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Grey Devastation

Written by EmperorCharlesII

You're constantly adjusting your goggles throughout the day. Your mouth is covered so that the ashy ground doesn't get in your lungs, and every area of exposed skin is covered so that you don't get the itchy volcanic ash on you. You look as grey and black as the terrain around you.   This is easily the least fun you've had on your entire trip. Thankfully, your trip is only to Mor-Fal and back, and that's only about five days total there and back. But if you have to suit up in this every morning for five days...   About a day and a half into the Grey Devastation, you see your first river of molten lava. Or, more accurately, you nearly step in it; only the quick thinking of, and a loud shout from, your goblin scout keep you from plunging about a yard into the slow-moving orange-red stream. Instead, your right foot slips out over the edge and you watch your loose boot fall off your foot and catch fire the second it hits the lava below.   The smell of burning leather follows you around for the rest of the day, as well as the horrible feeling that if you hadn't heard your guide's cry, that might have been you in the lava.   How does anyone live here? you wonder to yourself. With extreme care! your brain replies. But jokes aside, the place is a veritable wasteland.

Geography

The lands of the Grey Devastation can be divided into three types: the rocky foothills of the Ashkeep Mountains, the molten rivers of lava and the blasted ashy plateaus that give the region its name.  

Plateau

The central portion of the Devastation is mostly flat, with the occasional river or hill breaking up the monotony of the grey landscape. Nothing naturally grows here; only the occasional petrified tree gives any indication that anything has ever grown in this wasteland. A few birds travel across this plain in search of worm-like prey, but otherwise animals don't come here. This is the homeland of the otraylar race, and their homesteads and villages are scattered across its surface.

Lava Rivers

Rivers of molten rock snake down from the volcanoes and mountains of the region, breaking up the otherwise flat terrain. The heat of these areas makes them undesirable for anything without fire resistance, which basically prevents anyone from wanting to live there except the occasional salamander or fire elemental. It also prevents people from building anything in or near the lava, as lava tunnels can cause buildings to collapse without warning.

Foothills

The areas at the base of the Ashkeep Mountains are the only remotely liveable terrain in the region. The hills provide natural shelter from the dust storms that plague the plateaus and any wandering giants. A few rare trees grow in the coastal areas due to the rain from the Dragontail Sea, so these areas are much more habitable for the otraylar and occasional tepilar trader.

Natural Resources

The ashy wastes produce very little natural resources, as can be expected. The ashy ground is surprisingly fertile, but common dust storms snuff out any plants that would try to live in the area. Despite this, the ingenious otraylar have put together a system of greenhouses and protective domes to protect their crops, meaning that they can in fact grow some grains and vegetables to keep their civilization afloat.   The foothills usually import their food from these areas, allowing them to mine the huge quantity of gems and precious metals in the land's volcanoes and hills. Sapphires, diamonds, and gold are often found here, and many other varieties of gems besides. This makes this area very desirable for invaders, as the past has shown.   Along the coast, the local otraylar population has begun a strange industry: using the volcanic heat and coloured sand of the region to make high-quality glasswork. The green, black and brown sand beaches here allows them to work with colour to make incredible works of art.

Type
Wasteland
Location under
Britaxia
Owning Organization
The United Townships of Britaxia
Related Myths

History

The region used to be a bountiful vale sometime during the First Era, according to oral histories passed down by the xertilar of the Ashkeep Mountains. However, many xertilar and otraylar in the region were fervent worshippers of Coltris and their continued worship of him after the Great Sundering led to their judgement in the eyes of the Free Ones. Their forests burst into flame and their mountains rumbled and spewed molten rock, leading to the creation of the Grey Devastation.
Art Credit: emperorcharlesii (me!)

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