A land of conflict and chaos, where all the Kingdoms meet. Death, Famine, Pestilence and War all have their strongholds here, and war often rages between two or more Kingdoms. Peace is generally shortlived, and each Kingdom lay ready for attacks at any time. Populated by demons and hellwolves first and foremost, it is a land held on the edge of battle, where the drop of a pin may start a new war.
Country/Area Name(s): Tatakai
Ruling Species: demons
Native Language: Demonic
Capital(s): Death Castle, Famine Fortress, Pestilence Castle, War Fortress
Monarch(s): Lord Icarath (Death), Lord Slain (Famine), Lord Vortigern (Pestilence), and Lady Undyne (War).
These are the Fortresses and Castles found within this area; each one is marked on the map, and divided by tiers; each one belongs to its corresponding Kingdom. All four are large and imposing, incredibly strong, and unique.
DEATH CASTLE:RACE: demon and hellwolf. LEADER: Lord Icarath. TIER: four.
LANGUAGE(S): Demonic and Common. ALLEGIANCE: Death.
APPEARANCE: Standing alone in the desert, the great white mountain of a castle sends terror in those that live near by. It stands out in great contrast against the dark world around it. It has five main towers that go around the main building. The first floor contains the throne room and the floors above are housing and resources for the royal demons. The castle has a basement that is used for prisoners under the throne room itself and behind the bone chair of the reigning Lord hangs the skull of the first death hellwolf alpha. The very top floor of the castle holds a shrine room to Lethias herself where she is both honored and brought gifts from the royal family. The castle is adorned in red and gray which are the colors of the royal house. The castle holds a lot of treasure from days of old and legend has it that anyone that steals from this home will be cursed by castle which is in fact believed to be alive itself. Whether any of this is true or not, none truly know.
CULTURE: There are no customs held by the demons within the castle itself, as it is home to the Royalbloods who live there. Very few live within the bone-white structure that houses the legendary royals. Those that do are typically only visiting Clan leaders from across the Realm, guests, or the hellwolves. No one but the Royalbloods and hellwolves stay here predominately. The only custom that lives within these walls that can barely even be considered as such is the training and raising the next line of royals for their chance at the throne.
FAMINE FORTRESS:RACE: demon and hellwolf. LEADER: Lord Slain. TIER: four.
LANGUAGE(S): Demonic and Common. ALLEGIANCE: Famine.
APPEARANCE: Standing alone and forlorn overlooking the great N'ghissar River, the Fortress of Famine is a testament to the kingdom's solid strength. Built much like the castles of Millirand and Felnova, the Fortress is surrounded by a towering curtain wall of large grey brickstone, four corners tipped with towers. These turrets are covered with demon-style wood-and-tile roofs, each housing a statue of a snarling Zailen. Painted white, with teal tile, they match the intricately carved wooden gates and the dark turquoise inlaid into the many carvings that adorn them. Inside, a grand keep rises, similarly built - a statue of Zailen flanks the Great Hall's entrance, leading into an arched room large enough for Kazule to stand tall within. Above, a large room with a curving balcony rises, known as the Lord's Chambers, overlooking the vast courtyard. Behind the white marble throne, carved in the likeness of a snarling lion's skeletal jaws, lay open two arched doorways that lead into a labyrinth of tunnels and rooms. These rooms fill the rest of the keep and descend into the darkness of the earth, some leading to underground pools and mystical libraries.
CULTURE: Few customs are held by the demons that serve the Royalbloods who live there. Very few servants, all n'vaen, live within the vast walls. They are part of an elite guard who serve the royal family, and live there along with their own pairbonds and children, sworn to protect all no matter the cost to themselves. Hellwolves are the other guardians that are permitted behind the walls; the royal pack, known as the Kuhtals, roam the rocky wastes around, guarding the castle's outermost defenses.
PESTILENCE CASTLE:RACE: demon and hellwolf. LEADER: Lord Vortigern. TIER: four.
LANGUAGE(S): Demonic and Common. ALLEGIANCE: Pestilence.
APPEARANCE: A massive, towering, dark stone bulwark surrounds this grim fortress, which stands atop a stony hill. A solitary path leads up a ramp to an external, fortified gatehouse, corners turned upwards towards the sky, like horns. A mighty, wooden drawbridge bound with iron bands allows access to the castle proper when lowered, which is rare. Behind the drawbridge, two massive doors etched with gold-inlaid runes and flying hawks provide yet another layer of defense. Within the great wall of stone, the Pestilence Keep rises, a black, stone spire trimmed in burnished gold around its sparse windows, and outer gate. At regular intervals, walkways extend from the outer wall to the great spire, each warded by a heavy iron gate, inlaid with golden runes. Within the throne-room, at the heart of the great spire, a gilded throne sits, faced by the statues of past Lords who stand as if in judgment in shadowed alcoves, while above the throne a golden statue of Orphethas perches, great wings extended as if to gather the entire room into his grasp, fixing any intruders with a fierce scowl. Upper levels of the spire serve as quarters for Pestilence Family Demons, and their closest retainers. Lower, subterranean levels serve as quarters for more menial demons, as well as cells for any prisoners awaiting judgment.
