Verdant Haze Geographic Location in Istralar | World Anvil

Verdant Haze

Surprised, we gazed out on a stunning vista of brilliant green. After weeks of nothing but sand, rock and the mockery of that far-off ocean, we didn't care about how odd it all seemed. The gods had granted us a miracle, we thought.   Let my words be a warning: do not think like us. Do not treat it as a miracle. Do not approach the Verdant Haze.
— Final transmission of a late Sunari expedition, 5617 EA
  The Verdant Haze, better known as the Outflow by some, is a large forested area on the southwestern shores of the Sunari Wilderness. To a wanderer used to the drab yellow and red of most of the Sunari, the sudden appearance of a vibrant tropical forest resplendent with peaceful streams and bountiful fruit may seem like a gods-granted miracle - an oasis, if you will.   It is no oasis. No miracle exists within its heart. The Haze is a place of death and corruption, forever cursed to represent the fallacies of man.  
Exploring the Haze by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
The Haze is a former - and possibly current - dumping ground of isolationist Vexua, Istralar's most technologically-advanced civilisation. The vibrant colours that shine through the trees are as a result of heavy pollution, with radiation slowing decay to nearly a halt.   Piles of tailings from industrial mining mar the land to the west of the Haze, with the Haze's sluggish rivers twisted into the orange of pumpkin soup and the taste of blood by the metal carried forth. The Haze itself exists in the shadow of jagged mountains - the Saqatri Hills - where great deposits of iktanite were mined among more traditional metals.   Today, great mounts of iktanite dust still blow through the Haze, contributing to its deadly nature.   Exposure to the Haze is a significant risk of being a death sentence alone, but eating or drinking anything that has been contaminated by the heavy pollution will cement that chance.
  Whilst plants and even some strange creatures can survive in the vibrant wasteland, they are safe only to themselves, and carry large amounts of toxin within them. Not content at carrying radiation alone, these horrors of life carry iktanite particles within their bodies and their blood runs strange colours with the metal poisoning they have long absorbed.   If the Haze is sighted by adventurers, they are advised to raise whatever protections against poison they are able to, and to flee the area with great haste.


Day three of our exploration. One of the others has discovered a river that shimmers like a rainbow - I do not trust it, for I suspect fey trickery. After all, they would have enjoyed turning that pond so delightfully orange and yet so ghastly in taste - it was like drinking blood, in the most unpleasant way.
— expedition member
The Verdant Haze is a large tropical rainforest of approximately 600 square kilometres (140,000 hectares, or just shy of 346,000 acres) with, seemingly, a number of river systems running through it. It is a densely forested area of plains that has drowned some of the lower peaks of the Saqatri Hills in its spread.   It is prevented from spreading further across the Hills by the intense damage left by large-scale industrial pollution, and stops suddenly in other directions due to the pervasive magical fallout that prevents magic's function throughout the Sunari Wilderness.   It is located towards the east of the Wilderness, just shy of the coast, and avoids view from the sea only by way of the polluted mountains shielding it.   Very little surveying has been completed to understand the natural regions or terrain of the Haze due to the dangers inherent to such an approach, and as such, little is known of more detailed geographical reports.
Green Haze, Blue Dust by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
  In the rare reports recovered from utterly foolish adventurers travelling within, the topography seems to be incredibly varied, with some areas demonstrating large crater-like features and shattered drops. In this respect, it wears the scars of the Divine Wars well.   Currently, completing a detailed geographical analysis of the area is considered impossible. No further work will be taken in this area until strong protections against the many contaminants have been secured.
Verdant Views by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
Alternative Name(s)
the Poison Forest, Vexuan Disposal Grounds, the Outflow
Location under
Owning Organization

Life in the Haze

From what little evidence exists, it can be determined that very little is able to survive in the highly hostile terrain. Most lifeforms cannot manage the radiation or lesser contaminants.   What few beings eke out warped lives within the Haze do so in an odd, aberrant manner, and demonstrate behaviours and physical traits not found elsewhere. Mutations are described in gruesome detail in the recovered journals.   Nobody particularly wants to find out what else might exist in such a cursed land.
Journals from the Depths by Hanhula (via Midjourney)


