Welcome, Unworthy One, to the great Caldera.

Her unscalable mounts are the boundaries of the world, the separation between earth and sky. Every nation, every city, every song and legend lies within the Caldera’s rim. From High Ishial near the rim itself to Low Brusshial, the great island nation, our people stretch. Desert and jungle, mountain and savannah, river deltas and white-sand beaches, the Caldera has everything a person could desire for climate. War has long been made a game in our paradise, where dinosaur and mammal live in harmony, our cultures many and manifold, but always able to coexist. We speak with words, and when those fail, we turn to games and challenge.

Why does this matter? Why do I speak to you as if you do not know the Caldera?

Because it just so happens one of you may not be. Rumours have come from the west, from the desert lands of a fallen mountain, and of true war returned. They speak of death, in forms that cannot be believed.

I can see you do not believe me. This is the Caldera! War has not existed since the world’s birth, since the gods brought us to this heaven to live in peace. There is nothing beyond the peaks but wind and death.

Well, I will tell you that refugees have been arriving in the delta city of Alushial. People fleeing, describing a madness — of saurians unlike any here, of humanoid mammals like us but violent, crazed. Unworthy creatures who do not deserve this placid land.

Deny what you want, an enemy comes. And we who have not fought without blunted weapons for millenia, who have not aimed to kill for a thousand years, are not prepared. Some whisper that spies have already made it this far in, and there are those who whisper that some have always known there was more than the Caldera.

Or perhaps these are the ravings of lunatics, or some brazen desert tribe gone wrong, and our legends are as safe as they have ever been.

Well, Unworthy One, if you are hearing this, welcome to our lands. I implore you to come in peace. If not, enjoy the sights, enjoy the food. For we will be sending you back the way you came soon enough.

The Great Beyond

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