|Realm||Kingdom of Serendel|
Triumph is the lands around a vast cylindrical cavern inhabited by massive plant. It appears most similar to root system of giant plant. These roots secrete a sap that dissolves soil in contact with it. This has created vast hollows along the larger roots. Numerous fresh water springs have been uncovered by the burrowing roots and drip, cascade, and flow along the roots before plunging into the depths.
The region is inhabited by vast numbers of armored worms, which burrow and feast on the roots. Woodpecker bats have evolved to peck into the trunks to find these worms. Other bats have evolved to eat these. There are also the lurking demon spiders and cave scorpions to contend with.
There are three notable features in Triumph:
The Mother Trunk is the central root of the plant. It lies at the center of a hollow cylinder roughly 4 kilometers across and 15 kilometers high. “She” averages half a kilometer in circumference. Countless thick roots stem off of the Mother Trunk and into the walls. Some are nearly as thick as the main trunk. It is along the Mother Trunk and the thicker offshoots that the Netherines grow.
If one was to climb to the very top of the Mother Trunk, they would discover that the very top is a web of fine roots spreading out in all direction, known as the Cradle of Demons. These roots burrow into a rock ceiling of purest white, laced with deepest red. In the darkness, it brilliantly reflects any light shone upon it, and the red seems to pulse as well as glow. In the silence, sounds like muffled screeching and crying can be heard. Rumor is this is the passage to the realm of demons, held closed by the mother trunk. The silence does not last long, for in the web of roots lie the demon spiders. These arachnids grow to be a foot across, with nearly a four foot leg span. Their front two legs have evolved pincers which can sever a forearm of a normal human. Worse, they can weave sheet-like webs that allow them to drift down the vast chamber and hunt for food; which they paralyze and drag back up to the Cradle. Its said that the cradle lies somewhere below the crack known as the "Maelmord" in Requiem.
At the very bottom of the central well lies the Dead Pool. The floor of the cylinder has collected the waters of the exposed springs above into a lake the entire width of the chamber. It is dark, and cold, and of unknown depth. Mother trunk descends into it. Despite the fresh water pouring into it, the water itself is toxic to all who drink it. It stains the stone-skin of the natives a deep red if they touch it. The stain lasts for weeks. If a normal person touches it, it will cause blistering and swelling of the skin, which could prove deadly if not treated.
The people simply call themselves ‘The Victorians’. Visitors to the realm simply call them the Stone-Skinned, or Stonen. They appear to be human, though of shorter stature and thicker of build. Their skin seems to be some kind of hard, craggy stone, though it is nearly as flexible as normal human skin. Despite living underground, their eyes are not overly sensitive to light. They have the ability to extrude stone claws from their hands and feet, to assit in climbing up and down their realm. However, to use them in combat is seen as dishonorable.
The Victorians may once have been surface dwellers, but hundreds of years ago traveled down to the underground, due to a disaster, dated about 200 years before the cataclysm. Still more are newer members to their society - refugees from Old Lyradis who hunkered down in Triumph when the Kells invaded.
Victorians dwell in homes built from weaving the strong roots of the Mother Trunk. Their hardened skin protects them from the corrosive sap. Most are engaged in growing and harvesting Netherines and wood. Some raise domesticated woodpecker-bats for food as well. A few hardy souls explore the new openings constantly being revealed by the burrowing roots. There they uncover the metals, hard stones, and gems that they trade. Affluence is determined by their home’s proximity to the Mother Trunk.
It is inevitable that roots from the Mother Trunk eventually pierce the surface. Natural light burns them away eventually creating holes big enough for the Stonen to leave the caves. They previously did little trade with the surface, as Triumph had been cut off from the surface, but now they have opened back up to trading.
Good resource of Netherine. Netherine is a fruit that grows from the Mother Trunk's roots. Instead of thriving on light, this enormous plant somehow thrives on darkness, and thus cannot grow where light from fire is found in abundance, such as at the light from the sun, or a burning fire. However, these fruits glow a soft blue light that doesn't seem to bother the roots. Eating Netherine for a prolonged amount of time hardens the skin as if made of a craggy stone - one that the citizens of Triumph have found invaluble to protecting them from the dangers of the deep.
With proper motivation and external trade, the people of Triumph could develop gemstone resources quickly.
What their society lacks is any suitable draft animal. If a creature that could withstand the corrosive sap and steep climbs of the cave systems be found, their society could prosper.
Most of the Stonies hold the belief that the Mother Trunk is a sentient being that provides for them. She protects the Cradle of Demons from ever opening. They honor her by using her resources as sparingly as possible.
There is a legend that the Stonen were once surface dwellers. In their hubris, they opened a portal to a realm of evil. In the battles that followed, their surface lands were destroyed. They sacrificed their city to a fire spirit to summon the Mother Trunk. She contained the evil, though their surface lands were covered in fiery destruction. This seems to line up with the time hundreds of years ago that the volcano covered Requiem in ash centuries ago.