I told them to be careful. What were they thinking? We had no idea what was in that pile! We don't know whose artifacts those were!   For my later study - big pile of discarded metal at the forest's heart, all strange shapes. Unusual metals. Idiot #3 found one of them was glowing blue inside. Three days later, he's...
— cleric's log
  In the first years of its discovery, the Haze was indeed presumed to be nothing more than a mirage - an illusion conjured by desperate minds. That the forest was only reported by the dying and dead only fed into this assumption. It was from these early accounts that the name stuck, for it was considered to be dreamlike in nature - an unreal mist of green lingering on the horizon, just out of reach.   After many years of speculation on the true nature of the Haze, a group of officials from Tsukirai commissioned the Kartovian Exploration Society to investigate the strange rumours. The quest stood unclaimed for months, as many quests to the Sunari did. All knew that the chance of returning was miniscule. Eventually, the Chernastic Order - a small group of determined adventurers sworn to a deity of understanding - accepted the quest. Though it was accepted for money instead of in the pure pursuit of knowledge, they were nonetheless well-informed about the area and its potential dangers.  
Against the odds, they found the Haze. Despite that luck, they were dead within the week.   Fortunately, their loss was not without meaning. Well-worded contracts saw their bodies recovered, still carrying the journals each member of the exhibition had maintained. The journals began with full detail, meticulously describing the way the green paradise crept over rough sand-swept hills in full vibrant colour.  
Vexuan Presence by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
They spoke of strangely-coloured rivers and glittering dust scattered from a bordering mountain of blue crystal-powder. They praised the beautiful green forests and the bounty of food within, noting down the odd lack of creatures in the strange rivers and the presence of strange wildlife when creatures did appear.   Over the course of a few weeks, the journals shifted in tone. Calm, scholarly words and light jibes collapsed under pressure, revealing symptoms of strange illnesses that their cleric had never before heard of. Stranger still were the mentions of wildlife and even metals that resembled no known species or materials understood by those analysing the documents.   The situation began to grow worrying when mere contact with the journals and bodies retrieved began to impart symptoms of grave sickness on those who studied them. Initially ignored, it soon became apparent that the symptoms were identical, if lessened, to those observed in the journals - and seen on the bodies.
  As these afflictions began to be treated, all worry of contagion in the air, a particularly concerning page was uncovered in the fighter's journal: a description of round metal pipes inscribed with a symbol of three fan-shaped blades around a circle, and writing in a strange, curved script that he did not recognise. The scholars, however, saw this for what it was: a rare trace of Vexuan presence.  
Signs of Vexuan Devastation / Pollution most Strange by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
  Now panicking, missives were sent to the closest Vexuan embassy to apologise for trespass on land potentially considered theirs, and to beg for a cure for the afflictions that began to spread. Androids dressed in odd suits of armour responded to the call the following day - an absolutely unprecedented response time for anything to do with the odd island nation - with magic to aid the hapless society and words of warning on their lips. The Haze, they explained, was the result of a great mistake in their nation's history, stored offshore in the most isolated place they could locate within reason to prevent contamination. They shared pages of information on the deadly poisons running through that land, and advised word to be shared throughout the nations of the danger.   The polluted forest, the Dumping Ground, was a result of their mad dash for progress - and a horrific sign of the toll that progress could impart. It stood as a sign of their brilliance but also their arrogance, and would serve the other nations well as a reminder of the risks inherent to attempting their ascent to power. The chief cause of this destruction, the radiation, was not a technology or magic - though it certainly seemed to be at first. Instead, it was nature's own way of punishing those who go too far. Combined with the mining pollution and the choking power of iktanite, and of course, their special brand of magics, and the Haze had been unfortunately formed.   A metal fence now marks the rough border of the Haze, though the dangers it presents may be present even beyond its borders. Signs stand at varying points along its path, repeating the same adage in Common and a number of other languages to ensure it is not forgotten:  
This place is not a place of honour. No highly esteemed deed is commemorated here. Nothing valued is here.   What is here was dangerous and repulsive to us. This is a warning of danger present here. The danger increases towards the the centre of this area.   The danger is still present in your time, as it was in ours. It is an emanation of energy, and it will kill.   Do not cross this border. Do not disturb this place. This place is best shunned.   Do not enter the Verdant Haze.

Cover image: Haze cover by Hanhula (via Midjourney)


Author's Notes

Fun fact: I began this article in WorldEmber 2019. For this 2023 entry, I ripped out *every single part* of that old work - it's posted in the Brigid/Istralar development Discord for posterity. I hope you enjoy this delve into weird radiation fuckery in my fantasy world!

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Dec 14, 2023 15:47 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Do not drink the water! :O :O   I like that the Vexua were like of like 'oh poop' and immediately came to their aid and explained what happened.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Dec 14, 2023 16:05 by Han

Yeeep. Vexua maintains a very strict "do not interact with the lesser beings" thing for the most part, so this was an entirely unprecedented reaction - and it's why most places are now taking the stance of "look if they're willing to drop everything and run to help then it's *BAD*, don't touch it".   ...The Haze being in one of Istralar's most deadly locales also helps keep people away, too.

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Dec 14, 2023 23:54 by Alex (TheDumbOwl)

ooo cool blue glow rock lem touch

Ahoy hoy! Have a happy day! Check out my world Vertinall!
Dec 31, 2023 18:33 by Han

diagnosis......... DEATH

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Dec 17, 2023 21:13

I love that you completed the article four years later xD   What an interesting read, I would certainly hate to get trapped there....   Also, the article is super pretty! Love the layout :3

Grab your hammer and go worldbuild! :3
Feb 4, 2024 07:48 by Han

Thank you! <3 Yeah, it does kind of sound like the worst place to get stuck, right?

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Jan 14, 2024 19:54

I really like the idea of a radiation hazard in your world and your explanation trough diaries and lore. Definitely one of my favorites and something I will look to for article structures.

Sit down, my friend, and let me tell you of Aran'sha . A world where the sands shift and the stars sing, where the wind carries secrets and the twin moons keep silent vigil over it all.
Feb 4, 2024 07:51 by Han

Radiation is one of those things that gets ignored in fantasy, I think. It's a natural thing, so.. we can definitely use it more 8)

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Jan 25, 2024 16:44

The article I found was definitely not what I was expecting when I saw the title. I have to admit that the explanations of things and the images of the Haze piqued my curiosity much like it probably did the adventurers, but the warnings have definitely given me pause. An amazing read!

Co-creator of the fantasy worlds Isekai & Seireitei
Co-creator of the TTRPG System Storybook
Feb 4, 2024 07:52 by Han

Ehehe, I'm glad it worked the way I wanted it to with that little mislead then! Thank you!

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Jan 26, 2024 22:03 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

Love this! You've painted a very vivid description. Really makes sense when you revealed that it's all radiation and mundane pollution that caused those symptoms instead of some strange magic!

Feb 4, 2024 07:55 by Han

Thank you, Ame! I was giggling a lot combining radiation with, essentially, *asbestos*. Two things that definitely shouldn't mix!

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