To my dear Llandrath,
Your uncle informs me that you wish to travel beyond the watery confines of your homeland. Knowing myself to be the family’s infamous traveler, he pressed me to impart some knowledge on the world at large. I believe he hopes it will frighten you into changing your mind. I assure you, however ghastly any of my tales may become, that is not my intent. I merely wish to impress upon you the danger that a damp, young Nekron might find himself confronted with.
The first unnatural phenomenon that you will undoubtedly encounter, are the Mists themselves. Chances are, as you have been imbued with the wanderlust that so few of your relatives have been inflicted with, you have probably already taken your first tentative expeditions into it. I would not recommend ever doing so without some form of trained guide.
Your mother has fed you stories about the Faye races: babies stolen, family pets eaten, travelers driven to the brink of madness and beyond by the pranks of faerie-kind. All these accusations are true, to one extent or another. The Mists are home to the pure Faye. You have spoken with the Karanar traders that come through the area. That elf-like race holds only a shadow of their eldritch nature, tempered by a strong bit of old humanity. Do not expect the true Elven Host to be as approachable. They are mysterious, savage, mystical, and civilized in ways that a terrestrial cannot understand in a lifetime of study.
Nearly as dangerous as the Faye are the myriad other creatures that call that eternal twilight home. Prolonged exposure to the Mists will madden and warp any creatures not born in it. Creatures that wander into the Mists and are not quickly killed often become monstrosities. In addition to the Mist-altered beings are those beasts that were born to thrive within the magical night. Mistdragons that dwarf their colossal terrestrial cousins, sinister Grimnoks made of the very Mists themselves, and a host of other creatures great and small. . . (Though there is one blue furred species of jackrabbit that makes an excellent roast. )
Having said all this, the only way to travel between the True Realms is through the Mists. This has been accomplished since the first Mistrunners took those brave steps into an unknown world. Certain people are born with an aptitude for the Mists, much like some people are born with a heightened ability for magical studies. These people are generally apprenticed to the mother of all Guilds, the Mistrunners’ Association. This Guild is the oldest and most powerful organization throughout the True Realms. Without their skilled practitioners, trade and travel would cease, and all the True Realms would collapse into chaos. In addition to a certain attunement to the Mists that allow ‘Runners to see farther through the everlasting gloom, and an uncanny ability to navigate through the sense-depriving soup, Guildmembers are taught how to pilot Mistbarges. These are the ensorcelled vessels that glide through the Mists, driven by the whims of the Mistrunner. A webbing of enchantment surrounds the hull of the Mistbarge, giving it buoyancy in the Mists. Mistrunners guide the ship from a magical Helm. When piloting, ‘Runners sink their consciousness into the Helm, their senses extending throughout the magical weave surrounding the barge, traveling for days at a time without rest or nourishment. The largest of vessels may even utilize several Helms, each piloted by an individual Mistrunner.
Mistbarges are usually built with some means to maneuver on terrestrial realms as well. They range from simple, flat-bottomed river cargo boats, to graceful Karanar cruisers, to the enormous airships of the Mistrunners Alliance. Some of the largest barges never leave the Mists, floating in the ether continuously as smaller ships ferry cargo to the port of call.
The Mistrunners guide the barges along shipping routes between the True Realms that only they sense. They navigate with ability similar to that of a homing pigeon or a spawning salmon, instinctually knowing their destination and traveling towards it, deviating only around whatever dangers lie in the path. I have been told there is a weather system of sorts in the Mists, though it always appears the same featureless twilight every time I travel it. Mighty dragons leave warships in splinters in their wake, and even floating Realms can wreak havoc on a craft not designed to traverse its terrain. Raiders of terrestrial and Faye varieties are rare, but not unheard of. The best of Runners will avoid all of these problems.
If you do venture forth into the Mists, be certain to take passage on a craft bearing the Guild markings under a Guild Mistrunner. Rogues may seem cheaper, but the risks far outweigh any short term benefits. You should be able to find passage here, to Wayfarers Way. It is the metropolis at the hub of the known True Realms. This is a city of the wonderful and exotic. All of the Guilds and most of the Churches have representatives here, and all manner of folk walk the streets. It is a stable force in an otherwise chaotic world. I wile my own days away now at the vast libraries at Farson Academy.
Should your search for adventure take you through Wayfarers Way, please come to the University and spend some time with me. In the middle of this bustle, there are precious few times to sit and remember the days in the quiet wetlands of home.