Mbozxua Crystal Forest has always been a beautiful place that has attracted people. Crystals of all sizes, colors, and types could be found within it. It drew researchers, collectors, poachers, just about everyone who could make the journey. They were taken in by the sights, especially at night when some crystals glowed. There were rumors of the crystals in the forest containing magic. Many zu’aan had settled in the forest over the decades due to these rumors. Those in search of wonders beyond the realm of normal. There was talk of some of the crystals being able to heal and soothe just by laying them against skin. Some felt that by surrounding themselves with the crystals, they could even beat death.
Many settlements of poachers had settled as well. They were after the animals and plants that had crystals growing on them. The zu’aan who founded Mitaishy City knew exactly what they were looking for as they ran from the kin’toni. They’d heard of a forest of crystals and figured it would offer great protection. Since some of the crystals were dense, they could gain weapons and shields by layering them together. Certain trees in the forest had crystals inside and out, making them perfect to use for walls around their city. They used crystals that glowed as light sources and crystals that retained heat from the sun as heat sources. They had even discovered crystals that were edible.
They didn’t realize that the forest drew on unsavory zu’aan who cared very little about the war against the kin’toni. During the first few years after settling down, many nomad zu’aan entered the forest. Some had the same idea of gaining protection, while others simply wanted to hoard the treasures within. Fighting broke out constantly as outside zu’aan tried to invade the forest. Not only did Mitaishy City have to worry about the kin’toni, they had to worry about other zu’aan as well. It took awhile, but eventually they were able to keep their claim on the forest. Rumors of their savagery spread, keeping most zu’aan away. They’ve still had some try their hand at invasion, only to be met with a violence they weren’t prepared for.
The zu’aan of Mitaishy city were determined to keep this forest, no matter what it took. It wasn’t just to protect themselves, but to protect the forest as well. Without the forest, they would be defenseless against the kin’toni. They became incredibly cruel towards outsiders, even those who were simply looking for sanctuary. Even going as far as to display their bodies throughout the forest to warn others away. Despite the constant fighting, they were lucky in other areas. Animals and plant life were plentiful, so they didn’t have to worry about food. As long as they were careful not to enter certain areas, they could avoid getting attacked by most of the animals.
They didn’t have to worry about water either since there were rivers and even a waterfall within the forest.
Mbozxua Crystal Forest is a vast forest spanning roughly 2,498 square kilometers. Its trees stretch up to an average of almost ninety feet, with a few species bypassing by a few feet. Some species of trees have small crystals embedded in their bark. The soil in certain parts of the forest, leading to those areas containing an abundant amount of plant life, with crystals taking up other areas. This biome is able to comfortably house many species of animals as well. There are hundreds of different types of crystals in the forest. They come in different sizes, colors, hardness, and chemical compositions. There are crystals with just one color and there are some with up to a dozen.
There are some that form underwater and some that form on rocks above ground. There are even some crystals that are actually edible. The zu’aan have found small crystal grains that are salty and some that are sweet in some of the caves scattered around the forest. Most of the plant life looks exactly like plants. But, there are some plants that imitate crystals and some crystals that imitate plants. Certain plants have hard and translucent petals. It’s believed that they do this as a defense mechanism in order to protect themselves. While some imitate, there are certain plants that are completely made of crystal. Some of the smaller flowers are made up of crystal, a phenomenon many don’t really understand.
When pulled out of the ground, their roots are shown to be almost completely organic with pieces of crystal sticking out. Along with the plants, there are animals that imitate crystals as well. Certain animals have a crystal like camouflage. They have scales or shells that look and even feel like crystals. The climate of the forest is mostly moderate, with summers sometimes reaching high temperatures. Summers can easily rise to the upper eighties. Winters drop to lower forties, sometimes dropping even lower to the upper twenties. Rainfall is common, but snow is rare. When it snows, temperatures drop to just above zero. The temperature is one of the many factors that both aid and hinder crystal growth.
The amount of crystals growing expedites in the summer due to the higher temperatures quickly evaporating the solvent. This allows them to grow quite large. In colder temperatures, the amount of crystals is large but they grow small. There are also less impurities in warmer temperatures. There are caves that lead underground scattered around the forest. These caves are full of a variety of crystals embedded in the walls and jutting from the ground. Some of these caves lead to large pools of water that glow due to the crystals all around. There are also a few animals and plants that live within the caves. Some of the water pools lead to caves even further down.
These caves are mostly unassessable due to how much water you have to swim through to get to it. Some are also blocked by large crystals.
