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12.14.5 The Cinua Glade

When the first refugees of Khandava came to the Ithaquan forest, the    
nymphs thought them a minor nuisance as they passed through their lands 
to find residence in the warmer areas of the Bardosi. When it became    
apparent that the people of the south were settling in the forest for a 
long stay, the frost nymphs held council with the mother of the forest  
to seek council of what to do.                                          

The mother of the forest was a huge tree of unrecognizable origin or    
species that protruded from the canopy of the frozen forest. In a ritual
held in the heart of winter, the mother of the forest instructed the    
nymphs to ignore the foreigners until they caused harm to the forest or 
to its denizens, but if at any stage the inhabitants should allow the   
taint of the magick of man to enter or if they begin to harm the        
woodlands themselves, then to seek her counsel once again.              

For many years the nymphs watched the people as they began to construct 
the village in the trees and when they hollowed out an old pine to      
create a pathway into their canopy settlement and cut deep within the   
pines of the surrounding trees they sought out the mother of the forest 
again for counsel of what to do. The mother of the forest instructed the
nymphs to make a salve from the local fauna and place it in the Redcap  
Lake which will heal the wounds to the trees.                           

The nymphs followed the instruction and took the salve to the people in 
the settlement. Lira the seductress talked with the new Ithaquans and   
convinced them to rub the salve on the bough of the trees they had cut  
deep within to heal the wound inflicted. Not wanting to give alarm to   
their visitors, the settlers acquiesce with their wishes and the nymphs 
disappear into the forest again.                                        

As the years passed, the nymphs watched their new neighbors carefully   
and as well as the the forest animals. The subtle shifts in persona of  
the local wolves began to worry Lira and her followers as they saw the  
usually fierce by natural beasts begin to act strange, as if a demon had
possessed them. Finally one day one of the direwolves attacked and      
killed a nymph, and they decide it was time to act for their own safety.
For a third time, they consulted with the mother of the forest as to the
cause to the changes within the animals and very soil of their sacred   

The mother told them that along with axes and people, the settlers of   
the forest have bought a new presence within the wood which caused the  
animals to go mad. She instructed them to seek out the temples to the   
mad and vengeful ones within the village and to destroy them, or the    
animals will never be the same again. The nymphs tried raid after raid, 
led by Lira, into the new settlement to destroy the structures the      
mother had told them and to free the animals of the forest.             

So it was in one such raid that Lira was slain by a cultist defending   
the temple and her daughter, Salira took control of the group. An uneasy
truce was bargained with the Ithaqua Village, as it was called, by the  
frost nymphs and the bloodshed ceased as the nymph population had been  
mauled in the conflict.                                                 

And so an uneasy peace emerged, for how long it would last? No one was  
sure. As long as the followers of Nemesis and Malkav survive in the     
village and influence the inhabitants of the forest the peace cannot    
last. In more recent years Salira's                                     
daughter Lahira has been causing dissent amongst the nymphs, stirring   
old feelings and Salira's hold on her people is tenuous. It is rumored  
that Lahira is being whispered to by an unknown force, instructed to    
rise the nymphs up against the village once again and purge the taint   
that has inflicted its animals.                                         

Now the nymphs of the Ithaquan Forest are preparing to march on the     
village and remove them from their forest, freeing the animals from     
their madness. Salira has closeted herself inside the great tree to     
avoid making a decision which could see her people go to war yet again.