Settled into the heart of the world lies a vast region of land and sea that is enveloped in a strange, alien energy known to the inhabitants of Cairne as the Void. Through the channeling of immense power gathered in a rite the likes of which had never before been attempted, the then Sovereign of the Bechtlarite nation, Daimus III directed the arcane and divine resources under his dominion along with the power of his allies to reach out beyond the realm of Cairne, and beyond the scope of known reality to take hold of the essence of another place, a dimension of devastating raw power, and bring it through a tear between the two places as a weapon to be directed at his only remaining enemy, the Seanachaisians, in an attempt to either bring them to heel, or wipe them out in the process. The results of this endeavor however, were nothing like any of the parties involved expected or intended.
The realms contained within the Void cover the entirety of the Isle of Seanachai ,the majority of The Ephemeral Sea , and the surrounding coastal regions of the the mainland of Cairne. The land beneath the swirling, tempestuous darkness is blasted and desolate, devoid of all natural life, and under the effects of the strange nature of the energy of the Void itself. Due to the otherworldly nature of that energy, the terrain beneath it, and every constructed edifice as well, is slowly being deconstructed through the contact with it, leaving everything contained there pitted and broken, in a constant state of extremely slow disintegration. While the Void itself is a strange and complex thing in and of itself, the physical manifestation of it upon the world reflects a diversity as it stretches out across the lands and sea. At its core, the most concentrated aspects of the energy lead to a dense and destructive, roiling nightmare where the lands of the Isle of Seanachai are stripped layer by layer of the surface materials creating a slick, mud-like sludge that dominates the majority of the place. This mud is so inundated with the negative energies that created it from the terrestrial landscape that it reacts to the surfaces it covers violently, bubbling up and exploding out at regular intervals and releasing corrosive bursts of gasses. The expulsions of these lead to the constant generation of seismic activity as ruptures in the surface open and close in thick, slow, gaping rifts that seem almost like mouths crying out in agony as the land is slowly devoured. The forces continue outward leading to terrible updrafts and storms of immeasurable size and power that roll across the island as well, picking up any loose debris and tearing away large swathes of that murky sludge and whirling it vast distances further coating the locations across which they travel or eventually depositing it into the sea. There do remain certain locations within this maelstrom of consumption that seem to resist this power to some degree, able to stand firm as the rate of destruction is slowed to nearly a halt either by the power contained there standing against the onslaught of the Void, or perhaps the Void itself allowing it to persist. These locations are places of great power that resonate independently of that energy, but the full reason behind their ability to resist remains a mystery. Along the sea's surface, the energy is still lethal and destructive, though diminished as the energy seems to primarily be absorbed by the waters of the sea and then settle along the bottom where the reactions of the negative Void energies continue due to the constant contact with the sea bed. As if to further make things worse, the constant stirring of the much and sediment at the sea floor occlude the waters in tandem with the black a light resistant nature of the Void to create a place so dark that no light or power can penetrate its depths. The violent nature of the reactions and the release of gasses and even molten rock as the damage goes deeper and deeper creating magma floes along the sea bed that are completely obscured and create torrents of superheated, void infused steam that rushes to the surface and expels toxic fumes into the air in tremendous volumes. The aquatic upheavals and rising steam combine with the colder winds coming from the inland storms that rage across the island to create black superstorms that dump an unending deluge of corrosive rain back into the sea and spawn coastal tornadoes that move at speeds of one hundred fifty kilometers per hour or more and average over four thousand meters in width. Even more fearsome are the occasional cyclones that break away from the waters surrounding the island, carrying the tainted Void energy, toxic sea water and rains, and stirring up the Void enough to cause small extensions in its borders when they do occur. The energy that exists at sea level moving out past approximately the four hundred kilometer mark from the Island's coastal regions begins to significantly decrease in potency, becoming less and less lethal and physically damaging as it goes, though the fog and cloud cover caused by the constant flow of moisture and weather conditions moving outward from the Island still cause the entire region to be nearly devoid of light almost the entire distance to the mainland, where some dim light finally manages to come through. In these locations, life is capable of existing still, though not without significant risk and mutations occurring over time. The reactions of the Void energy coming into contact with the terrain no longer occurs in these locations either, though flora suffers and great deal and seldom finds enough to sustain it save for a few extreme locations where the soil is enriched or some other phenomenon or power is able to stem the tide of corruption that even this far out, the Void energy tends to cause.
