The Miasma is the name given to the dense brume that fills most of Blackmarsh. Outside of the Dawn, the Miasma is present in some regard in all regions. It is most prevalent in the Grasp and the Dread, where if one ventures off of the Black Road they will almost certainly be lost within the mist.
The Miasma is a white, odorless cloud that is often seen no more than three feet above the ground. On some days, in which the veil between the living and dead is weakened, the Miasma might rise above the height of the average person, but even then if one does not panic overly much they should be capable of breathing with relatively little difficulty.
Despite its name, the Miasma is not inherently harmful. Those attuned to magical energy may feel necromancy and negative magic infused within the cloud, but it is as though a thread woven into a greater fabric whose actual composition seems largely benign. Unless charged or accelerated, the Miasma does little more than diminish visibility.
It is not uncommon for fragments of past conversations, songs, or simple humming to come from the Miasma. Because so many lives have been trapped within it over time, it repeats various segments in their memories.
Because it has been within Blackmarsh for so long, it is often nearly deified. The marshmancers and bog witches or the day both revere it, with the former actively manipulating the substance and the latter asking of it favors. Whether or not there is any actual sentience to the Miasma itself, there are certainly entities within it that might answer a call directly.
Marshmancy is the study of bending the Miasma to one's will. As opposed to the Dark Art that bog witches practice, marshmancy by its definition requires no supplementary items to be completed: the Miasma itself is the only tool a true marshmancer will use when performing their arts.
The marshmancers first appeared during the rule of Omthar Grimm and have remained a consistent source of power in Blackmarsh, but before their appearance there were others that sought gifts from the Marsh. Of some of the more common feats displayed are:
- Marsh Sight: Seeing through the Miasma to another area coated in the mist.
- Marsh Hearing: Being able to hear a conversation that takes place in the Miasma.
- Divination: Those that have recently died may be contacted through the Miasma.
- Curative Draughts: Often curses and poisons could be removed by a marshmancer.
- Reincarnation: The Miasma may, under specific circumstances, bring a fallen person back to life. The person becomes hollowed after time though and loses all memories of who they are as their body is filled with the Miasma.
There are some that posited the bog witch ability to tell the future of a child with adequate sacrifice was also come of the Miasma, though many marshmancers deny this as the act cannot be replicated without the profane rituals that go into their clairvoyance.
Over time, the arts of Divination and Reincarnation were lost as the Black Purge specifically targetted both acts as unholy. There are few that remain alive that know the secrets to these arts.
Following the efforts of Edevyn Bayne, the Miasma's origin was discovered.
When Vagnar Grimm, the founder of the House of Grimm in Blackmarsh, sought to conquer Blackmarsh in its entirety he enlisted the assistance of an elven mage by the name of Nihl. Vagnar and his veteran soldiers proved a challenge for Kadojin, the regional troll warlord, however it was Nila's dragon cohort that turned the battle. Wherever they struck, the trolls were forced back.
Nihl and her champion drake, Sormyr, devastated the enemy until finally Kaodjin sacrificed his own men to perform a ritual. At the battle known as Drakefall, the warlord unleashed a Loa by the name of Y'hanjir. Sormyr was slain in the battle and Nihl nearly killed as well. She fled from the field then, leaving Vagnar to fight a troll enemy stronger than ever before.
At the Field of Wrath, the Grimm forces and Kadojin's remaining soldiers held their final contest. Initially, it appeared that the Grimm army might prevail, as Vagnar closed in upon Kadojin and sought to defeat him in single combat. It was then that Y'hanjir appeared though and slew all before him. Just as Vagnar prepared to killed as well, a terrific roar met his ear and from above did a black dragon far larger than any he had seen greet the dreadful serpent. With a wave of flames hot enough to melt stone, Y'hanjir was pierced and retaliated by encircling itself about the newly emerged dragon, Annihila.
Kadojin was not prepared for the dragon mother's arrival and was slain in hand-to-hand combat by Vagnar. As he fell, Annihila and Y'hanjir struck the ground and the latter exploded, shattering the leyfields within Blackmarsh. Those synpases were then filled with Annihila's blood as itw as infused with traces of the Loa.
For centuries, Blackmarsh's ley fields began to absorb the spirits of those that died, until eventually the Miasma was created. Under Omthar Grimm its potential was realized and the passive absorption became far more aggressive.
Following the discovery of what occurred, the Crown's Champions entered the leyfield and found Annihila trapped in battle with Y'hanjir. They slew the latter and freed the former, forever altering the Miasma.
The Miasma remains, but it is a slowly diminishing thing. By Edevyn Bayne's calculations unless it is improved upon in some way, it will not last another century.