Karta, known to outsiders as the Dark Kingdom of Clay, is the realm in the Tempest that belongs to the aboriginal people of Australia.


Karta appears as an isolated desert island floating in the Tempest, its landscape one of plains of red earth and rock marked with steep-sided crevices, or caves. The heat of the land never relents, and bones of the forgotten dead litter the plains.

Australia's Shadowlands, meanwhile, remain much as they always have, even with the presence of later settlers. The vast majority of the terrain is barren and desolate, with dead trees, rocky deserts, and dusty fields making up most of the land. Maelstroms here generally appear as clouds of red dust, choking bushfire smoke, and gigantic swarms of flies of veritable plague proportions.

Karta and the Australian Shadowlands are separated from the other Dark Kingdoms by the Tempest, with the few Byways that lead to Karta being unreliable and untrustworthy. The Tempest itself is particularly dangerous around Australia. A black mass of clouds, it is extremely volatile and hazardous to wraiths. Navigation through it is nearly impossible, effectively cutting Australia off from the rest of the Shadowlands.


Australia's wraiths fall into two groups, with aboriginal wraiths generally residing in Karta, and wraiths of later settlers dwelling in the Shadowlands cities. The aborigines typically avoid the cities, preferring to leave them to the settlers.

Historically, only the wraiths of aboriginal infants or elders came to Karta; since the coming of the settlers, the disruption of the aborigines' ways of life, and the consequent unnatural deaths, has resulted in aborigines of all ages ending up there instead.

The most famous group among the wraiths of Karta is the Children of Kurulba, a cluster of aboriginals who were rule-breakers in life, and remain so in death, exploiting and enslaving their fellow wraiths. They seek an alliance with the Hierarchy in order to gain control of Karta.

The Hierarchy, Heretics, and Renegades can all be found in the Australian Shadowlands. Thanks to the great difficulty of travelling to the Australian Underworld, the Hierarchy is weak here, controlling only the ghost cities of the Shadowlands.


European settlementsEdit

Within the settlements, many of the European settlers maintain the old ways from when they first settled the country. Regency and Victorian styles of dress and etiquette strongly affect the society of these places. However, the past fifty years have brought immigrants from other places, and many of these wraiths have begun to challenge the old ways of these cities.


Dreamtime is the true realm of the spirit, seen by the aborigines as both a place and a state of mind, analogous to what the wraiths of the west call Transcendence. Many aboriginals view the Shadowlands as a sign that their ties to the living are too strong. In order to achieve Dreamtime, many aboriginal wraiths leave their old homes and lives behind, seeing them as a distraction on their way to their true home. They seek to resolve Fetters and such in the Outback of Australia, away from everything. Even the living aboriginals do not speak the names of the recently deceased to keep from drawing their focus away from Dreamtime.

Even though their issues must be resolved, the elders of the aboriginals believe to interfere with the living is to keep them from achieving their true aims; therefore, meddling with the Quick is forbidden among the aboriginals. Many ignore this policy and do so anyway, hoping that passing on information to a family member or revenging their murder will help them in their quest.


Wraiths who were among the European settlers or are descended from the European settlers have a disturbing quality to their Shadows that other Stygian wraiths lack. Because of the atrocities they or their ancestors inflicted on the aboriginal people of Australia, all of their Shadows are connected in a hive-mind similar to Spectres; the task of the link is to inflict a collective feeling of guilt and shame on these wraiths in service to the black cloud of the Tempest.

The Tempest around Australia is a reflection of the guilt that should be felt by the newcomers. Everytime a European wraith succumbs to feelings of genuine remorse for what they or their families did to the aboriginals, the black cloud shrinks ever so slightly. Eventually, the Shadows hope, it will disappear and the debt that the settlers owe to the aboriginals will be truly paid off. What will happen when the cloud disappears is unknown; it is theorized that the aboriginals will forgive the settlers and allow them access to Dreamtime. Others think that it will make Karta more accessible to other wraiths, and fear that Stygia will invade and add the continent to their sprawling lands. Still others believe the cloud will never disappear, and that the crimes committed by the settlers are too great to ever be repaid to the aboriginals.

While it might seem strange that the Shadow collective is dedicated to the eradication of the very thing that connects them, they perform its will anyway. Some Shadows are effective servants of Oblivion anyway, as capable of bringing down their Psyche as much as serving the will of the black cloud.

The Shadows of the aboriginals are, on the other hand, a complete mystery, as the aboriginals rarely interact with the settlers. Some believe the Shadow manifests externally and meets with its Psyche from time to time to cooperate on a common goal.

The Shadows of wraiths with backgrounds in other Dark Kingdoms, like those from Australia's increasing Asian population, do not operate on the system the Western settlers set in motion; they can usually be best understood in the context of their originating Kingdom.


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