Celestial Directions – The WyldMay 25, 2010
Stepping outside Creation is a dangerous venture, but it comes with potentially world-changing rewards. Creation itself is ringed on all sides by the Wyld, a soup of chaotic energies from whence the Primordials made Creation in the first place. It is a place of variation and mutation, of potential made actual in random form, but from that chaos, great wonder can be wrung.
The Wyld can be considered series of concentric rings around Creation. Once, there was only Pure Chaos, the furthest of the rings, and where it ended, Creation began. Since the first age, however, Creation’s protections have failed or been sabotaged, letting the Wyld’s strength ebb and flow like tides against the world. Now, there are weaker parts of the Wyld in Creation itself, usually referred to as Bordermarches, where the mundane begins to show hints of insanity. Further out are the Middlemarches, where theme and flavor mean more than physics. Further yet is the Deep Wyld, where sanity itself holds only the barest grip. Finally, Pure Chaos yet exists, stretching infinitely outward (as much as distance and direction have any meaning in that meaningless place).
The Wyld is home to the Fair Folk, creatures of story and dream formed either accidentally by the Wyld itself or shaped out of its primordial composite by the more powerful Unshaped Fair Folk, manifestations of will that change as freely as the Wyld itself.
In each of the four directions, the Wyld corresponds (loosely) to the element of that direction. The northern Wyld is a cold place, with floating icebergs, white-furred denizens, and fog that creeps low to the ground, literally freezing those it touches. To say that it is an inhospitable place is to overstate the obvious. It has themes of cold and height, corresponding to the Elemental Pole of Air, which lies deep in the Wyld by now.
In the East, the Wyld is verdant, almost hideously fecund. Forests of swords, of hands, of plants made of rich minerals or jewels hide an abundance of life, though little enough of it can be recognized by Creation’s denizens. Giant mushroom forests, beastmen, and Wyld mutants are plentiful here, and seem to thrive in spite of the dangers.
In the South, the Wyld is fiery and hot, with sands of blood, crystals of fire, and oases made literally of dreams. You can find water that does not quench, sand that tastes of sugar, and, of course, multitudinous tribes of those too disenfranchised to live closer to civilization. Perhaps the greatest boon of the Southern Wyld is firedust, the explosive powder used in flame weapons, which drifts in massive storms out of the chaos.
The Western Wyld is watery, oceanic, with grand behemoths of all types swimming beneath its waves. In the far West, the water can become thick as jelly, or even as stone, letting people walk on the choppy waves. It can also be thin as air, though still as unbreathable as water, as many an unfortunate ship has discovered. With coral reefs made of faces, mermaids and fish-men, and jeweled grottoes stretching into Pure Chaos, the Western Wyld is perhaps more beautiful, but no less deadly.
In the end, while there are those who quest in the Wyld for power, fame, riches, glory, or even simply because they have nowhere else to go, the mutating chaos of the Wyld is venomous and lovely all at once. Those who go there come back changed, if they come back at all.