The Chasm of Nihrain
Nihrain the Ancient City is older even then slumbering Imrryr. One of the lost wonders of the world, Nihrain is a city carved from the living rock, spanning a yawning fissure found in the western mountains. The scattered barbarians of the region avoid the city altogether. To them, the precipitous chasm is the tomb of the ancients, to be avoided at all costs. Nihrain appears on no map and is virtually unknown to any living civilization.
The city itself is a marvel of crystal statues, sweeping stairways, vaulted rooms, hundred-foot-high windows, galleries of gemstone mosaics, columns and pillars decorated with glyphs, murals and runes depicting history before recorded history during The Forgotten Age in the ancient tongue.
The nobles of Nihrain are the remnants of a race older than beast-folk known as the Vol led by Vol Seperis The Immortal. Beneath their city they slumber warmed by the fires of the earth, to waken only to restore balance when their peace is threatened. They ride steeds that seem to need no rest, who contain no fear that gallop over air or water, for indeed they do not have full existence on the earthly plane and their hooves do not touch the ground in the strictest sense.
Their subjects, who bare the same name as their city, are almost-human beings who cannot speak or breed and do not seem to age like humans do. Instead they replicate themselves at their own whim by a process of astral-projection and reincarnation supplanting one soul with another who adopts the memories of that physical body. In the meantime the soul of the former slave joins a collective consciousness on another plane free from the toils and pain of life until they are “reborn” again in another body, and so on… If their bodies are injured or diseased their lords may replace them. If they are unjust or disobedient the Vol may sacrifice their souls, preferring they should perish rather then rejoin their kin as an example to the others.
When needed, more bodies are made available from a storehouse of pocket dimensions. Ultimately it is fated that The Nihrain will run out of bodies, and the Vol themselves will seemingly cease to exist if they do not visit the material plane from time to time to preserve their own bodies. In the meantime decades pass like days and the face of Trel changes by the hour. The Nihrain will do as they always have. They maintain their city, they keep watch across The Silent Land and report everything to the Vol who reward them by preserving their way of life.
Seperis himself rarely associates with his own people preferring to seek secrets of the universe, past and present, while they enjoy each others company in the plane of paradise he created. Every so often Seperis does return to his throne to take stock of his domain, perform miracles through new incantations he’s devised and generally reacquaint himself with physical existence. Recent events, especially the arrival of more outsiders, have piqued his interest.
Like a father he considers the beings of Trel to be his children and behind the scenes he encourages them to grow and prosper and take care of themselves. The lords of beasts, earth and the elements all owe their powers to him. The arrival of humankind was merely an experiment. Seperis wished to see what they would make of themselves and indeed they have grown powerful but divided. He was proud when the lords of law emerged to combat the Melniboneans and the lords of chaos. It proves they are capable of maintaining their own balance. He is saddened by the decline of the beast-folk, who are largely unwilling to change from the old ways, and the corruption of Dragon Kynde who were once so powerful and wise.
Seperis knows that time changes all, and time conquers all. He accepts that he and his race will disappear someday like shadows and dust. Their days of dominion are over now. In the meantime he is largely impartial to events of the present. In the future he may summon his people one last time to prevent total catastrophe and unbalance in the world they inhabited for so long, but in the end what will be must be. When he is gone, Seperis’ greatest achievement may be the record of all he has witnessed in his considerable lifespan. It is kept in the form of a waking dream, imprinted on the Scrolls of Seperis, a relic not at all similar to a scroll as humans know it.