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Wolf Web • View topic - Bridging the Gap: Elsewhere (P)

Bridging the Gap: Elsewhere (P)

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Bridging the Gap: Elsewhere (P)

Postby Elsewhere on Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:08 am

((Private for Cross and Nazz.))

A dead wind blew across the barren landscape, over cracked, dry earth and broken pride. A dark sky of deepest midnight blue, gradually fading and morphing into a deep, blood red at the horizon, went on forever. The no-man’s land, desolate and unforgiving, stretched for eternity. Red-orange and parched, the ground was hard, stiff, and dead, just like everything else.

At the center of it all a massive, stone altar stood, sprinkled with Regale blood from two decades previous, and scarred with the brutal memories of a battle between beasts. The altar was once known as Hellren’s Reredos, but that name had long since been forgotten. Upon the end of the world, the ancient city surrounding the shine had been burned to the ground, leaving nothing but a skeletal ruin of brick and bone behind. Not even the shadow of a ghost wandered there now, and the remnants of the once thriving, primordial metropolis slowly faded into nothing more than dust.

North of Hellren’s Reredos, hundreds of miles and weeks of walking, was a massive mountain range, and its presence was enough to overwhelm even the stoutest and most audacious souls. The Dread Mountains climbed high into the heavens, touching the clouds with their tallest points and disappearing amidst the navy sky. Of its many rocky crags, deep canyons, and perilous peaks, the grandest and most dangerous was Mount Murk. It is said that to reach that summit would be impossible, and only if one were to find the legendary route, Sever’s Pass, would the journey be even probable. What rests at the top of Mount Murk no one knows. The skies are too thick with storm and cloud to take wing, and the earth too precarious on foot.

So, treacherous and deadly as they are, even the foulest and cruelest monsters keep closer to the ground where a twisted labyrinth of caves and caverns snakes its way beneath the earth. Miles and miles of underground tunnels wind their way beneath the Dread Mountains, looping and turning upon themselves to the point of no return: getting lost in the Snare, as the caverns had come to be called, could very well be the last thing a creature ever does.

To follow the base of the mountain line westward would lead to a second important landmark within this abandoned realm. A colossal stone tablet rests at the foot of the Dreads, rearing up twelve feet high by eight feet across, with the words of an ancient, long-forgotten tongue inscribed upon its smooth, obsidian face:

In a land of wickedness
With skies of sorrow
Seas of hopelessness
And no tomorrow
Monsters reign.

Beyond the tablet the Realm of Wolves once lay in wait, but that gateway was closed forever now, evidenced by a violent crevice running down the surface of the stone. Broken by the coming of a king, it stood as nothing more than a monument of what once was, what could have been, and what was no more.

And even further west, leaving the tablet behind, one would come upon a breach in the mountain’s wrath. Opening up, the Dreads gave way to a copse of petrified trees, their branches all stretching westward as if blown by an imaginary wind, the long fingers of their twigs and boughs reaching for something equally as nonexistent. Stonewood trickled out of a deep valley, once carved from the earth from a river that had long run dry.

In the center of the forest of stone the last remaining water of the realm sits. Fermenting in its filth and poison, the Missing Marsh lays in wait. This water is neither safe to drink from nor swim in. Centuries of rotting within itself has made the wetlands a venomous concoction, just as evil as the brutes that met their end within it.

Despite having dried up eons ago, the riverbed still remains, bordered on either side by the dry, red earth and delved deep and wide into the ground. The Meek River had once upon a time flowed down from the Dread Mountains, going south for over a thousand miles until it met up with the Nevermore Sea. However, the well had long run dry, leaving nothing more than a scar upon the surface of the terrain, deep, wide, and painful.

