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Dark Halls

Dark halls are a mysterious realm with their own rules, different from a normal world. The realm consists of halls, walled-off sections that grow whenever a certain condition is met. It is unknown whether there is a way to escape Dark Halls and return to the normal world or if there is an end or a border to them.   The biggest threat for anyone brought to this realm is the darkness. What, in a normal world, is a normal occurrence caused by the lack of light, here is a living, hungry force. Anyone not covered by the right amount and intensity of light can soon feel the "bite", a sudden, sometimes painful, or nauseating feeling of losing something that darkness took away. What darkness takes depends on the Hall one is currently inside of. Unless found again in the Hall, the thing will be forever lost from their life.  

Hall structure

Base Shape

Most of the halls grow evenly, with a square as their base. Rarely, a corridor-style hall shows up. Those halls can be of any length, however, they never are wider than 200 meters.  

Walls and floor

Both walls and floors of halls are seemingly indestructible by any means that could be acquired in the Dark Halls. They are always made out of the thing the darkness of the hall takes away or some physical representation of it. Anyone can interact with the physical materials but the ones of more abstract nature can only be removed from the hall by their true owner. In that case, their physical representation crumbles or disappears and returns to its rightful place.  

Entrance

Each hall has at least one entrance, an arch leading from one hall to another. They are always located on the same level as each other. That level can change depending on the conditions inside of the hall, should those conditions permanently block the entrance.
The entrances have a unique property, where unless the hall beyond them has a ceiling, they will change their size to suit anyone who plans to go through them before they even manage to see them. Should a hall beyond have a ceiling (or its walls are narrow), the entrance can only "grow" up to the size matching that of the hall.
Standing on the border that separates two halls protects one from the effects of the darkness of both of them and so one can sometimes find those who lost their lights or those who await caravans resting there. Additionally, each entrance has its walls covered with writings describing the name and traits of the halls on both sides of it. The author of the writings is unknown, though they tend to change, reflecting the change of the size of the hall.  

Ceiling

While most of the halls have a ceiling whose height varies wildly, there are some that seem so tall that they possibly don't have it at all.  

Hall names

Even though humans stuck in the Dark Halls tend to give halls their own names, each hall has an "official" name that can be found on its entrances consisting of 3 words describing its properties to anyone who enters them. The three parts are always put together as "X Y of Z" (e.g. Dim Room of Memories).

1) Light Level

The first part of the hall name describes the level of light needed to protect oneself from the darkness of the hall taking away something. The area of one's body that needs to be covered with light and how long one can go without the light/area requirement being met without being bitten varies between halls and is usually described by previous travelers somewhere around the name of the hall (though less visited entrances and entrances to "newborn" halls can miss that information).
Light levels
Light Levels Light intensity needed
Dark Almost none
Penumbral Moonlight on a cloudy night
Fading A weak candlelight
Dim A candlelight
Glowing A torch
Warm Lamps
Bright Spotlights
Incandescent Daylight
Aureate Enough to hurt eyes without protection
Blinding Enough to blind someone in a short time

 
   

2) Size and shape of the hall

While all halls grow whenever they "eat", the second part of their name describes the minimum and maximum size of the interior one can expect when entering the hall. This part of the name is the only one that changes and usually changes quickly for smaller halls. The halls which have bases of different shapes (square vs rectangle) tend to have different names, and corridor-style halls' (rectangular base) names describe only their width, with their length reaching up to a few kilometers in some cases.
Hall sizes
Side of a base (min) Square base Rectangle base (width)
1 m Locker Vent
2 m Closet
5 m Room Corridor
20 m Chamber Alley
100 m Hall -
1 km Arena -
10 km and more Space

 
 

3) What the hall takes

The last part of the hall's name describes what will be taken should one use not enough light to protect themself. The things "eaten" can be either physical (one's body parts, senses) or more abstract (one's memories, thoughts, feelings, etc).
Included Locations
Characters in Location
Inhabiting Species

No hunger and no thirst

Anyone trapped inside the Dark Halls quickly discovers that they stop feeling the need to eat and drink. It is still possible to do so, and overconsumption or consuming rotten food can still lead to unpleasant consequences, but seemingly, there are no consequences for not eating anything.   One still needs to sleep, though the constant darkness of the world quickly messes up everyone's internal clocks.  

No new life

While it is possible for a child to be taken by Dark Halls, it is impossible to create new life inside them that comes from the normal world. Creatures and animals that already come from this world can normally reproduce and have offspring.

What's in-between

It's currently unknown what exactly lies in the empty spaces between the halls. All attempts to break through their walls have failed. Still, those bored enough try to hypothesize what could be there. An escape from this realm. Pure darkness, so hungry, it will eat everything. Light. Nests of shadow creatures. Machines that build new components and hold everything together. What's really there is a guess as good as any.  

"Newborn" halls

When halls grow, an empty space between them can form. The longer the space exists, the greater the chance that a new hall will just show up there one day, pushing them farther away with its growth. Due to that, all of the safe paths can turn dangerous any day and the travel between two spots can only get longer.

Potential empty space for a "newborn" hall by Revyera

 

Dead-end halls

Most of the halls have at least two entrances leading to other halls. But sometimes, one can encounter a hall with only one entrance leading in and out of it. Those halls are commonly called Dead-ends. While the Dead-ends tend to have lower requirements of light levels and they tend to take things one can usually survive without, they often become lairs and traps of the creatures living in the darkness, waiting for an unsuspecting traveler to enter them.  

by Revyera


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Comments

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Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
8 Dec, 2022 18:46

This is really a fascinating concept!

To see what I am up to:WE list of articles and goals.