From the border to about a quarter of a mile in stretch perilous wetlands swarmed with every danger imaginable. Cypress roots and vines strangle the boggy earth, and it's difficult to keep oneself dry while traveling. Not an inch of sunshine manages to trickle through the dense canopy, and plenty of bramble thickets and ferns provide shelter for creatures hiding in wait. Where the swamp grows closer to the shoreline, the sea level drastically lowers, forming a murky lake home to plenty of mutated fish to catch as well as the elusive alligator or snapping turtle. The lake, despite being polluted with archaic garbage, provides the source for many of the flooded areas throughout the marsh, yet fails to be a trustworthy water source for the wildlife. The animals who drink the contaminated water either die of poisoning or produce offspring with sickly and bizarre mutations, many of which can be spotted throughout territory. However, many smaller ponds near the town have been purified by Tanglers recently, allowing for more drinkable water to be readily available. Along with the marsh's natural defenses, members of Tanglewood have been taught to rig snares and nets in the undergrowth, trapping invaders unfortunate enough to step into their traps. Occasionally, the marsh proves to be a rather scenic place, with countless lily pads, idle ponds, and willow trees found beyond the eerie groves and clustered ferns.THE FOREST:
The further in one travels, the steeper the ground becomes, until the marsh drains and allows the dense undergrowth to open into a boreal forest, a woodland mixed with interwoven oaks, birches, and spruces, along with dozens of other trees. The forest is not too gloomy compared to the rest of territory, yet still manages to cause bristling hackles at every warbling chirp or ominous hoot. Throughout the year, wilted grass and bracken cover the forest floor, broken only by slick moss. Decaying stumps and logs constantly block abandoned trails, creating dead ends that lead to nowhere, and after a while, the forest has grown into a pointless labyrinth. Sometimes it appears as if the forest is seemingly rearranging its clearings and features every time one turns their back, leaving strangers disorientated and even more. Small brooks and ponds uncontaminated by the marsh's pollution are often stumbled across and serve as the few landmarks to help navigate. Tanglers who have lived in the area long enough have typically learned their way around the forest, leading it to be a useful spot for hidden bases and stashes of valuables. The hollows and clearing bordering the edge of the woodland are where various herbs are most abundant, labeling Tanglewood as a hotspot for medical supplies. From here, the forest splits into a field filled with undisturbed insects and cowering prey. The grass is tall enough to engulf a grown wolf, and it too has numerous traps hidden among the waving sea of green, along with broken glass and other shards of shrapnel. On occasion, corpses stripped of any tissue can be found locked in place as if attempting to escape a rapid danger.THE SHORE:
Although the forest is safe from floods thanks to being nestled on a hill, the earth slopes back down into the swamp, though the water is no longer congested with mangroves and duckweed. The marsh opens up into an estuary teeming with catfish and razor grass lurking in the saline water; this is where the swamp merges with the nearby coast. Because of the sudden mix of salt and fresh water, dangerous currents are known to drag creatures under the surface and sweep them out to sea. The expanse of wading water has accumulated a shoreline of silt and dark pebbles at the delta's end, where crustaceans and water fowl are commonly hunted. Many Tanglers gather to escape from the humidity and swim for a while in the clean, clear waters. Tanglers made an effort to clean up this area to allow for a public beach to be opened; the old docks were also repaired and repainted, forming a perfect place to fish for more food.THE JUNKYARD:
A distance away from the abandoned town Tanglewood calls home, a scrapyard has survived the ages. Rusted machinery overgrown with ivy and broken household appliances make their city here, piling up into the sky and casting long shadows on the bare soil. No trees grow in the lot, and the entire junkyard has been fenced off with barbed wire. Fortunately, portions off the fence have degraded with time, allowing for the chain-link to be lifted up and slipped under with minimal scratches. It is here where members scavenge and loot for spare parts or man-made materials, although many are irreparable. No prey ever dares to step foot in the junkyard, allowing rats and crows free reign over the garbage.THE FARM:
On the opposite side of town from the junkyard lies a decrepit barn encircled by a field of rye and wheat that managed to thrive even without human caretakers. In stark contrast to the scrap heap that makes up the junkyard, the farm is abundant with mice and grasshoppers, often attracting visiting birds of prey along with the competing mutated wildlife. Yet the fellow predators don't just hunt after rodents -- they're after the remaining population of livestock still clinging to the farm. Escaping the after effects of radiation thanks to an untouched watering hole, the surviving farm animals broke down their pens and stables, and now freely roam the ranch, although they seem to be too afraid to venture any further. Taking advantage of the unprotected livestock, Tanglewood has claimed the farm as a food supply as well as for possible trade goods. The remaining creatures on the farm, either incapable or unwilling to communicate, can be found throughout the farm: goats, cattle, sheep, chickens, pigs, domesticated rabbits, and turkeys. THE CRATER:
Towards the darkest corners of territory, a massive crater has practically dented the earth from a speculated source. Whatever it was, nothing has ever grown there since, and only skeletons of charred and slanted trees still stand, nearly uprooted by the impact's blast. Fine dust is whipped into dust devils, and lone burnt bodies can be spotted on the horizon after all these years, still waiting to be rescued. It is advised to never travel to the crater alone, or at all even, for radiation is believed to still pulsated throughout the air there. Strangely enough, while one theory suggests that it was a human nuclear bomb that caused the crater, it itself is far too small and controlled to be explained by that disaster. Some delusional creatures preach that the moon was yanked down from the atmosphere and crashed into the land as punishment for mankind's sins, while others just try to forget that the crater ever existed at all. Recently, Tanglers worked to build a small mausoleum in this area to honor the dead. However, shortly afterward some angry spirits rose from cracks in the earth, leaving the shrine's fate unknown for the time being.
