I'm submitting this test story below for consideration for the team:
Isle of the Forgotten - how that name rings of mystery. In Trepid's mind, the images of wonderment flowed at the sound of the name Isle of the Forgotten. Trepid had overheard the name mentioned here and there with no description attached to it. At first, he wondered how did such a place warrant a name so descriptive yet sworn to secrecy.
Trepid rhetorically asked, "How was it forgotten?" An answer quickly filled Trepid's mind of ancient beasts and creatures from an ancient time, before civilization, still lived and breathed, untouched and unchanged as though this were normal. If it isn't a place that time forgot then what was it? Trepid's mind flowed with ruins of castles and half burned houses, charred remains of a forests and blackened mountains.Was the region desolated because of great monsters that roamed the land? or the result of an angry God? or did warring races and/or monster cause the district to be abandon? or was it simply a frozen wasteland or a scorching desert where no living creature can survive?
Everytime Trepid heard Isle of the Forgotten mentioned, he felt it pull in his heart to explore, the way hunger pulls at the stomach to eat. The problem was there was no direction on how to get there. Trepid asked around about the location and was surprised to find that others had heard the name but nothing more. Undaunted, Trepid continued his investigation, until he finally skinned snippets of information here and there to piece together how to travel there and the clever entrance.
Trepid was up and ready at the start of the new day and excitement coarsed his blood at the idea of exploration. Trepid knew to make his way to Aeth Aelfan, though he didn't know how to get there. He had the impression that it wasn't too difficult to find and he could simply stumble his way there. Trepid quickly learned on his travel that he had packed too much and that almost every map had a place where he could keep his belongings stored. Upon arriving in Aeth Aelfan, storage was one of the first stops. The beauty of Aeth was breath taking and it was surprisingly warm. The other snippet of instruction he peeled from eves dropping was to walk North East to the entrance of Egratia point. Trepid was pleased that storage was his first stop because with no load he could truly enjoy the beauty of Aeth as he walked.
The North West entrance to Aeth in Egratia Point was much the same as Aeth except for old ruins laying near the entrance. Trepid's mind swimmed with images that mirrored Egratia of how Isle of the Forgotten must look. Then Trepid recalled to make his way South through Egratia to catch a boat to Iscalrith. As Trepid began walking, he heard terrible loud sounds, and immediately began to regret not wearing his armor and weapon to protect himself. Thankfully he saw the cyclop before the monster saw him and he weaved his way past the beast. It wasn't long before Trepid realized the place was crawling with cyclops and that all this weaving was prolonging the journey. The stark contrast shocked Trepid as the greenery ended and now all was naught but desert. Trepid continued to wind his way past the cyclops. Trepid began to feel heavy in his heart that the Isle was not some desolate place but a desert.
Having arrived by boat to Iscalrith, Trepid felt cheated by the information he deducted and maybe the information was designed to set him up to die, while the bearers of the intelligence sat in taverns having a toast at his demise. The very air itself seemed to bleed the life from Trepid. A treacherous thought crossed Trepid's mind, "I don't want to die trying to find some place or die in the area finding answers". Trepid now had regrets that Isle of the Forgotten was a frozen waste land wishing to kill him in a frozen statue and be a part of her forever. Maybe that was what Forgotten meant, the stolen souls of explorers who are now forgotten. However, Iscal was not barren, for there was a foul smell in the air that reeked of death. The rancid air brought with it the sound of a purposeful walk of a grim reaper. Trepid did not wait for the sound to get near to see what it was and he quickly detoured off to the side while hunting for a glimpse of this foul creature. Thankfully, the terrible yeti could be seen in a distance. Still, Trepid felt this sinister place would kill him long before any yeti could. Trepid fumbled his way to the storage arriving just barely clinging to life. In the cavern to the storage, Trepid could barely see a faint trace of mist from his breath. This indicated that it was cool in this place but compared to outside it felt like the warmth of Aeth. Trepid donned on some leather armor and immediately felt the thawing of his blood. The last piece of information that Trepid gleened from travellers is to go South from the storage of Iscalrith until you find an ancient home of the ancient people. Trepid wandered a bit and found the only location of that descriptive information and smiled amused at the word ancient.
Trepid entered and was both bewildered and amazed at a ray of light shimmering from the ground and up to the ceiling that filled the room with light. Trepid stepped into the blinding light that filled his every senses and he had the sensation of falling. When the light subsided, Trepid thought that he was still in the same place and that this was a trick. Disappointed Trepid stepped outside of the ancient home only to find a stunning truth - he was in Isle of the Forgotten. The first thought to cross Trepid's mind was, "have I travelled so long and far that it's now night? How could this be so because it felt only minutes?"
The Isle was remarkabley beautiful and Trepid set out to find out why this place was forgotten. Trepid could see the beautiful moon but it's light could not light the Island for the way it was seemingly glowing. It seemed that everything had it's own light that shone through it's pores. As dark as it was with a faint moon light, Trepid could still see everything as though it were day. Trepid headed directly West and he could hear the crunch of the snow beneath his feet and he could hear the crunch of the steps of the creatures that dwelled in this land. Yet, this forgotten place was eerily quiet. Even a small breeze seemed to whisper through with nary a trace that it flowed through at all. Maybe forgotten meant mind trick, "I'm here, but I'm not here". Trepid could hear the frozen wood crunch of an old wood bridge as he crossed. Trepid was about to investigate one of the dwellings when something caught his eye. It was odd that there was a window on the back of a fireplace chimney. It was just begging for inspection. What's more was that the window was not even sealed and Trepid could look down the inside of the chimney and see a ladder that went down to what he thought was a cellar. Trepid had thought that the chill in his blood upon entrance of Iscalrith was bad. This cave was a hundred times worse and the cold even ate the life out of the very marrow of his bones. Even more appalling was the sight of the arctic chimeran beelining directly too him as though the disturbance in the air was a ringing signal. This cellar cavern of death was too much and Trepid quickly exited. The surface now felt much warmer and the air fresher. Trepid marvelled at how resources like flowers grew in defiance of the cold as though it were summer. Trepid could even see what looked like a bouquet of roses shimmering under the shelter of a pine tree. It seemed like the roses lived in the sanctuary of the pine tree that embodied warmth. Trepid left unsatisfied that he did not find the answer to the name, "Isle of the Forgotten".
Trepid returned to the Isle many times seeking the answer to the word forgotten and discovered many of her secrets. Trepid's exploration revealed two possible reasons why this Isle is forgotten. One, it's always night here, there's no day. Two, there is a secret passage that leads to a hidden land called Tirnym Past. Tirnym Past is a wonderous beauty where no living creature dwells except for resources and residences. It seems as though you walked into mirror and seen what Ruins of Tirnym would have looked like if it were a thriving community. If anything, the name forgotten would be more aptly applied to Tirnym Past. Thus, the word forgotten, applied to the Isle maybe because Isle of the Forgotten is in some sort of cosmic time reef because of it's link to Tirnym Past, which may be why it's eternally night.
Written by Trepid