Songstress Forest—South

In a subtropical glade, faraway blue mountains and closer yellow-green trees, behind which stands an imposing ruin, frame a central, pink-flowered tree.


The Songstress Forest—South carries with it a very long, and equally dark, history. Unlike the northern reaches of the Songstress Forest, large elven populations in this region survived the Ascension of Auhel. With time, these evolved into the moon-elven Pheralen of Feyfall, the dark elves of Jêr Avodreye, and the continuance of the nomadic wild elves of the western forest. Of all the regions of Central Fao, this area is the least directly dominated by the interests of humans, who have only one major settlement within its bounds: the Hyashan Sojourns’ Dawnveil Reach, at the forest’s southeastern edge.

In the middle of the region there burns a protracted war between the cities of Feyfall and Jêr Avodreye. For the Pheralen of Feyfall, it is a struggle for survival amidst the constant threat of famine; for Jêr Avodreye, it is a competition in drawn-out cruelty—and, behind the scenes, it serves as a proxy war of sorts between the Lith Ascendancy and the Nighthuntress Realm.

There is a third way in the forest, however: the anarchist peoples of Alaraslan, within the western forest’s Path of Amity. Originally these areas were the home of nearly only the nomadic wild-elven populations, but during and after the Incursion, many refugees joined them in their lands. These times were fraught with a degree of strife, but the Path of Amity has since become a strongly anti-authoritarian network of all elves, as well as orcs, tieflings, trolls, and humans.

Atlas of Central Fao, Songstress Forest—South


If I tend to hand-paint overwhelm, I tend to matte-paint calm, and the process of this piece reflects that pretty well. Much of the work was in designing the composition, which I did by sketching out where I wanted things to go, blocking out the shapes, and then photo-texturing from there. The lighting was the most fun thing; I’ve always enjoyed midground lighting with foreground shadows for depth and drama, and painting that in was both relaxing and fulfilling.