EONS AGO, a large asteroid belt, the broken remains of a long dead planet, was captured in orbit around a primitive world. Its effects were to change forever the diurnal/nocturnal cycle and planetary climates.
At the apogee, the elements of the belt reflected and magnified the light of the distant twin suns back onto the far side of the planet, resulting in a world completely in daylight.
At the opposing rotation, the belt became a shield, blocking all light and plummeting temperatures as global darkness ensued.
These "DAYS" & "NIGHTS" were extended periods, averaging seventy hours of light and sixty of darkness.
THE ECOLOGY of the world changed drastically. Almost every tree-like species was wiped out, and the dominant flora that emerged was a tenacious ground vine.
Due to increased solar radiation and lack of competition, these draz vines soon covered all hospitable areas of the planet. Growing to immense proportions, the twisting growths could exceed trunk circumferences of a hundred meters.
OF ANIMAL LIFE, creatures that had the ability to hibernate survived, a necessity when the nights or lengthy naahns fell, and ice sheathed everything above ground.
Those on the evolutionary scale between reptile and mammal did best, and from the powerful beast known as Drada'k, the DRAKKONE Races arose.
FIVE MAJOR PEOPLES DEVELOPED, distinct in their choice of element and habitation:
Tough, stocky DEKANNS live deep in the earth. Dark of hide, they mine underground riches, carving out vast cavern systems of protective stone.
Green or brown of hide, BASIKS took to the forests and plains. Common people, most exist in small villages, communities of simple farmers, beast-raisers and hunters.
Pale ZAROME traders sail the waters, forming secular Clans amid islands in the swamps. Amphibious, their fingers have small, vestigial webbing between them, and their often yellow eyes have a soft, luminous cast.
SSAISS, the most flashy of the races, fire-bright in colors of red, orange or yellow, are artisans born. They create their vast cities in the hot, sand-whirling deserts.
Yet above them all are the last of the winged people, the rich, iridescent blue TARRONS. Philosophers, scholars and mystics, rumored to possess strange powers of the mind, the people of the winds dwell high in the cold mountain, watching all below them...
AND THEN, IN A PLACE FAR, far to the north, well beyond even the Tarron's mountain kingdom of Tllez-moi there is a land. A strange, haunted place where no vines will grow; only strange, inconceivable sharp-angled evergreens who's needled branches wave through the air without touch of breeze.
Far deadlier than the thickest of un-mapped Draz jungles, the land known as the TZUUGH is malevolent a to all life, the name itself translating as 'hell'.
THEY SAY THE TZUUGH IS FULL OF DEMONS, of how the trees themselves seek to capture the souls of the living, removing them forever from the great wheel of incarnation and evolution that will one day return all to the Created.
PITY THOSE WHO have need to enter the land of Hell, because sometimes they do. Sometimes there is just no choice left. And no matter what, those who enter and manage to survive the Tzuugh are always left changed.
Worse, those who die may be changed as well.
And sometimes they come back, too...