Following the Meek River south leads into the Blood Dunes. Crimson sand, flowing in rolling hills and graceful dips, mark the beginning of what may have once been a beach. Beyond those is the most terrifying and mystifying sight to see within this realm: the Trench and Nevermore. After the Blood Dunes the ground slopes and dies, cutting off and falling into the Trench. The cliff is so sheer that it appears nearly vertical, so wide that a glance to the left and to the right shows no change in its stature, and the bottom is so distant that it seems to be nothing more than a black abyss. To look forward and out, where no land is visible and the vast nothingness continues on forever, one would see Nevermore.

Going full circle, Hellren’s Reredos is north of Nevermore, but a third landmark waits at the halfway point. Perhaps the most peculiar part of this world is the single, royal empress tree that rests midway between the Dunes and the altar. Despite the rest of the realm, this single tree thrives, standing tall and proud at eighty feet. However, the lifecycle for this tree is unique and separate from the passing of time in the realm: spring, summer, autumn, and winter pass by in ten-year periods. For a decade it is in constant bloom, lavender flowers gracing the dimension with the rare delicacy of a charming aroma. For a decade it remains green and bold, sticking out against the desolate and empty backdrop. For a decade its leaves turn red, slowly but surely falling to the earth and littering the ground in the soft autumn colors. For a decade it stands, as dead as the rest of the world, empty and colorless… Appropriately, it has come to be called The Tree of Renewal.

Thus far, the east of this world has been ignored, but that is all for the best. For, you see, to travel east would be useless. The barren landscape, speckled with a dead tree here or there, or a rock every so often, cracked and dry, goes on and on with no immediate end. For thousands of miles, perhaps even hundreds of thousands. No one knows for certain just how far it stretches, whether an end really exists, or if the Wasteland truly is infinite. Regardless, rumor has it that, if one were to make the distance, he would find a crater two hundred miles wide…

In spite of the harsh, unforgiving terrain, living and breathing creatures have made this realm their home, moving like phantoms and existing in a perpetual state of half-death. In the mountains live the Crawlers. Mutated and bone thin, these quadrupeds wander in the middle-ground of the Dreads, neither high up by the perilous peaks nor too near to the foot where the Snare rests. Though they may have once been of wolven nature, that bond has long since broken, and there is a violence and malice within them unmatched by the likes of anything else in this world.

The foot of the Dreads, through that abysmal maze of caves and tunnels, lives another race. Their nature and ways are nearly unknown, for the Others dwell deep inside the deepest and darkest caverns of the Snare. Black as night, legless, they travel in groups, reclusive and quiet. However, to invade upon their space would be a grave mistake, for the Others are extremely territorial and will fight to the death, squeezing the life from their unfortunate victims until the breath has been sapped from their lungs.

Avoiding the Missing Marsh and Stonewood is a good idea not only because of the venomous water, but also because that’s where the Snatchers keep. Bipedal creatures with ashen flesh and webbed appendages float beneath the water’s surface, drifting along through the wetlands. The poison in the very water in which they live has given the Snatchers a toxic bite, their wide mouths filled with hundreds of razor sharp teeth that can tear through fur and flesh in seconds. The poison will first paralyze, and then the snatchers will wrap their slimy little fingers around their prey and drag them down into the depths, where drowning in the noxious pool becomes their fate.

Yet these three, Crawlers, Others, and Snatchers, are less common than one would think, and more often than that a wolf would sooner run across one of the Drifters. Of all the creatures within this realm, the Drifters are the most common and most spread out. They are found everywhere, from the Dread Mountains to Nevermore, from the Meek River to Stonewood, and all the way east into the wastelands. Solitary, these creatures look no more than wolves whose souls have departed, leaving nothing but an empty shell behind, doomed to wander forever in this no-man’s land.

As for Nevermore… No one knows what life may be at the bottom of that massive chasm… However, it isn’t empty, oh no… Down in that vast emptiness, things lurk

Without a doubt, this realm is nowhere near ideal, and yet things are about to change… Since the arrival of a king, claimed by a land desperate for resurrection, a drastic turn has been taken… What happens now, however, is only the beginning… For now…

This, my friends, is Elsewhere.

And Elsewhere is awake again, and something just disturbed its peace…
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