This article discusses the geography of Yliakum.
Player Guide > Game Setting
Yliakum is an enormous cave, inside a hollowed out stalactite. At its ceiling, there is a crystal, which provides it with light. The floor is terraced into eight levels, of which the lowest two are submerged.The two highest levels are above the point where the stalactite connects to the roof of the cave, and as such the uppermost level is the only place that has passages to the Stone Labyrinths, an ancient and largely unexplored network of caves.
The floors of the levels are dotted with many rocks fallen from the ceiling, huge stalagmites, and a few pillars connecting Yliakum's ceiling to the first level's floor. Many streams and rivers start at the wall of the first and second level, running down into the central lake.
The inhabitants, nine distinctly different races, also call it the "Land of the Azure Sun", referring to the huge crystal that lights the realm and bathes it in life-giving energy.
- 1st Level: The Dome
This level of Yliakum is closest to the Crystal, which grants a blessing and a curse. Because of the greatness of light, most farming is done here. In contrast some areas are like a desert due to the closeness of the Crystal and the heat it causes. There are lots of cities spread out over the Dome, but outside of Hydlaa you are most likely to visit the Kran city of Gugrontid, the Enkidukai city of Ojaveda and the Klyros city of Amdeneir. All mining is done in the Dome. The Bronze Doors that block access to the Stone Labyrinths are found on this level as well.
- 2nd Level: The Barn or Upper Field
There is still enough light to grow good crops on this level. Some beasts are raised here that do not thrive in the hotter Dome. The mint that creates all money used in Yliakum is in the Barn.
- 3rd Level: Far Ground
Pterosaurs and Megaras are raised here amongst the forests. Wood is carefully harvested with strict allocations managed by the Octarch and his specially trained foresters.
- 4th Level: The Forge or Stronghold
This is where most of the heavy industry is. Keeping the upper levels free of smog is important, so most of the industry is located by the wall making use of huge natural vents; all smoke is funnelled into them. All large scale forging is done here, such as parts for the bronze doors, sewers, and winches.
- 5th Level: Land’s End
Dominated by two huge waterfalls from the Irifon and Radiant Rivers that, after a long journey underground and along crevices, plunge down from the Forge and into Shore.
- 6th Level: Lakeshore or The Lagoon
A semi-tropical marshy mangrove forest, the humid air constantly filled with mist from the waterfalls.
- 7th Level: Lower Field
Seaweed cultivation is the most common aspect of this partially underwater level. The constant rising and falling of the lake floods the Lower Field on a regular basis. During periodic times of low water levels, the revealed land is covered in rich, silty bogs that form the base of many underwater crops when the water rises again. Most Nolthrir make their home on this level.
- 8th Level: The Deep
No one has travelled to the crushing depths at the bottom of the lake. Creatures have been known to rise from the dark waters to attack boats and swimmers.
Levels 2th-8th: to be added in future versions.
The Bronze Doors and the Stone Labyrinths
The Bronze Doors are large gates surrounded by massive defences. Located along the borders of the first level, they limit access to and from the Stone Labyrinths; a complex network of both natural and artificial caves more ancient than Yliakum itself. The Stone Labyrinths are one of the main sources of food and resources for the beings of the stalactite. What is beyond the dangerous Stone Labyrinths is still a mystery and a wonder, as no one has ever returned from exploring its deepest and darkest places. Some believe that they may lead to caves similar to Yliakum or perhaps even a surface world, though these theories are completely unproven. The location of the cities of Kadaikos have been lost to time as the tunnels were filled with a strange dark fog, leaving no way out when entered.
Inhabitants of Yliakum use the animals inside these caves not only for their edible meat, but also useful skins and furs. One can also find ready supplies of fungi and moulds in the caves. The medicinal and other properties of the fungi make them much sought-after. These plants cannot be found elsewhere since there are no other suitable environments for them. Their helpful and healing properties are valuable to the people. In the dark places, there are also deadly and aggressive creatures lurking, waiting for unsuspecting prey. These beasts create serious obstacles for those who venture into the less-controlled and more dangerous tunnels of the Stone Labyrinths. Despite the incredible danger and the threat of forever losing one's way in the endless twists, explorers still risk the journey to find the great sources of wealth that are just waiting for someone clever, brave, or crazy enough.
Streams and Lakes
Many different underground streams spring from the walls of the first and second levels, some of which were formed from time immemorial, and join together at the bottom of the stalactite, where they form a lake that submerges the two lower levels. Somehow the water gets out, since Yliakum hasn't been flooded once in recorded history. The flow of the streams varies as times goes by, and the level of the lake changes accordingly. Sometimes the lake level is so low that almost half of the seventh level is revealed, but other times the level is so high it almost reaches the edge of the sixth level. The springs here supply a constant source of drinking water for Yliakum.
The seventh and eight level, both usually submerged, host the Nolthrir, an Elven race who have been attending the seaweed for thousands of years. With the influence of time and the Crystal, the Nolthrir evolved into an amphibious species, which enabled them to remain under water for long periods of time. After centuries of cross-breeding, the seaweeds have been grown with such skill by the Nolthrir that they boast special qualities. Some of these varieties are used as food, while others are tanned and woven to make clothing. Still others have medicinal properties, but most of the seaweed is dried and used as fodder for Pterosaurs, Megaras, and cattle bred on the first level.