The Clutch of Verthandi
The leagues of scorched red earth that make up much of northern Iladia are known as the Scarred Hills. Once a lush meadow, the hills became the primary battlefield for the Mystic War, which led to The Cataclysm. The devastating arcane fallout scoured the hills, leaving a massive swath of arid, accursed land covered with brown crabgrass, thorny scrub, and gnarled thickets, with dirt the color of dried blood and jagged rock formations dominating the landscape. Rumors abound of restless spirits wandering through the hills and hunting the living, but few have proven to be true. A number of magical beasts have eked out a living among the Scarred Hills, and the treacherous bluffs and caves make the hills a perfect haven for bandits, gnolls, and even more savage predators.
The Scarred Hills have never been accurately mapped, partly because of hostile wildlife and partly because the cursed land seems to possess a dark will of its own. Those few who do return with maps or surveys often prove incorrect, incomplete, or simply insane. Many locals believe that the hills are infused with fell magic – the shadow of the Cataclysm – that fights all attempts to tame or chart the wild terrain, even going so far as to betray existing maps by moving the hills and valleys themselves.