CULTURE: Twice every year, the gates of the castle open to allow Pestilence demons access to the throne room. Once, during a ceremony to honor Orphethas and make sacrifices to him, and the other, to allow Pestilence demons to submit petitions directly to their Lord. The rest of the year, the gates remain shut. The castle is a hotbed of intrigue as family members and high-ranking retainers plot and scheme to gain or keep the Lord's favor, while the Scourge, the elite Pestilence Guard, train daily to hone their skills.
WAR FORTRESS:RACE: demon and hellwolf. LEADER: Lord Undyne. TIER: four.
LANGUAGE(S): Demonic and Common. ALLEGIANCE: War.
APPEARANCE: Between the two branches of the N'ghissar, the Fortress of War stands as the Kingdom's looming reminder of proud tradition. Built out of wood and brick, it is clearly designed more for aesthetics than defense, though still appearing quite sturdy. It has four tall-walled buildings for the exterior, forming a square around the main keep. It features a blue-grey tile roof with upturned corners, carved into horns, with intricately carved doors depicting the the dragonform of Neiren, the War Goddess. The first floor of the main keep contains the throne room and the floors above are housing and resources for the royal demons. The outer towers contain the living quarters of the guards and servants. Statues honoring the past Lords and Neiren are set about the outside. There are a set of dungeons buried under the hill the Fortress sits on, keeping it separate from the workings of the royal court. Behind the main keep sits a large shrine, erected to honor the War Goddess.
CULTURE: Customs and culture had been restricted in the Fortress of War for many years; until recently, the demons lived in fear of their Lords, stifling growth. What little tradition occurred within the walls was based around the military life. Recently, a Lord worked to change that, reviving ancient cultural ideas and adding a spiritual focus to complement the military one. Rituals honoring Neiren are common, with demons from all over the Kingdom being allowed to attend. In addition, demons within the fortress, and throughout the Kingdom, are encouraged to advance down artistic and spiritual advances in addition to combat.
These are the landmarks and important places scattered through this area. They can be anything from forests and rivers to special caverns, monuments, ruins, and more.
Bonemask WoodsA shocking sight to those used to the verdant forests of other Realms. These trees, true to their name, are bone-white and bear no leaves nor fruit. In the heart of this thick, greenless forest lies the mythical Silver Throne. This place is home to all manner of strange crfeatures that take refuge in the shadows; the darkness is only broken by a few rare species of tree and plant that bioluminesce a faint silver.
Bloodsoul RangeA mountainous region filled with nightmares. Very different from its Felnovian cousin, the Darklights, the jagged northern peaks descend into a massive canyon that cuts south like a knife wound. Near the desert, the plateaus it forms flatten and degrade, and many are filled with caves and caverns where creatures even demonkin fear lurk. What lay deepest in them has yet to be discovered; no moonlight graces these forsaken rocks.
Darklilly PlainThe vast Darklilly is a dangerous place filled with knee-high black flowers with scarlet centers and five long petals, protected by bright red thorns. The Darklilly Plains are alive; there is a hive mind that is, in fact, carnivorous. The flowers feed on blood. As a result, their thorns secrete a numbing poison to stop victims from noticing the loss, as well as a natural blood thinner to increase flow. The Plain is also known for its connection with the qilin, a predatory cousin of the kirin.
Demonseal TempleThe Temple is an ancient landmark hailing from the time when the Realm was first created. It is the legendary link between the Four gods and the inhabitants of the Realm. Traditionally, Demon Lords are chosen in this sacred place, and many say that a Demon Lord can only be chosen here, though there is no real proof for this claim. It is rumored that in a hidden room in the depths of the Temple, a fantastic treasure awaits those who dare seek it out.
EverfrostA towering expanse of dark grey rock, covered in a permanent sheath of black ice. Black snowfall and dark, blinding blizzards hit the area frequently, scoring the tundra; due to this, the ice looks layered when cut, due to the constant freezing and refreezing of the new-fallen snow. Smaller peaks surround the central mountain, rising high above the surrounding plain, and a large network of dark caves run beneath the mighty edifice, offering hiding places for clan-less outcasts, and lairs for some of Kurai's less savory wildlife.
