Like many worlds, Andira has its own “underworld” — which, at this point, is named the Otherworld. My vision of this place actually came about through a nightmare I had recently. What I’m providing here is, simply, as descriptive a passage as possible about what I saw (and felt) during the dream. It is unlikely that, in the story itself, the Otherworld will be portrayed exactly as it is here. But even so, I thought it would be interesting to share — particularly because the vision is so much darker than much of Andira’s panoramic vistas.
The greasy, slippery seas washed and frothed against The Shores of Despair. The beach (if it could be called that) was comprised of shale — soot-grey rocks with razor edges, slick with oil and decay, which sank with each footstep, filling with water, making the walk along the shore difficult. The shale also bore the impression of much larger footprints, evidence of the twisted and malevolent giants who were the caretakers of this loathsome realm.
The shoreline was littered with carcasses in various states of decay. The foul air was biting and frigid and the stench mingled with the oily fume of the water to make the air nearly un-breathable. Many of these wretched remains belonged to the immense sea snakes which writhed and wriggled in the noxious waters, occasionally venturing close enough to shore to feed by peeling off bits of rotting flesh.
Thrown and piled high upon the shale were formations that, upon first sight, appeared to be large glaciers or blocks of ice. But they were neither ice nor rock, and were more of a leathery and blubbery substance. They were, in fact, the long, slow accumulation of rotting death and decay.
Everywhere, the haunted spirits of the departed filled the mind with their screams of anguish, pain and anger. Their presence was overwhelming and could easily consume one’s soul, leaving yet another carcass to rot on the beach.
Further up the shoreline a black, dying Night-Whale lay gasping its final breaths. Its maw moved slowly and carrion had already begun plundering its still-living body. Nearby, between the immense mounds, bones shot upward from the shale like twisted trees.
The shale and decay, the haunted spirits and the noxious fumes, dominated the shores up to a high cliff from which a plateau jutted outward. The top of the plateau ran about a hundred feet back to sheer cliffs, the Backbone of the World, whose tops ended in obscurity among the clouds. Cracks in the Backbone led, through treacherous passes, to various realms in Andira. It was through these passages that the forsaken traveled and found their final damnation on the Shores of Despair.