Lurking in the strange, Black Forest that circles the entire perimeter of the Obsidian Grove live the Guardians. Coming in many peculiar shapes and sizes, it is rumored that they are conscious embodiments of nature itself. Aside from this, very little is known about these mysterious, ancient beings, as it is impossible for anyone to enter the Black Forest without having their grip on reality start to slip away from them. Those who have managed to make brief contact leave with the impression that the Guardians aren’t keen on having anyone wander into their territory, but at least they are usually kind enough to send the poor souls back alive, even if their minds may never be the same again.
Though all guardians are unique, there are certain traits that apply to the majority of guardians and define the type of experience one has with them:
Amsu, the Warden
Along the edges of the Obsidian Grove grows the impenetrable Black Forest - an endless expanse of dark, twisting trees that few dare to even set foot in. For if you do, something inexplicable takes hold in your mind, eroding your grip on reality. Still, some try to find a way inside, chasing rumours of secret corridors where this force has less power. It is in one of these weakened pathways that Amsu stands guard. His towering, foreboding presence and piercing gaze are usually enough to send even the most dauntless adventurers back from whence they came. But if that is not enough to deter them, he often leaves it to his brother, Bahmit, to deal with. For if Amsu should ever feel the need to move from his post, he will make sure the interloper realizes that the risks of satisfying their curiosity far outweigh the rewards.
Bahmit, the Shepherd
Along the edges of the Obsidian Grove grows the impenetrable Black Forest - an endless expanse of dark, twisting trees that few dare to even set foot in. For if you do, something inexplicable takes hold in your mind, eroding your grip on reality. Still, some try to find a way inside, chasing rumours of secret corridors where this force has less power. It is in one of those weakened pathways that Bahmit patrols. Nimbly he navigates the gnarled trees searching for those who foolishly enter his territory, his massive frame never hindering his frightening speed. Though most flee at the sight of his brother, Amsu, some find the nerve to sneak past him. It is those that Bahmit takes great delight in chasing down and putting the fear of the Forest into them.
Helioz, the Undying Blade
Roaming along the edges of the Black Forest is a colossal figure of twisted bones, adorned in withered armor that has seen both battle and the passage of time. Helioz, the Undying Blade, was rumoured to have once been a human warrior of magnificent skill and a will so strong that he was able travel deeper into the Black Forest than any ordinary creature had gone before. Though his mind and body eventually succumbed to the Forest's strange magic, his fighting spirit was never defeated. Driven by this lone instinct, Helioz returned to the edge of the Forest and looks into the Grove, waiting for worthy opponents to accept his silent challenge. None have yet managed to free Helioz from his mortal coil, but he honours the best, subsuming their body and soul and carrying them onto the next battle.
Molai, the Fungal Shield
It is said that the Obsidian Grove has a distinct pulse; a unique, organic rhythm only felt and understood by nature itself. This harmonious song remained unchanged for thousands of years, but then the soft rumblings of a discordant sound began to play, indicating a subtle shift in this delicate balance. At first, nothing was done. Nature usually has a way of self-correcting disharmony. However, this dark, alien melody continued to grow, becoming too loud to simply ignore. And so, the Black Forest responded. Its answer was Molai, the Fungal Shield. A champion forged by the will of the Forest and given a form more akin to man than any other Guardian before him. His purpose was simple - investigate, and if necessary, exterminate the foreign threat. With his commands set he left his birthplace, embarking on a mission that few would ever know was happening, but would leave a lasting impact on every single creature of the Grove should he fail.
Ysala, Queen of the Hunt
Like an island in the sea, the Obsidian Grove is surrounded by the strange and mysterious Black Forest. Two distinct environments whose harmony is only preserved through careful separation. Assisting the Guardians in this cause is Ysala - a very special Elderbeast who boasts a sentience beyond mere animalistic cunning. Tasked with keeping her brethren within the Black Forest, she tirelessly patrols the edges of the Grove with her three skeletal wolves, using whatever means necessary to achieve her ends. Whether she is driven by duty or simply an unwavering addiction to the thrill of the hunt is unknown, but there is no doubt of her efficacy. In exchange for her assistance the Guardians turn a blind eye to her occasional foray into the Grove to hunt the incredible magical beasts at the heart of the demon and faerie territories. Though if she catches the scent of a kindred soul, another who embodies the hunter's spirit, she will take a moment and beckon them to join her for an exhilarating and dreamlike hunt of a lifetime.