The Void itself is less a simple occurrence of some type of alien energy, and more an actual living entity, exhibiting some aspects of sentience on a level concurrent with that of an amoeba or a virus, though the scope and magnitude is beyond full observation and understanding. Within the confines of its most concentrated locations, the Void itself maintains full control over what happens within it, though it seldom seems to do anything to directly affect change in these locations unless there is a large and immediate purpose. There have been recorded incidents of airships and observation balloons getting too close and large, sweeping waves of the Void erupting from the surface of the inky black miasma to strike these crafts with enough force to bring the ship, crew and all, down into its depths never to be seen again. These reactions are congruent with the belief of its awareness, and its desire to feed and grow, always seeking to expand outward.
Due to the extra-dimensional and otherworldly nature of the energies that make up the Void itself, the unusual and unique occurrences that can and do happen here are vast and varied, and believed to be virtually limitless in possibility within the core itself. The type of phenomena and severity of the effects and potential for harm are distinctly different depending on how far into its grasp an individual might go, and most that journey too far in, are never seen again to tell of the events that happened to them.
The Core: The Isle of Seanachai
- Rotten Ice - This is the accumulation of ice that flows along the surface of the corrosive sludge generated by the constant reactions of the Void energy with the land beneath it. The ice is in a constant semi-frozen state, honeycombed and weakened but remaining at the edge of freezing. The slurry is is about the consistency of honey but if disturbed by movement it will freeze almost instantly, locking whatever disturbed it within the ice and slowly dragging it down into the corrosive mass below.
- Decomposed Terra - The constant reaction of the negative Void energies coming into contact results in a dull, red tinged ooze that is highly corrosive and covers the majority of the lands within the core of the Void. The depth of this ooze can range from a meter to several hundred depending on the concentration of energy and the shape of the terrain containing it. The substance is extremely cold but corrosive enough to eat away a stone and metal over time, eventually breaking down anything submerged in it. These floes of ooze move slowly across the underlying terrain like great rivers, carving gouges and shallow canyons in the existing stone beneath.
- Void Manifestations - This deep into the interior of the Void, the edges of reality bend and break in a constant and chaotic manner. Myriad Void Born life forms spawn into existence with this region and blink out again, being reabsorbed. These manifestations can resemble things, creatures, and even locations from all over the world and even places beyond, never before seen by anything on the planet. There are those that believe these manifestations are shadows and reflections of things and places absorbed by the Void over the course of its existence, and that this is a strange form of memory, as it manifests these things as a means of "remembering" them. Some even further speculate that many of these manifestations are existing connections to places and creatures that exist in proximity to the Void, and that to see these occurrences is to see through the eyes of the Void itself. The things that appear this way are formed from the essence of the Void and can move and interact and even speak as though they are independent entities. It is believed it is this ability by which many of the Void Born creatures that plague Cairne are created.
- Minor Temporal Aberrations - Within the core of the Void, time becomes warped as one moves through the location. These aberrations exist as small, nearly invisible pockets of energy that shift time within their confines. A creature that could survive here might pass through one as a youth only to fall out of the other side a pile of bones and dust, or even never make it out at all. These deviations in time are rare, but believed to be caused by the compression of powerful elements consumed by the Void during the initial destruction of the Island. The Seanachaisians were adept in the creation of powerful arcane items and the destruction of their lands and the relics and artifacts that existed there led to the release of significant power. Unable to absorb it fully or unwilling to in some cases, the Void instead encapsulated the radiant power, squeezing it down to its most finite and raw form and leaving it to drift through the internal realms of its chaos.
