Tel’Forae is the ancestral home of the Moncs, and so far it has never been invaded by a foreign army…ever. Fed by a system of unseen, underground water systems, Tel’Forae is the largest contiguous forest area known to exist in this region. The high canopies and densely packed trees render much of the ground level of Tel’Forae in nearly perpetual darkness, which offers the camouflaged Moncs countless places from which to strike. Of all the strongholds of the many races, only the Moncs and the Nolacs have never had their homelands directly attacked by the Muties. The remaking of the Mutie armies by Erebos, however, means maintaining this historical norm is a fanciful dream. It is no longer a matter of if, but when, the attack will come.

To help slow the progress of any siege of Tel’Forae, the Moncs have created a number of guarded base camps, with a rope ladder system that stretches into the darkness of the trees above. The typical, careful climb up by a normal human would take an average of 15 minutes of constant climbing to reach the lowest canopy levels from the ground. (We were later informed a Monc child could make this same climb in just under two minutes.)

The base camps provide several strategic advantages. They are located in hidden pockets within the thick brush of Tel’Forae itself. Few, if any enemies could ever hope to penetrate this far into the forest without being detected or dispatched by Monc patrols. Fewer still could hope to access the ladder system. The ladders also provide extremely limited entry possibilities. Should the enemy manage to begin the climb, sentries above would simply sever the ropes and send their attackers to their deaths.

I asked one of our Monc guides what they would do if the Muties decided to set fire to Tel’Forae as they did the Breed encampment we saw earlier. He chuckled, with a sound not unlike the rolling grate of a power generator coming online, before answering.

“Assuming they could get this far,” he growled, “and assuming they could set fire in this damp place,” the grating voice now sounded like stripping gears as he struggled to catch his breath from laughing, “we have the perfect greeting for those filthy beasts…” He did not elaborate further despite my prodding.