The Fade

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.  In the lands of what you know as the Americas, strange strange things have happened.  It was here that the Remnant once had established the height of their glory, before the sundering 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 waldgeists prowl in the forest, stalking their prey indistinguishable from vines and shrubs, while flocks of gargoyles wing in the upper canopies then drop in stone form on unsuspecting prey.  Mutated to become savage were-ravens, Corax skulk in the shadows, exiled from villages.  Tribes of homonculi, morphed by the weird energies here and calling themselves Redcaps, play cruel and sadistic pranks on travellers, while insectoid centaur Grigs 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 Bayous formed from the water rumored to actually choose to flow away from the woods of The Fade, but they are their own story.

Waldgeist: Wolf-like creatures which roam in packs, composed of living vine, brush, and thorns.   

Gargoyles: Once fearsome statues commonly installed in the fortresses along what is now the northern half of The Fade and southern half of the Kinsthet Desert, they came to life with the tearing open of the life cycle Eye.  Now, able to turn their body between flesh and stone, they flap about the skies of The Fade, turning to stone to drop instantly from the skies and attack their prey.

Corax: The warp of energies in The Fade created the savage and feral Corax, transforming them into half-raven and turning their minds to a more primal survival state with the changing of the moon.  Though still sentient, they are single-minded, cold, capricious, and selfish, and are usually exiled from villages.  Many become thieves and cut-throats, cunning predators somewhere between animal and their original race.  Their transformation may run a spectrum from more-birdlike to less, depending on a variety of factors.  It seems to be some sort of magical disease or curse, and may be transmitted by the bite of a corax.

Redcaps: Homonculi mutated by the energies of the Fade roam the edges of the woods, often playing tricks on passers-by which result in cruel and wanton violence.

Daucas Karoton: The King of the Horned Flower is a demi-avatar found in The Fade. As a demi-avatar, he is one of the most powerful beings alive. His realm is that of the hunt, wilderness, and virility, and he travels The Fade with his hunting band of half-melali Dryads and waldgeist hounds. Few have ever seen him, and those who have, have done so mostly at a distance. He looks a bit like a large Melali beastmaster, with a mane of grassy hair and large antlers protruding from his head, though his exact form may change on a whim. He is rumored to have been the ex-lover of Melothria, and the two are periodically in rivalry or outright conflict. Any being other than Melothria whom he comes across will give Daucas Keroton the respect he deserves as King of The Fade’s forest and the world’s greatest hunter.

Dryad: What Shakhaarya are to Alathans, Dryads are to Melali.  They are the halfway point between original tree and fully developed self-aware beings, a step in the evolutionary process of the Zoarch's creation of the race.  While many wander The Fade, wracked with pain and territorial towards intruders, a more sentient band forms the retinue for Daucas Karoton, travelling with the King of The Horned Flower on his endless hunt.