The Village of Eternal Night
Malvernse (pronounced “mal-VERN-say”), sometimes referred to as the Infernal Depths or simply the Hells, is the realm of existence ruled by archdevils far beneath the surface of Taralthon. Those at the top of the infernal hierarchy congregate in the very deepest part of Malvernse, while the least powerful fiends dwell in its outermost layer, beyond which is the yawning Abyss between the mortal world and the Depths. An uncountable number of cosmic chains stretch across this otherwise featureless void, holding Malvernse in place at the exact center of the terrasphere.
The realm of Malvernse is a solid sphere divided into concentric layers, which are known as the Circles of Hell. Each Circle possesses its own distinct physical features, created and shaped according to the whims of its ruling archdevil. Every infernal being is bound to one of the Circles—its native Hell—by an ethereal tether, allowing them to be banished from the mortal realm or even from other, deeper Circles.
The various Hells are populated by fiends and the souls of the damned, although the distinction between those two categories is not always clear. Any deceased mortal who arrives in one of the Circles via the Black Gates is subjected to the process of infernal corruption, which changes the nature of their soul from mortal to fiendish. Exact methods of corruption vary depending on which archdevil has claimed a particular soul, but the process almost always involves torture and suffering.
Circles of Malvernse
The Fifth Circle, Chrysonexia
The deceptively beautiful Fifth Circle of Hell is an impossibly vast cavern, its walls covered in glittering crystals and cut gemstones of every color in the world. Gold filigree clings to the stalactites like cave moss, and streams of liquid silver and gold run through furrows in the ground, with piles of coins from all places and eras scattered along the banks. These riches belong to the Duke of Thieves, Mavarian, who resides in a grand golden palace that seems to never be in the same place twice. Mavarian “rewards” the souls who come to Chrysonexia by suffocating them beneath great heaps of treasure, impaling them upon sharp crystal formations, and dipping them in molten gold and silver until their mortal essence is supplanted by the corruption of avarice and envy.
The Fourth Circle, Phalaxatias
The burning world of Phalaxatias is the origin of fiend’s fire or hellfire. Created by the archdevil Belial as both a means of torturing damned souls and a weapon wielded by his lieutenants, these flames can burn forever without fuel, are hotter than the fires of Igniferus, and cannot be extinguished by anything other than their master’s word, divine intervention, or powerful mortal magic. Souls claimed by Belial are drowned in the seas of hellfire and magma that all but cover the ground of Phalaxatias, burning them without destroying them—the mortal essence that is burned away eventually regenerates, with traces of it corrupted into infernal essence. This drowning is performed over and over again until the damned soul has fully transformed from mortal to fiend.
The Second Circle, Khionaspros
An utterly still and silent landscape of ice and snow, Khionaspros deprives every soul within it of all their senses. Though there is no discernible sun, the world is still bright enough to turn the snow a brilliant, blinding white in all directions, searing away the sight of all who look upon it, and the bitter cold numbs all physical sensations until even the ability to feel temperatures is gone. No sound exists in Khionaspros, not even footsteps upon the cracking ice or voices calling out to other damned souls, and smells and tastes are similarly absent. The silent winds cold enough to freeze even mortal essence are only part of a soul’s transformation—the madness inflicted by total sensory deprivation is what truly turns a mortal into an infernal creature.
The First Circle, Kosadriat
Kosadriat, the Dark Heart of Malvernse, lies at the very center of the infernal realm. Darker than a moonless, starless night and silent as the grave, the deepest Hell is a mystery to all mortals—even the most powerful diviners see nothing but eternal blackness in their attempts to look within it. Its ruling archdevil makes no pacts with the living, has no true cult of worshipers, and indeed has no known name—only the dwarf-given title of Malvernum. The only evidence that the First Circle has a ruler at all is the word of the other archdevils (who claim to answer to a single entity, though they refuse to speak its name) and the fact that damned souls have indeed been sent there (notably the soul of Karlat Jhareg).
|Geography of the Cosmos|
|The Space Within|
|Saelise · Tayvanse · Malvernse|
|The Space Without|
|Elemental spheres||Aeris · Aquilentus · Igniferus · Umorum|
|Other realms||The Fey Realm|