"When I think back to that place, my mind is harried by images of blood and water, salt and fire, lightning and rock. A black sky above black earth, lit by flame even the Underworld would envy. I must go back. Even if it is the death of me, I must go back."
The Pyric Isles are an infamous archipelago found off the coast of southern Arad
in the Western Sea
. Volcanic and turbulent, they are well known for their cataclysmic weather, hazardous terrain and value as a source of Pyric Glass
; a type of obsidian which can be used to produce the deadly weapons known as glassblades
. Many myths and rumors also describe the Pyric Isles as the collective gateway to the Underworld
as well as the home of terrible creatures beyond comprehension. Numerous expeditions have been made to their shores with some resulting in great success and others in terrible tragedy. The central isles are also home to the mysterious Black Ruins
, though few have seen them and lived to tell about it.
Despite their cataclysmic nature, the Pyric Isles are only small, a cluster consisting of no more than a hundred islands, each scarcely only the size of its respective volcano. These fiery mountains nearly constantly belch smoke, ash, flame and magma out of their orifices, clouding the landmass that surround them in soot. The land in the Pyric Isles has no soil nor earth to speak of and consists solely of barren, jagged rock against which the waves of the ocean crash. The salt water regularly collides with the lava of the archipelago's volcanoes, forming new outcroppings which are made just as quickly as older ones sink into the sea. The Pyric Isles also contain many cave systems which regularly connect the shore to the thermal vents of volcanoes and it is here that Pyric Glass is most often found. It is not known why, but storms are also frequent in the skies above the islands. Lightning regularly collides with the plumes of fire that a spew forth from the Pyric Isles as does wind and rain with the rock below.
The inhospitable climate of the Pyric Isles makes them a poor and dangerous habitat for any kind of life. The lack of vegetation gives nothing for land-dwelling herbivores to live off and thus nothing for predators to hunt. The waters around the volcanic island landmasses are extremely warm and even boiling in some places. Yet, a few limited species of resistant sea-grass do grow there and they in turn provide sustenance to whiteworms
; bizarre and heat tolerant snake-like fish. These worms are fed upon by birds and gulls which sometimes live in the less tumultuous parts of the isles. Persistent rumors also suggest that larger, more terrifying creatures live in the Pyric Isles. Stories are told of enormous shapes moving beneath the water and ships vanishing with only scraps of driftwood left behind. Some sailors even claim to hear roaring amidst the sound of erupting volcanoes and voices whispering from within crevices in the rock, leading to tales proclaiming the Pyric Isles as the gateway to the Underworld itself.