Location: Abyss / Pazunia

Sang-Mort, now there’s a sad tale of a city that’s seen better days. Once it was a hustlin’ and bustlin’ city, a jewel of the mortal realm called Sang-Muse. But alas, the Abyss, it swallowed it whole, chewin’ it up and spittin’ it out as the sorry sight it is today. It’s the Abyss’s own Hive Ward, minus the charm.

It’s nothin’ but a miserable heap now, a place of despair and sickness, mate. The streets are filled with the sickly scent of disease, hangin’ thick in the air like a bad omen, it does. And the residents, oh blimey, a sorry lot, they are. They got the short end of the stick, they did, trapped in this end-of-the-world slum, a cesspit of hopelessness, it is. From time to time, fresh meat, I mean mortals, stumble through the one-way gate from the Prime. You see ’em wanderin’ around, lost and confused, fresh out of the demongate with a look of stark ravin’ madness in their eyes. Newcomers they might be, but they quickly learn the ropes, the hard way, mind you.

But even in the heart of darkness, there’s a bit of commerce goin’ on, there is. Situated at the crossroads of the Blood River and the River Lethe, Sang-Morte has become a sort of dodgy marketplace, a dubious bazaar where merchants peddle their wares, preying on the desperate and the hopeless. It’s a grimy pit stop for the most suspicious of traders, but hey, business is business, ain’t it?

Now, between you and me, cutter, the place has a melancholy charm if ya squint hard enough. The ruins, they tell a story, they do. A reminder of the grandeur that once was, now just a bleak canvas of crumbling structures, remnants of a time lost, all paintin’ a portrait of a city that fought and lost against the unforgivin’ Abyss. It’s like a shabby old coat that’s seen better days, it’s got stories to tell, it does, of times of splendour and decay.

How did this city from the Prime get into the Abyss? It’s not like Prime burgs slide from one plane to another depending on the beliefs of the residents — they’re weird like that. Turns out, like everything in the Abyss, there’s a proper tragic backstory, and a bleeding lesson on the dangers of dallyin’ with powers beyond one’s ken.

Once upon a rotten time, in the Material Plane, there was this city, a place what was known for its richness in art and culture, a paradise for scholars and artists alike. Every street a picture, they said, every lane a poem and every square a sonnet, a right lovely place to be, if you didn’t know any better. But the leadin’ light of this golden age was the Court Mage, a hungry berk by the name of Atramentous Reive, a cutter with a proclivity for forbidden knowledge. He danced and dabbled in dark arts that would send shivers down your spine. Reive was the sort to never settle, always grasping for more, for deeper secrets and darker truths, he was.

Now, this berk got to studyin’ the Abyss, he did, conjurin’ tanar’ri and qlippoth and traffickin’ in darker and darker powers, tryin’ to gain more influence, more control, yeah? Well, as these things often go, Reive managed to snag himself a potent bit of knowledge, a dark secret that gave him the key to the Abyss itself. Some say that the Abyss saw him coming and made was responsible for sharing the secret in the first place. In any case, all enchanted with his newfound power, the reckless sorcerer conjured up a malevolent ritual, a proper nasty bit of work meant to draw the very essence of the Abyss into Sang-Mort. In this way he believed he’d be able to control its might and gain untold power. Oh, but the Abyss ain’t so easily tamed, no it ain’t, and it’s a fickle and tricksy mistress.

Come the day of the ritual, the skies of the burg turned blood-red, a churning vortex of chaos and fire, openin’ up to swallow the city whole, it did. The very fabric of the place ripped asunder, streets splittin’, buildings crumblin’, and the Abyss pulled at every brick and cobblestone, every man, woman, and child, draggin’ ’em all into its maw, it did. 

Back on the Prime all that was left was a pit of no return, a one-way gate that became known as the Demongate. It’s a gory reminder of the cost of hubris, and also doorway to the city’s new, damned location within the Abyss. The once great city of Sang-Muse had become a twisted version of its former self, with streets flowing with rivers of blood and skies perpetually ablaze, a place of torment and despair. Some Abyssal wag dubbed it Sang-Mort and the name sort of stuck. What was once a place of art and beauty became a place of blood and fire, an awful, burning scar in the multiverse where the very air could scald the lungs and rivers of molten brimstone flowed through the haunted streets, where the screams of the damned echoed day and night, it did. 

Atramentous Reive? Oh, he got what was comin’ to him, aye. The berk was transformed into a grotesque vavakia demon, a spiteful draconic tanar’ri, forever tormented by his own failings and the loss of the city he once loved. He roams the burning streets of Sang-Mort, a lonely, tortured figure, a monument to his own folly, he is.

So that’s the tale of Sang-Mort, a cautionary tale for any who’d dare to dabble in the darkness, a place of heartache and loss, it is. A city lost to greed and ambition, pulled into the depths of hell for the sins of one foolish man, it was. A place of nightmares, now, a realm of torment and unending pain, where hope is but a distant memory, it is.

Source: Jon Winter-Holt,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *