The Light World

No single person has ever managed to discern just how far the world goes, let alone its shape. Most inhabitants of Hyrule do not even consider questions like 'what shape is the world' or 'how big is the world.' Hyrule is all they need to know, all they have ever known, and all that has ever mattered. It is known however, that before the Great Cataclysm Hyrule was much closer to, and even connected to some of its island-continent neighbors of Labrynna, Holodrum, Calatia, and Gamelon.

Nevertheless, most scholars believe Hyrule and every other island-continent reside atop a massive worldmass floating amidst vast nothingness, surrounded by an enormous sphere in which the stars dance to proclaim the future and the Sun and Moon both orbit to control night and day. At the furthest reaches the seas simply fall over the edge in titanic waterfalls. …What's outside the sphere, you ask? Why would anything be outside the sphere?

… amazingly, these scholars are actually correct. However, many lands remain unexplored, having been cut off from Hyrulean civilization for ages and ages. Who can say just what might be found there?

The Kingdom of Hyrule

The island-continent of Hyrule is undoubtedly the largest off the known landmasses, totaling about 75,000 square miles spread across a rough circular shape (that is, approximately 300 miles in each direction - about ten days' travel by horseback from one side to the other assuming no problems or detours.) Approximately 1/3 of that land simply isn't suitable for habitation by all but the hardiest races - the Gerudo Desert, the mountainous Snowpeaks that cut off access to the northwest coast, the forsaken land of Ikana nestled south of said mountains, the rocky and often volcanic highlands of northwest Eldin Province, and of course the completely untamable Lost Woods chief among those. While much of it is open expanses, Hyrule is peppered with mountains and other natural chokepoints that funnel travel in fairly predictable directions.


With a general population of about 40 people per square mile, Hyrule's general population is about 2,000,000 people, not counting the large variety of uncivil 'savage' races. Of these, about 70 percent are Humans, with the rest fairly balanced between the rest of the races. Most settlements are human, with the rare non-human inhabitant here and there.

It bears noting that even damaged by the Great Cataclysm, Hyrule's a fertile and defensible land that could easily support two or three times that many people without the slightest trouble. Populations, however, take time to recover…

Hyrule Castle and Castle Town

At the rough center of the land stands Hyrule Castle and its market town, the economical and governmental capital of the Kingdom where the Royal Family resides and rules. Though sometimes considered part of Lanayru Province geographically, it is legally quite separate. Hyrule Market is a bustling city that retains much of the ancient splendor of Ancient Hyrule, as many of its buildings remain from before the Great Cataclysm. All manner of ancient engineering provides the region with clean, running water and waste treatment, and the standard of living is quite high. Travelers and merchants from all over come here to peddle their wares, and it is the home of the Adventurer's Guild and the center of administration for most of Hyrule's business.

Hyrule Castle sits in the middle of a moat branching off of Zora's River, accessible from a grand bridge in the north of Market town. Its ancient stone towers reach high into the skies, and powerful enchantments safeguard its walls from destruction and the elements. It is situated atop one of the largest Force Springs in the land, from whence it draws the power to maintain these enchantments. The structure has withstood war and time, and is the last known remaining fully intact example of Ancient Hylian engineering and comforts. It is never too hot or cold inside, the air is always fresh and crisp and dust does not seem to settle anywhere within. Much of it remains thoroughly livable, and while the foundations are sound its several basements and sewers are in terrible shape, and secret chambers and passages are hardly unheard of.

The vast courtyard surrounding the castle's keep is the heart of the nation's military. The Knights of Hyrule, though far diminished from their previous numbers, maintain a mighty training grounds here. A cemetery for the honored Knights resides in one of the furthest corners. Some say the hero of the Imprisoning War was entombed here… but none know for sure. Also of note is the aerie-dormitory combo used by the few dozen every generation who end up among the ranks of the Loftwing Knights. This building seems to predate Hyrule Castle itself, yet has been maintained spectacularly.

