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Hytiliaph's Mountain - Secundancepesby John Calvin
Secundancepes is the tallest of the triple peaks. Tipped in deep white snow that stretches nearly to its centre point in the wintertime, the mountain maintains a strong and majestic presence. The lower slopes are covered in pine forests while the upper slopes are treacherous with shale and other loose rocks. Secundancepes has been a home to the Fey creatures of the world since it was pushed up from the depths eons ago, though the Fey Court abandoned this place decades ago for reasons of their own. Though gone, their presence can still be felt, and many of the animals in this area may have either the half-fey or fey touched templates.
Though the Fey Court has left, a few powerful Fey have remained in the area they love so much. The mountain itself is guarded by two Fey spirits, an oread and a fossergrim, while the forest and valley below have their own protectors.
Hytiliaph created a shrine to his lost son high upon the peak in 962 AC, and shortly thereafter the elven clan, lead by Glynwyth, moved in. Although the dragon has lived in the general area for nearly 100 years, seldom did he venture to Secundancepes until after the elves settled here. The elves live mid-peak, and unless one has the ability to fly, reaching them is a difficult task. Although the elves have taken on a very militaristic bent in the last several decades, they still live in tune with nature. The structures that they build are of hewn stone intertwined with living wood.Valley Floor u | S6 S8 | | | S7 / | /---S5 S2 / | / \--S3--\ / S1----/ S4-/Mountain Layout S18 | | S17-| | S19-\ |/--S16 \ / S11 S14-S13 | | \ /-S10 S15 S12--\ / \ /--/ S9 / d
S1 - MOUNTAIN PASS
This pass leads southwest and out of the Ancepes Trigeminus valley, eventually depositing travellers in Goldleaf. It is the only land based route in or out. The pass stays open throughout the entire year, except during the most extreme winter seasons. Weather is not the main obstacle to travelling the pass however. Footing is unsure and falling rocks can be a common occurrence. Most large predators are absent, in large part due to Hytiliaph and his brood, so travellers have little to fear on that front.
Pack mules regularly carry supplies in for the Thyatian soldiers stationed at Primancepes.
S2 - VALLEY BAZAAR
Large pine trees loom protectively over this area, their thick overhead branches cutting off much of the sunlight from above and choking out the undergrowth to provide wide open spaces below. Most of the time this place is free of activity, though signs of recent activity can be seen. Several well worn paths among the undergrowth are punctuated by large cleared sections. Hoof prints, foot prints, and other markings lay in the open for any to see.
The bazaar springs to life when a Thyatian mule caravan comes over the mountain pass from Goldleaf however. Spring and summer months see the most activity, although caravans still come over the pass even during winter (though infrequently). While the mules are sent on to Primancepes to supply the troops there, many of the Thyatian merchants remain behind to barter for goods with the valley's local inhabitants. Centaurs trade furs and rare herbs for steel tools and weapons, and the Abandoned Court (see area S7) provides entertainment and offers its services to whomever will have them. On occasion the elves come down from the mountainside to trade finely crafted weapons and armour for needed supplies.
S3- CENTAUR CAMP
Several families of centaurs (CR 3 MM) have banded together and make their home in the valley of Ancepes Trigeminus. Being hunter gatherers, the centaurs spend most of their time in the mountain wilderness hunting for game or gathering edible plants. Their valley camp is a refuge for all of the families. There is always one family present at the camp, though it is rare for all of them occupy it at the same time. The camp consists of several long houses made of mud and wood, surrounding three large fire pits. Each family of centaurs claims one of the longhouses, and their belongings can be found within. Taramae, an old female centaur druid, often spends time at the camp as well, though she is not a member of any of the families that dwell there.
The centaurs are friendly with the other inhabitants of the area, especially with the satyr who dwells in the grove near their camp (see area S4). They visit with the dryads and the Abandoned Court as well, though rarely will a centaur traverse the dangerous rocky trail to visit with the elves of the mountainside. The mushroom circle is well known to all of the centaurs, but they avoid the place, not wanting to incur the wrath of the Fey. Strangers are received coldly, but those in need are not turned away. The centaurs would prefer to deal with strangers during the valley bazaar rather than in their own camp.
