Ghrea (Gre-ah) lies at the point where, during the Great War, the demonic hordes were sent back to Inferis through a gigantic, terrible portal. A mighty battle was fought here, staining the lands in blood. Ever since that time, the very nature of the place has been forever corrupted.
The opening of the portal allowed Black Arc magic to seep into the lands below, slowly altering and warping the plants and animals dwelling upon them. When humans settled here, many years later, it only took a few generations before they had been transformed into the ghreal.
The ghreal are the Black Arc personified in humanoid form. They are a war-like, cruel race of people who live to enslave and dominate over other peoples. Their skeletal frames belie an unnatural strength, and their mastery of magic is rivalled only by that of the atia.
Their homeland of Ghrea is an inhospitable wasteland, but is no less dangerous than their cities, which rise dark and sharp from the earth, and are breeding grounds for hate and destruction.
Ghrea is a large, generally low lying island which stretches southwards from the main landmass of Iiosia. It was once a peninsular stretching off the larger landmass above it, and the island owes its formation to The Sundering, during which much of the land around it was destroyed and cast into the sea by giant earthquakes and tsunamis. Even to this day, the land is still prone to massive earthquakes which can send large chunks of the shore crashing down into the seas around it.
As it was the location of The Sundering, Ghrea has been affected more by the Black arc magic seeping into Iiosia because of this than many other places.
It is the most hospitable towards the coasts, and to the north and east of the country where minor mountain ranges fringe the coastlines. These mountains are relics from when the lands split apart - especially in the north, where Ghrea was forcibly ripped from what is now Magador, resulting in a narrow channel between the two countries.
There is little plant life which can grow in the infertile soil, and much of the country, especially in the south, is practically a desert with all but the hardiest plant life perishing in the harsh conditions. Only in the centre, where the country is carpeted with a thick, mutated forest which is nigh impossible to traverse through, is there an abundance of plant life, though this unnatural abomination is kept alive not by water but sustained by Black magics within the land itself. The name given to this place is The Wound. The forest is made up of a large, sprawling network of huge, mutated trees which make it nigh impossible to create a road or other thoroughfare through them. The Wound is a dark and dangerous place, even for the ghreal. It is also the home to gigantic beasts such as the Ormadon, which some ghreal try to capture and tame so they can be used as mounts in battle.
The ghreal are a terrible people. twisted and wicked. Their culture, society, and architecture match their nature by being much of the same. They have several large cities on the coasts of their homeland.
The greatest of these is Sarikious (Sar-eek-ee-us), the ghreal capital . It sits upon a plateau which gives it extensive views of the surrounding, desolate wastes. It is a great, towering city, full of suffering and cruelty. It is dominated by the Rafus Dominum – the mighty tower of The Emperor/Empress. It is also the main hub of Ghrea's military strength. Sarikious boasts the largest unnatural harbour upon Iiosia, as well as some of the most extensive sea defences. It is from here that Ghrea sends out its raiding ships to harass the shores of other countries, and to intercept trading ships
Arlik (Arr-lick) Known as the Tomb-city, Arlik is made up of several large and imposing structures which house the tombs of the ghreal's most honoured dead. These include warriors fallen in battle, great mages, and other notable individuals. It is said that, in the ghreal's hour of greatest need, the Goddess of Death, Fext, will cause the dead within the tombs to rise up and defeat the ghreal's enemies.
Deavloch (Di-av-lok) This place is also known as The Wailing City. It sits at the seaward edge of The Howling – a vast tear in the land trough which the wind rushes and makes eerie sounds as it blows through the rocks. This is only half the reason that it is named so, for it is also a great mining city, and the mines are manned not by the ghreal, but by slaves captured from other shores. It is said that, even from a distance, one can hear the cries of the slaves above the howls of the canyon.
Drumacus (Drum-a-kus) The spiritual centre of ghreal society where the temples have been built to their gods and where their greatest warriors are buried in their tombs. Every ghreal warrior must make three pilgrimages to the temple of Fext, Goddess of Death and the Afterlife, in their lifetime, and so Drumacus is always a busy city, despite the fact that of all the cities of the ghreal, Drumacus is the most sparsely populated.
Ichlthies (Itch-lith-ees) Situated on a large island west of the main landmass of ghreal, Ishlthies is a centre of study for sorceries and magic. The smallest of all of ghreal's major settlements, only the magically inclined come to dwell here. Ichlthies has very few permanent inhabitants as those who come here come to either teach or be taught the nefarious Black arcs of magic.
Allyon (Al-ee-on) is the lost capital of the atia. Once famed to be the most beautiful city in the world, Allyon was a center of learning and magical study. Built deep within the forests, atop a rocky outcrop that overlooks a long, fertile valley, the city was the pinnacle of atian power. The city was built from the living wood of trees, said to be twisted and warped into buildings and walkways by magical energies, yet still remaining strong and vibrant and alive. The city was home to thousands of atia who utilised husks to perform menial tasks for them while they set their energies towards the study of music, magic, art and alchemy. Allyon was cast into ruin during the events of the The Great War, during which the atia fought bitterly to save their city from the oncoming tide of demons, but failed in doing so at a terrible cost. Since those events, centuries ago, Allyon has been lost to the world. There are records of several attempts to try to re-discover the city, generally led by ambitious atia attempting to do so either for their own glory or to reclaim the lost pride of their people. There are no records of anyone ever finding the city and returning back alive, however, and Allyon is fast becoming myth, with only a portion of even the atia now believing it still awaits to be discovered in the woods.