Guildverse Lore Post Two: The Geography of the Matoran Universe

Ahoy all! I’m taking a bit of a break from writing the next part of The Mountain to bring you all another Guildverse Lore Post. Last time I described the Underplane, a realm of suffering where evil souls atone for their misdeeds after death. This time, I have a bit more of a lighthearted topic: Maps! For this post, I’ll discuss the Matoran Universe/Great Spirit Robot, while in a future post I’ll share the geography of Spherus Magna (post-Reformation).

As is usual with these posts, I will write them from the perspective of Lord Atlan.

The Geography of the Matoran Universe

For ten thousand years*, I had called the Matoran Universe home. We all did, every Matoran, Rahi, Skakdi, and Steltian. No one, save for perhaps Teridax and Tren Krom, knew the truth - our world was the inner workings of a colossal robot nearly the size of a planet. By the time we had realized that fact, it was too late. We were forced to evacuate our home or risk extinction.

I can count myself among the few who have traveled across the entire Matoran Universe. I have mapped its islands, explored its continents, and crossed its seas. Of course, there were some locations (such as Daxia, Destral, and the legendary Artakha) that I was only able to discover the whereabouts of after the Great Spirit Robot had fallen.

I present two copies of the map below. The first strictly identifies the land masses, while the second goes into greater detail, describing regions and landmarks. Along with the maps, I will provide a more detailed description of the locations on them, which I had written only a few years prior to the Destiny War.

*(Author’s note, I’ve shortened the timespan from 100,000 years to 10,000 years because that’s slightly less ludicrous)

There is so much to say about the Matoran Universe that it would be doing my homeland a disservice to summarize it. Nevertheless, I will attempt to do so.

The City of Legends, Metru Nui, lies at the northernmost edge of the map. This is the “ancestral homeland” of the Matoran, in a manner of speaking. For certain, it is the densest population center anywhere in the Universe, with nearly one million Matoran calling the island home. The city is surrounded to its south by the Sea Gates, three humongous passageways that connected the Silver Sea to the rest of the Universe. Following Makuta Teridax’s impersonation of the venerable Turaga Dume, these Sea Gates were closed, completely isolating the city. The only way to leave Metru Nui at that point was to brave the complex, danger-ridden tunnels beneath it. Alas, the city was completely ruined in the wake of the Great Cataclysm.

South of Metru Nui lies the island of Karzahni, named for its great and terrible ruler. Much of the island is completely uninhabited; a barren wasteland meant to dissuade travelers from passing through. In fact, a number of barriers were put in place to forcibly prevent certain individuals from crossing. A circle of mountains stand in the island’s southeastern region, forming the Valley of Karzahni. It is here that Artakha’s failure of a brother called home. The Valley is a place where the rules of logic did not apply. Silence is quite literally deafening, while freezing lightning causes thunderclaps that are little louder than a pleasant breeze. In these conditions, hundreds - perhaps thousands - of poor, unfortunate Matoran are forced to toil away for what must have felt like eternity, all victims of Karzahni’s cruel “repairs”.

Continuing south, we find the island of Zakaz. This is the homeland of the Skakdi. In days long past, it was a picturesque and tropical paradise. Once the Civil War erupted, it became a wasteland equivalent to northern Karzahni. Life there became a constant battle, and no one was safe. All the island’s natural beauty; its icy mountains, its lush jungles, its central lake - all were tainted or outright destroyed by the war. If it wasn’t for the Skakdi’s natural resiliency, I doubt even they would have survived on that island.

For all of Zakaz’s faults, there is no place in the Universe more repugnant than Xia. If given the choice between living in Xia for a century or Zakaz for a millennium, I would opt for the latter. Xia is a paradise of pollution, with factories in place of forests and rivers flowing with sludge instead of water. The center of Xia is home to a bizarre phenomenon, which I would love to study were it not located in Xia’s industrial heartland. Yes, I am referring to the famed living Mountain. The Mountain was not always there, but ever since it appeared it has been woven into Vortixx society and culture. Interestingly, it seems to still be growing - perhaps one day it will engulf the entire island.

Note: I wonder what has become of the Mountain in the years since the Reformation. I suspect, without a steady stream of sacrifices, it will have died, though I cannot say for certain without going on a proper expedition.

If Xia is the diseased heart of industry in the Matoran Universe, Stelt is the diseased heart of commerce. Anything a person wants can be found in its marketplaces. Stelt’s many ports service hundreds of ships each day, from merchants to pirates to adventurers. The coastal towns are generally pleasant, provided you stay clear of alleys and slums. Indeed, I often find myself staying at Steltian inns when preparing for new voyages. The further inland one ventures, though, the worse the towns become. Casinos, bars, and fighting pits all grow more and more common. The last of these, the fighting pits, are considered the pride and joy of Stelt. Yes, stories of the barbaric fighting pits are known far and wide. The practice is detestable, but unfortunately pit fighting is ingrained in Steltian culture.