Forbidden LakeOne of the strangest places in the Realm. This lake is not like the others in the Realm; instead of blood, it carries the purest, freshest water. As water is toxic to War demons and a mild poison to Royal-blood War demons, and the fact that all demons can survive on blood in the stead of water, this lake was forbidden to the inhabitants of the Realm. It was rumored to have been created by the strongest dragon mages in the time when the dragons tried to settle Kurai. From the outside, this lake looks like a barren wasteland, but if one who bears no harm to dragonkind enters this place, the lake is revealed to be an oasis.
Kvy'stir MountainsThe massive mountain peaks that dragons had, long ago, tried to tame; the Kvy'stir hides the old Dragon Ruins, established during the Bloodreign War and long since overrun. While much like the nightmarish Bloodsoul Range, these mountains are somewhat more hospitable to all, being one of the only places where true water can be found.
Maranth DunesA vast desert of grey sands. Dunes shift, rising and falling, molded by the constant winds blowing across the desert's surface. The dark sands and deep shadows formed by towering dunes make the desert a good place for the desperate to hide from the eyes of Death Fortress. It is also easy for the unwary to get lost within its desolate expanse.
N'ghissar DeltaA rough gathering of deposited sediment, piled in the river mouth. The sides facing landward are long and tapered, while the sides facing the restless sea are jagged and eroded from both the crashing waves and frequent, acidic storms. Despite its general lack of any mineral or strategic importance, territorial disputes over the delta between War and Pestilence have occurred in the past, usually ending in War's favor do to the delta's closer proximity to their fortress.
Sandfrost RuinsThe Ruins lie in the center of the forbidding desert that spans Kurai`s southeast corner. Many rumors abound about the origin of this collection of ruined stone buildings and haunted landscape, but many seem to say that this was once home to a kingdom of demons that existed before the split of the original four. To this day, many outsiders take refuge in this desolate place; but as Death Castle is near, most live in fear.
Ser'aenya ForestThe section of forest immediately around the Silver Throne. In contrast to the rest of the Bonemask, nearly every tree in this area emits a very, very faint white radiance, enough to give the ground barely enough light to walk by. The name is borrowed from the Xeriin tongue; it means "Star Trees". Legend has it that in the first war, the conflict between the gods, the mighty hawk deity Orphethus blew out the light of the stars with gusts from his wings; the story goes that the dying starlight was absorbed by these trees to lend them the unearthly, characteristic glow. This place is nearly always shrouded in a light veil of mist that emanates from the trees themselves.
Silver ThroneThe Silver Throne is hidden deep in the Bonemask Woods; a barrier formed of the oldest ice-white trees forbids entry to all who know of the secret entrance to this ancient stone stronghold. Within this legendary structure is the fabled throne made of purest silver and most precious gems; only here can the King of demons be chosen. The only ones able to part the thick natural barrier are those with royal blood and those whom the King permits.
Stormtoss SeaA vast, blood-red ocean marking the western terminus of Kurai's four demon kingdoms. Its restless waves batter the coast without ceasing, although their size and force waxes and wanes with the winds. The waves themselves, despite behaving just like waves on other Realms, move slightly slower as if they were thicker, just different enough to be generally disconcerting to outsiders.
A unique and deadly Realm, wrapped in eternal blackness with only a moon to light the moonday, and no stars to light the true night. Acid rain falls that only those who possess demon heritage can withstand, and the scent of an outsider race draws many a scavenger and usually the hellwolves, who patrol their Kingdom's boundaries. Lawbreakers and deserters are chased by hellwolves or turned into outcasts; outcasts are demons with no Kingdom who are enemies of all four factions.
Unlike other Realms, Kurai's Markers are frozen without Guardians - they are indestructible and hidden far beneath the earth's surface, needing no protection. This, however, cancels out traditional portal making and allows the Lords to control these portals within their respective Kingdoms, unless one finds one of the Hellgates scattered throughout the Realm. Around these Gates, portal-making is a free act, though they will not work anywhere away from them (barring Lords, gods and Ethers).
Kurai is a place of many wars, including both the First and Second Demon Wars in the land of Felnova. The first was started by Kirai, former Lord of War; the second was the first Demon King in centuries, who sought not only the control of his Realm, but all Realms from his place in the Silver Throne. The King has the power to command the Demon Lords and their hellwolves; as a result, many are opposed to a King. There has only been one to briefly take the Throne in recent history - the fell Chamenos Bloodreign of War blood, the darker half of the late Solan Fallenskye.
Realm Contributors: Skyeh, Verridith, and Fyfergrund.