This whole region is haunted
by the evils committed upon its scorched
earth. Few areas in the entire world have had so many dark deeds
perpetrated upon them. From the Chosen Eckra the Cruel, well named for the
devious tortures he inflicted upon all of those around him, and even those far
away. So many of the horrific things, for that is all they can be called, that
he created still remain in one form or another. The rising of
Gouran centuries later only rekindled the
black magics that had lain dormant. With this
resurgence, some of the creatures and beasts that had been trapped by the
cleansing of the Injerín were
released. While Gouran was defeated, the
Injerín did not have the power they
once did to seal up the wasting sickness that was the peninsula.
Description. Where does one begin describing this festering sore upon the world? Some would say, the most dangerous, others the most mysterious, still others places that treasures may lay. Let us start from the point that civilization leaves off and the corruption begins. The closest civilized people and those with the worst memories of the place are the Artyrhón elves. They live in the islands in the Eight Winds Bay and have only two cities beyond the river known as "The Waters of Division", and upon the peninsula itself. These cities are Adlin to the south and Silven to the north. Both are used as ports and lighthouses for the trading practices of the Artyrhón. Adventurers can leave from either town and begin the trek into the Plains of Rilla, however due to the position of Adlin on the Artyrhón trade route coming north from the Santharian towns of Voldar, most people begin their journeys from here. So, even thrill seeking Santharians may visit this place, though Kuglimz and Meladrhim elves are the most prominent adventurers.
From these strongly fortified and well lit towns it is but a short distance to the real lands of the Peninsula of Kr’uul. The first thing a traveler will notice is that the green scrub and grass near the cities quickly becomes sickly and yellow looking. Then, with but a few minutes of travel, one comes to almost a line that marks the beginning of the Dead Lands, as the Artyrhón have named the plains. At this line, all of the plants go from yellow to black, it is rumored that the line of death and decay slowly moves closer to the towns. Many report hearing ghostly howls echoing across the plains, and these are the lucky ones, for quite a few adventurers are set upon soon after by misshapen wolves of enormous size. Injerín scholars believe that these are the same wolves that were once used as mounts by the armies of Eckra the Cruel. The past few decades have seen a resurgence of these packs.
If one first survives the several days ride in these “Dead Lands”, then they will come upon the forest known as the Folkmore Trees. In all truth this can not even be called a forest; for all that remains of that once re-grown place are endless blackened trunks and splinters of trees. This continues far into the horizon and creates a place for beasts to hide in the shadows and wait upon those that might enter their realm. Older Artyrhón elves make a journey of remembrance to this place and go into the depth of the forest to visit the ruins of their city Parthenon. Blackened rubble and desiccated woodland is all that remains of this once proud example of the merger of nature and Xeuá magics. What once was a regular journey for elders, is now a seldom done thing due to the increasing dangers to be found there. Adventurers though, flock to this place to fight all manner of the foul thing that has now taken up residence here. Those that return, do in fact come back with some treasures, though many will say that it was not worth the loss of friends, nor the nightmares that will forever haunt them.
Very few people travel further eastward, deeper into the peninsula and the horror it contains. A vile river of filth, aptly named the Ebony River flows from the Ebony Lake, and cuts across the land like a knife. It is well known that the waters are not to be drunk, nay they are not to even be touched. For, the very waters which run black as night will boil your skin away should you touch them, and if you dare drink them, then your very stomach will melt and run out of you taking your bowels with it. Luckily though, there are some points where the river narrows enough to allow a strong steed to jump from one bank to another. Never go near the lake for strange reptiles with thick, mottled scales inhabit it, somehow immune to the poisons it contains. Long razor sharp tongues flick out and can catch a horse at full gallop, slicing it in half. Stay furthest to the south if you dare to journey onward.
Now, once intreped adventurer, you have reached the Forbidden Zone. So named, for it is believed that Eckra forbade the very ground to give life to any living thing. The earth is cracked and dust flies about constantly. No sign of bush nor weed can be found. The very earth cracks with ones footsteps, causing even more dust to fly. It is as if the harsh, gritty, dust attempts to carry on Eckra's orders. There is not a single place that it will not invade. Armament, clothing, eyes, throat, all things are prey to its invading force. Whether it is simply the now exhausted mind or some lingering effects of foul magics, but the heat of the sun is enough to crack and blister skin. A man's brain may fry until not even his sanity is left to him.
If an adventurer is so lucky, or more likely, so cursed he will be living still. Creeping out like a deadly fog, a mesmerizing power will then draw them to the above ground remains of Tak'Dinal. Like a brooding master it sits elevated on an immense plateau. Stone the color of midnight, enormous craters, and downward spiriling staircases to oblivion is all that will great your eyes. Only a few of the strongest Injerin mages have survived this pull. All others have met their death in the depth, or worse they have been subverted into the very creatures that they had been fighting the whole of the way. No contemporary accounts exist of the lands that exist beyond the keep of Tak'Dinal. The looming Mountains of Despair were only reached during the Years of Cleansing and tell of gaping wounds of Eckra's ancient mines. If one so dares to travel to the Peninsula of Kr'uul, they better say their goodbyes for they will likely die there.
Location. Sticking out like some unnatural growth from the mainland of Northern Sarvonia it thrusts itself out into the Sea of Tears. Researchers claim that the sea got its name from its high salt content, but historians refer to the countless tears that Eckra's slaves wept as they crossed the waters after being ripped from their homes and sent to work his mines.
|Picture description. The Peninsula of Kr'uul in Northwestern Sarvonia. Map by Artimidor.|
Originally, the Peninsula of Kr'uul was connected to the mainland, however during the epic Battle of the Winds, great powers were released and the Eight Winds Bay was created, along with it the deep waters of the River of Division. To the north is the Peninsula of Caaehl'heroth and all the warring dark elves it contains. Southward there are the sulfurous, smoking volcanoes of the Celeste Mountains.