Faron Province

Faron Province, a region clear south of Hyrule Castle Town, is the breadbasket much of Hyrule depends on. Composed of the greatest expanses of open farmland, it supports agriculture of all varieties in abundance - even if that abundance is far less than it was before the Great Cataclysm. Flat plains make for excellent farmland, and gently rolling hills fine grazing territory. Greenery can be found here in abundance, though here the flora is not always tame and ripe for the picking.

Amidst the rolling plains one can find the famous Lon Lon Ranch owned by Talon and his daughter Malon. Famous for its milk exports and excellently bred horses, it has been a fixture there for a long time, and must deal with many competitors in the area.

Several winding passes through the mountains lead to Eldin and Lanayru provinces to the Northeast and Northwest, respectively, and paths to the southwest lead to Seaside Province… but the further south one goes the denser the growth becomes. Villages here must compete with the foliage, and some choose to instead build within the trees and perform little clearing where hunting and gathering is more profitable. These woodlands are a breeding grounds for Moblins and Deku Baba, however, so few leave themselves so open.

Tributaries of the Zora's river wind through sections of the forest after leaving the rocky rapids and waterfalls that make up the Veil Falls highlands, and where drainage is poor the Castor Wilds of the southeast reign supreme. These swampy marshlands are a breeding grounds for many foul creatures and rife with disease for the unwary. The Deku Scrubs, who can easily avoid the dangerous flora and fauna, have their home here, with their biggest settlement centered around the Deku Palace of their ruling royalty. Deep in the heart of the wilds one can find Woodfall, a half-submerged temple constructed long ago. Tucked in the south side of the Castor Wilds are the old and crumbling ruins of a city left behind by the Wind Tribe, who disappeared from the surface long ago.

Across a great ravine spanned only by a grand suspension bridge of modern making is Ordon Village, the last bastion of civilization before one reaches the Kokiri Forest, the one and only safe region of the vast and unmapped sea of trees known by most as the Lost Woods. This forest spreads all the way to the coast, and proves an impenetrable barrier to any who'd seek passage through its deepest and darkest regions. Those who venture too deep are rarely seen again, and rumor has it all who die lost in the woods are cursed to wander it forevermore until their bodies rot away. Still, the Woods are full of strange phenomena and many valuable plants, and plenty of folk are willing to ignore the warnings instead of bartering with the Kokiri. The Temple of Time was constructed in these woods in ancient times, but now all that remains of it beyond the crumbling walls are a curious gate leading to nowhere… and a clearing where the Blade of Evil's Bane rests in its pedestal.

Lanayru Province

Lanayru Province's territories extend north of Hyrule Castle, beginning at the mountainous northern border of Hyrule. Zora's Fountain lays nestled in a mountain plateau and flows through the royal capital of the Ocean Zora, Zora's Domain. These fresh waters are the origin of the mighty Zora's River. The waters permeate a vast cave system where the Zora reside, then flows down through the mountains in a southeastly direction, splitting and rejoining several times and spreading across the land to feed the many small lakes and rivers Hyrulean civilization depends on, particularly going through Eldin and Faron provinces.

Lanayru Province stretches from Zora's domain in a southwesterly direction until it reaches the Great Bridge of Lake Hylia, one of the last remaining intact and, more importantly, USABLE remnants of Ancient Hylian engineering aside from structures in Castle Town. The aged stone spans the countless square miles of sparkling lake. More akin to an inland sea, Lake Hylia is the largest reservoir of fresh water any know of, home to wildlife of all kinds. A few islands sprout from its depths here and there, some even supporting small fishing villages. The Zora maintain a heavy presence in Lake Hylia, and deep beneath the waves one can find the submerged Water Temple.

Eldin Province

The territories of Eldin Province stretch out easterly from Hyrule Castle Town, where the ground rapidly shifts to highlands covered in grassy plains. This plateau supports a wealth of villages second in density and yield only to Faron Province's abundant farmlands. The Zora's River has several rejoining tributaries running through the area, carving out occasional canyons that have long since been bridged by impressive stoneworks and other methods. The Bridge of Eldin is the most impressive of them all, though only a fraction the size of the Great Bridge of Hylia in Lanayru Province.

