Rift: Travels Through Telara Part 16 - The Plane of Death
An original series of lore based fiction that follows the wanderings of Padric, a Guardian scribe, as he and his dimwitted companion attempt to chronicle the people and the places that make Telara unique. This week they turn their gaze upon the frightening Plane of Death.
Travels Through Telara
Greetings, dear reader. Today we continue our series on the different planes of existence that encircle Telara. I did plan on brining you another story from old Barik, the elder who is visiting PotterÂs Field on his way south, but he is currently sleeping off a rather large amount of wine. A really large amount of wine. I mean, IÂve never seen anyone drink so much. Not even a barbarian three times BarikÂs size. I have no idea where he stored it.
Anyway, I digress. While Barik sleeps of his overindulgence IÂll talk a bit about the home of Regulos the Destroyer himself, the Plane of Death.
Death is a natural part of life. We all know this. It is part of the grand cycle of existence. We are born, we live, we die. The best we can do is try to live our lives with joy so that when we do cross over we donÂt look back on our years with regret. (IÂve actually spoken to many people on their death bed, back when I was an apothecaryÂs assistant, and the do you know what the top three regrets among those who are about to die are? They wished they hadnÂt worked so much, they wished they had been truer to themselves, and they wished theyÂd had more fun.)
The Plane of Death is far from natural, however. An endless, flat expanse of grey dust and bleached bone. It is a place of torture and pain. Shadowy tendrils the size of mountains slither across the horizon, blotting out what stars can be seen through the fecund haze that hovers everywhere. Spikes of volcanic glass burst randomly from the ground, impaling any who are close by. Bilious green lightning flickers through the air, arcing into the ground, causing explosions of rock and flame. Yellow-stained clouds move sluggishly, forming roiling patterns that hint at nightmares and childhood traumas. Miles-wide pools of black oil boil beneath a thin covering of dust, black-limbed creatures waiting beneath the surface, ready to claim any who step within reach.
Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift SliversNature is all about balance. Light and dark. Death and birth. But the Plane of Death desires only annihilation. It devours, eats, melts the flesh from living bones to sustain its poisonous soil. Those who call the plane home wander aimlessly, drawn to the first inkling of a rift through to Telara, ready to pull back who they can.
There are places in Telara where death holds more power than usual. Graveyards. Plague pits. Ancient swamps that have sucked down many a passing traveler, battlefields where thousands of warriors fought to the death. These kinds of places must be watched, because these are the spots where Death Rifts might appear, like patches of disease eating into our reality.
When a rift opens up, the first clue will be the air turning fetid. The stench of decay will grasp hold of the back of your throat, clawing its way into your very being. Plants will wither and crumble before your very eyes. (This is usually your cue to run away.) Then the dead will rise from the earth, yellowing skeletons brandishing rusted, pitted blades. Anything that lives in the Plane of Death can enter Telara through a rift, from mummies and vampires, to fell energies that send corpses shambling forth as zombies. They will sense the life in you, the vitality, and they will come after you for it.
In fact, I can do no better than jot down the words of a witness to the appearance of a Death Rift. The following extract is taken from the journal of Maura Reinhard, found dur-ing my wanderings across one of TelaraÂs many battlefields.
ÂWe lived at the heart of where the Shade appeared, my husband, my two sons and I. We tried to flee, but the land was dead in every direction. The undead beasts of the rifts did not slaughter us, but watched with hollow eyes, as if they knew. As if they knew.
My sons changed, skin tight over bones, and so pale I could see down to their dear hearts. Their father recoiled from them, but I could not. By night, they would tell me how alien everything seemed, how strange it was that fatherÂs chest rose and fell as he slept, while ours did not. We decided to open him up and see why. My boys and I did not leave the shaded lands, but no matter how many people we open up, we can never remember how to breathe."
I think none of us wish to experience such a thing. Next week, I will hopefully bring you something more cheerful.