Codex Anathema, vol. VIII: Rise of the Quori
The World of Zendikar
Akoum is a mountainous continent where magma glows from crevasses in the earth. Crystalline fields shimmer beneath the sun, but the sharp edges of most surfaces will slice through skin and bone. In some areas, the temperatures are extreme—burning an explorer’s skin during the day and causing frostbite during the night. Gases occasionally spew from the ground, and around these vents, bizarre trees and plant life have arisen in pockets of weird biome. The region is plagued by geological instability, causing magma geysers to erupt unexpectedly and shards of rock to rain down unexpectedly.
Humid rainforests cover this low-lying continent. A humid haze blankets the landscape, which is riddled with poisonous molds, fungi, and strangely colored algae. Deep within the network of limestone caves and tunnels, catacombs, sacrificial altars, and rune-inscribed chambers hide countless treasures. These are the domain of the ferocious, reptilian Surrakar and countless primordial monsters. Bala Ged is home to two tribes of elves the warlike Joraga tribe as well as the secretive Mul Daya. Mul Daya elves can be recognized by their tattooing, and have a connection with the spirits of their elvish ancestors that sets them apart from the rest of the elves.
The other elf tribes shun the Mul Daya. They call them bone-eaters and death-friends. But they rescued me from torture at the hands of quag vampires. I’ve seen them converse with spirits. They honor the jungle like a god and are connected to Zendikar’s life-force in a way no one else truly understands.
—Mitra, Bala Ged missionary
This is a humid region of teeming lagoons, and tangled, fetid swamps—this is the homeland of the vampires. Predators stalk the wilds, and traps are hidden in mangrove jungles and around settlements. The rancid waterways that twist into the vast marshes and swamps conceal predators and plagues. There are more ruin sites here than elsewhere, including the Hagra Cistern, a huge complex of ruins that’s gradually sinking into the muck and water.
Why do we trap the outskirts of Malakir We have no desire to work harder than necessary. Chasing prey is for dogs and humans. A victim’s blood is warmer if it’s already flowing.
—Alinor of Malakir
Even in the dangerous world of Zendikar, this is considered a treacherous place. If you venture to the vampire city of Malakir, you’ll have to get by the gatekeepers. Don’t expect a warm welcome
Surrounded by towering cliffs, Murasa is continent of jaddi-tree forests, deep valleys, and steep ridges. Vines and other vegetation wind through deep valleys, up cliff walls, and down into dank, half-lit caverns in the earth. The Kazuul Road provides the easiest access into Murasa. But Kazuul, an ogre slavemaster, controls the route and demands tribute from any explorer who tries to enter the continent.
Tazeem is a perilous combination of the Oran-Rief, a gigantic, twisted forest; Halimar, a deep inland sea; and the Umara, and a great rushing river that bisects the continent. Some ancient ruins have been co-opted by denizens, who make their homes in the remains of the massive hedrons. Other ruins remain hidden underground, but are sought after by both merfolk loremasters and power-hungry expeditionary leaders.
Colossal hedrons float in the sky above Tazeem. This rubble field stretches across the entire continent, obscuring direct sunlight and blocking natural rainfall patterns. The massive stones perpetually turn and tumble across the heavens. Amid the ruins, there are the shattered remains of a sky-castle. Merfolk call this Emeria, the Sky Ruin. They believe it was once the home of Emeria, the goddess of the sky.
Awoke to a rose-colored morning. Slept well high in Vastwood canopy. Sheets of glossy rain poured down from hedron field, but I was comfortable under the cover of the crescent-leaves. Above me, two massive hedrons collided, showering the branches with gray dust and rune-covered shards. I saw two kor up there, cutting pathway stones from the hedrons. They tumbled down, breaking their necks on the limbs of the forest. They shouldn’t disturb Emeria, and they paid a just price.
—The Journal of Yon Basrel, Oran-Rief survivalist
The geography of Ondu is dominated by a sense of sweeping verticality. The precarious Makindi Trenches, the skyscraping trees of the Turntimber, and the depths of the Crypt of Agadeem all contribute to the strange sensation that travel in Ondu occurs up and down rather than east and west. Jwar, the Isle of Secrets lies near the southern coast. Huge granite heads loom half-buried in the earth, and a beam of pure blue light can be seen shooting straight up out of the island. But no explorer has yet uncovered the source of the light.
This polar region is like an enormous mesa with permafrost steppes, wind-blasted mountains, and impossibly tall cliffs that encircle the continent. Despite its inhospitable terrain, creatures such as felidars, griffins, and sphinxes make their home in the snow-covered wastes. There are many ruins sites, and explorers brave the cold to see what treasures lie deep beneath the snowy surface.