Difonix: Living Zimerhelq
Located on the northeast border of the Teutonic nation of Zimerhelq (King’s Castle in the common tongue), the forest is the province of the Ulurassal elves who guard the borders of the forest with all the xenophobic zealousness they are renowned for. Why the wild elves have proven to be so adamant about outsiders not entering their forest realm has been the subject of much speculation, especially when access is denied to their high and drow cousins.
The forest is mostly comprised of hardwoods of common varieties across the northern hemisphere: oaks, hickories, maples, and chestnuts. The forest also has fair number of conifer species of the pine variety along with a number of cypresses. Some of the pines, in particular the northern white pine, makes for fine masts and are highly prized among the shipwright guilds from Oa’xocoa to Deepwater. The forest is best known throughout the northern continent of Cafferrix for the unique species of tree that grows within its borders: Papaver ulurassa, also known as the Ulurassal tree poppy.
The Ulurassal tree poppy is an anomaly among the poppy species that are found upon Difonix. While other tree species of poppy are well known, especially within the realms of elves, the Ulurassal species is the only one known to produce the opium drug so highly sought out by the world that does not produce adverse side effects and addiction. The drugs derived from the Ulurassal poppy have well documented alchemical uses, yet most importantly for the Ulurassal elves, it is the recreational use of the opium drug that assures the wild elves of a monopoly in the ‘safe’ drug trade throughout all of Difonix. Many races, in particular the halflings of Poota Beli, try to enter the forest to steal poppy pods from the few mature Papaver ulurassa the elves have admitted to existing. Unfortunately for most thieves, the elves guard their borders with ruthless efficiency; worse still, the Ulurassal poppy trees do not reach fruiting maturity until they’ve been living for five centuries. Stealing the seeds of the plant to grow elsewhere will not yield a speculative harvest for many human or halfling generations even if they growing conditions of the Ulurassal could be duplicated elsewhere.
The Ulurassal elves waged a long war against the humans of Zimerhelq many generations ago. The trees of the Ulurassal were too tempting a resource not to be exploited by the men and women that owed their lives to Odin and his fellow gods. After countless souls were lost on both sides of the fight, an impasse was reached with a treaty that blossomed from the cease fire: 1,250 square miles of the forest were leased to the humans for use for timber as long as the harvests were sustainable. Elven druids were assigned to the leased lands to act as stewards to assure the treaty was upheld; otherwise the elves would take the lands back regardless of the bloodshed required. The one mature Ulurassal tree poppy known to grown in the area was burned to the stump by the elves to assure the humans wouldn’t tap into their monopoly.
Since those dark times the humans of Zimerhelq have avoided drawing the ire of the Ulurassal elves. In reality there were greater threats on their borders, namely the giants of the Moss and Thermal Mountains, which made the elves more useful as allies. The dwarves of the Thermals showed no interest in the elves of the Ulurassal, content with their precious metals, gems and dwarven spirits.