Far in the western shores of Gaia lies Petria, an immense desert that stretches as far as the eye can see. The wise know not to enter Petria without barrels of water. The shifting sand is mostly empty of landmarks, making navigation here very difficult indeed. Nothing but undulating dunes and clear blue skies, to be interrupted by an enormous sandstorm erupting seemingly out of nowhere. The winds of Petria are known to be fickle and dangerous.
Yet despite its desolate environment, Petria holds a surprising amount of life. It would take only a little rainfall for the desert flowers to bloom, carpeting the ground with shades of red and green. If you’re lucky, you might encounter one of the many oases that dot the landscape. The desert is also home to Gaia that live above the sands, below ground, and fly on the wind. Many an unwary traveler has been lost to dangerous serpentine Gaia that emerge from the sands at night.
Petria is often called the Dreaming Desert due to the many supernatural events that regularly occur there. A city may appear in the haze, or an ancient army marching through the dunes, or maybe a colossal monster, only to disappear a moment later. Sometimes the sand itself seems to behave like it’s alive, taking on the shape of people and speaking incomprehensibly. Scholars believe that the Veil that separates realities is weakest in Petria, such that one can perceive other worlds there.
Finally, all who live or travel through Petria must beware of the enormous perpetual sandstorm that resides there. Known as the Great Eye, the storm wanders through the length of the desert. Its winds are powerful enough to pick up an entire caravan of people and keep it in the air for days, sometimes even weeks.
If caught by this storm, your only hope is to hunker down in some shelter, say a cave, or else be buried in the sand within moments. Those who have lived through the Eye report that they have seen an enormous winged Gaia inside it, which they’ve called the Ziz. Flying at the very center of the storm, it preys on those who get caught by its winds.
In the center of the continent lies a mountainous area of high volcanic activity. Moltania is harsh, rocky, mostly barren land filled with steam and molten lava rivers. The highest peak, Mt. Conquest, stands more than 2,000 meters tall and is covered by smoke, ice, and clouds. The Gaia that survive here must be tough indeed; the people who choose to make their home here, even tougher.
Moltania is believed to be one colossal active volcano with many openings scattered across its surface. For thousands of years, volcanic eruptions and upheavals have created the mountain ranges known by Gaians today. Currently, the seismic activity has thankfully been muted. Still, the amount of lava that pours through the valleys and crevices of Moltania is evidence that that volcano is nowhere near dormant.
The Gaia who dwell in Moltania are almost entirely fire-based. One can expect to encounter Gaia that resemble salamanders, phoenixes, dragons, and similar creatures.
Moltania is known for its abundance of iron, gems, and precious metals, apart from the perpetually hot climate. This discovery led to a few exiles setting up mining colonies in the mountains, which eventually flourished into towns and then strongholds. Moltanians are known to be the best smiths on the continent. With its near-endless source of iron and stone for building weapons and walls, Moltanians are more than capable of defending their region.
However, they are dependent on other regions for food and other resources they can’t get from Moltania’s barren land. So despite their proud and isolationist nature, these dwellers must trade with other regions. To facilitate this, Moltanians prefer to travel in hot air balloons, perfect for crossing the region’s treacherous valleys and crevices.
North of the continent lies a peaceful island paradise teeming with life. Shoreland is bound on all sides by miles of golden beaches and natural harbors. Rain-fed rivers and waterfalls keep the forested areas lush and green, and the Gaia who live in the wilderness thrive in large numbers. The weather tends to be tame, with only a few seasonal hurricanes coming in from the sea. This peaceful climate had created a region with plenty of lush, arable land.
The colonists of Shoreland can be described as primarily a happy folk. With the land providing most of their needs, they are content for things to remain as they are. Shorelanders, also known as Arcadians, welcome strangers and generally try to live in harmony with the rest of the colonies, though they are also fierce warriors ready to defend their homes against any despoilers. Of all the regions, they have the most success in living in harmony with Gaia.
The Gaia of Shoreland are water-based types, resembling fishes, turtles, jellyfish, octopus, and amphibians. They can be found roaming the forests and surrounding waters of the island.
