The Etherian Gulf Geographic Location in The Chronicles of Evalaw | World Anvil

The Etherian Gulf

Long ago, the vast Koevian Ocean glimmered like a brilliant sapphire, from the shores of Lorthywn it stretched undaunted across the horizon. Then came discourse and catastrophe as the gods once more fought over mortal hearts. But out of that calamity, something wonderous arose. Once where devastation had been wrought now lies a cradle of life and mystery that's tales have captivate the imagination of young and old alike for generations.
A lost world of impenetrable fog and arboreal tides, where vast isles drift impossibly aloft the deep chasms of the underworld below, dominated by illusive phantoms and ferocious flying beasts.
  Scything its way across the surface of Evalaw is the scar known as the Great Hollow. Fabled to have been the place where the Goddess of Darkness was caste down into the underworld for all eternity during the penultimate moments of The Sundering. The cataclysmic event cleft a wound deep into the earth across the eastern ocean, leaving behind a trail of wanton destruction decimating much of Lorthwyn and the continent of Sol'esarta. Such unforeseen calamity would too befall the primordial depths, tearing open vast gaping fissures, bottomless caverns and disturbing antediluvian secrets that were best left forgotten. The sheer scale and magnitude this seismic shift caused is far beyond any other geological fault seen throughout the underworld.   What remains in aftermath of these tremulous events is a peculiar, seemingly impossible landscape. The great mist seas of the Etherian Gulf are a strange, otherworldly fusion of the sun-drenched lands above with the penumbral Sunless Realms below. It's moniker comes from the mists that flood the entire region, their sheer density and volume make it nigh impossible to successfully navigate, let alone chart it. The mists themselves are the result of an intense magical forcefield that surrounds the great hollow, keeping the oceans from spilling out into the underworld.  
Far beyond the great hollow, lay such sights the likes of which this humble delver can scarcely put to paper. A large expanse made entirely from cloud and dense mist. Amongst it, emerge islands. Some vast, others tiny. Floating effortlessly adrift in the air as if they were nothing but flotsam bobbing aimlessly in the ocean.
— Nebrik Merriweather, intrepid Gnomish Spelunker.



Amidst the floating archipelagos, remnants of a lost world coalesce with creatures both mythical and mundane, creating a dance between the old and the new, where wyverns soar, mist whales sing, and the Gulf's ever-changing climate weaves tales of ancient and uncharted wonders.
  Ever shifting and changing like the wind, it has ever been an doomed endeavour for any cartographer to chart one single part, tending to resign themselves to recording and naming individual island or floating archipelagos that are discovered. This has resulted in countless maps been drawn up over the centuries that prove useless to explorers of the region, who will find the positions of the Islands have completely shifted since the ink was put to paper.  
Throughout the entire length and breadth of the Etherian Gulf are untold thousands of islands drifting weightlessly in the expanse. The Isles come in many shapes and sizes, tightly clustered together or drifting forlorn and isolated with no two being the same. The greater isle are perhaps the most well-travelled. These dormant behemoths, seldomly move from the central stream of the gulf and have been the few locations successfully charted, due to their sheer monolithic size compared to the other isles and archipelagos.   Much of the old world that was cast down into the great hollow during the cataclysmic aftermath of the sundering, thought lost to the annuals of time can in fact still be found aimlessly adrift in the Gulf. Countless ruins of the ancient Aelfaune cities, forests, mountains and even lakes can be found among the serene isles of the Etherian Gulf, like echoes of the past drifting freely on Isles of fractured Lorthwyn, alongside countless remnants of the Primordial underworld that came long before.

Olarae Inilani

As a child I was told tale of the great mist seas beyond the walls of Rie'shae, I would dream of flying on dragons across them, uncovering the mysteries those mists held. When I grew older, I sought them out only to discover things far more wonderous and terrifying than I could have possibly imagined.
The Etherian Gulf is perhaps the only part of the underworld that benefits from direct sunlight during certain points of Evalaws cycle. Filtering through the dense mists as it descends downward before inevitably being consumed by the inky black of the World Maw. This phenomenon has created a rich tapestry of the old world that once was, and the new as the two ecosystems meld together. Vast waterfalls cascade from the clefts and slopes of the Great Hollow, diffused by the Aurora into the strange vapour of the mists itself. Feeding the Gulfs micro climate, allowing it to create its own unique weather patterns throughout.

