Hellcome to the land of the dead
Truth dies here and reborn somewhere else
Feel the tension to the back of your head
Seek down for something which is died away
Rapid downfall passed from abyss seeking answers
– Queen of the Damned by Astarte
The Grey Isles fester in a cool, dark lake with no name. At its bottom lies the Opal City, a realm of dread where souls wander and darkness prevails.
Ruling over this sombre, aquatic realm is the Queen of the Fossilized Throne. She parted ways from the King long ago and neither of them remember the other; only that they are tied to the Grey Isles.
She has also forgotten her name, or who she was before. Like the King, she exists in a dream-like haze but is very quick to anger. She has great wisdom and insight into the hearts of mortals. Her Black Iron Crown was forged with the blood of a Gorgon and the venom of a Manticore. She has no sorcery other than the ability to see into the souls of people in her realm. She is formidable with her spear, Jormungand, which is made of the fossilized teeth of a Megalodon.
Entry into the Opal City, her realm, is done by three ways:
- Being a victim of the Fuath, her handmaidens.
- Dying on the Grey Isles
- Foolishly venturing into her realm on purpose.
The latter (those who deliberately seek her counsel or to rescue a lost soul) must do so by walking the Flaming Stair from the shore. This mythical staircase only exists on New Moon nights. Those descending the steps are protected from the Fuath, from drowning and from the deep pressure and cold of the lake. They are then free to walk about the Opal city unharmed. Until they meet the Queen.
For walking the Flaming Stair means that your soul becomes forfeit to her. Any of her spells automatically succeed against such targets. She delights in killing those who do not know her name (which is always the first question that she asks to visitors).
Those who’ve descended into the Opal City via the Flaming Stair can walk about freely as if there was no water at all. They do not breathe, but can still speak. However, they have only until sunrise to leave again (by ascending the Flaming Stairs). If they stay too long, the effects suddenly and fatally cease and they will find themselves at the bottom of a muddy, dangerously cold lake.