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Voltarion Island

"Just as i walked off the ship, the sky above me turned into a beautiful sight of dancing green lights. Everyone had their eyes set on the sky, watching the aurora as it turned night into day. To this day, i remember every detail of that majestic event. This island has its fair share of difficulties but it has its beauty too."   An excerpt from the diary of a human soldier stationed on the island
Voltarion Island is a large island located a few dozen kilometres off the coast of the polar continent Ultima Borealis. Known for its rugged icy terrain, giant snowy mountains and most of all, centuries old ruins and barrows that have piqued the interest of archaeologists and scientists from all over the world, it is indeed a place where much adventure is to be found.   The Island is separated from Ultima Borealis by a narrow strait barely a dozen kilometres in length. The island itself is just like its parent continent. Cold, icy, dark for many months at a row and unforgiving, it is a place meant for only the bravest of the brave. Tall frost giants roam the land alongside their smaller cousins, the frost trolls and ogres. Giant ice dragons take across the skies , their roars being heard throughout the land. To live amongst all these hostile beings is a daunting task indeed.   The most intriguing thing about the island however, are the giant barrows and ruins located on the central part of the island, behind the Frostfall mountains. Even from the little that has been explored of them, they have still baffled archaeologists and researchers with the ruins containing many tomes, drawings and devices of an ancient race, far advanced than any other civilization on Elladia. Little do they know however, that a dark secret for them is waiting at the heart of the massive complex.   For the past few years, Voltarion island has been suffering the same corruption as practically every place on Elladia. The expedition members report having nightmares and hearing horrifying voices. There have been reports of attacks on the expediton members by purple skinned trolls, ogres and frost giants as well as other corrupted forms of the islands fauna. Worst of all, the archaeologists and personnel involved with the barrow operations report even more intense symptoms of the corrupted and some have even committed suicide and murder by an unknown entity .   The expedition members must keep their unity together and set an example for Elladia to follow. They will learn many things from their experiences that must reach the wider Elladian populace.   For it could mean the key to defeating the progenitor of the corruption, once and for all.


Voltarion Island
Voltarion Island is a rugged and unforgiving island. The western side of the island is a broken mess of smaller islands, fjords, islets and numerous creatures swimming in the water in search of food. The islands terrain is predominantly covered by flat icy plains, with only the Frostfall mountains rising over in the central parts. Many human settlements dot the southern part of the island, which serves as the centre of all expedition activity.  

The Frostfall mountains

"I hear an odd voice from beyond the mountains, the same that had called to me when i first landed on the island. I truly do want to know what truly lies beyond those giant spires of ice and snow. Maybe i"ll get to see when we pass through them"   Taken from the diary of an Argonite soldier stationed on the island
The Frostfall Mountains
Geographic Location | Apr 1, 2020
The Frostfall mountains are a large mountain range located on the central part of the continent. These towering icy peaks are home to the lairs of frost dragons and many other flying creatures on their higher reaches, whilst the lower reaches are dominated by the frost giants and their smaller ogrish and trollish brethren. Only a few narrow passes are availiable for crossing the mountains, which are highly guarded by frost giants and thus, expeditioners need to take great care whilst passing through them.  

Frostfall Caves

Frostfall Caves
Geographic Location | Mar 26, 2020
The Frostfall Caves are a series of gigantic caverns located at the base of the frostfall mountains. They are the only known hotspot of life on the island, and host a diverse variety of unique flora and fauna, including the cave yak which serves as an important source of food for the carnivorous predators of the island during winter. There are many algae, fungi and other eukaryotic organisms which are the main producers of food on the island. These caves are a fascinating topic for geologists, biochemists and chemists as they contain many animals that have unique adaptations allowing them to survive in harsh polar weather. There have even been some theories as to how they can be used as a food source in harsh weather and also be used for the newly discovered field of genetic engineering but so far, it has not progressed far. Some caves also have large lakes at their centre, which are home to numerous aquatic organisms unique to the Borealian region.  