People. The dubious title of people could only go to the Dinali. The most common tales of Eckra tell of armies of these creatures. Supposedly they were created from the offspring of human, orc, and giant, with mutations made from foul magics. Once thought to be a myth from ancient texts, some had been rumoured to have been seen amongst the armies that Gouran marched against the Kurakim dwarves. At first these rumours were just thought to be visions caused by the stresses of battle. Though, with adventurers now coming to these areas in greater numbers independent travellers have given similar descriptions of the Dinali. Here follows a report from an adventurer who was attacked by one:
"I and my five fellow adventurers had made camp for the night in the blasted lands of the Forbidden Zone. We had started out twenty strong but had been taken out, piece by piece as we got further in. We dared not have a fire, for the monsters are drawn to it, so we huddled in the freezing night. Oddly so since we burned by day. Without warning it was upon us, my first sign of it was hearing Kurlin next to me scream. Looking at him all I saw was an axe head made of what seemed black metal that had split him nearly in half from top to bottom. Jumping up I only stared at the axe, following the long haft up to the gruesome hand that groped it. The fist that held it was surely the size of my head. I thought it a giant or ogre from its size. But as lightning flashed above, I saw a most twisted site. The face was that of a humanized orc. As if somehow the two had bred and created this monstrosity. It bellowed and when it did so, I saw something that would later haunt me. It was as if its face split apart showing rows of jagged teeth, drool hung down from these wicked teeth. Next it pulled the axe free, it swiped the axe in a circle around it, felling another of my comrades. I began to run for all I was worth, lightning flashed in the sky again and I looked back and there a horrific thing meet my sight. The great creature had Kurlin in it's grip and it's teeth were embedded in his body. I continued to run without ever looking back."
Seemingly changing as one journeys through the lands, as if even the weather is
against the adventurer. The Plains of Rilla are freezing during day and night,
fur is a must to stay warm. Around the Ebony Lake a humid, toxic environment
filled with noxious gasses envelops the traveller. In the Forbidden Zone, hot,
blistering days are followed by freezing nights. Enormous clouds can be seen
hovering over the Mountains of Despair, so while the climate there is not known
it is assumed to be filled with snow and ice. Truly the varying climates of the
region can only be attributed to the magics seeping out of
Flora. When one mentions the flora of the area, they can't help but laugh. Well there was a dead bush here that looked like it may have once been leafy. Also some burned out runks that may once have been very tall trees. After an adventurer goes on in this vein for some time it can be seen by the researcher that they will not get much from them. A commom thing said when asked this question is a variation of the following, "I was too busy running and fighting to stop and sniff the withered flowers."
Fauna. Now this is an interesting thing. How many of the descriptions of creatures are real, and how many are imagined? Others still, such as the Netherbeasts may take on multiple shapes from one's nightmares. So, a researcher may only truly describe those things that seem more concrete. This only leaves one creature, an enormous warg. While wargs can be found near the Mountains of Oro to the south, they actually bear only a slight resemblence to those seen here. First of all these creatures are twice the size of their nomal cousins. The thick fur common on southern varieties is once again not seen here, rather it is described to have thin strands of hair covered what appears a reptilian skin of some sorts. Two other characteristics seem to stand out to adventurers. The first being the fangs, the front two canines extend past the others, to a position slightly below the lower jaw. It is said that these fangs can pierce the thickest of plate armour. The second difference is that of the tail, for the last third of it is covered in small spikes that it can actually use to whip about itself, most unlike the near stationary position of the furred tail of a normal warg. It is also much thicker, having a strong muscle there to sweep it to and fro and giving enemies a hard blow with it.
Resources. No actual resources have been gathered from the peninsula in some time. Tales tell of armies using weapons of black iron, and of countless slaves working the mines in the Mountains of Despair. Whether the iron is for some reason black upon mining, or if it was treated during forging or in some after process is not known. At one point the Folkmore Trees were a good source of lumber for the Artyrhón, then Gouran came and the forest was decimated. Rumors of gold and jewels abound, as Eckra not only amassed a large fortune from those he conquered, but supposedly much was mined as well. It are these rumors that help draw adventurers.
Myth/Lore. Countless myths and lore hover around the place as a vulture around a dying creature. Every tribe that has had people go there has one. Nearly all inhabitants of Northern Sarvonia have tales of the foul land. Some of these may include stories of Eckra the Cruel and the things he did during the War of the Chosen, or how he still waits in the depths of Tak'Dinal for more victims. Others tell of Gouran the Destroyer who attempted wipe out the Kurakim dwarves and the Injerín elves and was only stopped by being killed by her own father.
The most common tales though are of those of many adventurers who come here and die, or who manage to escape out with some great treasure or magical item. Most of those that have survived have been corrupted or cursed by what they have brought back. Several stories include the man from the Ger'ak Kuglimz that found an axe that made him invincible in battle. It also made him lust for blood, and in the end it drove him mad to the point of killing his whole family before he in turn was killed. Another story tells of a peasant from Voldar who came back with great sums of money. When he went to share his wealth with some of the beggars and peasants he knew they killed him for his money and stole it. Countless stories like these are traded back and forth around many a campfire or over a mug near a hearth.
Information provided by Drogo