The Forest of Silence and the Realm of the Silent King
This forest lies in the outlands, in the regions nearing the evil outer planes, tending slightly to a chaotic nature. At first glance it looks like a normal wood or dark green pines and a few other trees, though lacking any undergrowth, giving it the appearance of a wide and dark hall full of pillars. There are always hanging thin strands of silvery mist between the trees.
Those who enter the forest will quickly discover its true nature: the forest is always totally silent. Neither footsteps nor clanking weapons seem to produce any sound and the forest seems to be completely devoid of any of the sounds animals would produce. In fact, it is impossible to create any sound in this forest, even with magical means of any kind or strenght, with one exception: those entering can speak normally, although the words seem muffled and only carry a few feet before being swallowed by the eternal silence.
When carefully watching the forest, one might notice that it in fact has animals in it, although only one kind: Ravens. While at first visitors may spot a single, large raven sitting on a tree and visiting them with strange, green eyes, their number increases the deeper one enters until there are dozens or more of the birds silently watching from the treetops.
Anyone who spends more than an hour in the forest and goes in deep enough to lose sight of the surrounding plains will get lost in the endless forest. In fact, only those with a very strong will (DC 25) may discern that powerful magic, both illusion and enchantment, veils the way out of the forest and lures them deeper in.
In the center of the forest lays a small clearing. about ten steps across, the sky above which seems to be constantly dark and covered by thick, silvery mist through which only a few lonely stars can be seen. In the center of the clearing stands a large, white boulder, about as tall as a full-grown man. A small, clear spring of water flows from the top of the boulder down on all sides, forming a small but deep pond in front of it. Above the pond and covered by a thin film of water are blue carvings, slightly glowing in the starlight, which say in the sylvan language:
„Enter the water stranger, for it's gentle touch will heal your wounds and reveal to you the way to the other side, the realm of the Silent King.“
Anyone entering the water will indeed find that the water is enjoyable cool and slowly heals all wounds suffered, curing two points of damage per turn. He will also automatically discover a dark archway in the stone which wasn't visible before, which is in fact a one-way portal.
On the other side of the portal lies what appears to be a giant hall, with hundreds of pillars rising up from the ground and vanishing in a cloud of mist before a ceiling can be seen. No two collums are the same, some made from rare woods, others from blue, green, white or black stone, but all are carved into various shapes.
After a few moments the herald, one of the inhabitants of this place, will appear, without producing any sound as he approaches, to greet any newcomers. The herald looks like a very tall and slender elf, his skin snow-white, his hair black as the darkest night and his eyes of a bright green colour. In his hands he will carry a long staff of white wood with a black figurine depicting a raven on top. He will gently greet any newcomers in a whispered tone, asking them to accompany him to meet the king. If they agree, he will lead them out of the hallway to a smaller but still very large room of white marble. This room, the throne room, has high, slender windows, showing a dark forest in deepest night all around. In the middle of the room stands a huge throne of pure silver. On the throne sits a creature vaguely resembling an elf, but more than ten feet tall. The figure has skin in the bright, silvery colour of the moon and pitch-black hair, like the herald. He also sports long, black and feathery wings on his back, looking like those of a raven, and two long, black horns on his forehead. He wears a crown of mithril with three glowing stones in it, one blue, one green and one black and seems to be sleeping. After a few moments the herald will inform the visitors that the king is sleeping at the moment and will ask them to wait with their request to him, simply ignoring any objections of the visitors about not having any requests to the king or not wanting to wait. He will explain that they are now invited to join the feast, which is prepared in the next hall.
If the visitors follow him, they will find a large table with about two dozen creatures, male and female, but all similar to the herald in appearance, sitting on it and covered in food and drinks looking most delicious. After the meal the visitors will be offered quarters. If they decline, the herald will simply ignore and lead them to the quarters anyway, insisting that they will have to sleep here and wait until the king wakes up.
In fact, the Silent King is a powerful being born from the union of a mighty fey queen and a powerful fiend of unknown nature. Not much is known about him, except that a powerful curse was placed on both him and his realm. He will sleep forever and his realm forever stuck in the same routine, without any of the inhabitants registering this, just waiting for their king to wake up. Any visitors entering the realm will find it difficult to leave. The only apparent portal, the one they entered through, is one-way and other portals, even though they exist, are carefully hidden in the huge and confusing palace. Any question asked to the fey about this will yield the same answer: „Wait until the king wakes up, he will answer all your questions.“ In fact, after a certain time the visitors will start to like this place and in fact lose the will to leave it at all. Even after finding a portal, to be able to leave the place, a creature has to succeed on a will save of DC 15, which increases by +1 every time the creature spends a night in the realm or eats from one of the daily feasts. Whoever fails one of these saves is from then on totally indifferent as to whether he wants to leave or not and if they fail a second save they will even actively prevent being taken away from the place.
While any guests are still unable to create any sounds other than by talking, the fae are able to produce all sounds they want, including music. In fact it seems that everything originating from the realm isn't hindered by the silence in any way.
Many of the rooms in the palace have large windows, which seem to go lead out of the castle, but in fact none of them offers a way to escape. First of all, an excessive amount of strenght is needed to break one, as they seem as strong as massive wooden doors. The fae will politely ask any guests not to break the windows but wont physically stop them from doing so. After a few minutes they will forget that any window was ever broken. They will in fact ignore that one is damaged, except when explicitely told so and then act rather surprised.
Second, whoever actually jumps out of these windows will find out that they are one-way portals leading to a small, broken window about twenty feet above the floor of the courtyard with the divining pond (see below).
This is a place my players may soon discover in one of their campaings. In fact I used to play a warlock with both fey and fiend blood whose bloodline originated from this place, but due to the DM leaving the round I was forced to master it, so this character will have to go.