Lyall refers to a being that serves as the guardian of an ancient magical forest, called Lyall's Forest by residents of the nearby village of Cardur. The villagers of Cardur refer to Lyall as a deity.
The being called Lyall is a Nymph who took residence in this forest at least a few thousand years ago and has watched over it ever since. She strives to keep this forest a peaceful place for its animals to live and its plantlife to floruish. Her demeanor can be described as calm, regal, and even somewhat cold. However, she can become extremely ferocious and vengeful if provoked.
Lyall has two distinct forms. Most of the time, she takes a form of an extremely large, white wolf with golden eyes. This is the form in which nearly all people have observed her, which eventually led to her being called "Lyall" (meaning "shield wolf"). She cannot speak in this form, but is capable of communicating with other beings though a kind of empathetic connection, and occasionally telepathy. She also has a humanoid form that seems to be reserved for occasions in which she performs her greatest feats of magic. Only six people have reportedly ever observed her in this form: the five wizards that burned Lyall's Heart, and the Druid Ysenne.
Relationship to People
Having kept watch of her forest of thousands of years, Lyall has encountered many a wanderer through her wood. She has been largely aloof towards people for most of her lifetime, usually just letting them pass through the forest safely as long as they do not cause too much harm to her flora or fauna. In the cases where people do actively hurt the forest, however, Lyall will not hesitate to punish them without mercy. She often did this by empathetically commanding the predators of the forest to attack the intruder.
Roughly one thousand years ago, a group of five wizards stole into the forest and wrought havoc. They slaughtered many animals for the magical properties of their organs, plucked five acorns from the great oak tree at the center of the forest (sometimes called Lyall's Heart in accounts by travelers), and burned it down. This severely weakened Lyall, as much of her strength came to reside in this tree as she had become one with the forest over thousands of years. The incident made her extremely embittered and hostile towards humans for many centuries afterward.
About three hundred years after the burning of Lyall's Heart, a group of humans established a settlement known as Cardur outside of Lyall's Forest on northern bank of the White Wolf River. This river flows through the forest from the east, and flows out of the forest and then downhill before the land evens out again. While she never directly attacked Cardur, Lyall was highly antagonistic toward its residents. Every night, she watched over the village from the edge of forest in her wolf form. Her size, color, and piercing golden eyes made her visible to its residents, who reacted to her with fear and awe. The first excursion by the settlers into the forest ended violently: Lyall almost immedaitely attacked the humans, viciously mauling them. The screams of the men could be heard from the village. Only one man managed to make it back to the town alive, though with one of his arms bitten off. After this incident, the ruling council of Cardur forbid any of its residents to go near the forest.
Lyall came to be of great cultural significance to the residents of Cardur. The villagers created an extenstive folklore surrounding her, mostly imagining her as a horrible, heartless beast to be feared. For about one century, villagers left offerings of food near the edge of the forest in belief that it would placate her. However, they soon gave up this practice when it became apparent that Lyall never touched the food and that it would always be left to spoil. The village of Cardur has lived in fear of Lyall ever since. In recent centuries, Lyall stopped watching the village at night. It was theroized by some that she had grown weary after centuries of hatred.
About twenty years ago, three residents of Cardur, a couple and their young daughter, entered the forest with the intention to settle there. The couple was never heard from again, but the daughter, Ysenne, has been sighted in the land of Binturia. She claims that Lyall taught her elemental magic and that she is now roaming the continent looking for the seeds of Lyall's Heart, intent of restoring her "guardian lady" to her former glory.
More to come...