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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 home. 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.