The Lands Beyond
The Lands Beyond, to the North of Wulluxia, are the focus of a new exploration of the region. Originally a very old kingdom, even far older and more ancient than Wulluxia, hard times have fallen on the land. It has become but a land of meadow after meadow, with only a few forests and landmarks. Recently Faeries have moved into the North Western corner of the sub-continent. The ancient High King, the Ard Ri, is long gone— and the people have all become nomads, sweeping across the land in a yearly cycle.
Here, then, is a guide to all but one of the prominent landmarks of the region— and speculation about that latter landmark.
- The Barpis River
“A long time ago, when Jayanus prospered, a villager by the name of Barpis drank far too much at a summer festival. He tore off from the town, looking for some better beauty, drinking all the way. He toke with him also his hoe, for he was a farmer by trade, and dragged it along behind him singing a bawdy song
Hoi La, Heara. The drink is in me.
Hoi Lea, Hee Ree. And then, my love, I pee.
He got drunker and drunker until he came to a place in The 3 Peaks. He was set upon by monsters, but he thought them only the demons of drink, and dealt with them as he always would when hallucinating at his own home. He dared to drop his trousers and relieve himself on the monster. This act of unintended boldness frightened the monsters, who fled down through the long trench Barpis made. But his action cause him to fade from the world, leaving only his tinkle behind. In time that tinkle became a flow and that flow became the Barpis river. If one bottles the water from that river and leaves it in the dirt for three years it becomes a great alcohol capable of knocking one out with but a few shots. Some say Barpis was the first Knight of the Rose, but the story is probably apocryphal.
- Cairn of Ka La Ree
This Ancient Cairn is said to mark the site of a great magical duel, a battle of wizards of tremendous power. The landmark is so legendary that there are even whispers of it’s nature within Wulluxia, rumor being that Xolom himself took the side of the good mages against a great and terrible evil— a dragon in the form of a man and twenty score of his human and corrupted servants. In the language of the Land Beyond, that dragon was called Ka La (meaning the Great Fear) and the consortium was called Ree. It is said that Xolom’s forces, 800 all told, used many spells and finally forced the land to swallow up and trap the dragon. His body rotted away many years ago, leaving behind only the stones, a great source of magical energy. There is a rumor that the dragons head is buried within the Cairn and that whomsoever retrieves it will be gifted with magical powers untold.
- The Citadel of the Snow Elves
The Citadel is more a fortress, carved into and around the snowy and rocky face of a mountain called Heoroberg, seems more like something made by Dwarves. And so it was originally a holding of a band of Dwarves, who found the cold too much, and dug deeper and deeper towards the Earth’s core— some of these Dwarves still live in the city and trade with the Elves. The snow Elves, for their part, built the outer promenade, where many live in ice-houses. The city itself is divided into three parts: on the outside the residences, the the ice-antelope farms, and the merchant quarter; and the inner forges and holy temple/King’s Hall on the inside of the mountain.
- The Copse
A relief from the frosty cold of The Northern Wastes five hundred miles to the south, The Copse is the home of a barbarian tribe of humans who deal in slaves with members of the humanoids who plague the Lands Beyond. They do this by capturing those foolish enough to venture forth into the Lands Beyond, and also spend some of their time raiding the Northern Wastes. Many is the dark tale of a Snow Elf or Furchin lost in the night or some snow storm— taken by this tribe who are called The Luni. The tribe make their home in a grove, or more accurately, a small copse: their homes are carved into the trunks of trees, and very simple.
- Fae Lake
When Glorianna transferred the objectionist fae to their new retreat home, she also made sure to provide for their needs. She took a pool, what was once known as the Rotting Shallows, and purified it with her magic. Now, the largest settlement in Nova Glorianna sits on the Eastern edge of the pool, and drinks some of the cleanest, finest water in the world. The lake is also well stocked with fish and other animals that live close to water. Not all is right, however, as the Rotting Shallows were home to a strange and dark creature called the Bleeding Hag. It is said that this woman, who was murdered many years ago, still haunts the lake, and every few nights snatches those foolish enough to go out on the water, pulling them down into depths deeper than hell. For that reason, those who do fish— the few humans and a multitude of Fae— are very careful to make land three hours before sunset.
- Moon Lake
Called Lok Lun by The Luni tribe, this is the source of their moon worship. They believe the lake is an aspect of a goddess named Lalun. This is another facet of the druid god The Cloaked One. An avatar of the goddess dwells deep within the lake, and it is said among The Luni that she will bless the True and Rightful King who will overcome the chaos of the land and unite it in a great kingdom.
- Muckety Marsh
Run off from the Multitude of Hills, combined with the water from the River Fairy makes for a continuously flooding morass. Strange flowers, often picked by faeries for their remedies and workings, bloom well here. A number of evil humanoids make their homes here— mainly lizardmen and mudfolk, and the occasional band of goblins or kobolds. Those fae that dare venture into the middle, where a strange black tribe is said to live, report of a new creature called either a Gobold or a Koblin roaming the land.
- the Multitude of Hills
If the rumors in the Lands Beyond are true, before all things there was the plans and the hills. Who made this hills and for what purpose remains a mystery. The hills are thousands of miles of rolling changes in elevation, with some sudden gullies, a few forests, and naturally born halflings. These halflings, of course, have never met the halflings from Wulluxia. They are a people more attuned to the shadow world, which is a world of magic superimposed over the Lands Beyond. There are a few entrances to that world in Wulluxia, but the Multitude of Hills has many— Halflings live most of their lives between this world and that. But they use the Shadow only for insight, only to solve their immediate problems. Most of the time they prefer to set back, smoke their tobacco, and bake their cakes. (Unlike the Wulluxian halflings, the Land Beyond Halflings are wonderful and renowned bakers and an independant race not created as servitors.)
