søndag den 16. marts 2014

The Underworld

The Shadowfell is no picnic, let me tell you. While it might not match Hell in brutality and horror, the creepiness and silence of those enormous pine forests is daunting to say the least. Everywhere you go, there is just that. Silence. No wind, no animals, no living people. Just darkness and the god-forsaken fog. Then, best as you think you are alone, spirits come out of the fog screaming and tear your soul apart.  
-Rolaf Dragonrider, during the writing of his memoirs
As you might have gathered by now, Gemnos is a world of opposites, of symmetry. The Underworld is no exception to the rule. Where the Faerie is vibrant, colorful, with strong smells, passions, the Underworld is dark, bleak, subdued and muted.

Said to be a copy of Gemnos in days past, the Underworld is a place with no sun, constantly cloudy, foggy and the only light appears to be from a dim moon, hiding behind the eternal clouds.

All souls but those who have stricken a deal with Hell come here, and while some move on when the haggling is done, by far the most stay.

In the Underworld, a soul will roam for a 100 years, until his fate is settled. During this time, he will, depending on alignment, state of mind when death occurred and a billion other factors, materialize as a ghost, wraith, dread, spectre or shadow. Most of these will never cross over and haunt Gemnos, nor will they ever bother other creatures in the Underworld. But many, mostly those evil in life and destined for the fiery pits of Hell, will roam the bleak landscape of jagged plains, dark pine forests and crumbled ruins of ancient cities and attack anything that crosses their path. In other words, if you head to the Underworld, bring a bucket-load of clerics.

In other worlds, Cyric's home is a dark and desolate place, filled with angry and bored souls and spirits. There is no sun, no food, no living people, except for the death elves, aka the Shadar-kai. Called Cyric's chosen, the death elves live their lives in bleakness, holding off their quasi-suicidal tendencies by constantly pushing themselves beyond their own limits. Pain and pleasure are taken to the extreme in order to fell anything. As such, they are, as a race extremely capable. There are no weak Shadar-kai, as they very quickly die.

Now, all of the Shadowfell is not desolate. There are a few places inhabited by other than spirits and souls. The Shadar-kai have some flying cities, but for most people, they are very inaccessible and unseen. They are also, all things considered, few and far between. There are also the odd stronghold here and there, some held by renegade Shadar-kai, others by intelligent undead. And of course, there is Cyric's Temple of Bones, from where he sits and runs things.

If you happen to be a worshipper of the Fourteen (the aspects of the Twins), there is also at least three other places of note: The Mausoleum of Death surrounded by an endless graveyard, where the Raven Queen resides, controlling the fate of man and judging the dead. The Guildhall of Deceit, from which Mask guides and records every lie and secret in the world, and last but not least, the Pit of Darkness, the place from which all darkness in the world springs, where Shar rules.

Obviously, the last four places are not easy to find, even by those few who may wish to...

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