The Celeste Mountains, located in the southern section of Northern Sarvonia, are filled with mostly dormant volcanoes. They are not the tallest of the mountains of Northern Sarvonia, but are impressive none the less in their sheer width. What they lack in height is definately made up for with their immense girth. It is a land seldom travelled, and even more seldom survived. There are rich rumours and myths that surround this dangerous place.
|Image description: The lairs of the fire dragons deep down in the Celeste Mountains. Illustration drawn by Faugar.|
small hills in the grassy Celeste Lowlands
give way to rising foothills of rich dark soil, causing this to be one of the
few cultivated areas in the North. The foothills continue rising for a short
distance and then seemingly stop their growth upwards to continue it width
wise. These foothills are the extent that most people or animals venture into
the mountains, for the further in one goes the more a yellowish haze permeates
the air. This is the sulfur seeping out of still active volcanoes and the
hotsprings below the earth.
The mountains themselves look quite different from the gentle foothills. In fact most of the larger mountains look as if their tops had been inexpertly hacked away. This is due to immense volcanic eruptions in the distant past. The rock is often sharp and brittle making it dangerous for anyone to slip as they can be quickly cut open. The rock is naturally granite as is the rock of most of the area, however the volcanic activity has created a wealth of obsidian as well. In the depths of some of the volcanoes molten lava and uneasy magma swirl about in anxious energy. Steam rises from the tops of the mountains and from gaping vent holes in the sides and ground within this area.
Sulfurous mists that poison the lungs hang heavy througout the mountains. It only thickens as you go deeper in the mountains. It is rumoured that a great boiling lake of sulfur lies deep within the mountains. Though none who have ventured so far into the mountains have come back to report on the accuracy of this rumour. This gas along with the supposed monsters who inhabit this land make it dangerous and seldom travelled.
Location. The Celeste Mountains are located in the southern section of Northern Sarvonia. They rise up out of the Northwestern portion of the Celeste Lowlands and lay hard against the Southern shore of the Sea of Tears. They also border the Eastern shore of the Sea of Darkness. Several of the foothills extend into the Celeste Lowlands, but they are not truly accounted a part of the Celeste Mountains.
|Picture description. The location of the Celeste Mountains and the Celeste Lowlands in Northwestern Sarvonia, the latter being inhabited by the Kuglimz. Map by Artimidor.|
People. The only people
who occupy any portion of this area are the
Kuglimz, in particularly the
Fird'gormz Kuglim (lit. "Tribe of
Gorm's Pick"). These are the most metalurgically inclined of all of the
Kuglimz. They do some smithing on
their own, but more often transport raw ores to the
Helvet'ine Kuglim (lit.
"Tribe of the Line of Helvet") to the South. They are the only ones who do not
fear the rumours of fire dragons, and
rather view them as something to be given great respect.
Climate. The climate for the foothills is generally cool in the summer and crisp in the winter times due to its position. The mountainous area itself though is another matter. The thick hazes of sulfurous gases make the valleys between the mountains very warm and the air thick. As one climbs higher up the mountain slopes the haze lifts and the chill air is like a violent shock. It is not uncommon to see the rims of the dormant volcanoes lined with snow in the winter. The location of the mountains causes quite a bit of rain to fall on the western slopes as the air's moisture gets trapped against the mountains. With the mists that rise when the rain hits the lava flows, along with the already steaming spots it is not surprising for the mountains to often dissapear in a haze.
Flora. Due to the choking toxins of the sulfurous air and the intense heat of the area, not many plants can live in the mountains themselves. The slopes though with their rich soil and abundant rainfall grow several different plants. The alth'ho that is found in the Celeste Lowlands also splashes up against the lower sections of the mountains. The volcanic activity in the distant past has left fertile soil at the lowlands. Here the althz'onn grow quite abundantly and are actually cultivated instead of just being picked wild like in many of the other areas. Rik'tyan are also known to grace the foothill. The heat from the underground magma makes it too warm for the alth'mon.
Several different plants do seem to be able to survive and even thrive deeper in the mountains. The most well known plant is the alth'tiert. Luckily for the Kuglimz that gather the plant it can be found close to the foothills, and the dye that is made from it is highly prized so well worth the risk. Another plant is the alth'yig (lit. "needle plant"). This plant is commonly found in warmer climates, but the warmth of the area makes it able to survive. This hardy spine covered plant is just more of a hinderance to those trying to gather the alth'tiert.
Taurian picture from the game Magical Empire™, used with friendly permission.
Fauna. The most
impressive and elusive of the few animals that make the Celeste Mountains its
home is the fire dragon. While not
seen for quite some time, stories tell of when the volcanoes were more active
and the dragons were seen much more often.
Whether these creatures still exist or their activity is linked to the activity
of the volcanoes is unknown.
Another much rumoured animal that is seldom seen is the elusive fire ferret. It is said that if one is lost and in great need, then a fire ferret will guide you to safety. This mostly comes from the story of Norok Fire Friend. Besides this rumoured animal only a few smaller rodents and birds make their homes in the regions above the sulfurous valleys. A few ho'loch goats have been supposedly spotted as well, though with an odd yellow fur. There are also rumours of strange beasts deep within the mountains such as taurians and fire giants.
Resources. These mountains are filled with raw minerals. It is just difficult to mine the area for long due to the noxious fumes. Iron is the most abundant mineral to be found in the foothills. Obsidian is quite common a ways further in and is highly valued for use in artistic crafts of the Kuglimz. Gold is also found here, though not in large amounts. Silver and gemstones have not been found yet, but that might just be due to the fact that much of the area cannot be mined due to the sulfur content.
Myth/Lore. Much of the myths that concern this place are related to the fire dragons that at least once inhabited the area. If some miners don't return it is often said that they dug into a fire dragon's lair and in its rage it ate the whole party. Some stories also concern their Vir'tog (lit. "Great One") Gormz who supposedly was a great miner. After some time of mining the foothills and the base of the mountains he stumbled upon an active volcanoe and was fascinated by the molten rock he saw. He then decided to mine down until he found the source of this incredible force. It is said each time the earth shakes that he has punched through another layer to reach where the magma comes from.
A main tale that is often told is the story of Norok Fire Friend. It is the story of a boy who became lost one day while accompanying his father to the mines. It is said that the boy found himself at the depths of a volcanoe and found carved steps that led ever further downwards. There he encountered a cruel taurian who captured him for a year and a day. After that day, a fire ferret found him and helped him by burning through the wooden cage he was in. The ferret named Alkbo lead him down a hidden trail that wound around the molten magma. Eventually Alkbo guided him to a fire dragon's lair. The dragon took pity upon him and allowed the boy to climb atop her. She then flew out of the volcanoe and landed him nearby the capital city Lu'turg (lit. "Rock Fortress"). He continued to journey into the mountains and had many other adventures as he grew.
Information provided by Drogo