If we continue past Karakas and Mtauta, both islands that fell into obscurity and relative unimportance following the League of Six Kingdoms’ collapse, we will find Odina. The northern half of the island looks apocalyptic, filled with ruins from the island’s original society. Yes, in days long past, Odina was home to a proper civilization. Everything changed when the vile Shadowed One and his mercenary guild took over and forced the indigenous population out. In the time since, the southern portion of the isle has been transformed into a giant fortress. The region’s natural cliffs and valleys make it very defensible, and certainly the Shadowed One has not let its harsh relief go to waste.

There are only three islands of note directly south of Odina: Rezek, Nynrah, and Visorak. The first and last have both been completely devastated by the Visorak hordes (named for the island they were spawned from). Nynrah was spared from those insidious spiders thanks to the presence of the Nynrah Ghosts, a guild of craftsmen who excel at designing weapons and armor. The island of Nynrah is similar to Xia, but its urban sprawl is more restrained. I can visit the island without being completely revolted, though I still cannot stay there long.

Let us travel back to the central Matoran Universe. Here, the two largest land masses can be found, creatively named the Northern and Southern Continents. The Northern Continent is the smaller of the two, and is home to three particularly noteworthy locations. The first of these is the Okoto Jungle, by far the most biodiverse region in the entire Universe. I find new creatures and plants every time I travel through it. Truly, there is nowhere more beautiful than the Okoto Jungle (ashore, that is). Standing tall amid the jungle is the lonely Mount Volinus, housing the legendary city of High Vanu deep within it. Supposedly, the city is filled with riches the likes of which none have ever seen, and although countless armies and adventurers alike have tried to invade it, High Vanu has always managed to repel attackers. The last area of interest is the Tren Krom Peninsula, a blighted land plagued by shadows. Terrible Rahi prowl the hills and a strange, parasitic fungus has consumed all the plant matter in the region. The Matoran here live in constant fear under the cruel “protection” of Makuta Gorast. To my knowledge, only one Toa has ever been known to operate in this area… and his story is not one that ended well.

The Southern Continent, as one may expect, is found below the Northern Continent. It is dominated by woodland, with two regions which are notable exceptions. The first is the Bara-Poro Desert, the largest desert in the Matoran Universe. Only once has rain ever been recorded there, and yet Matoran and other species still call this place home. I suspect the only reason they have managed to eke out any form of life is the existence of large, underground aquifers. The second region is the appropriately-named Southern Highlands. This is an extremely mountainous area, where thick forests give way to frigid and snowy tundra. Much like the Bara-Poro, the Southern Highlands are somehow inhabited by Matoran, proving once more that they are the hardiest folk around. The tallest mountain in the region is also the tallest mountain in the Universe: Mount Unukkut. I have summited it once, and it was among the most harrowing expeditions I’ve undertaken. Aside from the Bara-Poro and the Highlands, the Southern Continent also features Boga Nui, a vast swampland, Rota Nui, a lake so large it behaves as though it were a sea, and the Tren Krom River, the longest and widest river found anywhere in the Universe.

To the west of the Continents we find another chain of islands. None are particularly large, though in the past the Isle of Kraken was one of the capitals of the League of Six Kingdoms. The southernmost island of this chain is called Veti Loc, a phrase in High Speech roughly meaning “forbidden land.” It is here, some say, that the great Tren Krom resides. As I have never stepped foot on Veti Loc’s shores, I cannot confirm or deny this rumor, though I would not doubt it.

Finally, we have reached the Southern Islands. Once, very long ago, these islands were a tropical paradise. Shifts in the climate have turned the southernmost isles into the frozen wastelands they are today. Though every one of the Southern Islands is rich in their own cultures and histories, I cannot say that any of them have been especially influential or notable. Fai Mea, all the way in the southwest, is a possible exception, as it is the ancient home of the Shadowed One.

At last, we have come to the end! Or, perhaps not? You may have heard tell of the World that Feeds the World, an enormous cavern hidden deep beneath the Universe’s central region. I can confirm this realm exists, though its entryways are well-disguised. I would not recommend you visit without some sort of machine or mask that will allow you to fly, as there does not appear to be a floor. Nor is there any form of life that will greet you; during my expedition I found little beyond fog and massive stalactites. There are not even any Matoran who call this place home.

Note: Following the Reformation, I learned this assessment could not be more wrong. Matoran of Light called the stalactites home, and there are many creatures who lived in a great swamp at the cavern’s bottom.

With Karda Nui, we have truly reached the end of this atlas. Farewell, reader, and go forth armed with your new knowledge of the Universe’s geography!


always cool to see maps and geography!