The Unkempt Warders Vol. I-V
This work details little of the unknown ancient legends and history of the Unkempt Warders. All text is factual, though many parts of this history are missing. The Writ of the Wild, the ancient tome from which I have gathered much of this information, is lost to me and the world for now.
I give this warning and note to all who read these words: do not use this information as a catalyst to pursue the Unkempt Woods or the people who dwell there. This work is done out of fervent respect for the Unkempt people and the bestial folk who have called this region home since before the time of the elves. Their story is great and one that should not go unheard. Do not disrupt these unique people who have mastered the true harmony of existence within the natural order of birth, destruction, chaos, and order.
In any case, those who dare to trek within the unkempt's territory will find themselves greeted with passionate virulence. Even if you believe yourself one of the purest druids of the Mother of All's modern followers, the woods are not a domain for you to dwell. Leave it be - for your sake and for the sake of the last pure forest to grace the face of Norrath since the destruction of the Elddar.
The Unkempt Wood - Valley of the Dawn
Nestled in ancient mystery and untold secrecy within the topmost regions of the Underfoot, beneath the Unkempt Wood, resides a mystic place known as the Valley of the Dawn. This haven of wildling beast-folk was constructed in the unknown past, concealed from the keepers of Norrath's history by the blessings of chance.
The Valley of the Dawn was constructed before the time of man, perhaps even before the time of the elves. The bestial-folk knowns as the Tribes of the Dawn and Moon took haven on the surface of Norrath, comfortable and nestled within the confines of the dank, dark, and strangely beautiful redwood forest now known as the Unkempt Wood. As the solar and lunar tribes established themselves as fierce warriors and guardians of the natural world that they revere as sacred above all else, the tribes built the Valley of the Dawn - a complex and beautiful subterranean citadel dedicated to the laws of the wild that these beings protect.
Within the first era of man, when great civilizations and cultures were still in the far distance of time, a nomadic tribe of humans stumbled upon the redwood forest. The Tribes of the Dawn and the Moon were curious, although they did not interfere with the humans' initial presence. When the humans showed themselves to be intelligent beings that wished for nothing other than their own survival, the tribes approached.
It was the Gihjna that the humans first encountered - the ursine behemoths whom represent the side of life and creation in the cycle of nature and comprised the solar Tribe of the Dawn. The gentle, although wary Gihjna interacted with the human tribe over the course of a single year and in that time, the Gihjna lent their knowledge and beliefs to the curious and eager humans. The Lujien - wolf-life creatures that embody destruction, death, and the inherent chaos of the wild and comprise the lunar Tribe of the Moon - never did show themselves at this historic moment, despite their shared curiosity with their ursine brethren.
The nomads settled within the forest and adapted themselves to the ways of nature and the wild as the Gihjna had taught them. They were fledgling in their beginnings as primordial wardens of the wild, although their magical gifts were few and almost vulgar, for all they had learned was from the Gihjna, whose spirits are more tightly bound to the natural world than any human or elf.
A generation would pass before the elves of Tunaria would find the majestic redwood forest. When the day arrived that a small band of scouts from the Elddar Forest found the untouched beauty of this rugged wilderness, the human nomads reacted as the Gihjna had greeted their ancestors'. The elves were not receptive to the warm welcome that the humans extended, all but one - an elven druid by the name of Wegadas. He was curious about the human settlers, and even more curious to find that there were no man-made structures to deteriorate the life force of the forest that he felt so strongly.
Wegadas accepted the humans' hospitality and despite the language barrier separating them, Wegadas quickly learned that these humans lived in harmony with the forest, and likely had for some time. Their intense geographical knowledge of the region was precise and what little bit Wegadas had to observe, he took note of the harmony in which the humans shared with their habitat. He was reminded much of the primordial elves - in the times before Takish'Hiz and the establishment of the great empire his people had come to be.
Wegadas' elven companions were entranced with the dank, gloomy treasure they had found. They were lured by the gentle song of the forests' spirit, a song that any elf's spirit would easily hear, and bewitched by the purity and strength of the uncorrupted and untouched spiritual life and strength of the wood.
