The Reborn Forest City
Among the mighty branches of the Madcap Forest rested the bulk of Old Gaiapod, the forest city. The city maintained a primary entrance at ground level, near the shores of Liferoot Lake but quickly rose up and blossomed out. The soaring branches of centuries old Madcap Oaks cradled homes recycled from the natural debris of the forest. Every autumn the preferred building material of Gaiapod fell off the trees and into the waiting arms of specialized artisans, the leafsmiths, who were so skilled that the Old Gaiapod looked like a field of giant colorful flowers in various states of budding or blooming. This once-wondrous city is now a desecrated, poisoned, and haunted ruin following its bloody destruction.
Gaiapod was hardest hit of all the Six Cities during the Liberation War. Having a particularly strong dislike for the nature loving people of the forest, Talozad spent the extra time required to burn the city down. The destruction of all of their precious trees at once was devastating to the Gaiapod people, and many became consumed by grief, or overcome with the need for vengeance. It’s no surprise that a disproportionately large part of Leonard’s force during the war came from Old Gaiapod.
New Gaiapod looks quite different from the old. Never wishing to cut down living trees when they didn’t have to, returning survivors of Gaiapod braved new dangers to harvest wood from the burnt remains of their city, and began rebuilding their city on the opposite shore of Liferoot Lake. The Rangers of New Gaiapod tamed a species of giant beetle that instantly petrifies dead wood to construct its lair, and used them to petrify the burnt Madcap wood to stand forever as their new home. As the beetles’ construction services became less needed and the city was built upwards into the trees once more, the Rangers realized the horse-sized beetles’ ability to carry a rider and “fly” in long buzzing hops from branch to branch in the trees made them an ideal form of transportation within Madcap Forest. Now the beetles are a common sight within the city, and are also trained and bred as military mounts for Ranger patrols. The old style of Gaiapod is coming back to the Madcap branch dwellings above the city proper, but the Leonarians of Gaiapod will never replace their new somber black city center, and the memory it represents.