The Black Shroud (黒衣森 [kokue no mori] or 'black-clad forest' in Japanese) is the forest area of mid-Aldenard in Final Fantasy XIV. It surrounds the city of Gridania, and is also known as the Twelveswood (鎮守の森 [chinju no mori] or 'forest of guardian gods') or, simply, Tinolqa (ティノルカ [tinolqa]). The last of these is only used in conjunction with some product names, such as the popotos native to the region, and it is referred to as the Twelveswood mostly by the people born within the forest. It is known as the Black Shroud to everyone else.
The forest lies next to the region of Gyr Abania that is under imperial rule and has been since around 1557 when the city-state of Ala Mhigo fell to the imperials. To the north it's lined by the Xelshatoi region, while to the west lies Coerthas and the holy city of Ishgard. Furthermore, to the south-west lies the desolate region of Mor Dhona. Further to the south lies the Thanalan region, although it is unclear what areas one must go through to find it. It bears noting that the region is said to be enclosed by the Hedge, a wall of enchanted trees that protects the forest from intruders.
The forest is divided into five main areas, those of Central Forest (中央森林 [chuuou shinrin]), and its surrounding North, East, South and West Forests (北部 / 東部 / 南部 / 西部森林). While the people of Gridania live in the area, the forest itself is far from ruled by them. Instead, the people strive to live in harmony with the forest and its elementals, who are seen as equal to the forest's will. The moogles also live in the forest as its caretakers, and communication with the various and numerous elementals is partially handled by the Padjal who also rule the people of Gridania. Additionally, the beastman race of Sylphs also inhabit the forest, although they are these days on the verge of disappearance due to their few numbers.
As befitting its image as an enchanted forest, the Black Shroud gets a lot of sunshine as well as many rain- and thunder storms. The forest has plenty to offer in natural riches, most of these naturally wood and the pelts of its inhabitants, but also mining products such as silver and plenty of fish. Compared to the two other major city-states of Eorzea, however, the Gridanians live in relative poverty, taking only what they need of the forest.
The Central Shroud is located directly south and surrounding the souther portions of Gridania the city, and the Bentbranch camp is hardly a stone's throw away from the gates. The area has two lakes, those of Jadeite Flood and the Mirror, the latter located in the Five Hangs area and the former partially within the city itself.
In addition, the zone has the areas of Humblehearth and Sorrel Haven, and at the southern parts of the Bentbranch area there is the Tam-Tara Deepcroft.
The North Shroud is the end of the Lumberline, the north-south road that takes wood and furs both west to Ishgard and south to Ul'dah and beyond. Camp Emerald Moss is located right off the trade route, which also passes the Fallgourd Lake from close by. Emerald Moss also features the Mun-Tuy Cellars further in the area.
When venturing deeper into the North Shroud one can find the Hyrstmill hamlet, as well as the areas of Treespeak, Alder Springs (with its own lake, the Lake Tahtotl) and Lasthold, the last of which has the sacred (or cursed) area of Gelmorra ruins, into which no forestborn will venture.
East Shroud is the area closest to the war front, and in a way could be understood also as the deepest parts of the forest. It comprises almost entirely out of crisscrossing narrow paths, and the gaps between the paths are filled with deep waters or high rock formations, as well as veritable giants of trees. The main camp of the area is located just barely into the East Shroud, at Nine Ivies.
At the south-eastern part of the area you can find the Springripple lake, as well as the area of Larkscall, close to which the Hawthorne Hut can be found. To the north and west of the camp can be found Verdant Drop and Lynxpelt Patch. However, at the north-eastern portions of the area is the Moonspore Grove, the city of the Sylphs, and it has no aetherial gates nearby.
The South Shroud is divided into two by the Lumberline, the trade route south. The route itself is surrounded by the Tranquil Paths area, and the camp is located right off the route as well. Further north along the route from the camp can be found Buscarron's Fold.
When venturing east from the Lumberline one can find the Silent Arbor area where the Thousand Maws of Toto-Rak is located. Even further in, there is the hamlet of Quarrymill and the Rootslake, as well as the Longroot area to the south. West from the Lumberline can be found the Snakemolt area.
The West Shroud is away from the areas frequented by the peoples of Gridania, and is the area closest to Mor Dhona. The local camp is at Crimson Bark, and it's surrounded by Lichenweed to the north, Murmur Rills to the west and Turning Leaf to the south. The area also features many lakes, and clockwise from the bottom they are called Faerie Falls, Lilyswim Lake, Pixie Falls and the Crosswater.
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