A Trip to Your Own Personal Hell

Malfeas is one of the thirteen near realms in the Umbra. But that is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this realm. In short, for the shapeshifters, it is Hell itself. Malfeas is the Nexus of the Wyrm's power in the Umbra. Formed from a tangle in the Pattern Web, this is the knot that the Weaver wove around the Wyrm in order to contain the force of entropy. The result is something worse than the most twisted serial killers highest fevered fantasy come to life. Malfeas is a labyrinth the size of a continent, divided into so many realms that even the Maeljin Incarnate who rule this insane place don't know them all. Unfathomable networks of corridors lead to landfills, torture chambers, extermination camps, disease-ridden slums, and of course the very lairs of the Incarnae themselves. With millions of inhabitants, there is no shortness in numbers for a torture or victim intending on violating anything in its path. Some subtle, others brutishly straight forward. Here is the pinnacle of all spiritual corruption gathering in a sickeningly super saturated congealment.

Malfeas is ruled by the Maelijin Incarnae, monster lords that represent different aspects of the Wyrm. They continually fight among themselves for dominance, of course this only creates more chaos and degeneration, which of course is what the Wyrm wants and needs to grow stronger. There are some Theurges who calm that Malfeas was a realm situated in the Deep Umbra, at the very heart of the Wyrm's domain itself. This theory is disputed, with others arguing that no realm could exist so long that close to the very force of of destruction and entropy. The truth, it seems, lies somewhere in the middle. Many gates to Malfeas take the form of Anchorheads, not unlike other portals in the Deep Umbra. And yet, somehow it seems to those who've dared quest for the realm, that Malfeas is ''closer'' than it should be. If once in the Deep Umbra and now in the Near Realms, the conclusion that one can draw isn't a pleasant one: Malfeas might be poised to spill into the physical realm— Making a literal Hell on Earth.

The Inferno

As more and more of the Umbra is conquered and corrupted, this realm dedicated to the Wyrm grows vaster and vaster. The realm itself is impossible to map really. For it is a mathimatitions nightmare of twisted topographical madness, hyperdimension al terror, twisted and convoluted as the thousands of diseased minds of the Wyrm. Even the most fevered visions of Goya and Bosch mixed with the impossibilities of M.C. Escher and Dali could not cope with this, the landscape itself is the stuff of nightmare. If it is to be feared. In Malfeas it can be found. Few things remain constant here, as the realm twists and folds on itself perpetualy.

Central Duchy

Said to be the closest thing that is the heart of Malfeas, the Central Duchy is an enormous half city, half-fortress populated by the worst of the worst. It's enormity is so vast that it spans the size of a small continent. The whole of which is honeycombed with turrets, passages, oubliettes, catwalks, and even industrial valves and pipes. Its features are a combination of some of the most grandiose Gothic architecture with the "conveniences" of an industrial superplex or chemical refinery. All of these elements are meshed together in a labyrinthine tangle. The towers reach upward for miles, and the dungeons and sewers go down just as far. Hidden within the vast briar patch of all this insanity is said to be the Castle Cthonus, the citadel of Malfeas' "true" ruler — and entity said to outrank the Maeljin Incarnae themselves. The only solace that this delirious place has to offer is the countless hiding places to hide in. However that is a small comfort, for once here you may never find your way back out again.

Maeljin Duchies

Past the Central Duchy, a traveler can try to pass through the heavily guarded gateways to one of the Maeljin duchies. These places are were the Maeljin Incarnae call their homes, and are no less dangerous as the Central Duchy or any other place in Malfeas. One really only need to fear one overlord at a time in their domain, but that overlord's power and attention is even more focused within its home. Each Duchy is a nightmarish reflection of that Incarna's dark urges. From Lady Aife's dungeons that rival Atrocity for endless numbers of tortures, to the illimitable twisting, echoing labyrinth of Doge Klypse, Incarna of Paranoia. Further out the four compass points are held by the elemental duchies. To the north is the frozen domain of Collum, the south belongs to the hellfires of Kerne, the east the poisonous skies of Choke, and the west is taken by the fetid seas of Lady Yul. These places, like the rest of Malfeas, are best avoided unless the need is truly dire.

The Temple Obscura

What is talking about Malfeas without talking about the very core of Black Spiral Dancers' religion? Temple Obscura is a colossal mix of mosque and cathedral, of Eastern minarets and Western fluting. All of it fashioned in green-veined black marble — with in is the very foundation of their rites of passage, their madness, their very corruption. Those pass through the Temple effectively "dance the Black Spiral." A ritual that takes place within the labyrinth leading them to the heart of the Wyrm itself. Some return somewhat lucid; many almost functional. None return sane.

The Earth Pit

A twisted reflection of all that the Earth is, it is hard to say if it is a deliberate insult or if it was unintentionally place here. What ever its origin, the Earth Pit is a massive and poisoned crevasse that shares more than a coincidental resemblance to the Earth itself. Every portion of this pit takes on semblances of poisoned Earth, be they polluted coral reefs, clear-cut forests, or even a toxic parody of the planet. As a final insult, many moon bridges from Blights and Hellholes open into the Earth Pit, often dropping those unwary enough into the middle of this corrupt reflection of their homelands. The very sight of this place can drive almost any shapeshifter, even sullen Rokea or gentle Gurahl, into a murderous frenzy.

Getting In and Out

Getting in is almost stupidly easy. Even more so than it should be. Many moon bridges can, and do drop travelers into the courtyard of the Central Duchy. Calumns and Far Calumns, areas of the Near and Deep Umbra were the Wyrm is the strongest boast some sort of gateway to each of the Maelijin duchy or any other section of Malfeas. Even places in the tunnels of the Abyss, or the torture chambers of Atrocity, or the hellish train that runs from Scar lead to this realm. Even Wyrm poisoned areas of the Aetherial Realm lead to the Malfean skies. So many ways in, so few out.

Every exit is both a potential escape rout for prisoners and a vital means of invading other sections of the Umbra, so they are watched carefully. According to rumors every Maeljin duchy boasts at least one exit, but again, they are heavily guarded. Perhaps the "safest" way out is by navigating the Gardens of Nightmare. This twisted vegetable labyrinth feasts on the fears of its victims by making them oh so very real. If one can endure the trek to the heart of the nightmare, there they can escape into the nightmare sections of the Dream Zone, which though horrible, are much preferable to Malfeas. The the trek is difficult, even for packs, as everyone has their own personal fears that the gardens can feed off of. Fears that may separate them forcing them down different paths to face different trials. It is exceptional indeed if a pack could escape without loosing a member forever.

Rules? What Rules?

Just like every other Near Umbral realm, there are rules to even this one. However, because the realm twists and turns and rolls in on itself, there are few "Stable" Laws. Three things hold true in Malfeas:

  • Everything here reeks of the Wyrm. Even innocent captives start to stink of corruption after a few minutes of being in this place. Anyone stupid enough to use the gift "Sense Wyrm" will be over whelmed by the spiritual corruption of the realm to the point of Madness. This madness may take any form and lasts until the unfortunate is some how cured through Gifts, rites of cleansing, or even a stay in Erebus.
  • Gaian rites do not function in Malfeas; any spirit that would respond to such a call would surely be caught by swarming Banes and carried away to be transformed into a Bane themselves.
  • This realm is of the Wyrm, through and through, so trying to heal, regenerate wounds. cure any form of ailment, or the like are twice as difficult.
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