseen City's location is unknown, although it is believed that it surrounds the Gate. According to the legend, the city itself was not built neither by the Woods's living inhabitants nor by their reanimated bones - instead, it was transported there from the Outworld Itself.
- Dounom Mortos (ancient Koldenwelti for "the Dead Town") - once the most influential settlement in the Serenity Woods called Dounom Leuks, Dounom Mortos was one of the first Deiwe settlements to be converted and since then was expanded into a bustling city made of human bones and inhabited by ghosts and undead.