Frostfall Barrows

"The Barrows, they are truly an arachaeologists dream. Not just an archaeologist i would say. Everyone should visit this barrow and behold its marvels at least once in their life
The Frostfall Barrows
Building / Landmark | Apr 8, 2020
Probably the most significant and fascinating feature of the island are the frostfall barrows, Located beyond the mountains, these interconnected barrows form a massive complex that houses many ancient artifacts and wonders, relics of a lost and far more advanced civilization. There are also numerous writings and drawings on the wall that show a race of humanoids in battle against what seems to be some nightmarish entity and imprisoning him after being victorious over him.   One thing that has baffled archaeologists is the fact that these beings apparently are vampiric. The key evidence for this is the fact that there is a gigantic statue of Thanatos at the courtyard of one of the barrows and because of the numerous idols of the vampiric deities being scattered around the temple. Moreover, some drawings on the temple show them drinking blood and some vampiric members of the expedition have even been able to decipher the strange language to an extent in which words are scribbled all over the place.   This has fascinated the expeditioners and they are keen to know as much as they can

Fauna & Flora

"Now that, that is what i call a really fucking big ice giant"   A soldier describing Volstagg, the ancient frost giant.
Voltarion Island has some of the most unique flora and fauna found on Elladia. Whilst some sights such as frost giants, ogres, trolls, ettins , wolves and ice dragons are common with the rest of the world, others such as the cave yak and the various forms of aquatic life and microorganisms are completely unique. Their biology and environment is a fascinating topic for study. For example, some strains of fungi in the caves of the island can create chemical energy and food by simply using chemical elements and not needing sunlight. This process, dubbed chemosynthesis by Argonite biochemists is a completely new discovery that will forever change the view of biochemistry in Elladia.

Life on Voltarion Island for a soldier

For a soldier, life on the island is often harsh but pleasant too. Despite the harsh weather, bleak conditions and sometimes supply shortages, there is always someone to lend you a hand. The administration of the island has taken steps to foster more personal contact and develop friendships between the soldiers and civilians and this has rather turned out successful, and everyone know has a smile on their face for they know that at least someone in the island cares deeply about them.   A soldiers usual day begins just before dawn, when they wake up and go to an assembly. After that, they take their morning breakfast and go on to do their respective duties. Some units are assigned to help in infrastructure development initiatives whilst others are sent to scout or patrol dangerous paths and offer safe passage to any traveller. Soldiers often have a lot of fun and constantly crack jokes about the weather during their duty time. After their duty period, which has a lot of breaks ends, they go back to their quarters, have a nice meal and spend some more fun time before going to sleep.  

Life for a researcher on the island

For researchers and scientists, life on Voltarion island is blissful to say the least. Despite the harsh, unforgiving climate, there is a vast load of knowledge hidden underneath the icy reaches of the island, which attracts the attention of scientists from all over Elladia. It helps for the fact that they are heavily funded and have a lot of security on the island to keep their research ongoing and safe. Their day begins much like the soldiers, with an assembly and breakfast before their daily routine of researching, experimenting, expeditioning begins. Their day ends rather similarly too, with a huge dinner and lots of jokes before retiring for sleep.  

Accesibility of the island

According to the treaty on polar exploration, the Borealian and Australian regions of Elladia are heavily restricted areas, and are generally prohibited to civilians other than coming to the island to work for the expedition. However, the Imperium has recently introduced special permits for civilians to enter some areas of the regions for slight tourism purposes. Despite this, the two regions remain almost fully free of civilian presence.  

The Barrow Voice

"I've been hearing some voices in my head lately and truth be told, they do sound sweet. They tell me something about the pleasant life the people on this island once used to live and also how their civilization was the greatest amongst the stars. I would love to meet these folks if i could'   Daniel Larsson, a soldier in the island talking about the Barrow voice effect.
The Barrow voice is a mysterious phenomenon that affects everyone who is on the island. It seems to originate from the Frostfall barrows, and manifests itself as a set of intermittent voices that are heard by individuals on the island, which gets stronger the closer one gets to the barrows and their centre. The voices are rather pleasant, and give information about the previous inhabitants of the island as well as their civilization, mostly in an incomprehensible language but sometimes in common tongue too.   Recently however, the voices have changed. From being a pleasant one, they have turned into nightmarish demonic voices and constantly threaten and try to demoralize the expeditioners. The expeditioners are torn between hearing the good voices consoling them and helping them and hearing the nightmarish demonic voices, which keep emanating from the heart of the massive barrow complex. They must act quickly and find out the truth and carry it onto their comrades.   For something is about to awaken. And it shall spare none.
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History of the Island