Due to its nature the Gulf possesses its own micro climate, experiencing its own weather patterns. Updraughts and air currents are a unique phenomenon that fluctuate unpredictably throughout.
  The Gulf is teeming with flocks of small wyverns and subterranean birds riding the powerful air currents and the intermittent daylight ensures the landscape is verdant. Arboreal and aerial creatures are most commonly found throughout, having evolved and adapted to live in this new environment. Many strange and exotic creatures thrive here; from the notorious Vzhare and flighty Qa'lashriin, who use the numerous islands for their nesting grounds to the mysterious leviathans, gentle mist whales and dreaded Dhuganaya that dwell in the deeper expanses of the Gulf.  

  The deeper one ventures downward into the sea the more the fauna and environment changes, turning into tropical rainforests with huge vegetation and much more dangerous creatures that inhabit it's depths.   Overworld and underworld fauna and flora flourishing at different depths, some Islands will even have the two co-existing. Many trees and plants from the overworld have managed to survive here, so removed from the world above, found primarily in the higher reaches of the mist seas. The lower one descends toward the World Maw, the more native underworld flora becomes prevalent. Thick vines spread tethering islands together, while long tendrils of native fungi and lichen cling to the underbelly of these floating landmasses.
by Anithecutie


The ambitions of the divine have always yielded a terrible toll, yet out of such calamity life finds a way to bloom in the most miraculous of places.
Artists' rendition of the upperdark
An unknown artists' renditioning of the known upper stratum of the Sunless Realms featuring the famous Maw and Mist Sea of the Etherian Gulf documented by The Relic Acquisition Syndicate.
The Deep Fog.
  Deep in the very heart of the Etherian Gulf is a great expanse commonly known as the Deep Fog. A thick impenetrable cloud of fog that has permanently engulfed the central region, swallowing up entire islands wreathing this region in much mystery about what may lay within. There are times when it spreads, expanding and contracting as it's tendrils reach across the gulf, inhabited by many dangerous creatures and insect-like monstrosities that thrive in the fog. There are accounts from some of the isles that lay within and their inhabitants whom have been driven insane, turned into psychotic cannibals. The exact cause is unknown, believed to be an affliction contained within the fog itself, some delvers and raiders that have returned from expeditions have been known to show signs of mania long after exposure to the deep fog.


Peoples of the Mists.

  Throughout millennia numerous societies have emerged coming to call the Sea of Mists home. These populations are spread sparsely throughout, isolated from each other due to the sheer size and scope of its geography, settling along the steppingstone or amongst the countless Isles that drift among the mists. Having overcome and adapted to the hardships and adversities of this environment in their distinctive way to survive. Though a handful are known to us, it is believed there may be others hidden deep within its centre where few seldom dare to venture. Outcast colonies from Dral'azie city-states, relic hunter outposts and delver camps are known to sporadically appear throughout the gulf, but are quickly abandoned or swallowed up by the fog and forgotten.  
The most well-known of these being the Dravarii, a nomadic people of Dark Aelfier decent living in close-knit tribes hunting, gathering, and warring as their ancestors have for countless generations. The Dravarii are broken up into different clans of varying size and strength, scattered across the archipelagos and craggy shelves of the steppes. Each independent from one another with their own customs and traditions.   Whilst wary of outsiders, most explorers wishing to venture through the mist seas seek them out as guides and pathfinders to navigate this treacherous wilderness. However finding them is another story, many of their clans wish not to be found by outlanders, still bearing grudges of ancient deceits and betrayals at the hands of their warlike Dral'azie cousins and other denizens they have crossed blades with. Relic Hunters in particular have a bad habit of rifling through the mist veiled isles, searching for forgotten secrets and defiling ancient Dravarii burial sites and religious places.

Traversing The Mists

Remnants of ancient Aelfaune cities of pre-sundering Lorthwyn, and ruins of long-dead antediluvian societies can be found hidden throughout the Isles, attracting researchers and relic hunters alike. Many come with flying mounts, having tamed some of the beasts that call the Hollow home, or use other more domesticated flying mounts.     Others have come up with more imaginative ways of traversing the mist seas. Due to the unusual buoyancy of the mists and the unusual air flow in this region. The Dravarii tribes indigenous to the region use paragliders that are capable of travelling across the open skies through the mists from island to island on short to long range flights. This method of transportation has been adopted more often than not by those wishing to explore the region.   Other locations can prove far more challenging to approach by conventional means, and nye on impossible to land by glider. Only the most agile bird or wyvern are able to reach these places to roost. Reaching such locations therefore requires a different approach, and one not for the faint of heart. More brazen and intrepid individuals have been known to quite literally scale the floating landmasses, with rope and sure hands, leaping from one to another. Whilst most common amongst the peoples of the mist sea, outsiders and expeditionary groups come well equipped with climbing gear to reach these more precarious locations amongst the shifting isles.

