Tuesday 24 October 2023

Setting: Seeing the Forest for the Trees (Murk)

Murk is an unearthly land dominated mostly by forests located on the greater Akenian continent of the Wistful Dark. It is oft-discussed by both curious academics and cautious lay folk of the rest of Outer World. It is understood as the last vestige of The Dreaming, a place where the laws of material reality wane and old, indistinct things dwell. 

Folk live there, and some even wander away from it, but their stories of the place are disparate. Many believe a mortal can only ever know a small part of those great woods, given its strange condition of being of Outer World but being also distinct from it. People rarely die in Murk - it is more likely they will vanish among the trees or become something else entirely.

The Formless Council holds court there, but the ranks of the Unshaped have dwindled to a truly pitiable number. The Glassen Tsar of Crystalia and The Queen of Weeping Shadows rarely attend. Lesser unshaped (such as Belzuub) grow brazen, mocking their ostensible superiors for languishing in idle fantasy. Schemes are often proposed, but are generally never agreed upon.

Murk does often change to reflect the council's moods and whims, but these ripples are petulant rather than methodical. Breezes from all corners of Outer World blow through its foliage, bring chill or warmth in equal measure. Places wither and regrow without warning. Roads, when present, rarely ever lead to the same place for longer than a few days.

Every woodland path eventually leads back to Murk. If one has the permission from a particular Forest's ruler, they may pass from it into that strange land. Some speak of great adventurers who have made numerous alliances so they may quickly traverse from one end of Outer World to another.

Great power gathers here, but it is brittle and fleeting: the oldest being in Outer World rests in a meadow. One great tree rises above all others, a spire filled with treasure from places that do not exist. In a shining lake somewhere, a duchess in white is trying to grow a moon. If one does manage to find the heart of Murk, they may also discover the last remaining fragment of the world that once was.

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