Crossing this bridge to the north leads one into an extremely mountainous region thickly claimed by Moblins and Lynels. These mountain passes are quite narrow in places, and roads are suggestions at best, so what few caravans use these passes are robust and well-guarded. Very few Hyrulean villages exist here, and most have established shakey relations with the local Lynel tribes to avoid trouble.

One notable exception is Old Kakariko, a village that doesn't officially exist. Nestled into a valley where farming's possible, clean fresh water is easily accessible, and all entrances are defensible beyond measure, the Sheikah make their Hidden Village home. The entire valley is warded through powerful illusions that turn eyes away from it, diverting attention from most who stumble near. The passes beyond this are full of non-lethal traps that are checked periodically by the Sheikah.

Southeast of Eldin's grassy fields the terrain shifts quickly and drastically, becoming rocky and hilly. Hot springs dot the lands here and there, and no matter one's location there is no escaping the sight of the imposing Death Mountain, its volcanic peaks surrounded by an eternal ring of clouds. The biggest Goron clans make their home here at Goron City, a system of interconnected caverns dug directly into the mountainside.

In the valley beneath Death Mountain lies Kakariko Village, the biggest village in all of Hyrule. The locals are on great terms with the local Gorons, and so Kakariko Village is a site of much trade between Hyrule at large and the hearty and dependable rock-eaters. The abundant supply of metal makes it one of the most productive settlements in Hyrule, where many smiths ply their trade and rely on merchant caravans to sell their wares. The village has swelled in recent years, and now seeks methods to expand into a proper defensible town… though few savage races have proven brave enough to challenge a location frequented by Gorons.

Peak Province

Spanning the entire Northwest quarter of Hyrule beyond Lanayru province, Peak Province encompasses the Snowpeak Mountain Range. These grand mountains are harshly forbidding in Winter. Blizzards and avalanches are hardly unheard of. In spring and summer, about half of them thaw, allowing greenery to sprout and clearing passes for travel. The most accessible passages into the populous regions wind through Lanayru Province.

Like many places in Hyrule, where there's an abundance of easily-mined rock there's an abundance of Gorons. The Mountain Village thrives in a valley near the largest of the Snowpeaks, Snowhead. Snowhead is the site of a massive mining project joint managed by the Gorons and the other villagers.

The region is marked by incredible natural beauty during the summer months, and was one of the least hospitable yet most-traveled regions of Hyrule before the Great Cataclysm. Among other things that lay forgotten in the various vallies or buried in forgotten tunnels, travel through enough passes and one will find an old, broken-down yet strangely well-fortified old manor. Though it hardly looks it now, this was once a private retreat of Hyrule's Royal Family. Now it's the private retreat of a Yeti couple.

Desert Province

This vast desert is located just to the northwest of Lake Hylia and is mainly accessible through a valley pass that saw heavy use in the Imprisoning War. It's peppered with the now-empty lairs of savage races like Lizalfos. The last leg of the Zora's River cuts through this valley on its way to Lake Hylia, providing a natural barrier to most who'd cross into the territory now claimed by the Gerudo.

Just past the valley's natural defenses stands Gerudo Fortress, the last bastion of civilization before one reaches the great seas of sand. Scholars claim this area was once an ocean until the water level dropped and other environmental factors lead to its shift, and many signs point to this being the case. Ruins of some ancient civilization predating Hyrule's founding sometimes surface when the sands shift and blow, and the mountains that cut much of it off from the rest of Hyrule are full of mining tunnels full of rusted equipment.

The desert proper is a grand expanse of sand. Oases are far and few between, but they do exist, and they are the gathering places for most of the nomadic races that prowl these lands. Old ruins from the prior civilization serve as shelter from the day's burning heat and the night's frigid cold, and many have been repurposed from… whatever it was they once were… into fortresses and hideouts.

