The Smoldering Sea

Smoldering sea 2The Smoldering Sea forms the eastern border of the Heartland and Middlemarch, and the southern border of the Frontier. Stretching nearly 1,600 miles from north to south, it’s an important part of commerce in Valdoria. Its name comes from the thick coils of steam that waft from the water’s the thick coils of steam that waft from the water’s surface at all hours and in all seasons. In some places the sea roils like boiling water – and is, in fact, as hot as boiling water. Usually these places of bubbling water, which sailors call “scalds,” last only a few days; if sailors’ stories can be believed, the snores of Poteidan cause them.

Succubus 1The lore of Valdoria claims the Drindrish put some sorcery upon the sea to make it unnaturally warm so it would heat the coastal regions surrounding it. Most stories say the sorcery the Drindrish worked was to open gateways to the nether Realms, and every sailor has heard of a friend of a friend who leapt into a scald because a voluptuous succubus appeared just below the waves and tempted him into her arms.

Smoldering sea 1The Graecorians, who live in city-states along the eastern shore, have a different story entirely, one that involves strange rents in the sea floor that allow molten earth to flow up from the heart of the world through the labryinth of tunnels that lies beneath the surface of the land. These same scholars also claim eventually the water will all boil away and the cooling lava will fill up the bottom until there’s nothing left of the sea but a vast crater. Most people regard them as fools – learned fools, maybe, but fools nonetheless.

Leading from the Smoldering Sea to the Iceswept Ocean is the Clashing Channel, where floes of ice crash against the high stony cliffs and eventually melt as they float into warmer waters. Straddling this channel is the Colossus of the South.

Triremes 1Triremes from both Valdoria and Graecoria sail the Smoldering Sea and trade in the coastal ports. The steams make navigation on the Smoldering Sea difficult, and captains are loath to sail during the dark of the moon because that makes things even worse. Passing through the Clashing Channel is a feat only a madman would attempt – for all intents and purposes, the Smoldering Sea is landbound.

The Smoldering Sea

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