Shoreland is not without troubles. Lately, tension grips Arcadians as several island folk have gone missing. Reports abound that particularly vicious and intelligent Gaia has been roaming the land and sea, preying on unsuspecting people and creatures alike. None have been able to get a good look at the beast enough to describe it, but it is noted to have the ability to move and hunt equally well on land and in water.
To the south of the continent lies a region that is perpetually hit by lightning storms. Due to the erratic weather systems in this area and partly due to underground geodes that attract electricity, lightning strikes the land of Zapporos daily. Over the centuries, flora and fauna eventually evolved to resist electric shocks, even living off of energy to grow and spread across the region.
Zapporos is a rolling plain with streams that flood whenever a storm hits the region. The land turns to swamps the further south one goes, becoming harder to traverse but filled with rare and untamed Gaia.
For a long time, the exiles avoided Zapporos due to the hazards brought by the storms and the lightning-based Gaia that inhabit it. But it soon became clear that the energy in the air and below the ground could be harnessed with the right technology. After years of experimentation, they built a stronghold at the center of the Zapporas, armed with lightning rods to channel the electricity.
With this constant power supply from storms and the electricity running through the ground, the Zapporos colony made enormous leaps in science and technology. Lampposts line the streets, and rudimentary forms of communication and travel exist, including radio and electric motorboats. At night, floodlights scan the plains for intruders.
Zapporas is home to various lightning-based Gaia, which are highly dangerous to approach without the proper equipment and knowledge.
Towards the northeastern regions of Gaia, one will find the frosted lands of Auralis, a vast expanse of white, pristine snow. As one travels further, the cold grows harsher, the winds howl louder, and the chilled forests and grasslands give way to a sea of white as the great tundra beyond offers nothing more than a silent greeting, with immense mountains of ice towering in the distance. Sleeping under an eternal winter, Auralis is hailed as a cruel but beautiful realm.
Blizzards frequently appear, lashing out fiercely against anything that dares stand against it. Hailstorms can fall without warning, sometimes causing enough damage that could alter the landscape. On rare nights, a leviathan-esque shadow can be seen rising from the mountains and disappearing into the churning sky, causing the howling winds and raging snowstorms to disappear and leaving the land illuminated by an enchanting effervescence that dances in the clear, empty sky.
In such an intense environment, only the fittest can survive. Gaia that live in this region have evolved to withstand extreme cold, with creatures resembling wolves, elk, and other mammals with thick and resilient fur and impressive fortitude living within the frosted forests skirting around Auralis’ borders. In the treacherous reaches of the tundra beyond reside Gaia that resemble mammoths, bears, and a multitude of small animals.
When the exiles first arrived, Auralis was treated as one of many no man’s land. Still, as the more habitable regions of Gaia became more and more populated to the point where conflicts arose over space and resources, some humans decided to band together and brave the biting cold in search of a place to call their own. Most of these humans established settlements in the forested areas of Auralis and have learned to hunt and tame the Gaia native to those areas. Beyond the forests, however, some humans have turned to a nomadic lifestyle, never staying in one place for too long.
The Auralians have established a region-wide alliance to ensure that every settlement can survive the harsh and year-long winter. Supply routes and trading outposts were created, navigated by trainers who rode large sleds pulled by tamed Gaia, earning them the apt name “Sledders.”
Still, the terrain and the harsh climate made communication and trade erratic and slow. Then, some mountain explorers discovered a breed of avian Gaia capable of growing as large as horses. After much trial and error in taming these creatures, travel by air was made possible. However, the residents soon discovered that another race of wyvern-like Gaia preyed on these avians while in the skies. Since then, avian trainers would travel in large groups, armed with slings and bows and arrows to repel such attacks. A bitter conflict rages between the humans and the ice wyverns.
Despite the danger, the Auralians believed that the mountains could hold valuable ore. Also, they saw the value of roads going through the middle of the region instead of around the mountains. Several expeditions dug a complex tunnel system filled with mines and underground routes. Several bioluminescent insect-like Gaia were discovered in these underground caverns and have since become essential to miners.
It wasn’t until the discovery of an underground heated river that expeditioners decided to create a capital that would serve as the central hub for Auralis, leading to the creation of Auli, the underground capital of the region and a haven from the unforgiving cold of winter. With this central route, development accelerated, and steam and coal-powered technology developed.