At the northern reaches one will eventually reach the Arbiter's Grounds, which served as a prison in the days of Ancient Hyrule. It was abandoned in the Great Cataclysm, and has been forgotten by much of Hyrule. The prison's former inhabitants and inmates now haunt the ruins, and it's universally avoided by everyone who values their lives.

The area furthest west from the Gerudo's Fortress is known as the Haunted Wasteland, distinct from the Sea of Sand by the simple fact behind its naming: the place has this horrible tendency to warp the perceptions of travelers, showing them mirages and images of events from within their heart and lead them to their doom. Crossing it is no mean task, but if one succeeds then they reach the sacred lands of the Gerudo, the Desert Colossus, home of the Spirit Temple.

The southwest corner of the desert gives way to coastline, and here stands a mighty fortress erected just prior to the Imprisoning War by Ganondorf. The Forsaken Fortress, as it has become known, is a feat of engineering approaching that of Hyrule Castle, and one of the most dangerous locations in Hyrule. Once the seat of Ganondorf Dragmire's power as he rallied his armies and waged war on Hyrule, it is now the hangout of a conglomeration of ragtag criminal elements. Gerudo pirates harbor their ships here, and many Moblin types prowl the corridors.

The Cursed Kingdom of Ikana

During the unification conflicts and confusion before the Kingdom of Hyrule was founded, the Kingdom of Ikana was one of several nations that stood on its own. Nestled in a temperate and fertile valley opposite the range encircling the Gerudo Desert, accessible through a mountain pass from Lanayru Province, it enjoyed considerable security and prosperity in those times. Its people were constantly troubled, however, by the less fortunate. A tribe ffom over the mountains coveted Ikana's security and fertility, and proved to be an endless cause of strife and toil. The constant fighting turned the Kingdom's people into fierce militants who zealously patrolled their lands for every sign of trouble.

After Ikana allied with Hyrule, a mighty Stone Tower was erected there to safeguard Majora's Mask and the Fierce Deity's Mask. Here, the tribe of Sheikah that would eventually become known as the Dark Interlopers attempted to wrest control of the Sacred Realm and Triforce away from the Royal Family and the Great Spirits… and failed spectacularly. A wave of ruin flowed from the Stone Tower, poisoning the land with Dark Magic that twisted death itself. It was as though a great and frigid wind had blown across all of Ikana, snuffing out each tiny candle of life like it was nothing. Everyone and everything, flora and fauna alike, died… and few of its inhabitants seemed to notice.

Ikana is an arid wasteland full of haunted ruins. At night, when the power of Dark Magic is strongest, the decayed remains of its former inhabitants stalk the land, and they do not always rest by day. Unlike many victims of necromantic animation they are almost all capable of conversation… and often quite insane. These unfortunate undead are thoroughly irrational, and attacks on the living foolish enough to venture here are all but guaranteed. The people of Ikana continue to fight for the future of their people, waging a meaningless war against the bloodthirsty spirits of their bitter enemies. Cut off from lifegiving Force and poisoned by Dark Magic, the nation's once-fertile lands have been rendered completely barren - not even the hardiest plants grow there.

In short, nobody goes there anymore.

Seaside Province

Hyrule's biggest, most accessible coastland happens to be its southwestern borders. While much of Hyrule is cut off from easy sea access by mountains, forests, deserts, and other terrain that's simply impractical to handle mass transport, pathways through Faron Province bring a traveler to a sprawling coastland. The climate here ranges from tropical in the summer to chilly or temperate in the winter, and it never snows there. Land comes in all mixtures of rocky, sandy, and arable, and those right on the coast have endless beaches to enjoy… and be wary of.

Hyrule's premiere port town is Windfall, located on the northern reaches - appropriately termed the Great Bay. Much of the town sits atop rocky cliffs, but gentle slopes bring one to the lower - and somewhat poorer - regions. The location is prime real estate because of the natural harbor the land forms, making it the one and only real way in and out of Hyrule by sea. All travelers going to or from the other island-continents have little choice but to come to Windfall, making it a rich nexus of trade in foreign goods and thus any merchant's dream.

