Yes, yes. The Sixth Realm. An odd one to be sure. This the only Realm I have seen in which the gods and goddesses take on a form other than those who worship them. While mammalian and reptilian races live as the dominant beings, they worship bugs.
Okay, that is a little inaccurate. They worship insects. Sure, some of the other Realms have deities with the heads of animals or who like to take animal form. Those who live in the Realm of Insects, however, see them as the ultimate species and their gods are their pinnacle.
Going into that world a visitor must be careful. The races are generally envious of the small creatures and look down upon non-insect limitations. It does a member of Farsight well to be especially aware of the mindset. It doesn’t always come up, but when it does, misunderstanding only begins to describe what happens.
A World In Envy
The world of Shai’raxys is one of envy. Not of each other, not of other countries, not of other businesses. Those exist of course, these are present in all the Realms. But in the Realm of Insects the people hold one envy above all others. They are envious of the insects below and the gods above, for on Shai’raxys these are one in the same.
As such insects are treated with the utmost respect and can be found in every corner of the world. There is a balance that is held between respect and envy, however. You see, the people of this world worship insect gods but get everything they need from living insects. To kill an insect is, in some cases, punishable by death.
Yet, those same societies make cloth from their silk and eat their flesh. As such, each race and each kingdom have their own prejudices and assumptions with some insects higher on the hierarchy of respect than others.
From what is known about the Realm of Insects, the deities there are primarily insectoid. In their natural forms they are often depicted as gigantic and exceptional individuals of the species. Ritualistically, these beings are represented as humanoid only so far as they stand up on two legs. Chiton, mandibles, wings, and antennae all still appear.
For the most part, though, the people of Shai’raxys depict their gods in closer form to themselves. These are a smooth-skinned being with fingers, toes, hair, and average eyes. From their backs still sprout wings and an extra set of arms erupt from their torso. In their desire to connect to their gods the forms are a beautified hybrid of themselves and those they worship.
Shai’raxys is one that few people who are not raised there can handle. Insects cover the artwork, the buildings, and decorations. The gods themselves are insects and the people wish they were. Everywhere you turn are insects or symbols to them. Items you wear are made of insect silk. The pets you love are large insects. Even the meat comes from giant insects.
If this was not too much, you need only open your eyes in any city to see dozens of insects doing work and living amongst the races. Cages with crickets. Giant beetles pull wagons through the streets. Guards patrol the skies on the back of giant dragonflies. Construction sites are aided by giant ants. No matter where the eye is turned insects can be found.
It is believed that the ruins dotting the world once belonged to gods and angels before they ascended to the heavens. Vast Imperial Nests used to span the countryside and among them are great treasures and history untold. Their the ancient insectoid people of Shai’raxys lived, worked, and thrived. Now adventurers seek treasure and answers among their ruin.
Throughout the forests are cities of petrified honeycomb. Below the ground are countless ant tunnels; wild mushroom forests growing where there were once agricultural centers and farmland. Lone mountains amidst plains of grass hold the treasure hordes of the termites. No matter where you go, hiding amidst the mundane are gigantic versions of insect abodes, where the gods once dwelt.
Sea Of Mistrust
Another, remarkable, thing about Shai’raxys are the lack of port cities and ships. The oceans and seas of the world are given wide berth by the general populace. That is a place where insects cannot live like they can inland. There are no giant species there and little knowledge of sea travel. It is a place for cultists and hermits.
The seashore is also the outlands of the ten-legs. Crab people and shrimp-folk have outposts their, searching for land creatures to hunt and eat. Giagantic shelled monsters roam at low tide, seeking those which have gotten stuck in the sun. They are capable of speed on land and in water. The sea and its inhabitants are something to be feared and mistrusted. In fact, the evil gods of Shai’raxys tend to be or have aspects relating to ocean life.
A Beachhead To The Beyond
While the people of Shai’raxys are lucky enough to live upon one of the biggest landmasses in existence, this only leaves room for danger. Out of steamy jungles and vast deserts come creatures unfamiliar to most. With legs, eyes, and other features akin to the gods, these beings are treated with trust and respect. The result is often devastating and denied.
Unbeknownst to the people of the Sixth Realm, these are beings of the Beyond. Whether they reside there, come from it, or touch it in dark rituals does not matter. Their purpose must be nefarious and it is likely that there is growing instability on Shai’raxys. While they reside in the hidden corners of the world, they will eventually spread the touch of the Beyond throughout that world.