The outpost, just within the border of the Weald, is called Firstlast, for it was the first base of operations built in the Lost Crusade, and thus it was the last to be abandoned when the Weald reclaimed its territory at the cost of the lives and sanity of the soldiers who'd dared to cut into the ancient woodlands.
When the first team of soldiers and builders arrived at the spot at the beginning of the crusade some three generations ago, they could not believe their luck--a large, flat stone big enough to serve as the foundation for several buildings, with trees right up at the edge on all sides, old-growth timber ready to be cleared and turned into walls and a storehouse, barracks and command post. The outpost was dubbed First, for the king had great ambition.
It was abandoned only a generation ago, when the last stalwarts fled into the night; those that actually made it to the edge of the Weald immediately went to the capital, and the king, to report the events that led to their departure. The king heard them in private session, with only his most trusted advisors present, and ordered the men to never speak of it again, to anyone. Upon emerging, the only thing His Majesty told the rest of the Court was that the Lost Crusade was finally over. The outpost of First then became known as Firstlast, at least among the common folk.
The outpost's ruin is only half a day's ride from the nearest settlements on the outside of the Weald, close enough that brave souls sometimes ride out to it to see it for themselves.
The wisest of these leave at first dawn, arrive in the empty outpost by noon, poke around at the fringes, maybe even, if they are daring, slip in through one of the time-worn breaches in the outer wall, and walk through the handful of buildings before leaving. They speak of an eerie, oppressive silence, of being goaded to speak in whispers if at all, out of some nameless dread.
The reckless arrive later in the day, leaving with too few hours left until dusk. Some of these report being harried as they ride, by snarling, unseen forms within the dense trees and underbrush. Some insist they were unmolested. And some never return at all.
A handful of times, the most foolish have gone in after declaring their intent to stay the night. Of these, only one survivor has ever returned. He said that he and his companions had bunked down in the old barracks, but when they awoke, there was no sign of the outpost at all. Instead, they were in a grand palace of some strange, alien design. A gala event was going on, and they were rushed by small cloaked figures to join in the festivities. He tried, fruitlessly, to describe the music, food, and the other guests, but ultimately, his shattered mind could not piece together a coherent narrative. Instead, he sometimes would compare the guests to birds, other times to butterflies, and still other times to the stars themselves.
He was able to only remember one part with true clarity. He had a conversation with the Lord (or some tellings, the Lady) of the palace, and he said he (she) told him, "You will be returned to yourself at dawn."
He replied, "But where are my companions?"
The Lady (or perhaps it was the Lord) said, "They will be leaving early, through the front gate--the Hunt is almost ready to begin."
She pointed out a window, to a terrible, scorched landscape completely unlike the woods they had traversed to get there--it was a land of blackened and rocky crags, with rivers of liquid fire. Trees there had no leaves, but rather were adorned with countless small flames at the tip of every branch, and there was no sun, or moon, or stars, so the only light came from these ever-burning trees. He could just make out the forms of his companions, as they ran, helter-skelter, among the basalt and obsidian stones. "Now sleep."
He was overcome with a great lethargy, then, and fell asleep, and when he woke in the morning, he was back in this world, and in the barracks. His companions were gone, though all their packs were still there, as were everything they'd not worn to bed--even their boots were still in place next to the old straw beds. He ran--for their horses were long-gone--and it was evening when he finally reached the edge of the woods, and a small inn there where he burst in to tell the tale. He likely would have been ushered straight to the king, but because of the hour, he was able to tell anyone who would listen--which happened to include a traveling bard, who then spread the word of Firstlast.
And though many insist the bard had simply spun the whole tale out of yarn, no one has declared their intent to travel to Firstlast overnight since that last expedition, some 5 years past.
Jaenelle heard this tale from Macron, who had also been in the inn that night. She said the bard recounted every word to precise detail, and warned Jaenelle to never travel to Firstlast, even during the day.