Since then, Auralis has become relatively self-sufficient despite the climate and rarely participates in inter-regional conflicts unless to protect their borders and forests. Even then, Auralians have yet to explore the region entirely. Much is still unknown on what resides at the mountaintops. No expedition that has ever dared to go there has ever returned.
Located at the east of Gaia Everworld lies the great rainforest of Oakendor. Oakendor is unique from any other forest in Gaia in that the flora that grows here is immense. Its trees can easily dwarf the tallest towers from the previous world, reaching miles in height with branches and leaves wide enough to block the sun.
As one travels further into the great forest, the soil gives way to a massive cluster of roots and brambles that house large serpent-like Gaia, capable of swallowing humans whole. Along with giant insects, carnivorous plants, and all manner of hostile creatures, the “ground” is nearly uninhabitable for humans. Those who first ventured into Oakendor quickly realized that they would have to live among the treetops if they were to settle in this region.
In the upper regions of the grand forest, sunlight gently breaks through the massive shifting leaves, revealing a vibrant emerald world populated mainly by docile Gaia that live off nuts and fruits. Many of these Gaia are either avian in nature or are mammals that glide from tree to tree. Extremely skittish, these Gaia mostly keep to themselves.
On most days, one can hear the busy sounds of life teeming in every direction, but when the forest suddenly falls silent, it could only mean that the predators are nearby. Of note, there are Gaia resembling primates who grow sharp bony protrusions and are notorious for their agility. Traveling in groups, they often chase prey and lead them into an ambush. The only thing they fear is the Feliar, Gaia, which looks like a nightmarish cross between a tiger and a carnivorous flower.
The first human settlers have created homes in abandoned nests, reinforcing them with leaves and twigs. Their actions attracted the attention of Gaia that resembled squirrels, who were curious about their new neighbors. To their pleasant surprise, the humans could tame these creatures and establish a symbiotic relationship with them, often riding them like mounts in exchange for food and protecting them from their natural predators.
Apart from the predators, life in Oakendor can be considered primarily peaceful. Rainfall is common enough to provide drinking water for its residents, and humans have built massive rain catchers to store this precious resource. Settlers have developed technology that synergizes with the weather cycle of rain and wind, considering the environment. Hidden amongst the higher branches are waterways carved out from sturdy branches that directly feed rainwater through a series of watermills before it is collected by rain catcher silos, partnered with strategically placed windmills.
Inspired by the gliding Gaia, people of Oakendor have invented collapsible gliders that allow them to mimic their Gaia partners, which became a popular means of travel in the region.
Towards the southeastern region of Gaia, past the mountains that crown the heart of the land, the forests give way to a labyrinth of canyons whose bottom has been swallowed in darkness. During the day, winds howl through the gaping maw of the earth, kicking up vicious blasts of sand through the twisting paths of the canyon, proving fatal to the unprepared. However, at night, one might see the faint glimmer of light reflecting from precious ores hidden deep within the dark. This place is home to Gaia which specialize in either climbing or burrowing into the earth.
At the surface, the lush forestlands near the center of Gaia provide enough for residents to live comfortably. But further south or east, the land becomes arid, and water sources turn scarce. Due to this, many human settlers fight tooth and nail to occupy the forests. As the conflict continued, other human colonists were forced to venture out into the less welcoming parts of Caven in search of a home.
Luckily, they discovered some places where the canyons did not run deep into the earth, and much more importantly, had rivers or streams running along the shallow bottom. These areas were home to several insect-like and reptilian Gaia that lived near these water sources by burrowing and creating underground nests. Following their examples, the humans adapted to this region by digging out their homes along the canyon walls, creating bridgeways and ziplines as a means of travel.
“Life in the dirt,” as the canyon dwellers call it, is rough and uphill. Fierce sandstorms, while infrequent, were potentially devastating as it eroded the walls further and could quickly destroy any structures that weren’t heavily reinforced. Further still, the Serrans, pterodactyl-like Gaia, ride these sandstorms searching for food, picking off insects and other creatures caught unawares by the winds. In contrast, “Life in the green” is comparatively safer and comfortable.
