The Wall of Daren

The wall that encircles an island

There is nothing beyond the Wall, lad. Nothing we should be bothering ourselves with, anyway. Mark my words, that Wall was built for a reason, and I doubt it was to keep us in.
— A father to his curious child
  Stretching for several hundred miles around the perimeter of the island, the Wall of Daren is both a wonder and a bane to the people who live in its shadow. As far as the Darenites are concerned, the Wall has always existed. It was built before the Renewal, and the people woke up to its existence.  

Architecture

 
The Wall runs around the entirety of the island of Daren, clinging to the cliffs and coastline. It stands over thirty metres tall, and scholars estimate its walls to be around eight metres thick.   It is crafted from some kind of hard grey stone with no visible seams. It appears as if the wall was carved in one single piece, though scholars argue that such construction would be impossible.
  The Wall is pretty much devoid of decoration, its edifice stark and unforgiving. The only parts where this proves untrue are the areas around the Gates, where there are decorative carvings, as well as words in a language no one understands. There are four of these Gates, one for each of the cardinal directions - north, east, south, and west. The gates are each about fifteen metres tall, made from metal and stone, and spartan in their design. Each Gate is locked by either arcane or mechanical means and, in five and a half thousand years, no one has ever figured out a way to get one open.   As well as the Gates, some parts of the Wall contain hidden chambers. This is particularly true in the spaces beneath the Wall, as though the builders were trying to avoid compromising their creation's defensive capabilities. Most of these chambers are locked and have never been explored - though not for lack of trying.  

Protection or Containment?

  The overwhelming majority of Darenites believe the Wall was built to protect them from the outside world. This is reflected in their worship of Reus, the God of the Wall, who they believe guards them from external threats.   This belief was affirmed in 3092 EA, when something from outside began attacking the Wall. Though to the Darenites the source of the attack is a mystery, it was actually an Eriasian war ship , who reacted aggressively to a lack of response to their hails. When the first cannonball hit the wall, however, something in the Wall sparked to life. There was a loud crack that echoed across the whole island. Faintly purple arcane energy erupted from the top of the Wall, covering the whole island in a crackling, shifting dome. The dome lasted for five days and nights. Since then, no one has ever attacked the island again.   Though generally the Wall is accepted to be a structure of protection, sceptics believe that the Wall was actually built to keep the Darenites in. They generally cite the Gates, which the Darenites cannot open if they wanted to, that scholars have spent lifetimes trying to figure out.

The God of the Wall

  Most Darenites worship a deity they call Reus, the God of the Wall, and have done for thousands of years. Reus is associated with fortitude, protection, and physical strength.   The religion is actually split into two distinct sects. Traditionally, Reus has been depicted as an entity separate from the Wall. It is said he strides around the perimeter of the island, taller than the Wall itself, and keeping an eye out for outside threats. He is portayed as a large, muscular man with a braided beard and a crown of stone.   Just over a thousand years ago, a follower of Reus claimed to have visions of the Wall itself, breathing as though it had lungs. This split the religion, and the second sect believe that Reus is the Wall - and that the Wall is alive.

Beyond the Wall?

  Curiosity is a common human trait, so it is no surprise that generations of Darenites have wanted to explore the world beyond the Wall. Whilst in Daren, the idea of crossing the Wall is blasphemous, that has not been enough to dissuade more adventurous youths from attempting it.   The first hurdle is climbing the Wall. As the surface is smooth, with no hand-holds, this is normally enough to prevent would-be adventurers.   In over five thousand years, less than twenty people have reached the top of the Wall. Tales from the top mostly describe endless waters, though several have also told stories of land visible from Daren.   Only one person - a fifteen-year-old boy named Halas - never returned from the top of the Wall. However, no one on Daren actually knows what happened to him.


Cover image: by sakulich

Comments

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13 Dec, 2020 02:48

I like that you include conflicting points of view and so many points of intrigue in a small article. Nicely done

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13 Dec, 2020 02:51

Thanks so much! :)

13 Dec, 2020 04:20

Nice tight article. Different perspectives. I chuckled at "breathing". That is one vision with hallucinatory substances. The other would be the Wall writhing like a snake, rippling and undulating around the island.....