- Nomad Shanty Town
Once upon a time the Lands Beyond were a Kingdom known as Ard Ri [[Jayanus], and people did not move about much. There were five lords underneath a High King. The people lived in cities— the ruins of which are long buried under the sweeping meadows and plains. But when the High King fell, when Jayanus was sundered, the people fled in terror of the great evils— ghosts and nightmares that rode over the land— and began to form tribal bands. In mere generations, they’d all but forgotten their noble and civilized past. But these people were not the Barbarians— for that is a much older tribe. Still, they did not give up stationary life completely. Every year they came back to the same place for a large meeting for trading and whatever decisions might need to be made. A temporary seneschal is usually elected at these meetings. Of course, the usual meeting spot became a shanty town of tents as some people— the old and the young— began to stay behind. Tose from 13-60, however, went off every spring after the three day meeting. The seneschal, however, always stayed behind. There is a small trading section, a larger tent for the seneschal, a small farming district, and little else.
- The Northern Wastes
In the north of Wulluxia, running from the Godclaw Delta to the Eastern Mountains, and perhaps further in each direction, are the Wastes, a land of permafrost. A frigid and chilly place, full of giants and strange large wolves, and other such abominable creatures. There is talk amongst the Snow Elves and Furchin Halflings who make their lives amongst the empty whiteness and cold of a strange creature called a Yeti raiding villages. In the North-Eastern most corner of the wastes, just where the green of plains again begins to come into view, is The Citadel of the Snow Elves, carved into a tall peak.
- Nova Gloriana
Nova Gloriana is a very new development, about a hundred or so years old, in the Lands Beyond. When the Fae Civil War broke out in Wulluxia, a few refused to take sides. They still worshipped and paid homage to Glorianna, the Faery Queen, but they refused to take up arms against their comrades. Glorianna, with some foresight into the future, cast a spell that transported all those objectors who still followed her to a new, safe place. That place was the North Western corner of the Lands Beyond. Those Fae that made their home here planted a forest, and made sure to grow it well. It is now full of animals and verdant vegetation. The Fae of Nova Glorianna are a shy folk and don’t trust outsiders— they fear what has gone before. Humans and Illith and so forth are all sour memories. Perhaps the right ruler… someone touched with the mark of the Knight of the Rose… or the Crown of the High King of the land… they might change their minds.
- River Fairy
The River Fairy was once called something else, though this name is long forgotten. The name change came with the purification of the river and the Rotting Shallows (now a deep lake) and life up and down the river is generally good except for a band of River Pirates that pray on the two or three villages that haven’t given up and moved away yet. These villages are almost always of Fae, as the humans are still mainly nomadic. One of the villages, however, is filled with the descendants of many prisoners dwarves sent into the Lands Beyond as punishment. The other strange property of the River Fairy is a house on stilts that bridges over the river at it’s very mouth. In this house, which is all but inapproachable, guarded on all sides by strange hedges and weird animals, lives [[:Gaston Baader]], the Hermit Bard, who survived an encounter with the Dle’Lak, though he was not left untouched by their manipulations. A distrusting sort, it is hard to believe that he was once a great Bard revered throughout the lands of Wulluxia. Something however moved him to go north, and he has never been the same since.
The once great castle of the High King of the Lands Beyond (which were once called Ard Ri Jayanus meaning the Realms of the High King) now many thousands of years unrepaired. Barely anything now but a ruin: a few falling and unsafe towers, taken up by bands of monsters and wanderers alternatively. There is a rumor, however, that a vast dungeon-tomb complex was built beneath the citadel in its glory days holds the Crown of the High King and his final resting place. (Some say the High King is not yet dead, waiting in stasis for a successor to bless to take up his place.) Ah, but when the place was whole, it was a sight to behold: lavish festivals, jousts, merchants from all corners of the world. Though it is unknown now, back then even Wulluxians came to the envied Lands Beyond and enjoyed their hospitality. And in the High Tower, across from the High King’s Hall, was the Council Chamber of Jayanus.
- The Three Peaks
As much as the Gods and Forces of Nature created the neighboring sister lands of Wulluxia, the blankness and open space of the Lands Beyond shows an untouched, primal landscape. Other than the few known landscapes and some obscure corners, all of the Lands are meadows and grassland and greenery. Not much rises to great heights from the ground. The Heoroberg at the edge of the Northern Wastes is one example. The other is The Three Peaks, from which The Barpis River flows. It is said that terrible ancient monsters live in these mountains, and that the dragon Ka La was born and made his lair somewhere on the middle peak. For that reason, it is called the Ka La Spire. Other strange monsters are known to be born and bred in the darkness of the caves and cores of these monumental rocks. The Barbarians and nearby nomads fear a race called The Dle’Lak who can warp reality with their very thoughts. Only one man is known to have survived a confrontation with these monsters— The Hermit-Bard [[:Gaston Baader]]— and he live at the mouth of the River Faery, shunning all those who would seek him out. There is good within the mountains, however, where The Barpis River magically begins to flow. There is said to be a cave where a Love Goddess dwells. Every seven thousand years she takes a lover, who after a night of wild passion, becomes a renowned knight sworn to her cause— and overthrows a great evil. The lover becomes the next in the long line of the legendary order of the Knight of the Rose.