The Ravelwoods have fascinated scholars for nearly two thousand years now. Ever since the publication of Varnip the Larger's Unbelievable Bestiary, scholars, naturalists, and hunters have been hungry for more information. Sadly, for many, many years, knowledge of the Ravelwoods came in bits and pieces, as passage there seemed to happen at random, through crumbling archways on abandoned estates, in caves in the desert, or even through the odd garderobe. Thankfully, the Petwise Pathway has given us a more permanent, stable accessway into this fascinating realm, and since its discovery, we have added to our store of knowledge by leaps and bounds.
I myself first encountered information on Ravelwoods when, as a boy, I read Savage, Maneating Monsters of the Far Realms, by the tragically abridged Arnest Belrigger. Aside from providing wholesome entertainment, it sparked in me a fascination and lifelong love of that far-off place. I devoted my life to the subject, coming here, to the Rheve Library, where the greatest collection of works pertaining to Ravelwoods can be found. From Bovi Estuard's treatise on the politics of the blackshirt crows to Transitive Norton's On the River of Terror with Rod, Reel, and Gun, they're all here. I have catalogued them, read through them, and cross-referenced them. I don't think that it's arrogant for me to say that I have become one of the best-read experts on the woods.
And now I have a unique opportunity. When the Arch-Librarian was given a set of rare books and scrolls by the Poriarch of Bef, there was among them a very old volume. It was by one of those strange nomads who haunt the Baro Desert, sometimes venturing out on strange pilgrimages to places not even they know. Their journals, when they keep them, are always prized, of course. They are an honest people, and not given to exaggeration. How wonderful, then, to find one detailing the Ravelwoods themselves.
As I read through the journal, I was struck by his sense of wonder in his surroundings. Even the most mundane of the things he saw in the Ravelwoods were fascinating to him… and to me as well, seeing them through his eyes. Everything seemed new to me again.
And there were some things he wrote about that were genuinely new to me, and to every other scholar on the Ravelwoods I've written to. And of course, some things I can only guess at.
Knowledge is meant to be shared. And so I cannot keep this volume to myself. Therefore I've taken it upon myself to annotate the journal, both for old researchers of the woods, and for those who are new to this fascinating world. Whoever you are, if you love the wild and the wondrous, please read on.