The Tangled Trees was one of the four old elven communities of Cormanthyr (the others were the Elven Court, Myth Drannor, and Semberholme) in the great forest of Cormanthor. Hundreds of elves still occupied the area in the 14th century DR, but they were extremely hostile to outsiders and were likely to attack on sight. The elves of the Tangled Trees typically worshiped Rillifane Rallathil.
The village itself as large by the standards set after the Retreat in 1344 DR, though many of its residents were on patrols or otherwise wandering among the Tangled Vale along its networks of twisted paths and webbed throughways from connected tree forts to other platforms high in the branches. Its population was largely comprised of youngsters, adventurers, and others who did not join the Retreat. The village was once called Faelorin, though it was destroyed by the dragon Venom after its mate was slain. The rebuilt village became known as Tangled Trees.
Tangled Trees and its surrounding vale encompassed the Vale of Lost Voices to the north, and stretched east to Elven Court and southwest to the River Verire, though much of that territory was taken over by wyverns and the humans of the Dales. The territory was defined primarily by the twisted, tangled nature of the trees, a relic of the days of the dragon Venom, and was inhabited primarily by the green elves of Cormanthyr. Tangled Trees lay on a higher elevation than the rest of the forest, and was home to many valleys and hills from the river's run off. The River Duathamper was the primary water source for the realm's inhabitants.
Tangled Trees was comprised primarily of oaks, firs, and elms, though they were the twisted variety that rendered travel nearly impossible in some places. The central and southern areas were more thickly populated by the trees, while the area near Rauthauvyr's Road was thinner and home to more humans. Some oak trees in the area had canaries carved into them. The canary was believed by the local elves to be the favorite creature of Rillifane Rallathil (the work of Makk Fireseed), and these oaks had been turned into shrines. Their upper branches were often adorned with the skulls of anyone who was caught interfering with them and subsequently killed.
Tangled Trees remained home to a healthy population of deer, rabbits, and squirrels, though much of the former population was destroyed by the reign of Venom the dragon. The place used to be home to a large group of centaurs, though they fled east after the dragon came and never returned to the tangled woods.
The area known as Tangled Trees lay in the Tangled Vale, the woods south of Elven Court. The area was once called the Emerald Vale, and during the rise of Cormanthyr, it was home to a sparse few wild elves. The area came to the forefront of the elves' attention in the year -982 DR, when the woods and the hills of the area became inhabited by the great green dragon Venominhandar, or "Venom" for short, and his draconic followers. Venom was no ordinary dragon; the elves quickly recognized his startling intelligence, magic resistance (even to Elven High Magic), and his sway over the draconic forces he commanded, including young green and black dragons and many wyverns. What was worse, the dragon never seemed to sleep like others of his age and was never caught off guard.
Over the course of five hundred years, Venom repulsed attack after attack from the elves, and gained more and more territory with each retreat the elves were forced to follow. The dragon used his innate powers of warp wood to shift the trees in his domain, twisting them together and forming a tangled, resistant terrain that the elves had difficulty penetrating, and thus arose the name of "Tangled Vale". By -400 DR, his territory stretched to the River Verire to the south and west, and Old Elven Court to the north and east. Venom became a major threat to the elves and to Cormanthyr.
By -291 DR, the Cormanthyran army was spread out across the woods' northern borders, dealing with the Netherese exodus and survivor state conflicts from that nation, and thus could do little to fight Venom at the time. Green elves, growing frustrated with the army's lack of efforts in their homeland, were retiring from the Akh'Velahr and joining a resistance movement under the command of General Halflar Audark. For fifty years, Halflar led a crusade against the dragon, killing many of his minions in the time. In -249 DR, the General, along with 300 of his men, finally stormed the lair of the wyrm and slew it decisively, driving off many of its minions in the process. Swelling with victory, they marched back to Myth Drannor with the dragon's head, when disaster struck.
It turned out that the reason Venom was so alert was because he was in fact two dragons, a mated pair, thus also accounting for the amount of green wyrmlings in their command. Halflar had slain the female, and the male caught up with the general and slew his entire brigade. The place of death was henceforth known as the Vale of Lost Voices, and became a place to lay elven warriors to rest. Despite the dragon's revenge, the damage had been done. He grew older and his territory shrunk, before his end finally came in -206 DR. A moon elf warrior by the name of Jassin Aunglor, armed with a moonblade, entered his lair and attacked. After a great battle, the roof collapsed, and the dragon, Jassin, and the blade were never seen again.
After the fall of Venom, the elves slowly moved back into the woods, trying to undo the tangled effect on the trees to little avail. Eventually, with the raising of the Standing Stone in 1 DR, the elves gave much of the territory to the Dalesmen and carved a road through the forest to facilitate trade. It took two centuries after the Dales Compact, but eventually, the Tangled Vale became a habitable environment once again.
Tangled Trees was the only major settlement left in the area, and thus its name became used for the village as well as the entire vale or community. However, the area was once known to house other settlements, such as:
- Duathamper: Formerly a large village, it served as a military outpost for staging attacks on the dragon Venom. It once had a number of tunnels beneath it to serve as hide-aways for the soldiers and places for weapons caches. It traded heavily with Myth Drannor.
- Dysrisa: A small village whose residents were known for the skill with animal husbandry and was also a place to fetch rare berries and roots.
- Eerienne: A former village that served as a retreat for elves disillusioned with the empire of Cormanthyr, highly xenophobic and distrustful of outsiders.
- Faelorin: A small village that served as the staging point for General Halflar's attack on Venom the dragon. After the mate was slain, the other dragon destroyed the village almost entirely, despite the fact that it had been moved to the ground from the treetops to prevent aerial attack. After its ruin, elves did return to settle the area, and it became the spot for the present-day settlement of Tangled Trees.
- Sar-Andathl: A small military outpost once administrated by Tenyajn Haell, a general in the Cormanthyran army and considered one of the finest archers to ever live.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 124. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend and Kevin Melka (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. (TSR, Inc), p. 102. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Steven E. Schend and Kevin Melka (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. (TSR, Inc), p. 100. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend and Kevin Melka (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. (TSR, Inc), p. 101. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.
- ↑ James Butler, Elizabeth T. Danforth, Jean Rabe (September 1994). “Cormanthor”. In Karen S. Boomgarden ed. Elminster's Ecologies (TSR, Inc), p. 4. ISBN 1-5607-6917-3.
- ↑ Jeff Crook, Wil Upchurch, Eric L. Boyd (May 2005). Champions of Ruin. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 79. ISBN 0-7869-3692-4.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Steven E. Schend and Kevin Melka (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. (TSR, Inc), p. 98. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Steven E. Schend and Kevin Melka (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. (TSR, Inc), p. 99. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.
- ↑ Eric L. Boyd (April 2007). “Volo's Guide: Cormanthor: War Amidst the Trees”. In Erik Mona ed. Dragon #354 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 71.
- ↑ Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 153. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 Steven E. Schend and Kevin Melka (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. (TSR, Inc), pp. 101–102. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.