S4 - SATYR'S GROVE
Pipes can often be heard near the vicinity of this little grove. Krollus the satyr (CR 4 MM)can be found here when he is not visiting with the centaurs in S3 or the dryads in S6. Depending upon his mood, the music that he plays can range from melancholy to festive. A large tree stump provides Krollus with a table, and a hollow beneath a set of large boulders provides him with a place to sleep out of the rain and the cold. Krollus makes due with very little else. He enjoys food and wine, though he acquires it rarely. Krollus enjoys himself immensely during the Valley Bazaar, and usually has to sleep off the festivities for several days before regaining normalcy.
Krollus was a member of the Fey Court, before they abandoned this area. He chose to stay on and watch over the place. He still maintains limited contact with the Court and knows how to activate the mushroom circle in S5 to open a portal to the Fey Realm. The Abandoned Court distrusts Krollus for they know of his involvement with the Fey Court. Some of them are even old enough to remember serving the satyr on occasion. For his part Krollus tries to avoid the Abandoned Court. He realises that tensions run high among them and wants to minimise any confrontations.
S5 - MUSHROOM CIRCLE
Giant mushrooms encircle this sparsely forested glade. Larger trees grow at the edges, while the centre is dotted with young saplings which allow the golden rays of the sun to play across the ground. Decades ago, the Fey Realm held court here. The mushroom circle was their portal into the material plane from the Land of Fey.
After the Spike Assault, when Hytiliaph started bringing more and more mortals into the valley, the Fey began to retreat from this place. The mushroom ring still functions as a portal from this world to theirs, and they Fey still occasionally use it, though they keep their presence here hidden. Should anyone damage the mushroom circle in any way they would surely feel the wrath of vengeful Fey beings.
S6 - DRYAD TREES
At least three dryads (CR 3 MM) live in this section of the woods, though more can be found throughout Ancepes Trigeminus. The trees here are old and large, but sunlight still manages to make it through to the forest floor.
The dryads here are reclusive, like most of their kind, and can only be enticed out of their trees once they are convinced that strangers mean no harm to the forest. They converse rarely with the centaurs of the valley, but often frolic around the woods with the satyr when he comes to visit them.
Though they were members of the Fey Court, the dryads had little choice but to stay with their trees when the Court disappeared. They can be a font of information about the local area if they can be coaxed into talking about it.
S7 - ABANDONED COURT
For centuries this place was one which touched the Fey Realm. Only recently have they departed, but not all associated with the Fey were removed from this realm. Over the centuries the Fey interacted with many of the woodland creatures, including elves and centaurs. Occasionally those interactions produced offspring. A growing community of Half Fey (FF) and Fey touched (FF) sprang up around the Fey Court and serviced it.
When the ephemeral Fey left, they abandoned all those who were not of pure blood. The half fey and fey touched suddenly found that they were alone and fending for themselves. Some of them found succour with the centaurs in the valley (see area S3), and fewer still with the elves. Most of the half breeds banded together to form this small community at the mountain's base.
Feelings are mixed in the community here. Some of the fey touched are sure that their former benefactors will return one day, and wait form them. Many of these half breeds have written off the Fey and are seeking new patrons. They have sworn allegiance to Glynwyth and her elven clan. A few here foster darker emotions. They feel betrayed by the Fey, and will actively work against them if given the chance. These feelings are being manipulated by the elves in area S10.
S8 - ROCKY TRAIL
Hardly more than a game trail, this steep path leads up the mountainside. Traversing the trail is treacherous. Its many switchbacks are strewn with boulders and loose shale. Vegetation is sparse, but not non-existent. Bushes and scrub brush dominate this side of the mountain.
S9 - PIXIE GARDEN
A small mountain lake lies here, fed by a stream trickling down the mountainside. In the winter, the stream and lake freeze, but for the rest of the year the water is flowing (if a bit cold). The loose shale gives way here and is replaced by a more stable rock and healthier soil. Trees and wild flowers are abundant in this area. In the spring and summer flying insects busily visit each flower around the lake, gathering up nectar and pollen for the winter months.
Several pixies (CR4 MM) have adopted this place as their own. Encouraged to settle here by the elves, the pixies spend most of their efforts taking care of the flowers and trees in this area. They are shy around strangers, but become angered if anyone befouls their beautiful garden. Those that stay in the area for an extended period of time will notice strange things occurring; lights floating amongst the tree branches, ghostly noises emanating from the thickets, and even the occasional bum in the night. These pranks are mostly harmless. The pixies perpetrate them out of boredom, as well as a way to gauge the countenance of visitors. Those who endure them will earn the respect of the small Fey, while those who harm the landscape can expect to be attacked directly.