- Spectral Swarms - It is little surprise that the thousands upon thousands that died in an instant as the Blight struck Cairne remain tethered to the location in the afterlife. The sad truth of the remaining spirits of the Seanachaisian people is that, unlike the other poor souls that remain trapped upon the world after death, the Seanachaisians are at the mercy of the Void. Their ghostly remains wander in aimless throngs of faceless thousands with no direction or purpose, completely immersed in the Void and lost to it's whims. These spirits are often reshaped and sent out to seek sustenance for the Void becoming hunters at the fringes of its domain and even occasionally moving beyond those borders to seek victims. They have no sense of self or time, and the swarms themselves may as well just be drifting on the tides of negative energy.
- Extreme and Lethal Weather - The weather caused by the continuing upheaval due to the ongoing destruction of the lands upon which the Void feeds, are unlike anything else in the world. They are vast and devastating, carrying corrosive and toxic elements of the Void into the fringes and strengthening and expanding the borders of tis domain.
The Inner Ring: The Ephemeral Sea
- Hallucinatory Manifestations - While the power of the Void is diminished over the waters of the Sea, they remain no less dangerous. Upon the waters the influence of the Void remains strong and entrenched, and allows the Void to use it's virtually limitless power to seize control of a sentient creature's perceptions and gain access to their minds. These hallucinations can be visual, auditory, olfactory, or even physical in their sensory capacity. The Void, while able to sense memories and fears that elicit a desired response such as terror or despair or even anger, it does not seem to fully understand the nuances of these things. It will, for instance, pull a memory of a lost loved one because it senses that the memory causes the individual pain and results in them acting thoughtlessly and irrationally, but beyond that basic reaction, it has no concept as to why this happens. More psychically and empathically connected creatures are often able to see though these deceptions due to the lack of subtle nuance in their recreations that occur due to the Void's inability to fully grasp the concept it is trying to manipulate.
- Navigational Occlusion - While within the Void's domain, it disrupts navigational tools and abilities, seeking always to draw creatures deeper into its depths. These disruptions affect unshielded compasses, and even the natural navigational abilities of most creatures. All of these mentioned things will shift in such a way that the traveler will always be drawn towards the center of the Void. With no sky visible in this location by which to use as an alternative, anyone foolish or brave enough to chance these water without an Insulated Compass is likely to find themselves a victim of the dangers of the interior.
- Weather Manipulation - Another means by which the Void will attempt to draw an unwary traveler deeper into its core is by altering weather patterns. While the conditions in thise part of the Voids domain are nowhere near as dangerous as those within the core, they are still potentially life threatening. The ability to raise the Nox Miasma or begin a deluge of Black Rain are among these manipulations, but it has also been recorded that the occasional larger storm has been generated for no reason other than to drive sailors and pilots towards destruction.
The Fringes: The Blighted Lands and the Eastern Wastes
- The Shifting Fog - Along the coastal regions of the mainland, a thick fog is constantly hovering below a dark canopy of clouds resulting in the light never getting beyond that of dusk. Within these regions lie a host of dangers that lurk within seeking victims and hungry to feed their progenitor. The fogs distort light and sound making it confusing to navigate and easy to get lost. Once an individual loses their way here, finding a way out becomes a significant trial, as even calling for help will more often than not, echo out the wrong way or sound too distant or sometimes so distant that a potential rescuer will end up moving for a kilometer or more away from the lost person before realizing they were chasing a voice in the fog rather than the person crying for help.
- Creatures of the Void - The fringes of the Void are the primary hunting grounds for the Blight Born creatures that it spawns. The variety of the creatures that move through this shadowy area are vast ranging from spirits and spectral remnants to the reanimated dead and creations made of pure Void energy. The Void uses these to tempt and taunt, and on occasion directly attack individuals and even settlements along the edge. While most of the long term settlers in these regions have developed many ways to combat these threats, not all are so lucky.
Temperatures within the Void are cold and humid, remaining below freezing in the interior and icy over the seas. Even along the fringes, the temperature remain chilly and humid, though there is little or no shifting with the seasons in locations heavily affected and influenced by the Void's presence. There are a number of unique weather conditions that can affect Void touched regions, though the weather in the core remains the most terrible.
