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|Location||Eastern Part of the Four Corners of Civilization|
The Eld is a largely unexplored wilderness in the east of the Four Corners of Civilization. Areas of its forest are variously located in Vintas, Modeg, and the Aturan Empire. While it is more of a pit stop than a destination, the Eld is centrally located. Its roads are a waypoint on many travelers' journeys. Like other remote byways, it is an area frequented by bandits looking for an easy mark.
Unlike other forests closer to civilization, the Eld is unruly and treacherous, containing many things rarely seen elsewhere. One example is a rare and delicate plant called The An's Blade, a fern that turns bright red as it dies, which it quickly does at even the slightest human touch or at the presence of even the smallest breath or drop of sweat. The mercenary Marten finds the fern and points it out to Kvothe and his companions. He teaches them not only how useful it is for tracking, but also its presence indicates that there are no permanent settlements nearby.
ROLE IN PLOT
Kvothe is put in charge of a team of mercenaries by the Maer Lerand Alveron, who orders them apprehend groups of bandits that have been waylaying tax collectors in the Eld. While Kvothe believes that the Maer is invested in collecting his taxes, Kvothe also harbors suspicions that the Maer may have chosen him for the job as a timely way to get him out from underfoot while the Maer himself finished courting Meluan Lackless.
Kvothe ascertains that the Eld is too large to search in its entirety. Instead, he instructs his team to search for tracks only along edges of the road. His plan is to find a trail to the bandits camp. However, the search stretches on far longer than any of Kvothes band of mercenaries expected. Arguments break out among their company, and not even Kvothe's nightly storytelling can ease the tension. It is during this time that Hespe, the only female mercenary, tells the story of Jax and his broken house. Soon the weather worsens, and Marten - the group's huntsman and tracker - falls ill. During this time, Kvothe also strikes up a good rapport with Tempi, an Adem red-shirt.
After the bandits' defeat, the team resumes traveling in the Eld. Soon after, while traveling through the forest, Kvothe and the others come across Felurian. Kvothe chases after her, disappearing and leaving his teammates to find their way out of the Eld on their own.