ext_18500: My non-fandom OC Oraania. She's crazy. (Stop! In the name of love!)
[identity profile] mimi-sardinia.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] houseofstrange
I have an idea for a fantasy world that I have been going over in my mind for the last few months now and I want to get at least some of it down, somewhere.

The Daylands is a world where, while there are still lingering traces of magic, it has mostly disappeared and society goes on working without it. However there is one thing that does not let magic fall into total legend, and that is the Nightlands, a vast section of land that exists in a state of perpetual night and is rich with magic that the rest of the world has left behind.

There are many myths throughout the Daylands that try to explain why the Nightlands exist. The most common one in the north tells a story about how magic users in ancient times tried to steal power from the gods, incurring the wrath of the sun god, who turned and tried to destroy all magic. The moon goddess, who was patron of magic, was offended by this and stood up to the sun god and fought him. When the sun god gained ground on the moon goddess and things started to look grim for her, she drew a line on the ground and told the sun god not to cross. When the sun god ignored her and tried to cross it, she marshaled all her power and summoned mountains up from the earth and brewed up fog from the sea and declared all between to be hers and hers alone, drawing away all the magic in the rest of the world and hoarding it in the Nightlands. When the sun god refused to give up his quest to destroy magic and stepped over the moon goddess's mountains, he found himself enslaved by the magic of the lands and transformed into a second, larger moon. All he could do in that form was disrupt magic, making it act wild, but he could not dispel it. Once he crossed the mist in the west he was returned to his true self, but every time he passed into the Nightlands from then on, he once again became the larger, more disruptive moon.

Other more pragmatic thoughts believe that some time in prehistoric ages some sort of war happened that caused a number of super-powerful sorcerers to work together to bind their lands in perpetual night.

The Nightlands consists of a region that stretches right from the arctic north to the antarctic south, with an equatorial width of six thousand miles. The eastern border of the Nightlands runs through two major continents, while the western border is in the ocean.

The eastern border is marked by a mountain range the runs the full length of the world, north to south, known in several languages by some variation of "The Sunset Mountains". The Sunset Mountains are the tallest in the world with peaks permanently frostbound and make for perilous climbing.

Daylander towns and settlements close to the Sunset Mountains are considered wild frontier places for both the variety of rugged hinterland conditions and also for simply being close to the Nightlands.
It is a common thing in the sunrise lands (the Daylands to the east of the Sunset Mountains) to comment on someone "falling under a three o'clock shadow", with the time specified referring to when the sun falls behind the mountains wherever the person lives. the earlier in the afternoon that is mentioned and therefore the closer to the mountains, the wilder and more fey the person is implied to be.

In the west, a bank of on unmovable mist stretches across the Great ocean, from north to south. Along it's length are numerous islands of varying size, known as the Mist Islands. The Mist Islands can be on both the Day side of the mist or the Night side, and in a few cases can straddle the line and have both. The closer to the line one gets, the thicker the mist becomes and people who have made the passage over the Dayline say that right where night falls, the mist is so thick they can barely even see their hand and inch from their face.

While most people of the Mist Islands are already considered fey by the rest of the Daylands, the closer someone lives to the Dayline, the more fey they are seen. This holds true even amongst the Mistfolk. Conversely, the Nightland Mist Islands are rather tame and civilized compared to the sparse settlements on the continental Nightlands, with the closeness and relative ease of passing from Day to Night in the Islands, especially on those islands that straddle the Dayline. The Mist Islands are also the most reliable authority on information about the Nightlands, with passage from the islands to the continent seen as a far easier way of traveling than crossing the Sunset Mountains (though due to the Sunset Mountains stretching from the North Pole to the South Pole, for those living east of them, having to travel around the whole of the rest of the world just to approach the Nightlands the easy way is, in itself, harder to do).

Within the borders of the Nightlands, there are two moons that can be observed. One moon corresponds to the moon seen in the skies of the Daylands, sticking to the same pattern of waxing an waning. This moon is considered to be the more reliable one, the moon by which Nightland calendars can be judged by.
The second and larger moon is considered to somehow be analogous to the sun, but is far more random and idiosyncratic. "Moon-days", the periods of time where the larger moon is in the sky, can be perceived to vary in length wildly. On person may perceive a moon-day to last only a few hours, while another person may perceive the same moon-day to last the equivalent of several sun-days. Tests with reliable portable time-pieces have failed to give any reliable information either, with some time-pieces showing the same time having passed when their carriers report experiencing different lengths, while other testing groups who report experiencing the same length of time have time-pieces that show significantly different lapses.
The Greater Moon also has other effects, causing any number of random magical occurrences, sometimes triggering or neutralizing objects, areas, etc subject to certain enchantments. The Greater Moon is considered to be one of the major hazards of the Nightlands, because of it's random effects.