S10 - WARRIOR'S CAMP
Amidst the boulders and pines that dot this clearing are several tents and makeshift shelters. It is here that the Vyalian warriors live and train when they are not completing a mission in the field. Practice dummies and targets pin cushioned with arrows can be seen littering the clearing. On the north end is a small cellar dug into the side of the mountain and sealed with an iron door. This is where the warriors store their weapons and armour. Next to the cellar is a small ramshackle hut that houses the clan's smithy.
Nearly 40 elven warriors call this place home, though only half of them will be here at any given time. They are led by Felwyn, Glynwyth's younger brother. Felwyn is a charismatic figure, and a paragon of Vyalian culture. Though young (only 200 years old) he has managed to gain much experience since the Spike Assault, and has become a warrior of great renown among his people. Recently however, Felwyn met his doom. Several months ago, while exploring ruins on the Isle of Dawn, Felwyn was beset upon and dominated by a Jahi (CR 16 MMII). This unclean spirit now inhabits his body and is using its domination powers to gather a following. Slowly it is corrupting the other elven warriors, just as it is poisoning the Abandoned Court. When the time is right, the Jahi plans to usurp control of the elven clan from Glynwyth. It dares not strike at her now (for fear of retaliation from Hytiliaph), but it is willing to bide its time for the right moment.
S11 - SMALL LAIR
This series of small interlocking caverns can be reached with a short climb from the elven warrior's camp (area S10). It is the abode of Tengwer Hytillia, a half elf-gold dragon, and the son of Hytiliaph and Glynwyth. The chambers within are all natural, though many have been modified by the hands of elves. The furnishings within are comfortable but not lavished. Since taking up with the elven band, Tengwer has forsaken most of his material wealth taking on a more spartan lifestyle.
While Tengwer's twin sister Maritill, went to train with her half brother Oeraphon and the Thyatian Knights of the Air on Triancepes, Tengwer decided to stay with his mother's people and train with them. He often accompanies Felwyn on missions of importance to his father, and has become quite a warrior under that elf's tutelage. The other elves give Tengwer a wide birth, being somewhat uncomfortable with his parentage. In the past Felwyn has tried to allay their fears, but since the Jahi possessed him things have been different. Secretly the Jahi builds resentment and fear of Tengwer among the other elves. It hopes to distance the elves from Hytiliaph in this way and thus strengthen its own hold on the clan.
S12 - WATERFALL
Mist fills this area, along with the sound of water crashing upon rocks. A small waterfall cascades down from the mountainside before winding its way down a small gully and filling the lake in area S9. The waterfall rushes over an arch carved through the mountain long ago, and conceals it quite well. Those that know what to look for can pass through the waterfall and the arch and traverse upward on several hundred slippery natural stairs made from rock. The end of the passage deposits travellers near the top of the falls and within view of the Pine Palace (area S13).
Though quiet (except for the falling water), this place is not uninhabited. A Fey spirit called a fossergrim (CR 5 FF) inhabits the waterfall itself. The spirit calls himself Tranquil, and is a mate to the oread Helissa who is a spirit of the mountain itself. Tranquil sleeps during the winter months when the waterfall is frozen, and can not be found during this time. When the water flows however, Tranquil guards the hidden arch. He will only allow the Vyalia and their trusted guests to pass, blocking all others. Tranquil disdains using physical force, but will fight if necessary. If severely wounded he will retreat back into his waterfall and call on his mate for help.
S13 - PINE PALACE
The Pine Palace is an extensive building, built both within and upon the mountainside. Some rooms are cut directly into the mountain itself, while others are constructed with local stones and cemented together with living plants, most notable pine trees. The Palace contains living quarters for Glynwyth, her handmaidens, the clan elders and clan priests, as well as room for several guests. Hytiliaph maintains a small library and laboratory here, and the elves have erected several shrines to their patron deities (Ilsundal, Mealiden, Ordana) as well as to several of the Fey Immortals such as Faunus.
Glynwyth spend much of her time in training, or in the library researching tactics to use against her Alphatian enemies. Lately she has taken up clerical studies and also spends a good amount of time praying to her patron deities at the shrines. Relations among the elves have begun to show strain as the warriors led by Felwyn distance themselves more and more from their kin here. Glynwyth often visits her brother at his camp, but lately their conversations end in heated arguments.
