Age of Ascension
The Sea of Sorrows
Formerly known as the Egian Sea, the calm and clear waters of the Sea of Sorrows give the continent its characteristic arched shape and separate the Eastern and Western kingdoms. For Avencia, sea trade is a vital part of the economic infrastructure of the empire, as well as Valcora’s ability to support its own hulking economy.
Shallower than most of the oceans surrounding Egias, it is known to be crossed by deep chasms, some of which begin just beyond the Blood Coast’s shallows. Before this point, the sea floor is visible on a calm day, consisting mostly of soft white sand and punctuated by outcropping of black stone, encrusted with generations of sea life. Aside from a few scattered kelp forests, the shallows remain unobstructed by plant or algae deposits.
The Sea of Sorrows is well known to be teeming with ocean life, both animal and sentient. Foremost among these are the sahaugin who plague small boats and fishing settlements along the Statelands. Entire colonies have been reported within swimming distance of the shoreline. There are also a surprising variety of fish, from colorful schools that live among the rocks, to sea serpents as long as a galleon. Valcora has learned to predict the movements and behaviors of some of the more threatening creatures surrounding it, and shipping remains a safe industry, for the most part.
One well-known example is the Egian Moon Puffer; a fish that lives near the surface but past the shallows, and measures nearly 15’ in length. When threatened, the moon puffer expands itself to spherical proportions with a biologically produced gas, which is lighter than air, and leaves the water for several minutes at a time. They float just over the horizon like a new moon. The Valcoran shipping industry has actually mastered the technique of triggering this response in a tamed specimen, allowing rapid, short distance cargo unloading by air on the docks.
While there may be much life in the Sea of Sorrows, it wouldn’t be so named without a great deal of death. When the Harrowing took place thousands of years ago, half of the city-state of Cardea was swallowed by these depths. Great sections of the sunken city can still be seen haunting the ocean floor, anywhere from 30-10o’ below the surface. Dashed among the ruins are the wrecks of Atheronian navy ships and vessels of the Dread Cross, who clashed here over 150 years ago.
The Worldshatter Mountains
Ancient legends says they are the result of Taudoc, god of creation, reassembling the shattered world in the wake of a divine war, before mortals walked its surface. No matter their origins, these high and jagged peaks dominate the Egian continent like a spine. It’s common knowledge that the range is near impassible, comprised of broken crags and cliffs with very few known passes. Their height is such that they remain snow-capped throughout the year except in the farthest Southern reaches of their span.
In Avencia, storms of powerful magnitude roll down from the daunting Eastern slopes regularly, often obscuring the white caps with dark clouds. Meanwhile, in the North, cool air washing over the peaks from the high valley of Lenlocke causes a constant rolling fog that obscures the wooded foothills of Counties Broadwood and Greymouth.
Legends abound about the what might inhabit the crags and overlooks above. It is common belief that rarely seen creatures of legend have been driven higher and higher over the centuries, and tales are told of a city of giants somewhere above the clouds. Others would have you believe that the peaks are inhabited only be dragons, who wage war amongst themselves, unconcerned with the mortals below.
At one time, dozens of marvelous dwarven cities were hewn out beneath the Worldshatters, and most of them were connected by a network of fortified tunnels called the Deep Roads. The dwarves were never numerous, so their ancestors chose wisely to build their halls into the largest contiguous range of the Egian continent, to avoid stretching themselves too thin.
The Age of Ruin was perhaps most devastating to the dwarven kingdoms below these primordial peaks, and the majority of them were abandoned or destroyed. Those that remain intact are undoubtedly inhabited by any number of creatures that inhabit the dark places of the world, curbing all but the most stalwart of treasure hunters.