The Anthalp Vast
This swath of dangerous wilderness surrounds Arkandia in every inland direction. At its narrowest it takes about a month to walk across, and without a skilled pathfinder it is frighteningly easy to get lost. The land is untamed, unexplored, and rife with natural dangers. From treacherous swamps to rampaging creatures, and dark forests to inexplicable magical phenomena, the Anthalp Vast contains many ways to die. It is said that, of those who enter the Vast, only one in twenty return.
In times past, historians say the Anthalp Vast was narrower, or perhaps did not even exist. There are records of wars with neighboring nations, and past conquests which both enriched the nation and diversified its population. Today, it is difficult to imagine an army successfully marching across the expansive wilderness without massive losses. To say nothing of the difficulties in moving supplies and communication. Some of the arcane phenomena which plague the region also make transportation and detection magics unreliable.
The general consensus views the region as a barrier against invasion, while the minority view holds that the Vast is as much prison as protection. Whichever belief is accurate, the Anthalp Vast is an effective barrier. Only the brave, foolhardy, or desperate ever enter it. Only the lucky ever leave it. Though it is not widely known in Arkandia, the Vast is easier to traverse when traveling towards Arkandia, and much, much harder when traveling away. This lends credence to the secondary view that the Vast is meant as a sort of containment. However, few are aware of this phenomenon.
The humans and elves who dominate Arkandia are prejudicial in their views and treatment of the more exotic minority races like Eladrin, Goliaths, and Dragonborn. The name for all such races is Duanthians, which means “from under the wall”. This belief that those of strange appearance are possibly related to the Anthalp Vast taints all interactions with humans and elves. However, it has been a long time since this racism led overt mistreatment or violence. Eladrin, at the very least, do have a connection to the Anthalp Vast, though they may not know it. There are numerous places throughout the wild region where the Veil between the Vast the Feywild is thin to the point of non-existence.