Desolation of Hissh
A blighted area of land on the northern coast of the continent of Euristan, the Desolation of Hissh is significant for being the first Desolations of the Divines to have been created on Kelbonnar’s Material Plane. The Desolation of Hissh was created thousands of years ago in a conflict involving the first Vampire and the Elves of Sparos who once inhabited what is now territory controlled by Ymeris. The god of murder Hissh, who supported the Vampire led an almost single handed campaign of destruction against the Elves of the region, twisting the landscape in the process into a reflection of his evil, murderous ways.
The Desolation of Hissh comprises the area between the northern reaches of the Dragons' Tears Mountains, the southern shores Icefang Ocean and east of the Black Water river. The nature of the Desolation’s creation means that the soil is grey and ashen in nature and it is frequently blown up into dust storms by the winds that whip off the Icefang Ocean to the north. Whilst the very soil is hostile, it is possible for plants to grow in the region, though only hardy varieties can survive there. Briars and gorse are particularly common, which can make travel away from the roads difficult and painful. Trees do also survive in the Desolation as well, though they have been warped into mockeries of whatever species they once belonged to, their bark having turned jet black or palest white and their leaves a deep red. The western part of the Desolation of Hissh is taken up by a large swathe of this cursed woodland, known as the Mangeno Woods. What also makes the Desolation of Hissh inhospitable is the fact that the region exists in an almost permanent state of twilight, with the levels of light barely ever growing stronger than those found at dawn or dusk, even at the height of the day. This, perhaps Hissh's greatest curse on the landscape, is what makes the region so hospitable for the Vampires of Ymeris, who have called the place home ever since its creation.
Another of the unique aspects that Hissh's creation of the Desolation has scarred the landscape with, is that many who travel within it become subject to bouts of, often murderous, madness, which can cause them to attack their companions or damage themselves in an uncontrollable frenzy. Humanoids who were born, raised and who have never left the region, which almost exclusively therefore comprises the serf population beholden to the Desolation’s resident Vampires are immune to this effect, but it can be deadly for outsiders. Whilst native humanoids are immune, the same cannot be said for the animal population, who are universally aggressive and almost exclusively carnivorous. Animal and monster attacks are frequent and frenzied in the Desolation of Hissh and are one of the major threats to those travelling through the region, even those under the protection of the Midnight Court.
There are no natural resources available in any significant concentration within the Desolation of Hissh, but it is still possible for the serf population beholden to the Vampires of Ymeris to grow enough food to sustain themselves and enough fodder to sustain their livestock. Of course, the low light conditions of the region mean that the mortal population have to rely on a limited range of food crops able to survive there. Turnips, parsnips, cabbages, leeks and rye form the mainstays of the serfs and their animal’s diets. It is rare to find other crops, fruit especially cultivated beyond the walls and arcanely augmented greenhouses of the castles and palaces in which the Vampires of Ymeris live. However, crops and fodder cultivated in the Desolation of Hissh barely have any flavour and whilst they function culinarily in the same way as their counterparts grown elsewhere prolonged consumption of these plants and animals raised on them is reported to cause a sense of depression, hopelessness and general malaise.
Whilst it would be easy to think that few would wish to travel to the Desolation of Hissh willingly, there are some who specifically seek to travel to the region, though in fairness this is rarely to take in the sites of this bleak and desolate landscape. Instead, scholars, arcanists, historians and all manner of other intellectuals seek to travel to the Desolation of Hissh, so that they can visit the many prodigiously stocked libraries and antiquarian collections of the Vampires of Ymeris. Many of Ymeris’ Midnight Court are willing to allow intellectuals to access their collections, provided that they bring payment, usually in the form of blood, in exchange for access to their scholarly resources. However, no Vampire will ever grant access to their entire collection, and there are many items within Ymeris that few of seen or read for millennia.