Off the coast of Windfall is a rocky island claimed by the Ocean Zora - the Zora Hall. Though quite useless to anyone else, the cave system accessible underwater has been hollowed out and turned into a sprawling center of Zora civilization.

The Seaside lands face constant harassment at the hands of the Gerudo, many of whom have taken to the pirate's life with great zeal. Hyrule has yet to rebuild the vast navy it supported before the Imprisoning War, leaving much of its shipping ripe for the pickings.

The Cloud Tops

Most in Hyrule would be more than a little surprised to learn that the long-lost Wind Tribe departed the surface for the clouds after recreating the same mastery of the wind and sky that kept the divine island of Skyloft afloat. High, high, high up in the skies, some cloudy zones are in fact solid enough to walk on through permutations of these magics, and there the Wind Tribe were able to create the City in the Sky, a great complex held aloft by now-ancient magics. The City in the Sky suffered heavy damage in the Great Cataclysm, and while the Wind Tribe's constant repair attempts have kept it aloft, a monster infestation prevents them from making considerable headway in re-settling it.

The Great Sea

When one hears Great Sea, it refers to ALL of the oceans, though in Hyrule it tends to refer to the oceans just off the coast of Windfall leading to the nearest other island-continents.

Off the shores, past Zora's Hall, an abandoned… installation of some variety fights valiantly against the ocean waves. Fashioned in a manner simple to the greater Temples, it's full of waterworks machinery on a truly grand scale. Waterwheels turn massive shafts that power a host of gear-powered machinery of lifts, pumps, presses, and other assorted gadgetry that serves simply to bring in Oceanwater and spew it out in fancy ways. What purpose it serves isn't clear, but the troublingly bizzarre structure's become a nesting ground for all kinds of unsavory creatures. People don't go there.

Dozens of small islands, some inhabited and others not, dot the Great Sea. The one most traveled to from Hyrule is Dragon Roost, home of the Rito and their patron deity Valoo. Dragon Roost Island is a volcanic island that rises grandly from the ocean, its peak proud and steep. There's plenty of space and shoreline, but little arable land.

Another noteworthy find is Crescent Island, home of the reptilian Tokay.

The Great Sea is a dangerous, wild place where strange creatures lurk beneath the waves, pirates prowl, and mysterious currents lead ships to undiscovered lands. Many mysteries remain out there to be found, not all of them friendly. Beyond known safe routes, charts are wildly inaccurate… who knows just what's out there?


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The Dark World

Inextricably linked to the Light World like two sides of a coin, the Dark World is what remains of the Sacred Realm. Equal in size and similar in geography to the World of Light, it is extravagantly more perilous. Food is scarce, most inhabitants are creatures and people who've been warped by its pervading magics into forms that reflect the darkest parts of their hearts. (For more information, see the article on the Dark World earlier.)

Weather here is not pleasant. Though snow, sleet, and rain are all as common as they are in the Light World, there's been times when it's rained… other things. Fish bones, volcanic ash, and acid for example.

Hyrule Castle Town - The Pyramid of Power

A steep, massive, tetragonal ziggurat formed of nigh-impermeable golden stone mirrors Hyrule Castle, encompassing not only the castle but the entire castle town. The structure towers over everything but the mountains, and is visible from most places in this dark and twisted version of Hyrule. Before the Imprisoning War, the Pyramid of Power (as it is called by many Dark World residents) was the Temple of Light where the Triforce was enshrined for safekeeping.

Ganon has converted the ancient temple into a nearly unassailable fortress… primarily through the simple fact that it has no known entrances whatsoever.

Faron Province - The Drowned Lowlands and the Skeleton Forest

Eternally dead grass covers the rolling plains south of the Pyramid of Power. The remains of villages that never were dot the landscape. Few of these dwellings are inhabited by anything intelligent, and those that are rarely understand pleasantries. Here the little monsters hide from the big ones, and assault anything that looks weaker than they are for whatever advantages they can wrangle.

