Starless Sedge

The stars do not shine in Starless Sedge. It is here in the winding darkness that truly tests the gumption and knowhow of a wanderer in the depths of Grimly Wood. If one is not too careful, she could end up stumbling down a ravine, or worse yet, bumbling into the labyrinthine innards of The Skein, or the dead-aired gloom of Nargyle’s Haunt.

There is an old tale about a Kobold by the name of Slugbutter, who used to live in Starless Sedge before it was called so. He was a dastardly rat-bastard with a proclivity for warping wood and twisting tree limbs to do his dark bidding. He willed the forest’s gnarled tree fingers to steal the squirrels’ mungbeans, and to trap unsuspecting pixies in branchy prisons; he even turned critters into saplings, condemning them to lives of silence and sorrow. All in Grimly Wood feared him except for three Trolls, a Unicorn, and a Gnome. So in true Kobold fashion, Slugbutter decided to throw his enemies a party. He invited everyone: the Trolls who raided his mungbean stores, the Unicorn who freed his pixie captives, and the Gnome who undid his finest creation, a two-acre topiary of snagbunnies-turned-saplings.

Slugbutter set up a banquet table, laid out the placemats and fine cutlery that he had found at the bottom of a lake, and waited for his guests to arrive as he watched from the branches above. Of course, he did not mean to throw his guests a party at all. In fact, he intended to imprison and crush them with the massive roots of the largest willow tree in Grimly Wood. For this he would need extra help. So Slugbutter gathered all the cauldrons of faerie dust he had been hoarding over the years and sprinkled them on the willow tree.

As the Trolls and Unicorn and Gnome waited for their unseen host at the banquet table, Slugbutter–dwimmercrafty as he was–bent and twisted the roots, shooting them out like battering rams towards his enemies. But the Kobold could not control the might of his magic, nor the power of the faerie dust, and the great willow exploded in a cavalcade of roots and branches, criss-crossing and spreading like the thread of a thousand gnomish seamstresses all across the forest canopy, blocking out the stars. Slugbutter was never seen or heard from again, but the three Trolls and the Unicorn and the Gnome, protected by the Kobold’s banquet table, lived to tell the tale.