The forest which fills the basin that makes up the majority of the Skarith Region, the Dark Wood sprawls from the eastern border of the Crystal Sea to the western foot of the Grottan Mountains. It is fed by the Black River and its terrain ranges from broad-leafed woodlands to bogs and marshy, overgrown swamps.
After the Crystal cracked and the Skeksis began experimenting with its power, the Dark Wood became a more dangerous and menacing place. As the Crystal darkened the land, the Dark Wood was the first to be affected. Eventually, near the end of the Age of Division, hardly anything was left of this once lush wood – replaced by a barren, darkened wasteland that surrounded the Castle of the Crystal.
At the northern border of the Great Wood, the Black River travels through a wide, rocky ravine called Namopo Valley. Because it was heavily protected and the cliffs were easy to carve, many Gelfling fled here during the Garthim Wars.
Olyeka-Staba, the Cradle Tree
A large tree stands in the western region of the Dark Wood, bigger and older than any of the other trees in the forest. This is Olyeka-Staba, the Cradle Tree – rumored to be the tree from which the entire forest originates.
The second largest Gelfling village and the hometown of the proud Stonewood clan, Stone-in-the-Wood was also the hometown of the legendary Gelfling hero Jarra-Jen. The village was built around a large mound of boulders and rocks, overgrown with moss, trees, roots, and other forest greenery. Houses were built into the nooks and crannies of the mound, either made in the dens created by the rocks or built into the trees that now grow among the stones. At the top of the rock mount are talking stones: tablets and walls dream-etched with the legends and folklore of the Stonewood clan.