The Isle Andromeda: Aro'Kai Picture

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History and Overview:

What little is known of The Isle Andromeda is riddled with age old mythology. The truth is nearly impossible to cut free from the tangled web of interweaving family stories, told as tradition for countless generations. The Isle's unique environment certainly merits both the reverence, as well as superstition, associated with it. Andromeda is weatherless, windless. Suspended in a perpetual state of darkness, similar to the dusk of other Aro'kai islands. The sky above is crisp, clear, and spotted with gleaming stars among the blue and purple swirls of distant galaxies. The air is comfortably chilled, and smells of freshly fallen snow. It is a place of much spiritual significance for the residents of Aro'Kai, especially those seeking enlightenment and wounded warriors who come to rest after battle. The epicenter of this spiritual significance is Mount Cisza, which stands tallest of all the mountains in the rugged range to the West. Carved along its body are pathways to aid flightless animals in reaching its peak. Here, all varieties of creature can be seen resting, reflecting, strengthening their minds, bodies, and spirits. Although all of Aro'Kai's inhabiting species can access it, perhaps the most iconic site on Cisza's peak is that of the towering Wyverns and Gryphons, their wings outstretched, silhouetted against the stars.

The earth throughout the island is similar in colour to the grays of these mountains. It is of a dark, rich and clay-like texture coated by a layer of lighter, thinner topsoil. The ground is palest to the South of the island, where it cracks as if from thirst and heat. This is the location of The Bonelands. The scenery may seem unnerving to some, with bleached-white skeletal remains littering the landscape. However, this is where creatures come to pay respect to the dead, and to remember those they've lost - A place of love. Flora in this isle is scarce and unique to the environment. Buried deep in and around the mountain range, stretching nearly to The Bonelands, are clusters of bio-luminescent mushrooms which give off a pale blue light, as well as a quiet, vibrating hum. One could easily overlook the song of these mushrooms, were it not so silent in Andromeda. East of the Mt. Cisza and North of The Bonelands, lies a patchy meadow of blue and green-gray blades. The grass here is soft and pleasant, but without taste or smell. Some say it has potential to be used for medicinal purposes, and should be preserved.

Following these thin patches of grass will eventually lead to a much thicker, richer meadow that borders the island's East Coast. Here, the surrounding water cuts through the land in a series of rivers and streams. Keeping close to the water, one will inevitably stumble across Andromeda's only collection of trees, Costel's Forest (named for Costel Moldovan, who first discovered it). These trees are unlike any other found on the islands of Aro'Kai. Their trunks are black and spiral upward from the pale ground to the starry night sky. The branches and leaves vary in pattern and colour from spindly and silver to draping and shimmery blue - Truly a site to behold.

Though there is no weather on the Isle, and though seasons pass without many changes, these trees do shed their leaves in alignment with winter on neighbouring islands. Deep within the heart of this forest lies what must have been a grand civilization. What once were houses and shops now lay in crumbling piles of hardened white clay. The occasional wall still stands proudly, attached to a doorway or second wall in an L-shape. Not a single roof remains. Though these ruins are unusable as a settlement, many visitors to the Isle gather here to socialize and share meals. Nearby, at the very NorthEast corner of Andromeda, a single lake can be found - Lake Tranquility. This must have been the primary source of fresh water for the town that now lies in ruin. Now, it serves both practical and spiritual purposes as a watering hole, and healing spring (though many speculate that the water has no healing power, and that the rejuvenation felt after taking a dip is a product of the mind). South of Lake Tranquility, of the rivers and the meadows, carved into the earth North of The Bonelands, hides the entrance and the exit to the underground passageway.

Location within Aro'Kai:
The Isle Andromeda, relatively small in size, is located in the North Western waters of Aro'Kai, in the farthest corner of its darkest ocean, veiled from sunlight due to its location on the planets' surface. Though the Isle itself is tranquil and weatherless, the dark waters around it are often tossed in dreadful storms. For this reason, it can be considerably difficult to reach. The easiest way in is via an underground pathway from (closest island). Attempting to fly or to swim directly in from a neighbouring isle is not advised (though some do consider it a test of their strength and endurance).

Special Formations and Landmarks:
Mountain Range - Mt. Cisza
Bio-luminescent Mushroom Forest
The Barrens (dry, empty land)
The Bonelands
The Meadows
Costel's Forest
Ruins (within the forest)
Lake Tranquility
Underground Passage

Other Pertinent Information:
While it is unlikely, and even ridiculous to assume that an Island like this would mesh well with the Aro'Kai game, due to its bizarre environment and demanding need of unique models, I -do- hope that it encourages at least the addition of a past civilization into the world. Or better yet, a current civilization, managed by tribes of each Aro'Kai species, or perhaps just one that is known to be sentient, such as the Wyverns or Gryphons. The Roleplay opportunities would be innumerable. Anyone could take any of these ideas and run with them, even if this submission doesn't win (which is what I'm betting on, it not winning. You can tell I'm more of a writer than an artist). Now. Finger crossing time. I would love me some pretty, pretty Sully art.

Artists' Comments and Credit
Costel's Forest? Man, he gets around. So~ here we have it. This took ages, and I'm not entirely satisfied as I did rush a couple bits more than I would have liked. A couple things to note is that the silhouetted island in the lower right is a topographical view of Andromeda, which was the shape I drew up and used to help create the island using an app for Photoshop by Graphic River. It fleshes out your shape in a 3-Dimensional way, then leaves the rest up to you to alter and texture as you please. It was my first time attempting to use it and it wasn't half as simple as I would have liked. But. It does make the map pop. :3 Credit also goes to Teeth-Man for the parchment texture I used beneath the map: [link]

The blank, black area beneath the map is something I hope to fill with some concept sketches of Mt. Cisza, The Bonelands, and The Ruins. Not sure when I'll have the time to work on it as much as I want to, but until then, enjoy the emptiness.
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