The Opened World
Beyond the cities of Alatha built in white and clay beside sapphire seas, beyond the deep cities of the Remnant below the cutting spires of the grey mountains, beyond the lush jungles of the Melali, lay the Unsettled lands. The name is a lie, for there are many who have settled these strange and distant places over the last hundred years, but they are few and seldom trustworthy. There are reasons mortals leave everything they know and love and start new lives in places that demand such a toll. There are also those from before the settling and even the leaving of these cursed lands. It was here that the Remnant once had established the height of their glory, before the Rupture and the Great Trials and the Great War. It was here that the Zoarchs first began to tamper with the flow of life cycle energies, and it was here that the first Alathans and the first Melali were created. But such creations were not immediate successes and are but the pinnacle of evolutionary magics. Many grotesque horrors were created in the process, as partially formed or only half developed beings. The Shakhaarya were created here, half-way between beast and Alathan, and it was here that the Plague was born, destroying and assimilating an entire sub-continent. Strange things were done to life here and the land bears its scars. Below the moss covered Plaguelands, and the endless wastes and slaver warlords of the hot Kinsthet Desert, the twisted life is beginning to fight back.
The spooky tales of the deep dark forest and its denizens told to keep young Alathans in line are but the deeply rooted racial memory of the lands of their birth. It is here in the misty wood that an Eye of Life was split forever open, blurring the line between the world of life-cycle spirits and our own. It is The Fade, shifting closer to the elemental energies as one moves deeper into the dark overhang of trees and fog. Here the creatures walk the line between life and death, elemental and animal. The Ghost-Eyed walk the land, the restless half-dead residue of the catastrophe, unable to pass fully into the spirit realm. They appear as normal beings, but for the whispy grey fog drifting from their blank eyes. Packs of Lair Hounds howl in the forest, reproducing through their infectious bite, while flocks of gargoyles wing in the upper canopies then drop in stone form on unsuspecting prey. Tribes of homonculi, morphed by the weird energies here and calling themselves Redcaps, play cruel and sadistic pranks on travelers, while insectoid-centaur Grigs, large amounts of sprites and butterfly winged flits emanate curious amounts of elemental warping. Two partially opposing beings, rumored to be as powerful as the God King himself, rule over the deep woods. Daucas Karoton, King of The Horned Flower and his hunting band of half-Melali dryads, is the demi-avatar of the hunt, wilderness, and virility. The Queen of Lantern Fruits, Melothria, is the demi-avatar of enchantment, fertility, and death-from life. Deep in the south lay the dark swamps and The Mire formed from the water rumored to actually choose to flow away from the woods of The Fade, but those bayous are their own story.