Bestiary of the Etherian Gulf



The history of the Etherian Gulf is, for most part, a difficult narrative to discern. When the great hollow appeared and the Aurora was created to stem the wound in the world can easily be traced to the aftermath of The Sundering. This is known. What exactly was there before this most grievous of calamities occurred is a complete mystery.   Underworld exploration was in it's infancy during the first age, and all records dating back that far have either been lost, destroyed or remain hidden away in private collections and achieves. Mere speculation with what little archaeological and geological evidence has been gathered has been pieced together by academics and scholars over recent years to paint a better picture of what this primordial underworld area would have looked like before it was devastated as the great hollow was cloven through by the warring gods.  

The Aurora.

To understand how The Etherian Gulf came to be, one must turn to the mythology that surrounds the Aurora that formed it.
Hylress - Sovereign of the skies and harbinger of storms.
What makes the phenomenon of the buoyant mist seas and their floating isles possible is the mysterious Aurora that shroud the entire Etherian Gulf. Normally taking the form of a vague iridescent fog that engulfs the top most layer, limiting the vision of most humanoids and non-native creatures of the Hollow. While the effects of the Aurora can be seen all around, creating this strange and surreal landscape possible, most are completely ignorant of this mysterious forcefields existence. But without it, the consequences would be catastrophic. The great oceans of the overworld would empty into the great hollow and flood the underworld, the floating shards of the old world would tumble to the bottom of the chasm causing untold devastation.   Believed to have been the work of the three gods, Koeva, Jhollrg and most importantly Hylress in an attempt to stem the damage Aulreth and Aushurie left behind in the aftermath of their battle. As it quickly became apparent the full extent of the devastation could not be undone, Hylress came up with a plan, resolving to prevent this grievous wound from causing any further damage to Evalaw, instead the three gods worked together to form a new realm out of the old.   First, the god sought to prevent the oceans from emptying into the bowels of Evalaw, thus the magical forcefield was conjured at the lip of the hollow, covering the entire gaping wound, slowing the flow of the water and turning back the tides upon themselves. The foam and spray that did not turn back, would be transformed into the dense buoyant mist that would drift into the underworld and be suspended there. Holding aloft the land that fell into the chasm when the world was shattered. This formed the innumerable floating isles, suspended throughout. What remained once their work was complete was a diverse and thriving ecosystem, abundant with life.

The World Maw

Those brave enough of heart may learn what lies within the Great Hollow. To Journey beyond the Worlds Maw, and be swallowed up by the dark.
  Known as such for the endless splintered mountains and jagged sheer cliffs that erupted out from beneath the seemingly impenetrable mists. This gaping, ribbed like maw marks the entrance into the underworld. It lingers every hungry, beneath the Great Hollow, ready to swallow anything up into the inky depths on The Sunless Realms. Sporadically peppered with countless hollows, cervices and shallow caves across the maws cliff faces, before suddenly falling downward into steep cliffs For hundreds of miles into the underworld. For many explorers journeying down from the surface, the maw marks the point of no return…


Table Of Contents

Alternative Name(s)
The Sea of Mists, The Mist Sea
Inhabiting Species

Cover image: by Las Painter


Author's Notes

The Etherian Gulf is a complete re-write of an old location of ours, "the Sea of Mists". Due to the geographic locations size and numerous regions, we decided to divide them up accordingly into numerous seperate regions, starting with the very top of the Great Hollow where the mist sea begins, the Etherian Gulf.

Please Login in order to comment!
Jan 7, 2024 10:14

Wonderfully written, I particularly like how the myth was included in the creation of this landscape and how it still seems to influence life and the inhabitants today.

Stay imaginative and discover Blue´s Worlds, Elaqitan and Naharin.
Jan 27, 2024 06:43 by Tara Fae Belle

Nice article! I like the drop caps at the start of each section and not just the beginning of the entire page - helps to visually break it up. The music fits really well. Love the shifting islands!

My current passion is Shroom People. I still don't know much about them yet. But as I do, it will be updated here:
Shroom People
Species | Apr 26, 2024
~ Happy wording!
Powered by World Anvil