Smack dab in the middle of territory and guarded by the combined barrier of the swamp and forest lies a once-barren town that was previously overgrown with age and lichen. Though previously the town was in a distinct state of disrepair, recent efforts to renovate it have proven successful, leading the entire place to appear more tidy and presentable. Many buildings have been repaired and decorated again, looking much more lively than before. Flowers and other miscellaneous plants have been placed all around as well, adding a long-missed touch of color to the landscape. The town square is usually the center of action, mostly because the area is the least dense with flora. In the middle of the mossy square are the remains of what used to be a proud statue, now worn down to a pitiful marble blob. Due to its sheer convenience, the General uses the statue's base as a seat when giving announcements and conducting meetings. Inscribed at the statue's feet is a rusted nameplate, which reads "Tanglewood - the sanctuary for wayward souls". The Deathless Hound Tavern:
Renovated from the old mess hall within the town, The Deathless Hound serves as a center for both exciting social events and quiet gatherings, offering food and drink to those present. With two large wooden doors leading into it beneath an ornate wooden sign bearing the tavern's name, the tavern is a large building with two wooden pillars to both sides just inside, curved into the ground and into the roof with elementals. One of these pillars is carved with a pattern of various feathers, while one is carved with an ornate pattern of vines and flora. The bar is directly ahead of those coming in through the doors, with a large fireplace on the left wall and various swamp themed decorations on the right, including a large taxidermied gator. The main tavern floor has many large circular wooden tables scattered all around it, with plenty of room for eating, drinking, and playing games. With an abundance of game supplies kept behind the bar, members can often be found simply hanging around playing something casually. There are also two small back rooms, with one serving as a prey and drink storage area, and the other serving as a kitchen, where large meals can be prepared.The Windmill:
Close to the farm's edge and shielded by picket fences and thorns looms a decaying windmill whose fabric blades no longer able to rotate with the gusty weather. The inside of the machine smells like musty wood and grain, and discarded supplies are strewn about the stone floor for rats to feast upon. Even without the strength needed to complete its original function, the windmill has been repurposed into a storage unit where members may freely stockpile belongings and materials for safe keeping or later use, along with unneeded human tools and furniture from the town. The main door is sturdy and typically barricaded to deter thieves, but a keen eye may spot broken windows or bricks at ground level to slip in through. The Library:
Functioning as a lone, peaceful sanctuary within the territory, little has changed about the library since the years of humans claiming the town. Fancy leather-bound books line the ancient shelves, their spines almost too worn to quickly skim over the titles. An oak tree has broken through the weakened walls, hardly displacing the library at all as it grows into the ceiling. The library is small compared to others of its line, only managing two floors within its cramped space and only illuminated by opaque windows and various lanterns. Members are free to come and go as they please, making the library a popular location for idle chat and menial games, or for borrowing the countless books stacked all around. Despite its originally poor condition, the library has been cleaned up allowing for it to become far less of an eyesore and more of a proper building.The Cemetery:
Nestled on the outskirts of the abandoned town are the chained gates to a graveyard, a city of ivy-strangled tombstones and soot-stained mausoleums remain, filled to the brim with expensive coffins and fossilized corpses. Due to the waterlogged earth, bodies unable to afford above-ground caskets eventually float to the surface, becoming a meal for those brave and dumb enough to eat rotten flesh. In the safety of day, members can be seen lounging about and sunbathing on headstones and marble statues, and even leader gatherings are held here on rare occasions.The Bunkers:
Shelters were built beneath the town during a mass hysteria causing the previous population to believe the apocalypse was at their doorstep. The bunkers didn't save them in the end and now remain abandoned and collecting dust beneath the ground. The only way to enter and escape is through a sturdy hatch hidden within the library. Unless one prefers a subterranean lifestyle among roaches and vermin, the bunkers serve no purpose beyond holding captures and prisoners. No light is to be found down there beyond a personal torch or the occasional ceiling lamp, and the musty labyrinthine system reeks of expired rations and death.