Though this is a crystal forest, there is a nice variety of plant life as well. There are plants that look like plants and some that imitate crystals. There are also flowers that produce crystals. Iachrum is one such flower that is often mistaken for a crystal. Its thick, purple round petals are hard and reflective, often looking as though it's shimmering under light. The petals form a wheel-like shape around its middle. The base of the stem stretches up to about half a foot before splitting off into several arching stems, reminiscent of a fan spreading. These split off stems produce around three flowers each. Iachrum glows a beautiful bright purple at night. Though inedible, the zu’aan are able to use these flowers as a small source of light.
They are usually given to children who are afraid of the dark. They can be found around the entrances of caves and within them. They stay in bloom year round. Krisnedil is a tall tree that stretches up roughly sixty feet. It has small blue, red, and purple crystals embedded in its rough black bark. The crystals travel all the way up to its wiry branches. These trees produce small, crystal flowers of the same colors. The diamond shaped petals form a stellate shaped flower. This particular crystal is soft and can be easily crushed. It is one of the edible, sweet tasting crystals. The blue ones are extremely sweet and are usually found on the lower branches. The red ones have a subtle sweet taste to them and are found on the higher branches.
The purple ones are nicely balanced in their sweet taste and are found around the middle branches. The bark on krisnedil is edible and also sweet thanks to the crystals. While mining crystals, many zu’aan will stop next to one for a small, sweet snack. Krisnedil are one of the oldest trees in the forest and have one of the largest populations. Their roots stretch down deep into the ground. Inside some of the caves, parts of their roots can be seen. Crystals are embedded on the roots as well. Istramire is a grassy plant that looks like a plant. There are no crystals embedded or growing from it. Nor does it imitate crystals. It has several thin, layered leaves with serrated edges.
They curve up from the base of the plant and droop down enough to where the tip touches the ground. If stretched out, a single leaf would be almost two feet long. The base of the leaves are a bright green that transitions to red tips. There are a minimum of fifteen leaves growing from a single seed. They sometimes have more leaves. Istramire grows all around the forest, but a cluster of them can usually be found growing around the salty, edible crystals. The ones that grow around these crystals usually take on a salty taste as well. Raw istramire is extremely salty, so most zu’aan use the leaves as seasoning for their cooking.
Thanks to the abundance of plant life and viable water sources, there are a nice variety of animals. Birds and large mammals make up most of the animal population. Living in a forest of crystals, animals had to evolve and adapt to their environment. Some of the animals are covered in crystals, using them as armor to protect themselves. Some use them as cover for their homes to keep out predators. Hecean are a reptilian species that is covered in crystal. Walking on four legs, they stand at a shoulder length of two feet. They are a little over a foot in length, even with their tails, making them one of the smaller animals in the forest. Their scales are made of a clear crystal that shows the red skin beneath.
These crystals are extremely hard, and have broken the teeth of several predators that have tried to eat them. Their bellies are the only part of them not covered in crystals. Hecean dig holes within a cluster of crystals in order to protect themselves. Males carry their young and can lay up to ten eggs at a time. After a successful mating, their skin will take on a darker red color. They then stay in their burrows until they lay the eggs. Ziabil are a breed of bird that often steals and collects crystals. Standing at nearly three feet, these birds are extremely fast. Their feathers are a mix of blue, purple, and black, with the ones on its head being completely black.
Their sharp beaks are just a few inches long. They make their nests in tall trees of all kinds, building them on the thickest branches they can find. They use leaves, thin branches, and crystals to make their nests. They then store the rest of the crystals that they’ve stolen in the holes that they make in the trees right by their nest. Ziabil are omnivores and have a diet of mainly flowers and small invertebrates. Females lay up to three eggs. They surround the eggs with the crystals they took until they hatch. Krailine are a breed of large mammals with two long tails. They have six limbs that they use to walk and climb trees. They have three sharp claws on each limb that they use along with their tails to grip into the bark of trees.
Standing, they reach almost five feet in height and can weigh up to two hundred pounds. Their short, soft fur is a light silvery purple color, and their eyes are a bright red. They have a black horn almost a foot in length sticking out from the middle of its forehead. This horn is covered in crystals, making them quite a prize for poachers. Krailine are omnivores with a diet of mainly flowers and small mammals. They have a great love for the crystal flowers that grow on krisnedil trees and are often seen climbing them. They usually live and sleep on the trees, but they go inside caves during the winter to mate and give birth. Females usually have anywhere from three to six young after a mating.