The Tides of Shadow
In the deepest reaches of the Elemental Chaos, the roiling tempest of the elemental forces begin to change. A pattern of movement becomes apparent-a slow, downward spiral towards a black mote of utter annihilation at its root. Like a maelstrom that draws ocean vessels into the watery depts, the Abyss is a swirling vortex of destruction, dragging everything down toward its heart.
Travelers that fly above the Abyss can feel the strength of its pull, partly as a pychological drag. The vortex is like a constant presence, a watching eye or siren song. Setting foot on any of the Abyss’s layers solidifies that feeling. Some describe it as stronger than gravity, others as having ones soul slowly drained out one’s feet. This sensation nags at the back of a visitor’s mind-but it pales quickly in the face of more immediate dangers.
The Abyss consists of uncounted layers. Each one a floating piece of terrain caught in an inescapable downward spiral. Each layer is a unique microcosm of terror, presenting a different face. One truth remains constant, however. The Abyss works to destroy its inhabitants with a passion and tenacity that might best be described as sentient.
Unlike th rest of the Elemental Chaos, the Abyssal layers include organic material-floating masses of tumor-filled flesh, thick forests of razor-branched vines, or wasting deserts of powdered bone. Even the raw elemental matter of the Abyss is corrupted and malign. from clouds of scalding steam that chase prey to lakes of bubbling, acidic slime.
By a trick of magical force, personality, and intractable will, a particularly powerful demon can entice or enslave a layer of the Abyss to its will, shaping it into a form that mirrors the demon’s dark nature. Such a creature becomes nearly as powerful as a deity, achieving a status akin to nobility among its peers. The fortified realms of these demon lords form the principal battlegrounds of their less powerful minions, for the lords of the Abyss constantly scheme and war against each other. Some of the more arrogant lords fancy tehmselves demon princes, but these self-proclaimed honors mean little in the Abyss. A demon maintains power only as long as it can keep it.