Almost as soon as she entered the forest, all light from the outside world vanished. Odwyn paused and glanced over her shoulder. Despite only being a few trees in from the border, she could not see anything of the plains she had just left behind. She looked up. The canopy overhead looked like a solid blanket of black leaves. Even if clouds weren’t covering the sky, it didn’t look as though the canopy would allow any sort of light through.
As her eyes slowly adjusted to the intense darkness of the forest, Odwyn looked around nervously, fluttering her wings a little, although they were of little use to her among the trees. The only forests she knew were small, sparsely populated by short, gnarled trees, bent over almost double from the force of the mountain winds. Certainly nothing like the massive, ancient timbers surrounding her. Even the undergrowth, like a dark, bristling pelt coating the forest floor, was much thicker than anything she had seen in Svanrike.
And then there was the silence.
Even at the top of the most deserted peak in Svanrike, there was noise. The wind whistled and howled and sang through the rocks. Bird calls echoed off the cliffs. Dragons roared in the distance.
Here, there was nothing.
—excerpt from Nostos
Ah, the Black Forest. Harry Potter’s Forbidden Forest on steroids. I was initially inspired by the real-life Black Forest in Germany. Not entirely sure why, as Germany’s Schwarzwald is a wonderful place to visit and the fact that it’s home to the Grimm Brothers fairy tales is probably the most sinister thing about it (have you read some of those tales recently?). It’s also home to top notch spas and beautiful cuckoo clocks.
My ‘Black Forest’, or Éomarun as it is known to its residents, is much less inviting. Ancient trees grown close enough that the sun cannot reach the forest floor, mysterious creatures forgotten by the rest of the world lurking in the shadows…it’s not the most hospitable place. Unless you’re an Éomarisc dragon (like Sann!). You’re born and raised in the Forest, you’re not bothered by the monsters and ghosts that haunt the woods.
But I wanted Éomarun to be more than just a ‘spoopy’ set piece. I wanted to create a living, viable society within an unusual setting. Made for some interesting research. I’m sure the FBI agent keeping an eye on my internet history has some concerns. So enjoy the fruits of my somewhat questionable research: Éomarun.