The Whispering Woods
The Whispering Wood is vast, stretching for hundreds of miles from north to south. Nestled between the mountains and the Iron Hills it is relatively sheltered, of mixed deciduous and evergreen trees. Spring flooding down the Icewater makes some areas treacherously boggy in warmer months, though the ground is still hilly enough that the forest as a whole does is not inundated.
The abundance of willow trees in the forest accounts for both its elvish name (Tathrentaur, or Withywood) and its current one, as the orcs named it for the whispering of the wind through the willow leaves at their first landing site. It is also known as the Forest of Souls or alternatively the Forest of Sorrow for its tragic history and haunted nature.
Points of Interest
The Lorekeeper's Cave is, unsurprisingly, the home of the Circle of the Open Hand. Though technically not in the Whispering Woods, it lies just on the border of the Windwolf tribe in the Western Reach and is usually counted in that territory.
Relations between the lorekeepers and the tribes of the Whispering Woods are fractious – the Circle was founded by members of the Forged clans in the time of Balar, which is a sore reminder to the forest tribes of the circumstances of their split with the Iron Hills. However, the stated goal of the lorekeepers is one that even the forest tribes can understand as worthwhile, so for the most part there is an agreement to leave each other alone.
Grove of Innocents
Technically of elven origin, the Grove passed into the keeping of the forest tribes after their settlement in the Whispering Woods. The trees in the grove are white birch, and were planted in memory of a chapter house of Aurvandil which fell to the dead. Most of those who were killed were squires or pages, and what few accounts remain of that night speak of them falling in defence of the civilians that had managed to make it to the sanctuary of the church.
The ruins of the chapter house are still visible in places, now aged beyond all repair. They and the Grove are guarded by an ent named Laurelinon, a relative of one of the squires who in the process of tending the grove became attuned. Formerly attended by elven grave-gardeners, she is now assisted in her work by a cadre of orcish druids and necromancers.
A melancholy but still beautiful place, the Grove has a reputation as a place where the lost and despairing go, as it has an aura about it of bitter peace that draws such people. The place itself seems to be at least partially sanctified and several miracles have occurred there which have since drawn pilgrims of Aurvandil, much to the discomfort of the orcs who now tend to it.