Veterans of the SIEGE: Birthright
The Shadow Realm
Little is known of the Shadow Realm, for even those who know of its existence beyond myth and legend are hesitant to delve too deeply into its mysteries. It is said that the elves knew of the paths into that place, but if that knowledge remains it is a closely guarded secret revealed only to a few. Some bards insist that the halflings once dwelled there, but such notions are usually dismissed as baseless fantasies. There remain a few scattered tomes with cryptic passages from those who ventured, or stumbled, over the line between this world and that. There are entrances to this place in our world which typically occur at sources of natural power, strange rock formations or groves of trees being the most often reported, though mages have been known to willingly open paths to it under certain conditions. Most of the stories insist that the geography and lay of the land is almost a mirror of our own, but a mirror which is warped and unclear. Landmarks exist which ages ago toppled into dust; and in other places strange dwellings and buildings, which never existed in the world of men, are said to stand. Yet there is one thing all scholars of the Shadow Realm have agreed upon: it has become a much darker and dangerous place in the last few centuries. Initial writings were full of mystery and enchantment, a sort of hesitant curiosity that bore little fear or apprehension. Those few who have survived travels in that realm in recent years give terse or insane accounts of undead infestations and a bitter chill which saps the strength from the hearts of the most stalwart. Several have told of harrowing escapes from some nightmarish rider, mounted upon a giant steed of black with glowing eyes, who pursued them relentlessly back across the barriers between that world and this.