Land of Progressive Metal
Above the Wörld of Metal there is a blue sky, often obscured by dark clouds, but otherwise unremarkable - or so they believe, who lack the eyes to see its true nature. For the sky is filled with dreams and dream-images, floating up from the sleeping denizens of the wörld, intermingling in strange patterns, dissipating into yet higher dimensions. The precise nature of the Dreamsky depends on where one is exploring it: the people of Fyrotherre dream blood and conquest, the dreams of the Svetsmelt are dark and gentle, and the sky above Elf Peak is weirdly, terrifyingly absent of any dreams at all.
The Dreamsky is not merely a reflection of the lower world, for the astral currents carry images back and forth, mixing them together in bizarre ways. Travellers to this realm usually come in the form of astrally projected souls, and are thus also beholden to the currents. Learning to operate by dream logic is crucial to survival here. The dangers of the Dreamsky are sometimes obvious - the ravening nightmare horrors that sweep through on shivering steeds - and sometimes subtle - the gentle lilting of the dreamsong that beckons the sleeper to dissolve themselves into the dream, never to return to the mortal world. And far out at the top of the Dreamsky there lies the Great Dark, where nameless eldritch things gibber and twist, locked in the throes of inhuman madness. It is said that these things are merely the dreams of another entity, older and deeper than humans can possibly imagine.
Progressive Metal is a substance that forms when banks of raw dream-protein build up and coalesce into a solid mirror, glistening with all the colours of the rainbow. When an image is reflected in the mirror, one can step through it to 'make progress' toward whatever is reflected. For example, reflecting a mountain might allow one to step through to instantly reach the mountain's peak. However, the destination is somewhat erratic: it is also possible to step into another person's mind, or be shrunk down to fit into a small space, or any number of other things. It is always best to approach the mirror from the side, so as not to see one's own reflection, for those who step inside themselves are never seen again.
Land of Black Metal
Deep beneath the earth, there is a globe-spanning cavern filled with flames and howling spirits. This is Metal Hell, where the damned and forsaken are tortured for all eternity, and where the devils dwell when they are not being summoned to the wörld above. Metal Hell is divided into eleven circles - the first nine are similar to those described in Dante's Inferno, but the last two are even more brutal. The ruler of this realm is Satan, to whom all Satanists on the earth pay homage, and who is the sworn enemy of Kristhall and the Crucified God.
The easiest way to get to Metal Hell is simply by dying. Those who have lived an evil life give up their souls to the Prince of Darkness when they die, and since this is the Wörld of Metal, almost everyone lives an evil life. There are various ways to escape this fate: the Satanists hope to become devils after death, so that they will be the ones shovelling the coals rather than the ones roasting. The followers of the Crucified God believe that they will return to his Eternal Kingdom beyond the veil of sleep. Still others are rumoured to have travelled into the Dreamsky when they died, or become one with the land in the Svetsmelt.
Adventurers, however, may be more interested in travelling to Metal Hell in the flesh. There are various tunnels that lead through the earth's crust and into Hell, the most well-known of which is the Long Stair beneath the demon-worshipping city of Sathanas. The dead do not welcome the living in their realm, but the treasures of Hell are many for those with the courage and skill to take them. Chief amongst these is Black Metal, a jet-black ore of incredible hardness, which can only be forged in the fires of Hell's darkest fissures. Once the metal is cooled, no known force in the wörld can break it. In ages past, Sathanas received Black Metal regularly as a reward from Satan, but this has since come to an end and the metal has become increasingly rare in the world above.
Sounds like: Burzum, Satyricon, Mayhem.
Next on Wörld of Metal Gazetteer: Races of the Wörld.