Rage Against the Heavens
Geography of the World
The World is yet young, and Man has not spread to all its corners. These are the Directions of the Mundus Ieuvenis, as Men know them:
The Middle Lands
The Middle Lands are in the middle of the known world. These are home to countless shrines and temples, as well as many cities and villages. Here, all four Gods rule in equal measure and the lands are relatively safe, overseen by the authority of the Undying King.
Finest and most shining in the Middle Lands is the City of Man, also known as Luni’s Jewel or the White City, ruled by the Undying King on his cobweb throne. The Undying King cannot die; Mother Death will not claim him. Dusty, unhealing wounds cover his sickly frame, and spiders live in his beard. He is bound to the throne. The four Gods chose him, a mortal, as arbiter over the central lands – he holds judgment over all that passes in the City of Man. It is known that he often attempts to cheat his divine masters, but that he only rarely succeeds.
Here, in the very center of the Middle Lands, are also the Stairs Below – a cryptic staircase labyrinth of basalt set deep into the earth. It is said that the Stairs Below lead into the Void, and that those who pass all the way through them will find the tortured Luni – but nobody knows for sure, as the stairs are haunted by monsters, and by the souls of the restless dead. The Stairs have other exits; perhaps these maddening tunnels connect every place in the World.
The Frozen North
The North is a mountainous, cold region. Few of the race of Men live here, but it is dotted with monasteries and shrines to the Gods. Many are devoted to the Naked Prince, whose cloistered scholars endlessly study his forbidden lore; others are vales of prosperity due to the intervention of Gorgo. These valleys are veritable paradise gardens, whose decadent inhabitants feed the Mother with the blood of barbarians, necessary to sustain the magic that keeps the gardens lush.
Passage through the North is difficult, and limited to only a few passes and roads. There is little in the ways of cities or larger settlements here, and the lands are mostly lawless. Unwary travelers may be beset by bandits – or worse, caught by the disciples of the Prince. Such travelers soon find their minds destroyed, and their bodies sent to Sister Gorgo to soothe her unending thirst for blood.
The Mysterious West
The West is lined with lakes, swamps, and rivers. Far enough West, land gives way to ocean and only islands dot the horizon, until not even these remain. These lands are mysterious and unknown, home to bestial half-cousins of Men, warped and transformed by the Laughing Lady. Some are soulless apes, while other are bestial, cunning serpent-men or wolf-women. No temples are built here, but primitive shrines of wicker and clay adorn every village.
A few members of Mankind eke out a living in the West, most notably in the wooden city of Cosh that rests atop poles and rafts in one of the greater lakes. An asylum from the Gods, the men in Cosh make no sacrifices or prayers. The Laughing Lady’s servants frequently accost the city, and they are plagued by monsoons and evil winds.
The Plains of the South
The Plains of the South eventually give way to desert. Here, Ashur the Ironclad assembles his armies and his war-priests to make raids on his siblings’ peoples. A great general, Ayra Ironborn, holds the banner of his growing horde, who are currently busy exterminating the desert nomads. Once this grisly task is done, Ashur’s Horde will turn their eyes on the White City, and conquer all the world for the Ironclad God.
The plains and the desert are dotted with encampments, both of the Horde and of the desert nomads, who worship the female gods and Mother Death. Ashur’s Horde has also built fortresses of black stone, magically cooled by divine powers – but the greatest pride of the Horde is the Iron City. Built entirely out of metal, the city is scorchingly hot and unpleasant to all but Ashur’s priests and their golemic servants. The slaves here kept live under wretched circumstances, the soles of their bare feet burned by every step until they can bear it no longer, and Mother Death claims them.
The Verdant East
To the East, rolling hills eventually give way to wild and untamed forests. Before that, however, they are filled with lush gardens, magnificent orchards and fields of golden wheat. A rich land, and home to most of the race of Men, it is also most cruelly oppressed by the ever-gluttonous Gorgo. The people of the Verdant East are blessed with great fertility and often have many children, but must frequently slay their own kin in worship of the Mother.
Gorgo’s priests walk through the lands as unquestionable rulers, capable of taking anything or anyone they want for their own pleasure, whether it be acts of cannibalism or more mundane acts of rape. They can bring Gorgo’s curse upon any farmstead, so that nothing will ever grow there again. Therefore, none dare ever oppose them. Other Gods hold sway in the Verdant Lands as well – Ashur’s Horde has established a few holds here, as an army marches on its stomach.