After a day of intense scouting and brief interaction with the peaceful human tribe, the elves reunited with their brother and spoke of their need to have this forest for the Takish'Hiz Empire. Wegadas spoke out against his fellow elves, he did not wish to drive the humans from their home, for they live with it in a way parallel to the elves' own cultural ways. He felt that the humans could be brought to the ways of the elves and the forest could, with the aid of the Elven Empire, thrive onits own and remain pure, emerald jewel of wilderness that they stood within. There was no need to reave this home from the tribe, for they lived only in harmony with the wild and balance of nature.
The superior in the group, a wanderer by the name of Kuvriathan, objected to Wegadas argument and sent him back to Takish'Hiz with instructions to report their discovery. The druid departed his party's side obediantly, but did not leave the forest boundaries. The elves then tried to herd the humans out of this forest in attempt to cleanse it of the tribal presence and the taint they believed the humans would inevitably bring - for these elves had seen the fledgling foundation of the eastern costal cities and knew the destruction this race was capable of on a whim. The wary Gihjna and Lujien immediate interfered, having watched the elves since their arrival. Unsuspecting of the fierce and powerful guardians of the woodland, the elves were taken unaware. All but one of the elven party were destroyed - Wegadas.
When the Lujien came for him, he presented himself unarmed and willingly, despite the human pleas for him to go and not incur the wrath of the guardians that had allowed them haven in the woods. The Lujien halted their advancement when they saw the plight of their accepted human guests to spare the elf's life. It was their pack leader, an elder Lujien warrior known to the human tribe as Udos-Ehai Digowa (Fang of the Shadow in the common tongue),that approached Wegadas and sunk his great maw into the elf's shoulder, but did not kill him. The Lujien spoke in voiceless words to the elf, a conversation that would later be written in the Writ of the Wild, a sacred text that dictates the history and code of the Unkempt Warders.
Udos-Ehai Digowa commanded the druid to remain in the forest and share with the humans his magics and ways. If ever the druid should attempt to flee the forest confines, the Tribe of the Moon would kill him, for they are always watching. However, Wegadas was not to corrupt the knowledge and ways that Gihjna had taught the humans. Wegadas agreed without argument and the Lujien pack faded silently into the shadows, leaving the wounded elf to the human tribe to fulfill the demands that would guarantee his continued life.
Wegadas learned the language of the humans to perfection in his first fornight. With communication established, Wegadas learned the ways that the Gihjna had taught the humans - finding them intriguing and immediately adapting them as his own for the sake of the people now in his care and in respect to the native bestial tribes that spared his life.
Over the first years, Wegadas taught the human tribe the ways of the wildnerness - he spoke to them of Tunare, The Mother Of All; the great goddess of growth and nature. He taught them how to pay their respects to his own goddess without prayer or sacrifice - only that they must respect the power of the natural world, for as it had given them life; it can just as easily and without warning take it from them. This is a law that should be neither feared nor hated but one that is given the respect of an inevitable reality and one that cannot be altered by steel or mind.
The humans clung to Wegadas' liberal preaching and lessons, embracing the matron goddess of growth as their own. Soon thereafter, the humans would learn the ways of the druid - adapting and wielding the magics that Wegadas taught them, and that they taught themselves at an exceptional rate. Rangers would be the first of the master adepts, however, for the magic within them was less than their druid compatriots and the ferocity of the wild had already been established in their ways.
As the human tribe became established, Udos-Ehai Digowa and the Gihjna elder, Etsi Agal-Iha (Mother of the Light) returned to the human tribe. The tribes of the Dawn and Moon established the laws of the wild: none of Wegadas' tribe was to leave the forest, and if they attempted to do so, they would be killed. They were children of the wild now, and their attempts to see the outside world would corrupt them. The Tribes of the Dawn and Moon also established that all who entered the forest would be driven out or destroyed at the discretion of Wegadas and the tribe.
The third law was that the Lujien and Gihjna would remain out of the human tribe's affairs - so long as they maintained the order the Gihjna had given the generations past, and that they did not stray from their duties to the forest that has accepted them as its children.
The laws were agreed upon with Wegadas' leadership, for the human tribe trusted his wisdom and guidance explicitly. Satisfied, the solar and lunar tribes departed, although their eyes never strayed from their human guests.
