Visitor’s Guide to Galen

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Author (in-game): Dame Emisse Fairwind

Lovely as the sunset, the isle of Galen is a hidden gem in the Systres Archipelago. Many visitors from the mainland venture no farther than High Isle. If you’re willing to sail just a little longer, however, you will be rewarded with a truly unforgettable experience. The beauty of Galen’s wild coasts and sylvan glens is unrivaled—and while you explore the island’s natural wonders, you may also meet some of Galen’s mysterious druids!

Your visit to Galen begins in the quaint old port of Vastyr, the destination of almost all ships bound for the island. The city was founded on the site of a druid settlement; remnants of this ancient village can still be found in the Vine District and in other parts of the city. Here you will meet your first druids. Many of the vendors and artisans in this part of the city follow the druidic faith, and are quite accustomed to the curiosity of travelers.

You’ll find excellent fare at the Jaded Ornaug Tavern, near the center of the city. The charming common room with its smoky rafters and old banners hosts a lively collection of locals and seafarers. Other sights you shouldn’t miss in Vastyr include the lovely Cathedral of the Evening on a point overlooking the harbor, and the magnificent Castle Mornard in the city’s northern heights, where Count Leonard Mornard, Steward of Galen, holds court.

Of course, no one makes the journey to Galen to remain within Vastyr’s walls. When you have recovered from the rigors of your voyage, hire yourself a local guide and head out to see the rest of the island!

Begin your explorations by heading north from Vastyr’s western gate and following the road into Galen’s interior. On a high windswept ridge overlooking the great vale in the heart of the island stands the Telling Stone, an ancient druid monument. According to local legend, the stone was raised by the last of the druid kings and preserves the king’s prophetic dream. But the views alone are worth the visit.

From the Telling Stone, continue northwest toward the remote and spectacular western shore of the island. Here, you’ll find the picturesque ruins of Castle Tonnere, a coin-baron’s hold abandoned hundreds of years ago. Every stone on Galen has its own story, and the castle ruins are no different. Tonnere’s story tells a lurid tale of a proud lord who built his home atop a site sacred to a druid circle and the bloody vengeance the druids later visited upon him. How interesting!

From Castle Tonnere, continue north into the wild and beautiful hills of northern Galen. The druid village of Glimmertarn lies amid lovely mountain tarns and waterfalls at the foot of Galen’s highest peaks. Home to friendly druids of the Stonelore Circle, Glimmertarn offers the best example of authentic druid culture to be found in Galen … although the scenery alone makes this a must-see stop!

From Glimmertarn, head southeast toward the Amenos Passage and Galen’s eastern coastline. The striking valley of Ivyhame is home to more picturesque ruins, including many standing stones. However, druids you may encounter in this area are not as friendly as the ones you met at Glimmertarn. Ivyhame is a sacred place, and they do not welcome gadabouts here. You would be better advised to head a little farther south to the scenic shore of Suncleft Cove. The grottos within this sea-facing cliff are simply lovely and well worth the visit.

To the south of Suncleft Cove lies the druid village of Tuinh, but you would be wise to avoid this area. Tuinh belongs to the Eldertide Circle, druids who resent outsiders and prefer their solitude. Stay on the main road that runs along the headland and continue on to the old fort at Windwrack Point. From here, take in the excellent view of the volcanic island of Y’ffelon to the east of Galen. If you’re lucky, Mount Firesong may even put on a show! The volcano of Y’ffelon frequently smokes during the day and glows like a furnace at night.

For the last leg of your tour, head west along Galen’s southern shore. You are now returning to the tilled land and homesteads that ring the city of Vastyr and serve as the breadbasket of the island. Soon you will come to the shores of Loch Galen, which runs beneath Vastyr’s eastern hills. Two sturdy bridges of Imperial construction span the loch, which is too shallow for seagoing ships to navigate. However, the loch offers some excellent fishing and is popular with locals on warm days. Return to Vastyr by the city’s eastern gate, passing through an ancient druid-carved tunnel beneath the hillside.

Congratulations, dear reader! With your circuit of the island complete, you now join the ranks of those rare and intrepid travelers who can say they have explored Galen, the island of the druids!

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