The History of the Island can be roughly divided into three parts  

The Time of the Ancients

"To all of the peoples of Elladia who are reading this, we tell you to do what we failed. To cast off your petty arguements and live together side by side. Lest the great devourer yet again start his unholy crusade of tyranny against the world"   The very first complete translation of a message found in the temple, which is a supposed warning from the ancient race"
Voltarion Island was inhabited by an unknown and advanced civilization eons ago. It is speculated that the islands inhabitants however were a bit different due to their practice of vampirism. They had observed many vampiric traditions and venerated the vampiric deities as well. How they disappeared is still a mystery but there have been speculations that their race may have been wiped out during the war which many of the barrows drawings portray. Backing this evidence up are a series of ominous messages which tell of a being known as "the great devourer" that seeks to enslave all of Elladia.  

Arrival of the expedition

During the reign of Alarius Christiansen, the relations between the geopolitcal powers of Elladia were at an all time high. After the discovery of Voltarion Island and the borealian region as well as the australian region by the Argonites, Alarius Christiansen signed a treaty. The treaty opened the regions to scientific exploration and research as well as limited amounts of resource exploitation by all sides but recognized the Human sovereignty over the borealian regions and the argonite sovereignty over the australian ones.   Thus, began a golden age of discovery and cooperation and even during harsh times like the present, this treaty has served as the only comprehensive and permanent treaty of unity and cooperation signed by the major powers of Elladia.  

A storm approaches

"Dear gods. This place is going to fucking hell. As if the constant attacks by those strange purple skinned and purple eyed trolls weren"t enough, we now have soldiers witnessing nightmares and hearing voices! But that is not all. Some of the members over at the barrows have been found slaughtered and they keep hearing a twisted voice calling to them". Dear gods. Please save not just us but our Argonite brethren from this scourge as well"   Taken from the diary of Commander Valmanus Gustavus Lothbroksson, a commander of a human outpost detailing the corruption on the island
For the last few years, Voltarion island has not been spared of the corruption that has befallen the world. Aside from the debacles of far stronger, purple skinned variants of trolls and other creatures, the soldiers have begun hearing a twisted version of the barrow voice and constantly have nightmares about "Arkanos". Their morale is low and some have even begun to be dejected and lose hope for the future.   The worst thing however, are the strange reports from the barrows. Aside from a few expedition members being murdered, they have also reportedly seen demonic figures in the dark and are hearing a strange voice and signal from the centre of the temple. This is none other than the horror that was contained by the ancients millenia ago.   The expeditioners must keep their calm and set forward an example for the rest of Elladia to follow. They must learn all the secrets they can and safely carry it back to the mainland and prepare their brothers and sisters for the war that is to come.   For the beast that will emerge is something that even the gods cannot comprehend.

Cover image: The Aurora by Watchtheskiies


Author's Notes

For those of you wanting to give feedback, Do note that I’m literally one word away from the wordcount limit for the challenge XD. But still, leave as much feedback as you want! I can always write more after the challenge is over :D. Thank you for taking the time to read this!   From the Author. Rumoured to be ( or actually is) a yeti.

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20 Mar, 2020 12:54

Another great article! Needs a few minor adjustments to spelling and grammar, but overall is another great read!   Those barrows sound slightly terrifying but also fascinating and by far my favourite bit of the whole island. I would be interested to see if any of the archaeologists start turning purple and hostile! After reading about this dark force that is coming, it is exciting to read about the source and where it is captured! I'd love to see an example of the wall markings too. Oh I just want to go explore this world...but maybe as a ghost so as to not disturb anyone or be attacked haha.   But great work again Elias! Keep it going!

Master Redclaw123
Elias Redclaw
22 Mar, 2020 17:30

Haha thank you so much for the comment abi! I really really loved how supportive you were haha.   There are some researchers who are slowly showing signs but we shall see. In the meantime, you shall read about what happens to them in the stories!

