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The Inspiration

  The initial inspiration for Fjree came from thinking about Shadflies. Also known as Mayflies, in my birth town the Shadflies would rise from the lake once a year, smell, be disgusting, and then just die a few days later. What if there were a creature like the Shadfly, but it devoured everything it could find before dying or returning to its home?   From there I had a central premise that I could answer the questions it raised. What do these shadflies accomplish by doing this? How do sentient creatures survive this event? How do they get food? What causes them?  

Introduction to Fjree

  Fjree should be inhospitable. It is a land that actively rejects life. The murky earth is cratered with giant holes that lead deep underground. Every thirty days, creatures rise from these craters. Thousands of them, which exist only to consume and to die a few days later. They travel in swarms so dense that their features are indistinguishable. All light is blocked out, and the only sound an unfortunate individual might hear while travelling through Fjree’s marshes, jungles and plains is the constant droning hum of their wings batting endlessly.   The races that have come to settle these forsaken lands call them “the Ephemera”, though they are more commonly known as “phems” or “bugs”. On first glance, the Ephemera bring nothing but hardship to the ancient peoples of Fjree, but upon killing members of these swarms, they discovered a material that would end up saving the entire continent.   The Ephemera digested practically everything they devoured, which was practically everything. In doing so, they broke their food down into its most essential essences. What was left was a reddish-brown glossy paste. It was edible, nutritious in fact, and in a world, where crops are eaten every thirty days, another food source was all but required. When surpluses began growing of the material, magic-users were quick to experiment with it and delighted in its potential. The ochre seemed to generate specific effects when drawn in certain ways, allowing the enchantment of items and the inscribing of spells onto mundane mortals for use in clutch moments. Today, ochre is one of the foundations Fjrian society and economy.   Still, the Ephemera were a danger in most ways. Races had to quickly devise ways to survive the four and a half days of phem activity. This period quickly became known as the winter, with the period after known as harvest. Thankfully for the inhabitants of the continent, there did used to be civilization on Fjree, and from the remnants of that still mostly unknown people, the new inhabitants built strongholds that could survive, went to the oceans, or hid in caves.

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