Welcome to the Barrens.
Although life is possible in the Barrens, reproduction is not. A thousand years ago, the kingdom that existed here earned the ire of a goddess called Desmidora. She cursed that kingdom, so that no new life would ever begin within its borders. Within a generation that nameless kingdom was undone, its people scattered to the neighboring lands or beyond. Some became gypsies, roaming the West and the South, recounting the cautionary tale of the Barrens.
To this day no life can germinate within the Barrens. No seed will sprout. No bud will blossom. No
animal can conceive. The reason for the curse, the causitive issue remains unknown. Desmidora, like the kingdom she cursed, has fallen on hard times and is all but forgotten except by a few esoteric scholars. Despite her fall from grace, Desmidora's Curse remains in full force.
The Barrens are a quiet, almost empty region viewed with superstitious dread by the neighboring countries. Nevertheless, some people do live in the Barrens. Scavengers prowl the ruins, looking for anything of value they can resell. Theologians, scholars, sages and priests make the long trek to the Lonely Chapel, trying to divine the cause of Desmidora's Curse. In the Fallows, silver is mined by small groups of prospectors. Merchant caravans cross the cursed kingdom, rather than travel around it, and boatman travel regularly along the Tearful River. Misanthropes and hermits make their homes in the wilderness, as do outcasts and fugitives. Those of a more social bent gather in the region's two settlements, Stillwater and River's Edge.
The inhabitants of the Barrens are mostly there by choice. They are hardy and self-sufficient. Some are mad. Most are odd. None should be dismissed out of hand.