The Badger Patch is a thick twisted briar that stretches over much of the western Dale making it nigh impenetrable. The plants in The Badger Patch are almost exclusively low, dense, leafy bushes covered in small sharp spines. They catch on the skin and clothing, and are quite painful. Near the center of the patch it is said that the plants are older and can grow taller than a man. The spines of these plants are as long as your small finger and the vines are as thick as your wrist.
While the patch may be inhospitable to large mammals it is by no means barren of life. Many types of reptiles, birds, small rodents, insects, and other diminutive creatures make their home there. Great flocks of sparrows and starlings flit about the thorny landscape and the constant hum of insects is a clear indication that one is nearing The Badger Patch. The Badger Patch gets its name from the badgers that live within. These mammals are the largest creatures to inhabit the region and are considered by many to be the rulers of their domain, just as the lion might rule the veldt. However, the most commonly encountered resident of The Badger Patch is the mockingbird. Mockingbirds from the patch fly to and fro across The Dale nicking any unattended shiny objects they can lift. There are many old tales about the priceless jewelry the mockingbirds have hidden among the brambles.
Unbeknownst to the human residents of The Dale, the earth beneath The Badger Patch is riddled with the homes of faeries and goblin kind alike. Goblin houses built into the ground have secret hatches hidden craftily about the edge of the patch and kobold halls criss cross beneath the thorny expanse. The heart of the thicket is home to an ancient and powerful faerie. By taking residence in the Dale the faerie, known to mortals as Left Stocking, is in blatant violation of the treaty drawn between Cranoch The Seer and the faeries of old. In fact, it was only a few generations after Cranoch's time that the faerie planted itself in The Western Dale and began to wind its magics into the formation of The Badger Patch. While, the faerie recognizes it is in violation of the treaty, its reasons for staying must remain a mystery as are all workings of faerie kind. While Left Stocking currently does not threaten the Dale outright it continues to slowly expand The Badger Patch, consuming a few more inches of arable land each year. It is only a matter of time before an enterprising peasant thinks it will be worthwhile to cut back the thorns and settle in.
For now however, the citizens of The Dale view The Badger Patch as both a mystery and a nuisance. Dale tradition holds that those who wish to keep a secret safe or remove a worry can whisper or, for the literate few, inscribe it into a small stone and cast it into the patch. The strength of your arm is said to contribute to the success of this ritual and there may be some truth to this. In the past scavenging the edges of the brambles for magpie stolen treasure was a popular activity among peasant children. These days few children venture to the thicket. It is rumored that Rabbit Cap and his gang of highway men hideout somewhere in or about The Badger Patch.
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