Adara: Introduction

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Adara

A World Wild and Untamed

Adara is a shattered world. Stone islands float thousands of feet above the world’s molten core. Dark winged creatures live in the abyss that lies below these floating continents, venturing forth when the sun slips below the horizon. Some scholars know of a world and civilization that existed before the world was shattered, though only the elven council is said to know how the calamity occurred.

Most of Adara is largely unexplored for very practical reasons: passage between floating continents is all but impossible. Occasionally these continents brush up against one another, allowing particularly brave and adventurous (or desperate and foolhardy) individuals to explore the uncharted world beyond their own continent, but such occurrences are rare and those who leave almost never return. What lies beyond the abyss is a mystery, unknown and unknowable. The knowable world consists of Galmora, the largest of the known continents, Aelar, a small continent tethered to Galmora by means of great mithral chains, and Korrug, a continent which smashed into Galmora nearly a century ago with such force that the two continents remain fused together to this day.

The continent of Galmora is home to humans, dwarves, and halflings. It is wild and untamed, with great beasts that prowl the hills and mountains. An enormous inland sea has allowed those who survived the shattering of their world to eke out a continued existence. Most of the humans of Galmora live in small tribal bands, though two kingdoms have arisen from the ashes of the old empires that existed before the world was shattered. On the northern shores of the Great Sea lies Galmor, the kingdom which lends its name to the continent. It is a brutal kingdom ruled by the Iron Emperor, where its citizens toil to provide for the Emperor’s great armies. To the south lies Elissia and the Elissian League, a loose confederacy of small towns that has grown exponentially larger in the past decades due to the integration with local halflings and its acceptance of dwarven, gnomish, and elven refugees. Further south still, live what is left of the dwarves. A grim and steadfast people, they guard the continent’s edge, hoping that one day their great kingdom will rise from the aether once more. 

The city-continent of Aelar floats high above the Great Sea and is home to the elves and gnomes. It is protected and held aloft by a shimmering orb of magical energy. A city spans the length and breadth of the small island, crystalline towers extending above and below the surface of the small rock to which they are anchored. It is home to many magical wonders, though the reclusive elves refuse to allow visitors from other races and have even banished many of their own to the larger continent below.

Korrug is a parched continent to the far north, home to goblins, orcs, ogres and many other less civilized tribes. The land itself is forever turned upwards from the collision with Galmora, forcing rainwater to run off of its surface along deep, swiftly moving rivers and into the abyss. As a result of the lack of food, water, and other resources, the orcs have been locked in a war of expansion with the empire of Galmor for nearly a century.

The Aether and the Core

Beneath and around the continents is a thick billowing fog known as the aether, a type of magical fog upon which the continents float. It is possible, though exceptionally dangerous, to cross the aether using specially designed ships, though the aether is irregular with vortexes that suck ships below the surface and violent upward vents that can shatter even the sturdiest hull. In areas where the continent is thin, an aether vent can shatter the crust and even split an entire portion of the continent clear off, as happened to the dwarven kingdom several centuries ago.

Beneath the aether is the glowing core of Adara. Believed to be a molten ball of adamantine, the core casts an eerie blood red light through the aether. Enormous shadowy figures known as abyssals can be seen flying through the aether, feeding off of the magical residue as well as any humans or beasts unfortunate enough to be lost below. At night, when the light of the moon is dim, these abyssals leave the aether and hunt the continents, terrorizing those who live above.

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