A tiny village that can be crossed from the east to west in ten minutes on a cyborg horse. To the north of the village are wild plains and the ruins of what had once apparently been a testing ground for the Nobility there's a hospital to the east. The soil on the western edge of the village is fairly acidic and unusable for farming. Large boulders are scattered across the plains. An incredible change took place on the twenty-sixth day of the third month of season A ----- . A group of elderly women on a pilgrimage from the east were staying at Sedoc House, the village inn, when all twenty of them suddenly suffered heart attacks in the night and died. After the sheriff’s department wrote up a perfunctory report, they were carted off to the morgue. In the middle of the night, the janitor from the morgue rode to the sheriff’s office with bizarre news. One after another, the corpses in the morgue had gotten up, smashed through a stone wall, and begun to march off in single file toward “the red wasteland” on the village outskirts, by his account. The sheriff railed about how they’d been bitten by a Noble and grilled the janitor on what the hell he’d been doing, but the poor janitor insisted there was absolutely no way a Noble could’ve gotten near them.
At any rate, talk soon turned to forming a search team and rounding up the corpses, but just then, the caretaker from a cemetery near the sheriff’s office bolted in with a face as pale as a dead man’s. He told them that every corpse in the entire cemetery had risen from its grave. After clawing up through ten feet of heavy dirt, they reached the surface and started walking.
The sheriff asked him where they were headed. But he already knew the answer. “The red wasteland,” the cemetery caretaker replied. An urgent appeal went out, and more than thirty men responded immediately, taking up their inevitable task as residents of the Frontier. They came with sharpened stakes and spears and bows in hand, quickly proceeding toward the outskirts of the village.
They were a third of the way to their destination when the massive earthquake struck. Heaven and earth rumbled. The ground undulated like waves across fabric, rapidly pitching from side to side. You could say it was a miracle that no one in the search party was harmed. Not even the horses had been able to flee, and they’d fallen to the ground and rolled around on their sides for what’d seemed like an eternity, though it was later learned that the trembling of the earth hadn’t lasted five seconds.
Still, the sheriff and a number of other brave souls were to be lauded for the way they decided to press on less than five minutes after the great quake had passed. Driving their cyborg horses as fast as they could, they arrived at the edge of a red plain where the composition of the soil made it look like blood, and were struck by a terror that effaced all other thoughts of strangeness as they froze on their mounts—or rather, with their mounts. The red ground was missing.
What they saw was an outer ring that seemed to go on forever, dropping at a sharp angle into a great mortar-shaped depression. From the standpoint of natural phenomena, such an occurrence wasn’t inconceivable. What terrified the group was that along that vast brink—later the hole would be found to be a mile and a quarter in diameter'—there was a mob of shadowy figures. Some clad in rags, others fairly well dressed, and still others nearly completely naked, they stood peering down at the bottom of that subsidence without moving a muscle, irrespective of age or sex. There was nothing about them that had the slightest semblance of human life—they had eyes as cloudy as those of dead fish, sunken cheeks with bones laid bare, and pale shapes wriggling in holes through their chests and bellies that could only be maggots.
All of the village’s dead. “No,” the caretaker said in a flat tone. “That’s not right. They aren’t just from our village cemetery. There are too many of them.” At that point the sheriff sensed the presence of countless people behind him and heard their footsteps. “Corpses,” someone shouted. The moonlight drank up his voice.
Behind them, dead beyond numbering were coming down the highway. And although the sheriff and his men didn’t notice it, they must’ve traveled quite some distance, since each was stark white with dust from the ankles down. “What are they up to? What the hell are these things?” Ignoring the sheriff’s muttered remarks, the walking dead marched on, trudging right past the living. And then, as if they’d been given a push from behind, all the dead who stood at the brink of the mortar like depression leapt in at once. The row behind them followed suit, as did the one after that, and another, and another. Their brains assailed by rank horror and the foul stench, the entire search party passed out. They were brought back to the village by the remaining members of their group.
Also refereed to as "the red ground" A red plain where the composition of the oil makes it look like blood. Located on the outskirts of Sedoc, it's a great mortar-shaped depression a mile and a quarter in diameter. It is the destination for a parade of dead bodies that rise from the grave yards and morgues. In all, thousands of corpses from the region leap into the subsidence's thousand-foot drop for two full days. On detecting intruders, the subsistence gives off gas that acts as a smoke screen. At the bottom of the subsidence is an iron door ten feet high and ten feet wide.
A generic research facility built by the nobility in ancient times. For ten thousand years the conducted experiments on combining humans and Nobles. The weird children that were born on after another were considered failures and cast into a bottomless pit. The Sacred Ancestor over saw the facility, where he had his own special viewing room. There's a vast hall with thousands or even tens of thousands of splendid garments and a room with walls covered with weapons. In the latter, D finds a sword exactly like the one he always carries. The facility goes down around twenty miles, and stretches at least that far in every direction. At present, there's a part of the factory where the machinery is out of commission. Beneath the factory area is a vast graveyard filled with black dirt. All of the coffins unearthed by the great earthquake are more than three thousand years old. The automated repair systems the Sacred Ancestor constructed aren't functioning fully, and guard beasts that were kept there were freed by some great act of destruction, so they still roam sections of the facility. If all the power in the energy line that runs under the village of Sedoc were to be released at once, it would be enough to destroy a planet or two. The entire facility took the Sacred Ancestor just sixty days to complete.