The best defense against the Greater Moon is Living Stone. Stone is counted as "living" if it is still attached to the bedrock and has never been disconnected. For those who believe the myth about the Moon Goddess, it is believed that Living Stone is connected to the magic She imbued the land with when She claimed it. For those who believe more in ancient sorcerers attribute it to a nebulous idea of natural magic in the land. Dead stone still retains a fair bit of resistance to the Greater Moon's effects, and while a large amount of portable magical devices are based on stone, it is not as reliable as Living Stone. Metal also has some resistance, but due to the effects of smelting and forging is even less than stone. Natural crystal also has a strong magical affinity, and even when it is removed from the Living Stone it continues to resist the effects of the Greater Moon.It is a general rule that the more a "dead" mineral has to be worked, the lower it's resistance to the Greater Moon is, so raw crystal is more effective than crystals cut into gems, the shaping and working of stone should be kept to a minimum, and the more work put into forging metal, the less effective it is, magically.
The exception to this rule is if the craftsman working the material is a dwarf. Dwarven gems retain more magic, dwarf-forged metals are more magic resistant, and dwarf-carved dead stone retains more resistance, coming close to being as effective as Living Stone.

The Continental Nightlands are a vast wildland, with only a few settlements large enough and protected enough to be relatively undisturbed. Most of the most stable communities are established on the western coastline of the Nightlands, and are the major ports for those coming from and going to the Mist Islands. These communities stay only due to a concerted effort to collect and use magic to keep their lands relatively stable, but the very nature of the Nightlands makes that difficult as any number of magical occurrences can have negative effects on a settlement's defenses, from outside attacks to the Greater Moon rendering protective barriers temporarily or even permanently dead. The most stable settlements in the Nightlands are those that partially or wholly live within Living Stone, like fortresses carved in ancient rocky upthrusts, cliffs, or established in natural cave systems. A few of the non-human races with strong connections to the land, like dwarves, say the Living Stone has a spirit they can hear.
Some of these ruins seem to indicate that some time in the past, people had a way of growing the Living Stone into shapes usable as buildings. Such knowledge is currently considered lost, though many adventurers believe it can be found again, either caches of information or in one of the stone-dwelling races. If any of the stone-dwellers know how to grow Living Stone, they are guarding the secret very carefully.

The inland areas of the Nightlands are a vast variety of land types. Fields, plains, forests, swamps, hill and dale, mountains, rivers, lakes, deserts, steppes. The plant-life often seems to be mostly the same as dayland plant-life for the same climates, though Nightland plants show a great tendency to have bio-luminescent features not seen in the Dayland equivalents. Despite the lack of a true sun, the plant-life grows just fine, roughly the same as their Day-relatives (depending on whether they grow in an area subject to peculiar magical effects or not). Analysis done by the Mistfolk theorizes that Nightland plants use the ambient magic to sustain themselves without sunlight. Whether this is a natural adaption or something engineered depends on what a person believes about the origins of the Nightlands.

While most Nightland flora is, at the least, mildly magical, some plants that have been reported by adventurers have no known Dayland equivalent. More often than not, the magical properties of these Nightland-exclusive specimens are far higher than other flora.

Similarly, the Nightlands are populated by animals that are mostly recognisable, but also show evidence of having adjusted to the perpetual night and possess a measure of magical ability. However the Nightlands is also home to many creatures that the Daylands consider practically myths, even to the extent that some Daylanders (particularly those who do not live near the Nightland borders) cannot believe that the Nightlands does have real dragons, unicorns and other legendary magical beasts.

Amongst the legends about the Nightlands are ones about it once being a great empire cursed to perpetual night (the same legends about powerful sorcerers creating the Night) have some basis in the fact that travelers have reported extensive evidence of earthworks, roads, monuments, ruins of fortresses and even a few (more or less) empty cities. Some of the known inland settlements are established in the reclaimed ruins of such places, while others constitute known magical hazards and even a few well-visited attractions for adventurers.

Besides the known human settlements and non-human settlements known to be friendly, there are any number of places where less friendly intelligent beings live. The Sidhe are a race of highly magical peoples often referred to as "Elves", "Fae" or "Faeries". They are known for having capricious natures and live in well-hidden communities through large parts of the Nightlands. Other creatures turn up in all sorts of places - nymphs and dryads are usually in natural glades, mermaids are known to live in areas of the Night Seas, gnomes are more often than not living under hills and barrows, dwarves in deeper caves, stone circles may be gateways to realms of any number of types of creature, or can simply have some thing or another bound within them.

Exactly how dangerous these magical being are varies wildly and there is no definite way of being sure. Those living near the coast are no more guaranteed to be friendly than those inland, those living on the foothills of the Sunset Mountains are not guaranteed to all be dangerous either. There does however exist a belief amongst humans that the relative dangerousness is greater the further from the coast one goes, but that is only true in the fact that there are more human towns and settlement in the westlands, and those towns are likely to have remedies for quite a number of problems adventurers may encounter within a range of a week's travel on foot around them.

The Nightlands are wild. The Nightlands are dangerous. The Nightlands are highly magical. While these things remain true, the Nightlands continue to draw any number of adventurous souls, to explore, to make their fortune by finding some strange and powerful magical item or treasure, even a few wishing to escape the drudgery and predictability of the Daylands, hoping to settle permanently in the Nightlands.

Not everyone who goes to the Nightlands survives. Not everyone who goes to the Nightlands comes back. Those who do though, their lives are changed, one way or another.


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