The Core: Extreme Weather Conditions
- Void Cyclones - Possibly one of the most terrifying and destructive forces on the planet, the Void Cyclone is a gargantuan circular storm of winds that reach speeds of three hundred fifty kilometers per hour. These great storms can raise water levels around them as much as ten meters in height and drop astounding amounts of black rain. While they churn over the water, lashing out at the surrounding waters with bolts of black lightning and spawning tornadoes, they can also disrupt the seas below them to a depth of ninety five meters. The main telltale sign that one of these monstrous storms is raging in the central Void is that the tides around the interior of the mainland will drop as much as a full meter from their normal height. To date, no Void Cyclones have made it to the mainland, though the fear remains that one someday could, devastating all life that remains there in a matter of days.
- Black Hail - Hail is a very common occurrence in the central regions of the Void due to the high humidity, cold temperatures, and thick atmospheric saturation of the Void energies. The hail that falls here is deadly to the living, reaching the size of a human fist in most instances and so filled with Void tainted moisture that the touch of one will damage skin enough to leave a lesion on the surface.
- Horizontal Vortex - These terrifying storms are extremely powerful tornadoes that roll along close to the surface of the terrain, with wind speeds of up to five hundred kilometers per hour, rending and tearing anything in its path up from the surface to be shredded in the devastation of its torrent.
Fauna & Flora
While some plants are believed to exist within the Void, no native species could have survived the impact. Below are listed several of the documented creatures that have spawned from the Void:
One of the newer technologies, recently developed has discovered a way to compress and utilize the reactions of the Void energy coming into contact with material from the realms of Cairne, the Hammerdrive Engine . By using Void Compression , the raw energy of the Void can be utilized to power many of the huge pieces of technology currently being utilized and developed making the Void itself, a resource.
While little definitive information is known beyond speculation as to the origin of the Void itself, some records of the initial research done within the halls of the now defunct College of Arcane Arts still exist. It is believed that there exists within the greater cosmos of reality, several dimensional realities that coexist within the same space but separated by the boundaries of speculative realty as defined within the realm of the one perceiving it. These speculations, which rife with strange contradictions, must have some merit as proven by the unfortunate success of their attempts to pull a large portion of one of the realms free from its location and utilize it as a weapon against the Seanachaisians. The realm of its origin was believed to be a place that existed as a counter to all other existence, a null point of obliterating darkness and insatiable hunger for life and light. Of all the realms studied, this one was thought to offer the most potential to pull from as a weapon, extracting a desired sliver from the realm and hurling it down like a mighty and terrible spear upon the Islands of eh the Seanachaisians. The authors of the rite did not take into account the ceaseless hunger or what is believed to be the intelligence of that place, and that misjudgment caused them to not take any precautions to the Void itself, upon seeing a crack in reality form in its domain, launching as much of itself through the breach as possible in an attempt to expand and feed upon another realms in keeping with the very essence of its nature. While they scrambled to close the gap and staunch the encroaching realm from coming through, they were lacking their most powerful mage, Xendal Vedakrhi who had initiated the rite along with Sasha Vrend and Fontelle Graz . An altercation between Seanachaisian and Bechtlarite forces in the skies above the Ephemeral Sea generated enough of a disruption with the three primary conductors of the ritual that, while the remaining priests and arcane practitioners were able to seal the breach, enough of the Void had come through that there was simply no way to stop the descending energy or lessen its impact. The initial shockwave as it struck the Island of the Seanachaisians was so powerful that it sent several ripples of crushing force that were so strong, many speculate that they circled the globe several times generating seismic upheavals, tidal waves, floods, mudslides, and collapses. The death toll is believed to have surpassed seventy five million in the first day, destroying entire cities and settlements and nearly exterminating the Seanachaisians entirely. In the wake of the following years and estimate two hundred million more are believed to have been lost as a result of the event and the ensuing wars that followed.