S14 - STABLES
Like the rest of the Pine Palace, these stables have been constructed from hewn rock and living trees. There are four stalls in all, each one capable of maintaining a large animal. The walls are cut stone, while the roof is made of intertwining pine branches. Even though sunlight shines through the roof, the stables themselves remain warm and dry in any weather (probably thanks to elven magic).
Only occasionally will any animals actually be stationed here. The elves prefer to keep strangers out and their facilities are not as extensive as those on Primancepes.
S15 - LANDING CLEARING
This is a small circular area where all of the trees and underbrush have been cleared away to allow aerial creatures ample space to land. From the air the clearing is hidden with illusions that make it (as well as the rest of the Pine Palace - areas S13, S14, and S15) look like the surrounding mountainside. One has to know where to land in order to find the site. Once within 60 feet of the ground, the illusion becomes apparent.
S16 - GUEST LAIR
What appears to be but a small crevice from the outside opens up to reveal a large, but not extensive, network of caves. The caves are naturally formed with little modifications by the hands of mortals, and are high and wide enough to allow a huge dragon easy movement within. In fact there is evidence that dragons, on occasion, do use this place as a lair. It is relatively clean but golden scales can be found near the entrance (where a larger dragon would have to squeeze through the opening) as well as in the sleeping chamber. No hoard is to be found here however.
These chambers are used mostly by Hytiliaph's daughter Marilithal when she leaves her mother's lair to visit with her father. Marilithal doesn't approve of her father's 'dalliance' with an elven maiden, and so rarely interacts with the clan that inhabits the mountainside below. In turn the elves give this place a wide berth. Marilithal does interact with one other creature on Secundancepes when she visits. Even though she finds her half brother's heritage slightly repulsive, Marilithal has taken pity upon him. The two often stay up late into the night speaking of things 'draconic.'
S17 - GULLIES
A pack of senmurvs (CR 3 FF) lives in these maze-like gullies. The pack has lived here since time immemorial, with each generation adding to the paintings on the rock walls. Now the walls are nearly covered in intricate designs, and one with the proper knowledge could probably tease many secrets about the past from them.
Creatures of good, the senmurvs have gotten along well with their elven neighbours, though that is starting to change. One of the senmurvs accompanied Felwyn on his last mission, and now suspects that there is something wrong with the young elven warrior. In turn, the Jahi would like nothing better than to see the winged wolf folk exterminated.
S18 - GIANT NESTS
A clutch of giant owls (CR 3 MM) nest here, high on the peak. The owls and elves are friendly with one another, and long ago Glynwyth convinced them to keep an eye out for trouble in the Trigeminus area...especially at night. The owls gladly do this, and will raise an alarm if they happen to see anything peculiar while hunting in the area. Generally the owls do not attack humanoids unless their nest is approached.
S19 - BONE SHRINE
Hytiliaph's son Taralinaf was killed by a dark Blackheart wizard during the beginning of the Spike Assault, nearly 40 years ago. Hytiliaph was able to recover his son's body, though it had been horribly disfigured. Taralinaf's head was severed and missing, and his wings had been viciously hacked off. The worst news of all however, was that Demetrion could not contact the dead dragon's soul. Hytiliaph and his friend are certain that the Alphatian wizard has captured the young dragon's soul and is using it for some dark purpose...and is planning the same for Felminaria.
A grief stricken father did the only thing that he could at the time. He gathered his son's remains and built a shrine for them high atop this mountain. Taralinaf's bones lie here in a small grotto near the snemurv's gullies. The bones have been magically preserved, and the whole area is sacred ground. Hytiliaph comes here often to speak with his dead son, especially during times of need when hard decisions lie ahead.
The oread (CR 7 FF) Helissa is a spirit of the mountain itself, and so can be found anywhere within, or on it. This is here home in much the same way as a dryad's tree is to it. She can never leave the mountain and will not tolerate it being desecrated in any way. The oread is indifferent to Hytiliaph since his presence is minimal here, though she made an alliance of sorts with the elves when they first moved here. That alliance is becoming tenuous as the Jahi gains more and more control over the elves.
Helissa will come to the aid of her mate, the fossergrim Tranquil (in area S12) should he need it, and will violently protect her mountain from any sort of plunder.
Many of the elves are druids and rangers, and maintain animal companions. While on the mountainside, those companions are allowed to roam free, and may be encountered anywhere. Several of the animals have Fey blood.