I haven’t been sleeping well the last few nights. It couldn’t have been the liters of tea I drank. But, while lying awake in my bed, considering this and that, it occurred to me to focus my imagination toward this premise: What if I had to design a location in a video game?
Immediate Appearance: Up close, one sees the tall, slender, craggy spires fading upward into the heavy mist. From a distance, one can see their forms piercing through the thickset clouds which hang low over the diseased land. They encircle the area. Their curved forms bend towards its center, curling inward like the natural curl of fingers. Passing these pillars, one finds the ground mostly sloping downward toward the center. No plants grow. At the very center of all this, there is a lake and a shanty town of moldering houses made of repurposed material.
People: The denizens who live here are three. The People of the Mist are a cult which worship an ancient, fallen god. They can see whatever is in the mist, giving them a limited omniscience, and they can use the mist to affect the minds of others. Furthermore, an individual cultist loses his identity and personality. Sometimes a cultist will become one with the mist, turning into a form of wraith. Living with the cultists are the Lost Ones. Their skin is colorless; their heads are bald. They mostly live on fish from the lake. Finally, there are the Vultures, humanoid bird people which nest in the spires and feed on the dead. They are intelligent, capable of speech, and are immune to the mental oppression of the cultists. Sometimes, one of the Lost will wander from the town. The Lost cannot survive the daylight without the mist and subsequently cannot easily leave the land. Instead, they will sometimes join the Vultures, living with them in their caves.
Backstory: Long ago, a meteor fell to earth, creating a giant crater. The meteor was the heart of an evil god, torn from the god’s chest and hurled from heaven. Buried deep in the earth, the heart still beats. The People of the Mist serve this god. The Vultures are the only natives to the area. They wait for the heart to be exposed that they may consume it, finally killing the evil god. The Lost were once ordinary humans. The cult habitually procures slaves, either directly or through third parties. The slaves are taken in barges to the center of the lake and thrown in. Quickly consumed by rotting, bloodthirsty veins waiting under the surface of the water—outgrowths of the heart buried deep below—some of the slaves survive and are able to climb back onto the barges. The slaves are drained of memory and willpower. Sometimes they join the cultists, if not, they are counted among the ranks of the Lost Ones.
Underground: There is also a series of intricate, subterranean caves. Wandering these, an immortal with a lantern searches in the darkness that he may stab the heart of the fallen god.
Lady of Heaven: A prominent Lost One, reportedly the first to leave the town and join the Vultures. She is a teacher and works to recover the forgotten histories of the land.
The Wanderer: An old man by appearance, he wanders the caves below the lake, searching to stab the heart. He caries with him a lantern to light the darkness.
Anyway, there’s the fruit of a restless mind which cannot sleep.