Erebus – The deadly mist Erebus surrounds Zirconyx like a hangman’s noose, a grey wall from which no traveler ever returns. It swallows anyone who disturbs its smothering depths. Where did it come from? How long has it existed? Is there another side, or does it go on forever? No one knows. Only the dome of protection shields the Kingdom from being swallowed up like its neighbouring countries. All other magic slides off it like water; no matter how far the wizards attempt to scry, Erebus is always there, staring back at them.
Being swallowed up like its neighbouring countries. All other magic slides off it like water; no matter how far the wizards attempt to scry, Erebus is always there, staring back at them.
Elysium Rain Forest – A neverending spring rain dances upon the golden leaves of Elysium. The skies above this great forest have never seen a cloud, but still the rain pours down, lighting up the sky with hundreds of sparkling rainbows that seem to dance with each falling drop. Many creatures call Elysium their home, both ordinary and mystical, chief among them the legendary unicorn.
The legendary unicorn.
Luminous Lake – Luminous Lake glows under the pale rays of the moon. Sparkling white beaches run all along the coastline, made of salt and sand and broken seashells. Several harbor towns support a thriving industry of saltwater fishermen, as well as extensive trade across the lake and up the freshwater Lethe River. Dozens of different creeks and streams end in the Luminous Lake, and it supports an awesome variety of marine life in addition to a great variety of birds, fishermen and lake pirates.
Whispering Swamps– Ever treacherous, the Whispering Swamps are infamous for sucking unwary travelers down to their deaths. The sticky mud can tear your boots right off your feet. Leeches as big as your fist hide in the twisted mangrove branches. What looks like a wading pool can easily be thirty feet deep. Pockets of marsh gas choke the breath from anyone who sets foot inside — or explode at the flame of an ill-placed torch. A soft keening noise can be heard throughout the swamp, which folklore claims to be the unburied ghosts of drowned men, unable to rest and forever wailing. Zirconyx’s learned men scoff at folklore, however, and dismiss it as a mere trick of the wind. There is only one slight problem with that theory. No wind ever blows in the Swamps.
Mud Lands – The white tips of the Glow Mountains can be seen even from the parapets of the distant Chaostle, like a line of white-haired giants marching across the horizon. In the mountains, seeing never equals believing. Not unlike the Elysium rain forests, the Glow Mountains have a powerful magical field about them, only more devious and unpredictable. Tricks of the light can distract the unwary traveler and send him plunging to his doom into a deep crevasse. A giant library lies hidden deep within these mountains, where the Mages tend to their old books in silence and solitude.
Elven Woods – Nowhere do the trees grow as large as in the Elven Woods. A carpet of pine needles covers the earth beneath the great conifers, with the occasional pile of red or yellow leaves. Many exotic creatures roam the silent forests, coexisting with the Elves who give the place its name. However, it’s not as peaceful as it sounds. Forest panthers and countless other predators stalk across the forest floor, and the hungry Ogres are always on the hunt for animals and people alike.
Lethe River – The river Lethe serves as a barrier between the Elven Woods and the darkness of Tartarus. Its currents are treacherous, as they tend to shift from day to day, flowing into the Luminous Lake on one day and out to Erebus the next. Even experienced skippers sometimes forget which way they’re going and sail straight into the deadly fog. It’s a favored burial place for the cremated nobles of Zirconyx, as the river is rumored to pass clear into the afterlife, carrying the cleansed souls of the dead with it. Some call it the River of Forgetfulness, but strangely, there seem to be no stories of how it got this name.
Grassy Plains – A simple name to describe a simple place. The Grassy Plains are oceans of green and yellow, wild grass growing from horizon to horizon, speckled with towns and isolated cottages and crisscrossed by faded old roads. The nomadic Barbarian tribes rule the green sea, forcing everyone else to band together to try and defend themselves from vicious raids. The Kingdom used to send armies to try and wipe out the Barbarians, but they’ve proven impossible to pin down by any significant force.
Kingdom of Zirconyx – The most densely-populated place in all the realm, the Kingdom of Zirconyx is a conglomeration of many villages loosely bound together into a great city, stretching for miles in every direction. The city is the beating heart of the land, and at its stands a magnificent castle, the ancient seat of royalty now called the ‘Chaostle’. However, with the disappearance of the royal family, the castle stands empty, and the bloodline of the old Kings is at an end. It’s time for a new ruler, a new dynasty. The Chaostle is there for you to take — if you can.
Quicksand Forbidden Area – At the westernmost point where the Grassy Plains meet the desert, a lonely sign stands in the cork-dry wind. Half-buried in the sand, only a stub of its pole remains, and whatever words it carried has been worn off. However, the skull and crossbones carved into it are no less foreboding now than they were a thousand years ago. The desert nomads consider it a test of bravery to walk right up to the sign without flinching. Nothing survives in the lands beyond; the sand itself swallows anyone who sets foot beyond the sign. It would be a quicker, cleaner suicide to fall on your sword rather than taking a walk in the Quicksand.
Cliffs – The southern Cliffs are a forest of rock, sandstone needles jutting out of the earth at an almost vertical angle. Sheer drops of over three hundred feet serve to discourage possible climbers, and there’s the wildlife to consider. Even getting there is a challenge, as it takes a long trek through the Desert Plains. Every now and then, an aspiring Dragon Slayer will survive as far as the Cliffs, probably seeing the great beasts for the very first time. Shadows soaring in the stark blue sky, tending to their vast eyries carved out of the rock. It’s the final task of every Slayer-in-training to kill a Dragon so he can graduate. Before long, one of them will notice him, and all bets are off as the hungry monster comes swooping down the mountain.
Tartarus Dark Forest – Beneath the choking branches of Tartarus, sunlight never even touches the ground. Tartarus’s endless night is full of shadows, dark and dangerous. The branches are long and sharp, the bushes covered in thorns, and the flowers black with poison. No one knows how they sustain themselves without sunlight. From the heart of the woods, a twisted spire of grey granite reaches up to the sky: Anhedonia Tower, the home of the Kingdom’s foulest, cruelest rejects.
Vespers Holy Lands – Vespers, the Holy Lands, is a large chunk of the Grassy Plains that provides a defensive buffer between the Kingdom’s capital city and Tartarus. It was given over to the Kingdom’s many religious orders, charged to keep watch and defend the realm against the dark inhabitants of Tartarus. The Paragon Temple was built as the headquarters for these pious men and holy warriors. Over the centuries, it’s turned into a formidable fortress, and has never been taken in battle.
Desert Plains – An endless sea of sand dunes, burnt yellow and orange by the sun. Dust storms rage across the surface, torrents of wind and dust that clog a man’s mouth and nose until he chokes to death. Giant outcroppings of burnt stone confound compasses, while hot mirages play tricks on the eyes of explorers. The natives — small nomadic bands that roam the steppe land near the Grassy Plains — are the only ones who can find their way, and have made a small industry out of providing guides for the Dragon Slayers. The mirages are a coveted study object for illusionists. Only a handful ever return from their expeditions, but those that do have the power of the desert pulsing through their veins.
Glow Mountains – The white tips of the Glow Mountains can be seen even from the parapets of the distant Chaostle, like a line of white-haired giants marching across the horizon. In the mountains, seeing never equals believing. Not unlike the Elysium rain forests, the Glow Mountains have a powerful magical field about them, only more devious and unpredictable. Tricks of the light can distract the unwary traveler and send him plunging to his doom into a deep crevasse. A giant library lies hidden deep within these mountains, where the Mages tend to their old books in silence and solitude.