When pestilence and famine strike other nearby settlements, your crops grow tall and strong, wild game is plentiful, and your water remains pure and clean. The mists that rise in the evening suggest shapes of fantastic beasts such as unicorns and griffons. Sometimes after dusk in the moonlit jungle and fields beyond your village, you hear strange sounds like the tinkling laughter of faraway bells, and you see distant colorful lights dancing slowly through the air like fireflies.
Although the land around your village is rich and fair, the Archon forbids your people from wandering in the woods after sunset, warning of villagers through the ages who strayed from the known paths and were lost in a fairy realm. Some are said to have returned years later, not a day older than when they disappeared. But those who return never truly recover. Their eyes remain aglimmer with distant yearning as they recall enchanted forests, majestic hills, and flawless skies, like a dream one struggles to capture as it fades from memory. Such people soon follow the moon to the west, hoping to once more find their way to that enchanted land.
The past holds little interest to the people of Thistledown. The 22 Generations before lived their lives as does the Generation now, and no one doubts that Gen 23 will be no different. How wrong they are.
The Village Thistledown
Called Scyllibdus in the language of the Fey, Thistledown lies on a verdant steppe, within sight of some of the most brutal territory in all Materia, including the Kylo’Zoola, Circle Jungle of the Fey. Generations past the founders of Thistledown did a great service to the Fey of the Kylo, and they were allowed to cut living trees to establish their community. Yet the past holds little interest to the people of Thistledown. The 22 Generations before lived their lives as does the Generation now, and no one doubts that Gen 23 will be no different. How wrong they are.
Areas of the Village
It is surrounded by a moat fed by an underground aquifer, with a single bridge that is pulled back in evenings. The moat is filled with jagged chunks of flint, jade and quartz.
- Hightower: In the center of the village is a 60’ tower, built from the trunks of four sturdy trees donated to the village generations ago by grateful jungle fey. The tower is the hub of the village, and the dwellings radiate outward from it. It is home to the Chief Bromden, who is responsible for the physical safety of the citizens. Bromden heads the city’s small constabulary and is in command of the militia in times of emergency. A building at the base of the tower serves as storage for the militia and a makeshift jail. The tower serves as a lookout post and is always occupied by a constable.
- Temple of the Dead: The solid stone Temple is not dedicated to those mortals who have died, although those are tended to here. No Thistledown’s temple is dedicated to gods who have died. It is said that at some time in the distant past there was an “Unmaking”, when a dark god attempted to pull down the pillars of creation. He was only partially successful, thanks in part to a group of heroes who were able to prevent the utter unmaking of creation. However many gods died in the catastrophe, and this temple is dedicated to their memory. It is tended by “The Mystic”, a Shardmind cleric to the dead god/dess Aurom, Keeper of the Cycle of Life. The Mystic tends to the Temple and attempts to see to the spiritual wellbeing of the community – much to the chagrin of the Archon.
- Heart of the Steppes: This stone and thatch public house is the default inn and tavern. For locals food and ingredients are usually bartered for ale and the occasional meal expertly prepared by Maysa, the aging matron. Though nearing her third generation, Maysa is still lovely and looks after the emotional wellbeing of her village. Strangers visiting Thistledown (who have no locals to stay with) invariably stay here.
Green Circle: The longhouses closest to the Hightower are the homes of the original families that settled Thistledown and were allowed to build with materials cut from the Kylo. This wood remains uncorrupted even generations later, and the Green Circle families are proud and prosperous.
Blue Huts: These houses are lighter than those of Green Circle, built of dead materials found in the Kylo jungle. Most Fey have no problem with people rendering dead trees, vines, and other jungle flora into usable materials, so long as they do not over pick an area and thus interfere with the natural cycle of decay. These houses must be kept up with great regularity, and usually are rebuilt every generation or so. Most of the people living here farm the steppes or keep herds, which are brought into town every night.
Holes: This is a derogatory term used to describe the sunken dwellings of the poorest or most resent residents of Thistledown. The foundation of these huts is a large hole dug into the earth, with a short roof built on top, usually simple thatch gleaned from the steppes. Though generally comfortable enough, Hole dwellers often suffer from insects, as well as flooding during the rains.
- The Bridge: This is a 10’ wide, 30’ long wooden frame bridge that spans the moat surrounding Thistledown. It is set atop log rollers and is pulled back at night, closing the village off.
- The Barrow: This mound is the traditional place for the dead of Thistledown. It is tended at night by the Mystic.
Environs of Thistledown
- Steppes: This is a vast plane of verdant fields and sloping hills. The Steppes run from the jungles to the south and the deserts to the east. The Steppes border Sekhmet to the east-north in a region called the “Red Land”. The Steppes near Thistldown are at the end-point for the migration path of an Ent forest.
- Kylo’Zoola: “Jungle of Circles” in Fey. The Kylo jungle is a mystic place where there are numerous direct connections to the Feywild.
- The Crags: An extension of the tribes of Posk
- An Earthmote floating within sight: A village of Halflings and Goliaths lives here – underneath a colony of Tieflings lives
- Archon’s Hill: This green and pleasant hill wanders the steppes surrounding Thistledown, seemingly at random, though never more than a mile away. It is home to the Archon, the mysterious hooded individual that has watched over the Thistledown area for generations. People often visit the Archon for advice before embarking on important endeavors, such as going west.