Deep within the western forests was the famed city of Gymynda. Carved from the wilderness from pioneering humans, it established itself as a trading hub for the many tribes of the forest elves. A wary peace was struck long ago from the great elven chiefdom of Aldarianna Moonlight. Her wisdom and patience with the human settlement fostered a long relationship of mutual benefit and trade. At times relationships were strained, especially when some industrious humans of Gymynda struck out too deep within the territories claimed by elves, but her steadfast resolve for peace usually silenced any voices of violent reprisals.
Many claim it was her passing which sealed the fate of Gymynda. For many generations of cityfolk, the elven tribes were seen as good neighbors, even allies in times of need. However the Grand Chief Aldarianna Moonlight’s health began to wane from a mysterious illness. Despite the efforts of elven shaman and learned human healers of Gymynda, she slid further and further into a drifting malaise, as if her very life was being siphoned away. Within years she eventually succumbed and fell into a deep sleep and in days she had slipped from her mortal husk.
The death of their great leader was a time of long mourning within the elven tribes. The lead council of Gymynda also decreed a month of mourning among its citizens, but while the Grand Chief was respected, many of the folk within Gymynda did not hold the same reverence for her as those of her elven followers. Within a week mourning dress among the city dwellers began to lift and in short time life went back to normal. After all, many felt there was still coin to be made with trade, trapping, and farming, and some even felt it an ideal time to claim untapped ranges of forest for logging.
No one knows what caused the great growth. Some would claim it was a wicked curse brought about by elven shaman, to inflict their wrath on the humans that failed to show proper respect during the passing of their leader. Others say it was great magics wielded by the elven tribes to stifle the further expansion of Gymynda. Some state these elves knew with Grand Chief Moonlight now gone, the city would begin rampant expansion within their borders.
However a far more sinister tale is sometimes spoken. One of dark magics brought on by avarice from some within Gymynda, quite possibly a dark pact with demons to inflict a curse on Moonlight that would sap her very life force. A horrible spell with terrifying unseen repercussions.
For over a decade Gymynda prospered. The city grew and industry thrived. Great logging guilds reached deep within the thick woods. As the city developed, so did their men-at-arms and militia. The elven chiefdom broke apart as individual tribes had squabbled among themselves. Some sought peace, while many were willing to aid Gymynda in expanding into the lands of rival tribes if it meant keeping their holdings untouched. The wealth and affluence of the trading merchants and craftsmen guilds swelled within Gymynda. Gone were the days of hearty pioneers as opulent ways were adopted among the more wealthier citizens.
Then, on the sixth full moon of a new year, the cursed growth sprung up within Gymynda. Its citizens woke in horror to find buildings overgrown in thick vines. Young trees and grasses burst forth among cobbled stone streets. More terrifying was that some were found entombed in thick vines, suffocated and serving as a morbid bed of blood red flowers which covered their corpses. Efforts to hack away at the vines and trees were a herculean task. A man would go through several steel axe heads and only manage to make a paltry clearing. On the next morn they would find their efforts worthless, as new verdant growth would replace any cleared areas.
However all of these events paled to what soon followed. The denizens of Gymynda soon found themselves to be growing like the land around them. Patches of skin became covered in thick moss. Blood red flowers emerged from ears, eyes, and mouths. Bodies stiffened as their very limbs began to sprout tendrils of thick roots and vines.
Panicked people fled from Gymynda. Those that sought refuge with the elves were turned away or slain, the elves burning the bodies that remained with ritualized magics. The forest elves knew that dark primal magic was at play. Those that were afflicted could spread the sickness to others and they had to be held at bay through any means. Word of this spread to neighboring kingdoms, and when similar afflictions were seen among villagers that interacted with the stricken people of Gymynda, these lords also decreed to slay any that appeared from the forest.
A century later, some say the ruins of Gymynda can still be made out among the clinging wild of vines and trees. Some have claimed to have explored such ruins, but few can be believed. As to this day a shambling figure can occasionally be seen shuffling out of the forest edge towards neighboring villages, horrid creatures bent on engulfing large animals and man alike in tendrils of writhing vines.
Some village leaders adopt a proactive stance, encouraging adventurers to make expeditions within the deep forests and clear out any cursed beings that they may find. Some are even willing to pay coin for those that do. All the while, one can always manage to hear tales spoken after several pints in these village taverns. Tales of how sudden was the overgrowth that choked the life out Gymynda and its wealth would likely still be there, hidden under a carpet of moss and vines. All of it just waiting to be plucked up by those brave enough to enter within the cursed ruins.