It was in those first years that Wegadas' intrigue with the humans grew to tightly woven kinship. Slowly, he released his grip on his elven life and embraced the feldgling existence and culture that he was instrumental in fathering. The elven druid was Fier'Dal no more, his brethren were no longer human - they were all children of the wild and it was then that Wegadas learned a true peace.
Finding his true purpose and never longing for the life he abandoned, Wegadas would spend nearly a century composing what would become the most revered and sacred of relics to the homid tribe of the redwood forest - the Writ of the Wild.
This sacred tome detailed Wegadas' rebirth into the wilderness per his own perspective, as well as the laws that he had established and his people followed. The tome also detailed the Lujien and Gihjna culture and their ancient tales and religion that Wegadas had been privy to in the several centuries he dwelled among them.
Wegadas would find several mates in his lifetime among the human tribe and be father to over a dozen children - half elven children. The last of his children and only daughter would be named Elaryness.
Shortly after the birth of his final child, nearly four centuries after establishing the Writ of the Wild and guiding his brethren through their newfound ways, Wegadas was old and weary and heard the distinct call of the forest - beckoning him to fulfill his own cylce of life. The old druid would pass into the wilderness forever at a site that would later become the most sacred site of the unkempt tribe.
Wegadas' body was not buries, nor was it touched by the wild creatures of the forest. He is said to have melded intothe earth, and from his reclaimed flesh and spirit, a great willow grew - the Weeping Willow of Tunare. The ancient tales of the human tribe would say that the willow was a gift to Wegadas' children and brethren from Tunare herself. As she reclaimed his old spirit, the Mother of All felt the great loss that the umkempt tribe suffered with Wegadas' passing and listened to their wordless prayer as they said their farewells to the beloved leader. In her appreciation for the human tribe's devotion to her and in honor of her missionary, Wegadas, she molded his spirit and essence into the great, beautiful willow that eternally weeps the tears of joy and sorrow of the tribe.
With her father's passing and the appearance of the great willow, Elaryness, the only daughter of Wegadas, would rightfully challenge four others - two of whom were her half-brothers- who had made the declaration for leadership in Wegadas' stead. The brutal, ceremonial battles would last days at a time, where those who vied for leadership would hunt one another throughout the whole expanse of the woods. Elaryness would destroy her challengers and the tribe, now beneath her rule, would move their bodies to the very location where Wegadas himself had laid to final rest. These brutal and oftentimes savage hunts (dictated by the hunters' primordial instincts) are law amongst the Unkempt Warders, for it is the law of the wild - the strongest lead whilst the weakest follow, though none are whole without the other.
Elaryness would be declared the first Hierophant of the Unkempt Warders. It was also Elaryness who would establish the Shrine of Tunare, in memory of her father and to fulfill the debt that she felt her entire tribe owed to the Mother of All for her gift of Wegadas, and the weeping willow.
For several more generations, the Unkempt Warders would flourish and hold true to their vows to the Lujien and Gihjna tribes. However, it would be the settlement of the Jaggedpine forest that would render the peace and harmonious existence of the Unkempt to one of strife and true ferocity to uphold their promise and ways.
When human settlers dedicated to the ways of Karana established themselves in the Jaggedpine forest and began to explore the surrounding areas, the unkempt were revealed to the rest of Norrath in flurry of brutal attacks upon any whom entered their territory. Eventually, the Jaggedpine would seal off its entry to the Unkempt Wood, leaving the feral tribe to its own - preserving their own existence and maintaining their ways.
For years after, the Unkempt seemed to be again at peace. They managed to convert several of the Jaggedpine settlers to their ways before entry was impossible, as well as a few of the scarcely wandering elves who stumbled into the unkempt territory as the years passed both prior and after Wegadas' death.
Now, they are again in unknown and unspoken turmoil. The Writ of the Wild, the sacred tome of the Unkempt, has been lost. Their ancient vows to the Lujien and Gihjna tribes prevent them from seeking the tome beyond the forest boundaries. The better judgement of the Gihjna elders lean away from searching for material possession - for the unkempt know the tome by heart, and they may continue its life and purpose through voice and lessons, as Wegadas had originally intended.