Oben links und unten rechts: Sylvain Sarrailh, COSIMO GALLUZZI
The world of Groundless is a dark one. Only little light makes it through the heavy layers of fog that have been towering between the gigantic mountains of the Tortus Mountains for centuries. In the middle of a rugged gorge is a base, one of the last fortresses in the darkness. From there, paths impassable for most people lead into the depths. Over small rocky islands, ancient rotten bridges and rough terrain, it goes down into the gorge further than anybody who came back was able to reach. It says that hundreds of years ago, the oldest god fell from heaven, right down into the deepest depth and with him, all the light vanished. Since then, humanity tries to reach his artifact of power, a mask, promising salvation and divine strength. Many people tried to reach it but only those who were wise enough to give up came back.
Since the fall of the God, the world changed. Many animals became extinct, large parts of the fauna withered and the water changed into a thick, glowing soup. Those who were desperate enough to drink it became insane, those who did not found death. Some clans, however, who wisely prepared for catastrophes, fed on their supplies long enough to adapt. With the help of technical devices they were able to extract the energy from the neon-colored liquid and win it for themselves. In the beginning, only to feed and not to die of thirst, but soon they realized what incredible possibilities the Neon offered them.
They started to build technology fueled by the Neon. Lights and engines were fed by it and after a couple of decades they started to build tech, which strengthened their body. At first it was all about strength and practical tools which helped them in everyday life and at work but soon some people developed weapons which gave them unexpected power and masks that pumped the energy of the Neon directly into their bodies. These people were called hunters, and they were the first to dare to go into the depths of the canyon to seek for the artifact.
Not even for them it is an easy journey. And although the descent is lined with plants that glow and shimmer in the most beautiful colors, it is almost always deadly. A thunderous stream of the glowing fluid falls down the gorge - neither up nor down is there any end in sight. Now and then remains of the old civilization can be found, but the deeper it goes, the lonelier and colder it gets. The paths lead down into the mountain where the small streams that drip from the hard rocks are the only source of light. One wrong step from one of the islands and you fall into the endless depths.
But the trail is not even the greatest danger.
Both flora and fauna had to adapt to the new environment. Mutations developed, a symbiosis with technical features. Plants formed mechanical filters to feed on neon, creatures became more resistant and strengthened their limbs with minerals that were washed to the surface by the glowing liquid. The madness that took hold of so many people turned even the most peaceful animals into unpredictable and aggressive beasts.
They are the rulers of this gorge, there is no way around them. They crawl on the ground, hide in crevices or fly through the foggy haze of the darkness. And woe betide anyone who gets too close to them. None of these creatures will ever retreat, killing them is the only option. However, this is easier said than done.
But who knows, maybe you will succeed where so many before you failed.