On the outside, the Rosewood is a beautiful, idyllic woods, filled with lush, green trees and the numerous roses for which it gets its name. For well over a century, this is all the Rosewood was. Some dangers lay amongst the trees – redcaps, sprites, the occasional nymph – but for the most part, it was largely harmless. Even the most superstitious of folk didn’t believe that the stories of the Lady of Roses held any weight to them, and any who claimed to see a woman, masked and covered in white roses and vines, was admonished for being drunk and over imaginative.
That changed with the fall of Kegate. A village located on the outskirts of the Rosewood, Kegate was in the midst of celebrating Mayor Bexley’s marriage when a flurry of rose petals swept over the village square. Next, thick, thorny vines broke up through the packed earth, smashing through walls and wounding any who drew too close. The Lady of Roses herself appeared as vines caught and twisted around the Mayor, before the pair vanished in yet another swarm of petals. The vines still infest the village, many of its buildings damaged or destroyed during their arrival, and many of the residents have since fled to Baford and the Icecrown Outpost.
Outwardly, the Rosewood seems unchanged. Some claim that there are more roses growing thick amongst the trees, or that their thorns grow longer, sharper, but otherwise, to look upon, it seems as it always has.
To venture past the thickets that clutter its edges, though, is to step into the Lady’s domain. Trees shift and paths change when wanderers aren’t looking. The lush, green canopy at times blocks out all light, or invites the sun so it dazzles those who venture along the paths. The wildlife has become fierce and aggressive, the forms of deer, rabbits, wolves quite as remembered: more angular, sometimes even tangled with rose vines yet seemingly unhindered.
The Heart Grove
At the centre of the Rosewood lies the Heart Grove, the true home of the Lady of Roses. To find the grove is nigh impossible, the paths twisted and tricky and constantly changing just out of sight. Thorns reach out and scratch at any who venture too close, and it is rumoured that the blood these thorns draw allows the Lady to sense a person’s movement, wherever they go within the Rosewood.
Should one make it to the Heart Grove, they come face to face with the arch fey herself. Face hidden with a mask of white ash, the Lady of Roses is at once beautiful and fearsome. What might have once been a woman’s slender frame is now made partially of vines coiled tightly together, a dress of white roses covering her from the neck down, though where legs might’ve once been is now an immense, tangled tower of thick, thorny vines.