01 August 2012

Chorhyst, Rising Hell

'Sailors' Bane', the 'Edge of Reason',’Ralhael Chthonis’, 'Rising Hell, 'Macerah'…
It has many names, most imaginative amongst them those bestowed by explorers and mariners, who are, thankfully for us, the only breed of man to have encountered this abomination with any regularity, if even that. Those scholars with leisure enough to examine and muse over the vagaries of this region from the safe distance of their libraries and reclusiae have granted it the name Chorhyst, which is the word most whispered by mortals around the Inner Sea.
It is a place seemingly forgotten by the laws of the natural world, designed as though the creators were under the effects of a fever-dream or delirium, the resultant aberration of nature a colossal monument to their antediluvian dementia. Colossal without compare, few of the worlds’ other abnormalities – the Boiling Sea of Khamid, the writhing plains of the Flæschus, the rusted badlands of the Anomoferroh – compare to the mind-numbing enormity and the sheer… impossibility of the Chorhyst. Perhaps it is true, what the doomsayer preach; that our world is unravelling, that the laws that once maintained its natural state are decaying. Perhaps we really have reached the a time of fading, a precursor to chaotic oblivion.
The approach is not easy. Not with the strongest of imperial dreadnoughts and behemoth-class tanker can one navigate the roiling seas beneath that great expanse. The best most people manage is a distant glimpse; more than enough to take in its enormity. Those approaching it say is truly like a dream, a thing of wonder that begins as a stark mountainous shadow in the grey haze of distance, steadily gaining corporeal form as it moves slowly into view, its cyclopean form slashing through fog and cloud, revealing the immensity of its wretched form. It is only then, once the eyes have seen the totality of that aberrant form, that the mind begins the fruitless attempt to wrap itself around the concept, that there, before you, stark as the air you are breathing, the deck beneath your feet, an entire continent hangs suspended, as though an unseen divinity were lifting at one side, the heavens beckoning it to dizzying heights. Water trickles down its fractured skin, deceptively serene, belying the ferocity and weight of the mass of liquid - largely condensed air from the penetrated clouds - that gushes down the void before slamming against the misshapen meniscus of ocean roiling at its base, lave thrashing and steaming wildly about it, vaporizing water.
The thing moves, inching upwards slowly even as we look upon it, eyes disbelieving. It is inexorably pulled upwards, at a rate of as much of a dozen-or-so yards a year, or so the loremasters would have us believe, for who in their right mind would travel up that thing, taking the treacherous journey through tectonically belligerent lands to reach a peak from which observations can be made? Indeed, who can say what other laws of nature are broken around its summit or along its treacherous ascent. It is rumoured that the rocks themselves sense those treading upon them with a grotesque sentience. Some say that the dead rest uneasily there, stirring in their graves, even as the living find their sleep fitfully broken, their bodies unable to rest beneath the palpable shifting of stone. Dreams dreamt under its influence are broken, echoing an ancient pain and anger that reverberates across time and space. And amongst such sleepless murmurs come the ancient whispers of long-dead Demiurges, hanging heavily in the air; warnings to any vestige of sanity that yet remains there to leave that place or risk corruption.
That is the Chorhyst, and the madness that surrounds it.

Chorhyst (pronounced core - heist), one of many regions I’m detailing at the moment cataloguing the dementia of the Demiurges as translated to ‘natural’ phenomena and effects. Commonly-known as the floating continent, it is found to the east of the populated regions, across from Tethysia and the Sea of Myrmarea, close to the so-called meniscus of the Firmament. A huge chunk of continent, perhaps 700,000 square miles in all, like the corner of a page being slowly peeled upwards. Earthquakes and tremors are common around the base as the stresses and fractures give wayto the slow inexorable movements of thFe continent. Though few know this, the reason for this is the general messed-up-edness of gravity here; a result of the Demiurges’ deaths and the unravelling of the natural laws outside their influence. Similarly, water is messed up here too, with various currents and maelstroms subjected to the whims of the impossibly chaotic gravity here. Due to surface tension the majority of the waters’ surface remains intact, though bulges upwards with seemingly-random swells of up to a half-mile in height, the peaks of which find rivulets of water sucked upwards, sometimes in the form of reverse rain or even waterfalls that strike the embryonic cliffs and jagged rocks of the continents’ underbelly, pooling thee in eerie meres and lakes straggled by vines and roots and strange mosses that have since taken hold. Beneath these gigantic watery swells are vacuums and air pockets that can collapse at any time, spelling doom to any vessels foolish enough to venture there. Indeed,  wrecks and shattered hulks of ancient ships caught in that maelstrom 'hang' from the cliffs of the rising continent; victims of the chaos in the region.
Lava is an all-too-common phenomenon along the base of this continent, where metamorphic rock meets water that eons ago spilled into the raw hollow left by the regions upheaval. Now magma pumps out of the earths’ flesh like an oozing wound, creating oddly-shaped landmasses that cool and solidify under the vaporous protests of the boiling water around it.
All the effects of an intricate machine that is decaying and malfunctioning without the supervision of its machinists and technologists. It is only so-long before the amchie breaks down completely. Who knows what will happen then?

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