Category: Tertia Worldbuilding

The Lands of Tertia: Iaxus

Iaxus

The fallen continent, Iaxus was once the proud home of countless druidic tribes who celebrated nature in all its forms. They believed that Humans were detached from nature, that the evolution of their minds made them all too capable of harming it. They also believed that the purpose of magic was to help those who became Magia return to nature. They saw Perjalanan, the old god who gifted magic to their land, as a wistful nature spirit and hailed him as the sole deity. They believed that Perjalanan could take many forms and at times was one with nature itself, an idol that the Iaxiots strived to imitate. On their spiritual journey to become one with nature, the bodies of the Iaxiot tribes changed to become as their environment was. Mountain-dwelling Iaxiots evolved stone skin, forest tribes obtained bodies of bark and grass and those of the desert became as sandstone. To take things further, they also developed rituals that transformed them into Vera. The tribes took pride in their ways and immersed themselves entirely in the magic that transformed them, unknowing of the consequences that it would hold.

Perjalanan continued to give magic to a land that was already wealthy with it and, inevitably, it overflowed. Paired with the body-alteration rituals practiced by the Iaxiot tribes, the overdosed land evolved them beyond what their bodies could handle. Their bodies grew in an attempt to make themselves capable of handling the excess magic power but it was not enough, the people of Iaxus lost their minds as they were transformed into warped and monstrous versions of themselves. Only few managed to keep the magic under control, the rest had totally lost themselves. The Iaxiots grew violent, the pride and culture that they had previously was wiped out in favor of conflict over conflict. Their bodies still overflowed with power and they became instinctually inclined to use it. They sought out battles, they had to find ways to spend and show their power. Whenever the hierarchy of Iaxus was defined they set out to other lands and fought wars with the other continents, not for land or resources but just so that they could fight.

Then the calamity happened and the Iaxiots were all wiped out by the very nature they once loved. The creatures, the plant life and even the environment itself turned on them and the warped Iaxiots were wiped out. What remains is a land of death, home to ungodly powerful beasts that overflow with the magic that destroyed the continent. The only people to have gone to post-calamity Iaxus and survived are Luxalim, Vamenor and members of the guild of heroes. The continent is naught but an unforgiving wreck that serves to warn what can happen if magic is taken for granted.

The Volcanic Border makes up the east and western sections of Iaxus, tortured hellscapes of molten stone. Formerly, the border was a visual delight of hills and mountains, in places they glowed blue as light reflected off of the sparkling rivers and lakes. During the calamity, the mountains detonated and the rivers were filled with lava. The grassy hills burned and all the life that made home in the border’s various caverns were evaporated. Head kingdoms that were built had their stone walls melted and not even bones remained to be buried. Life continues to exist here thanks to the terrifying rate of evolution in Iaxus’ wildlife, aquatic creatures swim in the lava and those above land have bodies of bedrock. If the lingering heat doesn’t instantly disintegrate you, these pseudo-invincible monsters will hunt you down and make sure it was as if you never existed.

Drought Territory is Iaxus’ burning desert, separated from the volcanic border by a glass divide. It was formerly a resource rich desert where the sand was soft and pleasant to step in and where rivers pooled into plentiful oases. Plant life thrived and the great leaves that were cast from the trees offered haven when the heat got intense. It was more of an expanded tropical paradise than a desert. The calamity lit everything aflame; the trees, the natural gas, the desert’s oil sources and the sand itself was burnt black by the raw heat. If the heat wasn’t enough, the air is so dry that it is believed simply breathing it is enough to dry out your lungs. Then, if you survive the day, there’s little chance you’re able to adapt to the night. In the dark, the desert’s boiling heat flips over to a gnawing cold and creatures that live under the sand rise up to roam the frozen night. The desert’s flames freeze over and the day creatures scatter to the shore so they can rest in the waters. Battling one aspect of the drought territory is difficult enough, which is why none have dared to attempt the trek through it and risk facing them both.

Jungle Territory is Iaxus’ toxic jungle that greets anyone who comes to the continent from its south. Once a lush territory where the fruits were so plentiful and ripe that even traditionally carnivorous beasts such as wolves and jaguars would partake in them. It was widely believed that consuming the fruit of the jungle territory would bolster your health and growth, people from afar would pay huge amounts to eat them. When any living creature was hurt or got sick in the jungle territory, there were masses of herbs that held powerful healing properties. Even just walking in a garden of these herbs could expel the bad health from one’s body. Post-calamity, the jungle is an underestimated yet perhaps the most terrifying entry point to Iaxus. The fruits and herbs rotted and were filled with poison, forcing the jungle inhabitants to begin suddenly cannibalising each other. The fumes from the rot are so potent that they burn the skin and to inhale them means certain death. Tinted with magic, the poison’s composition can rapidly alter which makes it impossible to concoct any antidote. The dead plants fell into the rivers, which thickened and turned purple as they too were filled with poison. The creatures who managed to adapt to the poisoned terrain hunt each other endlessly, constantly evolving odd quirks for the sake of gaining an advantage on one another. The Mist Wolves are an example of this, gigantic white wolves that emit a thick fog to mask their presence and can even go so far as turning into mist. These are but one of the deadly species that now rule the jungle territory, which many foolhardy adventurers have died trying to traverse.

The Frost Forests are found to the north of the volcanic border and drought territory. Being so close to the two hyper-heated territories, the frost forests are covered in a mixture of ash and snow. These forests were formally considered Iaxus’ harshest plane back in the time of the druids due to the cold conditions and relative lack of resources. Still, there were tribes who stubbornly thrived on this land as they accepted and loved nature in all its forms. One old Iaxiot tradition had members of a clan who had come of age to spend time in the frost forests and connect with nature even in the biting cold. Post-calamity, the frost forests are a place where the smallest movements mean your death. Similar to the jungle, the creatures of the frost forest use their adaptive capabilities mainly to get an edge in hunting each other. However, the method of hunt is consistent and terrifying between all of them. Compared to the jungle, the white visual-scape of the frost forests is obscenely easy to camouflage in and the creatures take full advantage of that. Every beast local to this territory can blend in to the environment, creating a situation where at most times the forest appears utterly still. Nothing making its move, all of them awaiting the moment that something steps out of place and reveals itself. The tiniest disturbance sets them off and when it happens the forest becomes an all-out bloodbath. Then, the red mists of battle fade and the ashes and snow return the environment to how it was and it all begins again.

The Top of the World is marked by Iaxus’ blizzard of razors and is the place from which Twylth cast her planar creation spell. This area used to be home to a massive lake, the largest in the world, which was said to have many mythical properties to it. Despite being in one of the coldest climates of the world, the lake would never freeze over. They claimed that the aquatic life in the lake, which was indigenous only to that place, held all the knowledge in the world. Other versions of that myth claimed that the lake was a representation of the afterlife and that, when someone died, a new creature would be born into it. Linked to this, some claimed that bathing in the lake would grant eternal life. This place of mysticism and life was the perfect place for Twylth to cast her spell from. When she did the lake rippled and the cold it had rejected since the earliest days froze it through to its floor. A ceaseless blizzard coated the land, so harsh that the hail could eviscerate anything that attempted to enter. Even among Iaxus’ beasts, few attempt to mark their territory at the top of the world. Those that do fair the conditions and soak in the remnants of the mythic lake are crowned with the title of apex species.