Lively Locals 1: Maeglen Valley

A stunning picture of a valley--even if it has no fruit trees. Source: MyConfinedSpace.comAnyone whose been to Maeglen Valley will tell you: once you’ve stood amongst the the valley’s trees, and heard the music of the wind in their branches, something inside of you changes. Plants outside Maeglen never look quite as green as they once did, and the taste of fruit never seems as sweet as it should.

But no one ever regrets the experience.

Maeglen Valley is cradled between two large hills, deep within the forest. It is said that one of the powerful gods of nature was born there, but no one can agree on which one, or how that ascension took place. Some say the god’s mortal life ended violently in the center of the valley, and that their divine blood still fertilizes the soil. Others argue that the valley is the location of the very first tree in all the world, and that the god was once a Dryad bonded to that tree. Most druids maintain that the fertility of the valley is its natural state. They say it was so powerful when time began, that their god grew there, as a plant might.

Truth be told, no one really knows what they’re talking about, because nobody has been there more than once. Part of the magic of the valley prevents anyone who has memories of Maeglen from ever finding its location a second time. Those who seek it have tried to create maps, leave trails, or even travel with a guide who has never been to the valley before. Everyone who has been there once wants to go back, but so far no one has ever succeeded.

Aside from being a place of indescribable beauty, Maeglen valley is possessed of immense natural magical. A seed planted there will fully bloom within days, and will thrive regardless of its natural habitat. Even those most learned and widely traveled druids who make a pilgrimage to Maeglen Valley will find numerous species of plants there which they’ve never encountered before. Most treasured of all, and the reason why many seek the valley in the first place, are its legendary fruits. Many of the plants within the valley bear fruit, some familiar, some completely otherworldly. Each has a powerful effect on any who eat it. Some fruits cure disease, or close wounds. Others strengthen the body or mind, while a few even bestow hidden knowledge.

Many who taste these fruits are overwhelmed by the experience. Not only is the fruit’s flavor unlike anything they’ve ever eaten, but the elation which is felt as the magic takes hold has sometimes been described as addictive. Almost everyone eats a second piece of fruit, some eat a third. Those who don’t know the fruit’s dangers often eat a fourth or a fifth. The number of fruit a which can be eaten is different for everyone, but without moderation the result is always the same. Eventually the fruit sours in the glutton’s stomach, leading to painful vomiting. Anyone who reaches this point will lose all the benefits the fruit had bestowed upon them up tot hat point, and will find all fruit completely unpalatable for the rest of their lives. Often in the valley’s history, enterprising adventurers have tried to take as much fruit as they could with them. Even if they can’t eat it, they imagine they can sell it for an exorbitant price. Unfortunately, the fruit of Maeglen Valley becomes virulently poisonous the moment the valley is out of sight.

Being within the valley also has a strong effect on magical spells. Any spell which would harm the plant life within the valley, such as fire, acid, or necrotic spells, has its effects reduced to about 25% of normal. And any damage to the plants from such spells is healed within minutes. Conversely, natural spells such as those cast by druids are twice as effective as they are normally.

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