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Information on Furnachia

This is what the ancient Catfolk chronicles tell us, as written by Lady Sisie' auf Galdorn, the Royal Historian of the court of Felid King Leoh II the Golden:

***

"Blayhrr the 21st, the Vice Admiral Dar'ath told us they had lost the Flagship and two Mew-o-war at the Border Waters, somewhere east and north of here. More than one hundred mariners were devoured by the ocean; what exactly happened remains unclear to me."

...

"The Vice Admiral (and the Admiral-to-be now) returned from a lengthy appointment with King Leoh. I was not invited, something that I found rather odd, for normally I am present almost at every meeting the King had. However, I was informed later."

...

"The now new Fleet commander Dar'ath told me the eastern waters had gone mad - a great whirlpool had swallowed the Flagship; but the whirlpool had disappeared soon as something else had happened; the new Admiral claims the sea itself had started to boil, and powerful surges had crushed two Mew-o-war. The sailors who got thrown overboard soon met their demise in the boiling waters. The Admiral seemed reluctant to talk more about the incident. However, I later found out that a new Fleet was being equipped to sail the Border Waters and find out what had happened. As I write this now, I cannot but feel sorry for the families of the brave seafarers we lost to the sea."

***

"Arienle the 13th, morning, the Fleet has returned. This time I was present at the audience of the King. The Admiral Dar'ath told us the Fleet had witnessed something that I found amazing - I who have seen so many things in my long life. The Reverend Admiral told us that a fiery mountain had protruded through the sea; a tall and terrifying mountain hurling molten rock and acrid smoke high in the air - the Fleet had seen the column of black smoke weeks before they reached the site. The water was still boiling; the Admiral told us all the fish and other water creatures had died for many leagues before the Volcano. The Admiral added that it looked as if the Mountain was still rising higher, and new peaks emerged from the sea in front of their eyes. I find this hard to believe, but as I later watched the sea from the Castle ramparts - it was a very fine day - I could almost swear I could see a column of smoke in the distance. Countless miles away!"

***

"Lorien the 1st, midday. It is supposed to be spring now, but black clouds of smoke drifted along the eastern wind and now the Sun is but a dim sphere of light behind the black curtain. I can smell the smoke and sulphur even now as I write. It has been very cold. The animals we hunt are starving, and it looks like we are facing dire times. Luckily the fish are still plentiful in the sea. King Leoh sent another patch of vessels to sail towards the flaming island. As the ships returned late last month, the captains told there was not an island there any more - but a whole new continent instead! The flames still burned, but it looks like the biggest rage of the mountains is about to cease. It will still probably take years before the land has cooled down enough for someone to step upon it."

***

"Ingot the 3rd. The black cloud has finally dissipated, dispersed by the western winds. The summer has been dire, but now I can feel some hope returning to these lands. Still, I feel as if threatened by something, or someone. I cannot explain, but I fear that the new volcanic land is evil."

-

Not much is known about the continent that most people call Furnachia, even though the indigenous peoples of the region have many names for the land. The large island is feral and wild, perilous to travellers. Unknown creatures walk on its scarred and shattered surface, and savage tribes lust for blood. The land itself is restless; there are huge openings on the ground that spit molten rock high in the air, and black clouds of soot and sulphur emerge from the earth's belly. The lands around these spots are covered in ash and shards of obsidian glass for miles.

At other places, mighty volcanoes tower above the clouds, painting them blood red during the black nights. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions shake the ground regularly, and rivers of lava flow to the sea - or form red-hot pools of magma that radiate intense heat to their surroundings. At the sites where there are no volcanoes, hot geysers and sulphur lakes are common, along with salty flats where nothing can grow.

First written records concerning Furnachia, since the Catfolk chronicles, come from the gnomish tinkers who sailed their odd ships to the northern shores of the untamed land. The gnomes were very keen on the properties of lava; they figured it might be a great source of energy for their peculiar apparatuses if they could harness it by magic - and Furnachia was an ideal place to study the aspects of the molten rock. The busy gnomes made lots of notes regarding the land itself, too; notes that were of crucial importance to the later wayfarers that reached these shores. The destiny of the gnomes themselves remains somewhat blurry: after a couple of centuries the messages from their outposts became scarce and obscure, and finally ceased completely.

Gnomish sages were unable to tell much of the fate of their brethren; some said they were eaten by the trolls who had descended from the mountains. Other stories, the ones that are told to frighten the children or to impress new companions, tell about a horrible fate of the gnomes of Furnachia: they were corrupted and twisted by some sinister power that dwelled in the heart of the island, deep beneath the volcanoes. The rumours say that the gnomes became wicked abominations that captured their own, uncorrupted kin as victims for their new apparatuses that were only capable of causing pain and suffering. Among the gnomes, there is a strong belief that the very air of Furnachia corrupts whomever is foolish enough to stay there for more than a couple of fortnights - be they gnomes, humans, elves or anything.

Despite the unclear and ominous fate of the early gnomish settlers, the curiosity of some other people grew along the stories told about the continent. Many reasoned that an island as large as Furnachia, there just had to be unmeasurable riches waiting for brave champions, and mystical objects, substances, herbs and minerals that lured many wise men, such as mages, druids, alchemists and runemasters.

The ancient Catfolk chronicles were found from the depths of the Felid libraries, and the gnomish writings were rediscovered - and guided by them, human, catfolk and elven sailors headed towards Furnachia. They soon noticed that the many odd races described by the gnomes still prevailed there - races that liked shadows of the mountains better than the sunlight. For how long they had lived there, nobody knows. The volcanoes were still plentiful and active, but most of the land was covered by deep forests and treacherous swamps - and by impassable jungles as it turned out later.

The first major outpost at Furnachia was called Rilynt'tar - a fortress city on the northern coast of the island, encircled and protected by the surrounding mountains. The city is mostly of elven origin, but one can see human and catfolkish influence in it - as well as works of some of the more exotic races of the world. The hostile races of Furnachia, and equally dangerous beasts that roam the lands, kept the settlements scarce and well-fortified. Even today, the vast majority of the land is uninhabited and unexplored. The origin of the indigenous races remains unknown, and nobody can tell where all the odd animals and plants came from, either. People still go missing at the continent, and the whispered tales of ancient evil dwelling under the mountains prevail. This Something still corrupts people, and some races seem to be more susceptible to it than others. Elves rarely travel here, for they have lost so many of their kin to this portentous land. One of the more common rumours is that the elves turned into dark elves, wicked beings that live underground and shun sunlight - and that their malice is immeasurable.