13 Dec, 2020 14:55

Haha, that would be a very trippy vision. Thank you! <3

13 Dec, 2020 06:57

Whoops. Forgot to leave a comment. I really like the idea of a wall being built before your Renewal. The main question that I have is in the world made this wall? If it's not broken down over the years(I presume it's been thousands of years since the Renewal if I'm not being dumb), it has to be super hard so how could anyone make something like that without being a literal god. Speaking of which, what a weird split between a guardian of the wall and the god being the wall itself. For the first one to be realistic, I would assume that there would be some foundation with similar repercussions in the other sect. Either way, great execution of an interesting idea.

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13 Dec, 2020 15:24

Thank you! There's definitely some contradictions between the two sects, that's for sure. And yeah, it's been about 6000 years since the Renewal. I have some ideas, but involved technology that no longer exists in the world. :)

13 Dec, 2020 10:13

Nice article! I'm not sure if it was intentional, but reus means giant in dutch, which I thought was very cool :)


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13 Dec, 2020 14:55

Does it? That's an awesome coincidence. :D Thank you! x

13 Dec, 2020 16:24

Oooh lovely article Emy! I love the conflicting points of views, as well as the mystery surrounding the purpose of the wall. As always, I love it when your articles mention artefacts of the past which have now been forgotten, it really gives the feel that the world truly is old and filled with mysteries. Awesome work!!

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13 Dec, 2020 16:25

Thank you so much! That's the feeling I'm going for so I'm glad it comes across. <3

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Caitlin Phillips
13 Dec, 2020 17:42

Oooh this is fascinating! What an incredible structure and mysterious people. I may have missed it, but does the outside world have any thoughts on the wall? I have so many questions! Love it when your articles talk about artefacts from before the Renewal.

Cait x
13 Dec, 2020 19:29

I'll probably need to add a section in about that. The Eriasians are basically like "don't go near that place, there's some freaky shit going on."

14 Dec, 2020 13:09

Fascinating article. I am very curious about the dome that appeared when the wall was attacked. It was obviously pretty terrifying for those outside of the wall. I wonder how it was for the Darenites inside? I can imagine it was pretty frightening for them if they'd never seen the dome before. Or, maybe they just accepted that it was Reus protecting them, and were awed by the power.

14 Dec, 2020 13:36

Mostly awed, but probably rather terrified too, especially when it didn't go away for a while!   Thank you for the comment! :)

14 Dec, 2020 13:12

This is a mindboggle, for sure. For centuries, no one has figured out how to tunnel through or climb over the wall (with contraptions)? We built the pyramids! What's stopping the Darenites from just building a ramp to the top?   You mentioned there was some form of magic that kept the gates closed, and that lashed out at the external attack. Is there also some form of magic stopping people from simply climbing over the wall and leave?

Author of prize-winning RPG settings Dark Shadows and Cinders of the Cataclysm. Designer of the narratively focused CD10.
14 Dec, 2020 13:35

Mostly religious superstition is stopping them from building ramps and stuff. It's a really big taboo, which I'll go into more when I write about their culture. Obviously can't stop the curious youth, though. There is actually some suggestive magic too, which usually is enough to dissuade anyone from trying to leave. I haven't worked out all the details yet, but I kind of have the idea that Daren used to be a massive prison where the world sent their most undesirable prisoners.   Thanks for the comment. :)

14 Dec, 2020 13:36

Ooooh! Sneaky! I like it :) The religious taboo is a good point that I think you should emphasize just a bit more as that kind of went over my head. It's a great idea, and plausible.

Author of prize-winning RPG settings Dark Shadows and Cinders of the Cataclysm. Designer of the narratively focused CD10.
14 Dec, 2020 13:45

Will do, thank you! :)

27 Dec, 2020 17:52

Mysterious walls~ I'm getting Titan vibes. xD But that is a seriously interesting mystery. :3


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27 Dec, 2020 17:54

Haha, thank you! <3

1 Jan, 2021 00:53

Such a mystery!

1 Jan, 2021 01:00

Thank you! :D

6 Jan, 2021 19:06

There's just something about walls that I love -- these massive structures circling settlements or islands or castles, they're fantastic. And this specific wall is EXTRA FANTASTIC! I love the mystery woven into this. Who built the wall?? Why are they locked inside?? I so badly want to go exploring with a magic lock-pick and start opening up those rooms under it.   This is amazing, Emy :D


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6 Jan, 2021 19:10

Thank you! <3 I feel like Daren could be an interesting setting for a TTRPG campaign, haha. I have a bunch of ideas for it.

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