Thursday, March 23, 2017

Wheelhouse Setting 3: The Upfall



Myth tells of how the broken moon left its mark upon the world, tearing through ocean and land, dreams and reality. Nowhere can this be seen more clearly than the Upfall--a place that defies physics and challenges one’s very understanding of the world around them.
What is left of the world is broken into twelve land masses called “drifts.”  The drifts are held in place by the Wheelhouse: anchored and kept from breaking asunder like so much of the Old World in the aftermath of the cataclysm that destroyed Mythren. It is not an ocean or sea that separates these pieces of land. Instead, it is a great abyss whose bottom, if it even exists at all, has never been found.
Light emits from the chasm that extends as far down as the eye can see, though no discernible source can be seen in the fathomless depths below. From the light rise the fragmented pieces of mortal’s greatest achievements. Defying gravity, these broken remains—some small, some enormous, levitate from the light then float along the Upfall like a glacial river of all that was. They appear to be the remains of castles, temples, cathedrals, and towers of magic. Their splendor, grandeur, and beauty span all the history of the ages. Craftsmanship of all races now mingle in the lazy flow of the impossible stream. 


The rim of each drift is a reflection of the world’s suffering after the Breaking: a blasted tundra fractured and splintered like old glass where massive piles of debris lie scattered for miles. The ruin-strewn edges of the drifts are often haunted not only by the memory of what was, but by horrifying aberrations called “hollows.” Ghostly in form, these are not truly undead, but the wreck of elvenkind doomed to siphon what magic can be scavenged from this wasteland. They pick through the stone debris, hooded, drifting like phantoms, their faces a spidery mask of black veins, and eyes shot white and sunken into deep sockets. Too long they have lived on the Upfall rim and stared into the chasm. Too long they have contemplated this existence in the ashes of the fading dream as the magic within their veins withers and dies.
It is possible to travel the Upfall by means of the debris, and there are those who have even fashioned skiffs capable of sailing the sea of wreckage from one drift to another. To fall into the chasm, however is certain death. Only what rises from the depths carries the strange power to float along the invisible surface. All else simply plummets endlessly downward to a fate no mortal knows.
The Sooths say the Upfall reaches not only back through time into the Breaking of the world, but back into the Breaking of all worlds. It is the wound that transcends all realities, and bleeding out are the stone memories whose broken remains tumble up from yesteryear into the one unforgiving reality that remains.
It is a fraying reality...held precariously together solely by the power of the Wheelhouse.

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