Since then, the residents of Caven have been categorized into two groups: “The Woods,” the humans who lived in the sparse forests above, and “The Dirts,” the humans who lived in the canyon walls. Bad blood exists between these groups, with the Woods regarding themselves as the elites, controlling most conventional food supplies in the region. In contrast, the Dirts had to eke out a robust existence, constantly digging into the earth to expand and reinforce their homes.
Despite this feud, the two groups engage in trade. The Woods offer wood, fruits, game, and other materials that can be gathered from the forestlands. The Dirts would trade with precious gems, ores, and even shells collected from insect Gaia, frequently with the Woods taking advantage of the situation and extorting from the Dirts.
Caven holds a delicate balance between these two groups, but tensions run high and could escalate into war.
Beyond the grand canyons of Caven lies the dreaded region of Abyssen. A thick, sinister mist covers the land, with spires of rock and earth towering unto the sky, which seem to fade in and out of existence as the fog swallows them whole. The light from the sun barely reaches into this land, as if it were afraid that if it came too close, it would never be able to escape. The air is stale and chill, and the echoing sounds of howling winds and water crashing against the shores adds much to its unsettling ambiance.
Strange shadows can sometimes be seen dancing in the mists of Abyssen. One can almost hear something calling, beckoning the lost to come to it; afterwards, they are never to be seen or heard from ever again. Abyssen is believed to be another place where the Veil of reality is thin, where dark, unnatural things lurk and hunt. A dangerous place with paths that change with each moment the mists wash over them.
The foreboding atmosphere was more than enough to deter anyone sane from entering. One of the worst possible punishments from the people of Caven was to be banished and exiled to this unholy place. Exiles who were kicking and screaming as they were sent into the mists would suddenly fall silent, as if something had spirited them away.
On some nights, people living near the border could swear they heard the voices of the long-dead, calling out to them from within the rolling, breathing fog. Those who live at the boundary between Caven and Abyssen soon grow unsettled and uneasy, expressing a desire to move away. Others seem to act as if they were entranced, reacting aggressively to any suggestion to leave the border, their eyes disturbingly focused, staring past everything as if they were looking at something that wasn’t there. These people were called “The Named,” mainly because before the “trance,” they would report hearing their names being called. Eventually, the Named would disappear, their footprints leading into the mists.
Worse still, there have been instances where pockets of Abyssen Mist suddenly appear in random places throughout Gaia and have been blamed as the main culprit behind mysterious disappearances.
For the unfortunate or the mad soul that finds themselves in the whispering lands of Abyssen, they will often find themselves walking along precarious mountainside paths and ridges, unable to see what lies below. The sounds of churning waters suggest that there is no land save for that which one stands on. The mist moves in a rhythm of sorts as if something was breathing, and in those momentary lulls, when the fog grows at its thinnest, one might see the vague outlines of the paths before them—countless spires connected by fragile ridges.
As one travels further, one might come across the remains of seemingly man-made campsites, and if one were fortunate enough, there might just be a message left behind for the traveler. An unknown explorer made a journal of their findings during their wanderings in this realm, offering a very rough but essential guide to those who follow in their footsteps.
“When one hears their name being called, never look for the source. When one hears a lullaby, never go to sleep. When one hears a scream, never make a sound nor move until one is sure that all is still. When one sees lights half-hidden in the mists, offer them something you cherish most, and they will lead you “home.” Otherwise, stay low to the ground, close your eyes, slowly count to 10, then check if the lights are still there. If they are, close your eyes and do it again.
“There used to be 5 of us, but now there is only me. I can hear my mother calling me. We are together now, once more. She made my favorite pie, just like I remember from my childhood. After so long, I am finally home.”
If one manages to follow these instructions, after what seems like a long and dangerous journey, the mists will eventually clear away, revealing a grand and dark mountain that resembles a castle, with the lights belonging to wisp-like Gaia that light the paths towards it. Its residents call it “The Nameless Castle” or “Home.” Here, The Named have gathered, their senses seemingly restored, living lives of relative comfort despite the eerie surroundings.
Spirits and other ethereal Gaia gather in Abyssen, and it is said that one might be able to reunite with lost comrades or loved ones. Most necessities, such as food and other daily comforts, simply appear when needed, a gift from the friendly yet mysterious Gaia that reside here.
It is unknown whether or not one can ever leave Abyssen, but according to its residents, those who return to the mists with the intent to leave have never returned “home.”