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Sub zones: Mycoria forest, Malyra fen, Sunken forest
Inhabitants: tagmatoks, heludas, saurotaurans, swamp dryads, giant mud slugs, stormseeker, gorudan behemoths, nagas, dridders, gerridis, harpies,earth mouths, giant marsh vipers, liethins, water leapers, slug girls, korazons, bogmog toads
The Ixtapal marshes is a vast murky swampland situated in the south-eastern part of the continent. It sprawls out from the Navroze mountains in the north to the southern part of the continent, even reaching the Topazial sea through the Malyra fen. The swamp is regularly fed by the waters coming from the Pluvin season of the Navroze mountains and several rivers, keeping it abundantly wet and muddy.
It's a perilous place of rampant predation, where navigation is difficult and hazardous. The name Ixtapal means the "second sky" in an ancient language and most likely comes from the perpetual, impenetrable low blanket of fog that looms over the land, forming a natural ceiling of sort. While the visibility is mostly normal up to a dozen feet from the ground, the slowly moving foggy mass above maintains an eerie, menacing atmosphere, muffles sounds and dims light. It also provides excellent cover for the various predators lurking above it, many of them relying on sounds in order to hunt. Thus, the last vision of many a reckless adventurer is the giant hand of a dryad or the wide open mouth of a harpy bursting through the fog. There are dangers from below as well, such as the enormous slugs which lurk in wait beneath the mud, emerging from the sludge to engulf their prey. All in all, it's strongly advised to possess some sort of detecting device, radar, or special sense when you walk through this region.
There are a couple of hidden settlements in the eastern part of the swamp where small communities of nekos live, essentially from fishing. They are pretty savage and very hard to spot though, and don't really welcome strangers.
As soon as one enters this eerie wetland, their nostrils are assaulted by a strong mixed smell of decomposing vegetation, putrid sludge and an overwhelming and ever present aroma of mushrooms. Indeed, the Mycoria forest is home to an incredible variety of fungi. Contrary to the rest of the marshes, the region is not entirely covered by the blanket of fog, but the moist and hot air is tinted orange from the innumerable spores held in suspension. The trunks of the rare -but immense- trees that grow here are blanketed by various mushrooms, lichens and fungi, giving these behemoths an almost unrecognizable, very organic and rather disturbing look. Their roots dip into a stagnant water covered by a thick layer of brown and green mossy slime. Mushrooms of all shapes and form grow everywhere in Mycoria and some of them reach gigantic proportions. The water is usually shallow but it's not uncommon for the damp, moldy ground to suddenly give way to a bottomless pit. The ground itself seems to be organic and alive somehow, sometimes quaking or quivering, and one gets the unsettling impression of being on to of some sort of gigantic creature when stepping on it.
For some reason, this area is a lot poorer in magic than the rest of Felarya and any magical creature, such as a fairy, will immediately feel uncomfortable here. Strange creatures inhabit the land, often half-plant, half-animal, and a large tribe of fungoïds dwells here as well.
When you reach the sunken forest, you suddenly look into what looks like a bottomless pit of vertigo-inducing proportions. Muddy rivers from the surrounding swamp come crashing along the tilting walls, plunging into the depths of the pit. The chasm is filled with a thick vegetation snaking its way from the unseen bottom toward the surface, around the twisted trunks of gigantic plants, towering far above the pit and disappearing into the mist blanket that covers the swamp. A very large variety of molds and fungi grow out of the moss-covered trunks of these vegetal behemoths.
The geography of the place can only be described as vertical, and the forest is sometimes referred to as the "vertical forest". The pit seems impossibly deep, leading many cartographers to believe it's actually situated outside of Felarya, in a vertical plane. The air is extremely damp and... strange. The further down you go, the darker and more alien the place becomes, with strangely colored algae glowing faintly, and bizarre creatures found nowhere else in Felarya roaming along the branches. The vegetation seems to become distinctly more carnivorous as well, having so little light to subsist on. Deep within this strange new world an old hidden temple, probably built by a race that is not from Felarya... What lies in there is unknown, as the few explorers who have reached it never returned.
The Malyra Fen refers to an area located south of the Ixtapal marshes, west of the Sunken Forest and east of the Dridder forest, where the rivers of the marsh empty into the sea. This area is believed to have once been a very massive and high plateau, sprawling from the Dridder forest to the Pyrale mountains. Since then, rivers carved the area up into small, separate islands, then the rivers turned into swamp zones. The result was an archipelago of large chunks of the original plateau, rising above the surrounding Fen. The area between the raised land is now a stagnant marshland of small ponds, treacherous bogs and lazily flowing rivers. The whole area is perpetually shaded due to the towering plateaus around it, even though the spaces between them can sometimes be fairly large. What is most noticeable is the large amount of fossils and bones, many of which are often protruding right out of the ground or earthen walls. For a paleontologist, this would be a great place to go bone hunting. This can be dangerous though, as the canals are full of wandering slimoids and blobs hiding in the murky water.
The tops of the plateaus are a whole other story and even more fantastic. They are covered up to their edges in lush jungles filled with massive, thick and ancient looking twisted swamp trees and foliage. Each of them is like an island, separate from the ground and each other. Often, this means that certain species can be found on some swamp islands, but not on others. However, the most notable part of these islands is that many of them are home to animals and plants not found elsewhere in Felarya, plants and animals that were believed to have gone extinct far in the past! While the rest of Felarya advanced, and their cousins were turned to fossils, to be unearthed on the cliffs below, these specimens somehow survived in their isolation. The flora and fauna here is as it has been for thousands of years, as if time itself had frozen... and considering the fickle and unstable nature of Felaya, it's not entirely impossible it has! If one wants to see a living, breathing Beast of the Past, the Malyra fen may be the only place to do so.
There are scattered settlements of humanoids that live here, who often have never visited the world below. There are stories of savage cave nekos, tree dwelling warrior women and primitive shamanistic elves. Some of these tribes have built bridges between islands that are particularly close to each other. There are rumors that some of them live in caves along the sides of the islands and have built paths and passages to get from the swamplands below to their ancient forest homes.
- Credits to ProjectHazoid for many ideas to develop the Sunken forest, and to Jaette-troll for coming with many ideas to develop the Malyra Fen.