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 The Aster Sea and the Interior

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PostSubject: The Aster Sea and the Interior   Thu Aug 21, 2008 11:45 am

The Aster Sea
The Aster Sea has many names – the Sea of Dreams, Quiddity, the Twilight Sea, the Sea of Shadows, the Sea of Means, the Sea of Ends, the Disaster. Most people prefer to call it the Aster. The waves that lap the coast vary from day to day; from saltwater to fresh, from the consistency of bitter tears to the clear, cold of fresh regret. Sages say it’s always exactly what people need. Despite governmental warnings, the poor, foolish and desperate both swim and bathe in the sea. Parents warn their children not to put their heads underwater. Those that do sometimes emerge changed, or as Changelings, or as entirely different people. Some even bottle the Aster’s water for drinking. Despite an Edict from the Governor banning the consumption of fish caught in the sea, the poor do so regularly. The hungry have no use for Edicts. Being superstitious, the poor do avoid eating the fish that talk, or at least the ones who plead their cases well. The city beaches are usually crowded with romantics and suicides.

Somewhere in the Sea is the lost island of Mu, which is said to be a piece of the World Before and the original home of mankind. Some people claim to see the souls of the dead departing from the port in the Black Ships. Worse, some claim to see the souls of dead who jump ship and come back to be illegally reborn. The Eladrin hail from the Blessed Isle, not far off the coast. They are originally from a place they call the ‘Waking Lands’. They insist the entire time they spend in this world is a dream. The Elves, who are also from the Blessed Isle, insist that world was the dream, one from which they wakened after they heard the call of the Great Girding Forrest and relocated there. Hell is the Infernal Islands, of which there are nine, surrounded by concentric reefs of obsidian and Devil's Coral. In the center is a fabled Port of Brass (also called Dis), home to a market in which the most powerful of rituals and items may be purchased at the cost of one’s, well, someone’s, mortal soul.

Sailing East into the Sea is sailing away from human and mortal understanding; it’s sailing into the Other. Nearer to shore you find islands full of the close-to-mortal; half-elves, were-creatures, the more conventional boogeyman. Farther out you encounter beholders, mind-flayers and assorted abominations. Eventually, you might find the Elder Gods of Chaos. Residents of the Middling Lands use the phrase ‘across-the-sea’ to refer to the realms that can be reached by sailing the Aster. They use the phrase ‘beyond-the-sea’ to denote the completely unknown and unknowable.

The Interior
The Interior is a place of terrifying beauty, vast under a pitiless sun; with snow-capped mountains, rift valleys concealing lush jungles, enormous-yet-somehow hidden lakes.

For example, deep in the Interior is a mist-shrouded lake on a high plateau, which only those ‘clothed in virtue’ can approach. The lake is the source of the Ossuary Flow. In it is the skeletal corpse of God. Bones of all shapes and size from His body break off – frequently. They go over the edge at the Falls of Adam and are ground to bits on the rocks below. These shards eventually wind up the Middling Lands, and give the river its name. Sometimes, whole unbroken bones are found. These contain fresh Divine Marrow, which is the component of the Raise Dead Ritual. Obviously, the chance of finding whole bones increases as you approach the source.
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