Art by, Artem1s
Summary: The Woods is an extremely large tract of land, that despite the name has several biomes. The Woods are the first real challenge notails will have to face, and for some, their biggest one. While most get out alive some do not.
Original Creator: Gimeurcookie
Before the notails enter the great challenge known as The Woods, they spend their early lives at villages surrounding the edges of it. Most of these villages are only 10 to 30 miles away from each other, allowing notails to move their children from one village to the next safely if an event occurs. Most villages are small and only range from 1000 to 5000 children and their caretakers in size. The biggest village is 10,000 children strong, while the smallest is a mere 100 and is watched by only two adults.
It is here at these villages that the children will learn the basic survival skills they need. They are given quests by the M-atriarch class there that they need to complete. Nearly all these quests are learning tools for the woods ahead of them. At the age of eight, the children are given their first capture creature and they truly start their training. They take short trips into a training area and are left there for days at a time under surveillance to get used to surviving alone. They are taught skills such as foraging, hunting, and making fires if they haven't been taught already.
Once a month, every notail who has reached 10 years of age will be given a few supplies and tossed into The Woods. They would now be on their own.
The first area notails are tossed into is a rather easy location, with plentiful food and very few agressive wildlife. Even those who are aggressive tend to be easily defeated so that the children are able to learn how to hunt. If notails tossed their children into the worst areas of The Woods from the very start they know the death ratio would be far too high to sustain. This first area is to make their first tough year of no longer having the technology and entertainment they once had before more bearable.
Here notails will be introduced to concepts such as the forest centers and their valuable assistance during the first few years. Notails can't stay in this comparable paradise forever though. After the first year, notails must move deeper into The Woods. If they don't there will be a punishment if found.
Forest centers are tiny villages in The Woods, normally consisting of a mix of a single N-eo, V-eterinarian, M-atriarch, T-reasurer, or S-urgeon. The location dictates which of these classes will be found there, so children must make sure to keep tabs on which centers have which type of notails.
The main purpose of forest centers is to serve as both landmarks for travel and also as a center of trade. Quests for items are posted in centers where a T-class can be found and children can trade the items wanted for more valuable supplies. The T-class may also trade supplies for more valuable items like the body of certain fauna. While most of these items are in fact junk meant to keep the kids with a goal in mind and keep them ever changing, some of these items are luxury goods which are either given to the notail public or sold off.
Certain centers function as emergency stations. If a child or their capture creature is injured or sick and requires help they may be dragged to the center. Centers will not help with sicknesses that are able to be recovered from by the body alone such as the flu or cold. Notails figure that if one dies from something the body should have been able to fight into submission that they simply deserved it. Injuries such as broken bones or missing limbs, on the other hand, will be assisted with. Children are only allowed one month of recovery time before being tossed out no matter what.
Worst of all, if a child has sustained multiple major injuries in their time in The Woods all centers will refuse to help. Children only have five health assistance chances, one for every year. If they get injured and no longer have any chances, they'll have to look for assistance in other children or die trying.
Any N-classes at a center requires no cost in chances and only exists to talk with children about emotional problems they have.
N-classes are common and plentiful at the start of the woods, but deeper in they nearly outright disappear, only caring for the most extreme of cases. This is the point most learn to properly hide their emotions, weakness is not accepted in The Woods.
After the first year the children are pushed forward and out the safest parts of The Woods. They come face to face with bigger creatures, fewer supplies, and more diverse biomes. Luckily at this point, many of the children have already formed loose parties to take on the challenges they will come to face.
It is now that many of the kids with fit into one of four groups. Settlers, who form loose settlements commonly headed by a L-andlord class. Class swarms, who are like settlers but are only made of one class, often doing trades or providing services to others for supplies, like a group of S-classes who help the sick to recover. Migrations, which are just a party of notails who are constantly on the move, rarely having a stable shelter for too long, and lastly the loners, who wander or set up camp but nearly always stay away from staying in groups for too long.
Despite what many people believe, notail children rarely kill each other in The Woods. If anything The Woods are more about understanding that everyone relies on each other, even if they're loners. Loners will still depend on trading centers for supplies and may team up with a group to take on a mighty beast. While notail children will fight and steal from each other, they will also come to unify under their struggles. That is not to say that there aren't a few cases of a notail child who has decided to survive by hunting their kin.
While The Woods are a tough and long challenge, one that has notails fighting wild beasts, foraging for food, suffering both the mental and physical pain it causes, The Woods only claims the lives of 5% to 10% of those who go through it. Most notails know at least one person who has been consumed by the challenge. Learning about death is just one of its goals.
Once a notail's years are up they will be informed at the next center they go to that it's their time to make their way to the exit. Notails are allowed up to one year to get to the exit. Some notails will wait for their younger friends to reach proper age so that they may leave together, unwilling to leave their friend behind unless forced.
Notails who refused to exit The Woods, possibly due to fears over what civilization is like, will be caught and forced out. Until the moment a young notail has passed the exit gates of the woods, they have no idea what awaits them. For their whole lives up to that point the notail children had a very limited understanding of life. All the info they knew came from the teachings at their village, and notails purposefully keep the info they give out to a minimum. Even the internet notail children use is a specially made internet that isn't connected to the rest of the universe's internet.
They get told that aliens exist out there and that there are bigger cities, machines of extreme complexities, and much more but they never see any of those in their little village. Notail children will spot spaceships whizzing overhead as they camp in the woods, becoming utter perplexed by them and wondering what sort of creature it could be. Children gather by campfires to tell stories they heard from a friend of a friend about what the outside world is like. Some children venture to the far outer reaches of the woods and spot one of the notail cities in the distant. Stories of columns of rock towering into the sky shared at the campfire the next night.
A whole new universe opens to them once they exit. They're given a few months to learn about it and become accustomed to it. Some notails will have a harder time than others, but nearly everyone will come to accept their new life. The children, now just a few years from adulthood will go on to truly train for their jobs, or even start working right away as an understudy. A new chapter of their lives starts as they leave the horrors of The Woods behind.
• Many high-risk adventures note that The Woods is shockingly easy to traverse considering all the terrible stories told about it. Many of these people note that all the other forests on Eukaryote are much more deadly. This is possibly because the notail woods are maintained with the intention of housing actual children in it, not trained adults. Every notail seems to have a horror story associated with it just because tossing untrained children into the wild leads to horrible experiences.
• About 50% to 60% of capture creatures will die in the woods. Either killed by their owner for rations or because they protected their owner by jumping in the middle of danger.
• Most notails are proud that they've gone through The Woods, considering it a great badge of pride. They will look down on naturally born notails who were raised at home instead of tossed into The Woods, seeing them as weaker for not having gone through it. Many parents of naturally born notails will train their child for The Wood as they believe no one can be a true notail unless they do it.