“Life and death bow only to the earth.”
- - Durik
Urnithen (literally "earth-skull") is a valley in the North-Eastern region of the Eastern Plains, named after the being which dominates it. The valley is guarded by the Urnin, who keep its location and nature a secret from the rest of the world. The only settlement in Urnithen is Falgen Castle, the home of the Urnin Fraternity, and a center of knowledge regarding the Simulacra.
During the conflicts with the Void Denizens, the land that would become Urnithen was the site of a great battle. Powerful magic was used, tearing the fabric of reality and opening portals to the Simulacrum Realms. In the aftermath of this battle, these tears were hurriedly healed, preventing the region from becoming a beachhead for the Simulacra.
But one of the smaller tears was overlooked, allowing Ocuglobi from Pavor to enter the valley. At first, these new beings could not fit into the local ecosystem, and several species were driven to extinction. However, due to the lingering magic that had created these tears, the wildlife began to merge with the outsiders. The valley's isolated location prevented this effect from spreading far, while allowing it to develop without hindrance. As time passed, the ground itself slowly transformed into a massive organism, able to evolve independently as the tear began to close.
With the dawn of the Old Age, several Dweorgs migrated to the valley from the Eastern Plains, surviving the harsh and alien environment through resilience and determination. The magical nature of the valley mutated these settlers into Urnin, allowing them to find harmony with the local wildlife. Taking control of the region, the Urnin constructed Falgen Castle, ensuring that outsiders never learnt of the valley's existence. In recent centuries, several Urnin have left the valley, gathering knowledge regarding the nature of the Simulacrum realms.
The landscape of Urnithen is dominated by the being of the same name - a creature of unknown depth that acts as the ground. A network of incisions covers the Urnithen's surface, ensuring that any potential prey will never know the difference between 'solid' ground and mouths. No plants grow in the valley, though some ignorant travelers have mistaken the Urnithen's eye-stalks for plants. These eye-stalks also act as tentacles, occasionally dragging other creatures into a mouth.
The valley is especially warm due to the presence of the Urnithen. The temperatures can rise up to 50 °C, though when the Urnithen sleeps, it returns to the normal range of -20 °C to -10 °C. As the Urnithen creates large amounts of moisture, the terrain is rapidly covered in a layer of ice during the night. Every now and then, the landscape will shift, making maps of the valley mostly useless.
Murkwater is a lake near the center of the valley, and is the only stationary location. Within this lake is an island, upon with the Urnin decided to build their castle. Murkwater is mostly populated by Urgar, and is poisonous to most other creatures.
Surrounded the depths of Murkwater, Falgen Castle is the home of the Urnin. Though it is built partially a built like a manor house, it is still strong and easy to defend, influenced by ancient Dweorg wisdom in defensive techniques. The Castle contains vast libraries detailing knowledge gathered on the Simulacra, along with a growing number of relics. Several beholders live here, having allied with their Dwarven kin.
Urgar (literally "skull-lurkers") are aquatic beings that dwell within Murkwater. Though their entire bodies are covered in eyes, they lack eye-stalks of any kind. Their huge mouths are used to consume any creature foolish enough to travel too close to the lake's edge, as they are capable of jumping up to three meters above the water to catch prey. Though they are not much larger than any 'normal' fish, they are capable of consuming most creatures at unnatural speeds, possibly due to their magical nature.
Urthur (literally "skull-hunters") are strange dog-like creatures, native to Urnithen's plains. An Urthur's head is dominated by a great number of eye-stalks, while its body is a mass of mouths. These creatures hunt in packs, occasionally managing to bring down a beholder. Urthur prefer to use stealth and cunning rather than brute force, and are believed to have established some form of bond with the Urnithen, allowing each to assist the other in hunting.
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