21 Mar, 2020 14:22

This was freaking awesome! The art added was a perfect blend to the writing which teases you to the end.   Well done!!   *Voted*

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Master Redclaw123
Elias Redclaw
22 Mar, 2020 17:39

Oh my! This was such an amazing comment to wake up to! Thank you so much Jamie! ( also I did leave a comment on your article too btw :D)

23 Mar, 2020 08:11

The Island is separated from Ultima Borealis by a narrow strait barely a dozen kilometres in length.
It would be really helpful to know how wide this strait is. As you've written it now, it first sounded like it was dozens of kilometres wide, not long. I think you'd benefit more from just describing the width and not mentioning the length, as we can assume it stretches the entire island's length, considering it separates the two.  
Cold, icy, dark for many months at a row and unforgiving, it is a place meant for only the bravest of the brave.
This sentence is a bit awkward, and something I too struggle with. I think it would read better as "Icy and unforgiving, dark for months on end, this place is meant only for the bravest of brave".  
Moreover, some drawings on the temple show them drinking blood and some vampiric members of the expedition have even been able to decipher the strange language in which words are scribbled all over the place.
Suddenly vampires. I didn't know you had vampires in the world. Cool! Anyhow, what baffles me a bit here is that only the vampires can decipher the language. Is it a magical language that requires vampiric blood, or do vampires just genetically know this language? No one else can learn it?  


How "realistic" is your setting, btw? Is more like DnD where we don't give a crap about petty things like food or do you intend to have a bit of realism mixed in? Because I do wonder how such ginormous creatures as ice dragons and giants manage to find enough food on a small island mostly covered in ice and snow. It's fine to handwave, I'm just asking what your approach is.  


The history section could use some years, or at least some form of timespan to give us some idea of how long each "age" is. Right now they are all equally long which makes it hard for us to get a grip on if one period stretched for aeons or just a couple of weeks.  


All in all, I think this is a really good geographic location. It's way less wordy than your writing usually is, it gets the general idea across but doesn't bore me. I could read it fairly easily, which for someone with ADD is very welcome.   Geography is hard to make interesting and while I wouldn't say this was a riveting article by any means, it could get through it without glossing anything which is about as good as it gets for geograpy.   The images help break up the flow of text and the grammar and spelling is heads above what you usually write, so this is a clear step up in your work!   My one complaint is the map, but we've already talked about that one in other venues so you know what I think.

Author of prize-winning RPG settings Dark Shadows and Cinders of the Cataclysm. Designer of the narratively focused Celenia D10 RPG System.
Grandmaster EtaliaC
Etalia Cutlow
23 Mar, 2020 14:58

Really nice job as usual! It's nice that you fixed the last few segments to take up the whole width of the page so the empty sidebar isn't as glaring. There is a bit of typos and grammatical misses but nothing that's too bad, it just need a proper work through.   I have a few comments on the top of my head though: * It would be nice to have the section about the Barrow voice closer to the section about the actual Barrows. * Having just one line after the main header for the history section looks... odd to me (and is missing a period). Since you're out of words for this challenge I honestly think it would be better to just remove that line and have it go immediately to the next header.   That's all I have that I haven't already mentioned. Great job!

26 Mar, 2020 11:06

This looks great! I love your use of imagery. The map is beautiful. As always your prose is really beautiful as well. There are a couple places where the grammar is slightly off, but the writing is solid. Excellent work!

4 Apr, 2020 23:38

This island is a really interesting mix of giants, dragons, ruins and caves! I like the addition of vampiric stuff with the barrows, too. Interesting fauna and flora as well!   Couple little grammar/layout points:   There's some un-capitalized "i"s in the very first quote! It might be a good idea to do a once over of the article, and double check any places where there's easy things to fix like that.   In the quote under "A Storm Approaches" there's an extra " in the middle of it.   It might be worth it to try and put everything after "The Frostfall Mountains" into the full-footer, so that you don't have that empty sidebar stretching so far down. I see you did that with "History of the Island" and lower, which is good! But that just makes the section of empty sidebar stand out even more.   The caves are fascinating! Have people attempted to settle within the caves at all? I'm sure it'd suck without the sunlight, but it appears to be a relatively bountiful area to live within. Away from the frost giants and dragons, at least!   Right at the very end you introduce this concept of a "beast that will emerge" -- I want to know more about that! I believe I see it's teased a little bit earlier, as a "being known as the great devourer", but I'd love to know more.   Great article Elias! Seems like a brutal, terrifying, and epic island.

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23 May, 2021 02:48

Man, this is probably one of the best worlds I've seen on this site. There is so much content and its so well thought out.