Like its Light World counterpart, the Ill Omen River's tributaries filter through the lands, and where drainage is poor it becomes marshy. Though not as wet as its mirror, the area's often flooded and puddles don't always evaporate. Ruins of all kinds fill the Castor Wild-analogue regions, and what plants aren't simply dead husks don't seem healthy on a glance, for all they thrive here in their own way.

Where the Lost Woods stand in the Light World, the forbidding forest is represented by a forest of bone. Dead trees are more common than their living neighbors in this vast expanse of almost barren but thickly-covered wasteland. The bones of impossibly large creatures litter the expanse. In some places the bones outnumber the trees… and in other places the trees are MADE of bone.

Lanayru Province - The Frozen Wastes and the Icebound Loch

Where Lanayru Province exists in the World of Light, the Dark World sports an expanse of land trapped in permafrost. Temperatures plummet inhospitably the closer one gets to the reflection of Lake Hylia… the Icebound Loch. Here

Eldin Province - The Village of Outcasts and Death Mountain

Eldin Province's rocky highlands are barren and almost completely lifeless in the Dark World, and the area reeks of sulfur from the volcanic activity that's overtaken the region. The closer to Death Mountain one gets, the more intense it is. Still, in the shadow of Death Mountain, a village thrives… if it could be called that.

The Village of Outcasts is a ramshackle assortment of rundown huts, shacks, and what are sometimes recognizable as the remains of wooden houses. Very few are still habitable, but in those the population of this forsaken place ekes out a living on mosses, strange grubs, and other odd edibles that can be foraged from the area. The inhabitants aren't especially friendly to each other, let alone visitors. In fact they often raid one another when food is scarce. All in all, they only live as neighbors so they may mount better defenses against the infinite supply of monsters prowling the Dark World's plains. Such monster raids are the main reason the village is in such a state, and the inhabitants have often had to resort to hunkering down in their last line of defense - a subterranean fortress with many hidden entrances.

Steep canyon walls block off all casual access to Death Mountain. There are no caves, no passes. The mountain is extremely volcanic and forces seem to almost actively hunt down attempts to tame a path to its peak. Minor eruptions that spew ash and small rains of heated rock and debris everywhere are common, and the terrain is utterly inhospitable, an expanse of igneous rocks like obsidian and basalt. The King of Evil, Ganon, constructed a tower near the peaks through some means long ago, though why is anyone's guess.

Peak Province - The Ashpeaks

Where snow covers the mountain range of the Light World, a constant deluge of ashen flakes buries them in the Dark World. Where settlements exist in the Light World, one can only find ruins here.

Desert Province - The Sinister Swamp and Misery Mire

The seas of sand in the Light World are anything but in the Dark World. Here, the Sinister Swamp stretches as far as the eye can see, a place of eternal rot and decay. The putrid waters are as toxic as the many hundreds of filthy creatures living in them. The flora and fauna here are almost universally monstrous and poisonous. Unique among the Dark World, the place absolute teems with life. It's bloated and bursting at the seams with life.

All of that life is entirely useless to everyone else in the Dark World though.

The Cursed Kingdom of Ikana

Inexplicably, Ikana is not twisted or mirrored in the Dark World - it is simply THERE. The wasteland and all of its structures are reproduced entirely as if the place had decayed even further. The Stone Tower, however, is not there: there's simply a very large, unfathomably deep hole in the ground.

Seaside Province - The Salt Plains and the Hungering Gulf

Instead of endless beaches and grassy lands, the Hungering Gulf is an expanse of salt plains. Salt, salt, and more salt as far as the eye can see. It crunches underfoot, it blows stingingly in the wind to abrade skin and dig into resulting wounds. It forms jagged rock outcroppings. The red sun of the Dark World shines off the salt, causing severe eye strain. Winds are fierce here, and lightning strikes across the Salt Plains are frightfully common.

The sea is a nauseating green instead of sparkling blue, and it is nigh impossible to launch boats because of the perpetual storms just off the coast. Storms that result in lethal whirlpools, water spouts, and stranger things besides.

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