THE THREE MAIDS MOUNTAINS

DESCRIPTION - LOCATION - PEOPLE - CLIMATE
FLORA - FAUNA - RESOURCES - MYTH/LORE

At the southern end of the Mithral Mountains, in the Santharian province of Manthria are three rounded mountains all roughly the same size. They are not as tall and rugged as most of the Mithrals and are even separated from that range by a wide gap known as Broken Dream Gap. These mountains are known as the Three Maids, in reference to the legend about them which is still told by the people living near the mountains.

Description. The Three Maids are comprised of Mounts Jaya, Filitha and Plick. Jaya is the northernmost, and is the tallest of the three. To the west is Mount Filitha, and Mount Plick, the smallest, lies to the East.

In many respects the terrain on the three mountains is very similar. All three are too short to have any permanent snow, although Jaya has a white top for all but the four hottest months of the year. The sides of all three are rocky with pretty alpine plants immediately below the snow line, and then lushly grassed and forested on their lower slopes.

Their differences, whilst small, will still be examined here. Mount Jaya is the tallest of the three peaks. She is also possessed of the roughest terrain. Her rocky line extends noticeably lower than the other two and the woods about her base seem somewhat wilder. By contrast, Mount Filitha is tamer. Medicinal and edible plants tend to grow more readily on her sides than on those of her fellow Maids, and water can easily be found here, collecting in small pools. Mount Plick, the smallest and most easterly set, tends to harbour more creatures than the other two. She has also been known to shake more regularly than the other two Maids, and has caused some concern for farmers on the Kaelimi Flats.

The feet of the Three Maids join at their bases to form a slightly elevated ring, which is protected from the outside by a low natural wall. This hollow between the Three Maids is wide and is lushly vegetated. Perhaps the most interesting part of the dell is the small network of thermal pools which lie at the eastern side of the area, below Mount Plick. The pools and hot falls which feed them make a picturesque little scene, and the whole valley is sheltered and fairly safe. Knowledgeable travellers of the Eastern Mithrun trail or through Broken Dream Gap will make a detour allowing them to camp here rather than on one of the mountains’ more exposed flanks, taking advantage of the warm water to relax weary bodies. Despite the relative safety of this area, it is still fairly out of the way for most travellers so no permanent traders’ base has ever been set up here, although there are rumours of a hermit, or group of hermits, who make their home in this mist shrouded hollow. Return to the top


Location. The Three Maids are located in the Kingdom of Santharia, in the easternmost corner of the province of Manthria. They stand south of, and slightly separated from the Mithral Mountains by a divide called Broken Dream Gap. To their south are the Svanfrills; to their East the Kaelimi Flats; to the West Lake Laath and eventually, by the Eastern Mithrun Trail, the city of Marcogg. The closest settlements are Tyr Ethran, home of the Mitharim Dwarves, and a human village called Kolbruk, a large trading owned by the Altnaus famous family. Return to the top

People. Few people live in this area, apart from in the nearby settlements of Kolbruk,  and Tyr Ethran. There have, however, been occasional rumours of hermits, or group of hermits, the greylers, living in the valley between the Three Maids’ bases, or part way up their sides, but these have never been confirmed. Return to the top

Climate. Like the
Mithrals just to the North, the Three Maids see varied weather over the seasons, although their climate tends to be a little warmer than the Mithrals as the Maids stand farther south. The weather tends to be rainy in spring and balmy in summer, with mild breezes from the east. Autumn sees the prevailing wind swing to the north, with the wind coming down from the Mithrals. During this time the temperature drops noticeably, especially once the month of Passing Clouds is reached. Winter brings snow to the Maids’ brows, anointing them with white like their larger friends to the north.

Mist will often cling to the feet of the Maids, especially in the raised hollow where their roots meet, regardless of the season. This is probably due to the small network of thermal pools which lie here, but it is often said by the people in neighbouring villages to be the sighs of the Three for their lost love (see Myth/Lore). Return to the top

Flora. The wide dell at the feet of the Maids is lushly vegetated with weeds and other moisture tolerant plants such as ferns and yrom-weed (heather). Trees also grow here in small thickets – both the pines so common to the
Mithrals and other less hardy, deciduous trees, the meldarapple being fairly common. The vegetation becomes thicker upon the sides of the Maids, carpets of needles from the pines making the lower slopes a soft bed for weary travellers. Many other types of plant can be seen upon the sides of the mountains, too, which cannot be found in the dell. Bushes, food plants, herbs and flowers all add to the lushness of the Maids’ raiment. Above the trees, where the bare rocky tops of the Maids pierce low cloud, bloom the delicate but hardy alpine plants – grasses, mosses and small flowers like dwarfed lotann and ynia. Return to the top

Fauna. Kuatu and surica are common in the woods upon the slopes of the Maids along with numerous birds, among which are aelirels, cuuloo and – lending substance to to the rumours of hermit inhabitants – numbers of taenish. Goats and sheep are probably the largest of the animals living here, unless you believe the rumours. Some say that what people believe are hermits living somewhere on the Three Maids are actually watchers, the feared neutral-seeming apparitions which are said to haunt misty places such as this. Return to the top

Resources. The resources of the Maids are only those which could be found in many wild areas in southern Sarvonia – plants, animals and springwater. Whilst the waters flowing from Mount Plick are thermal Mount Filitha has one or two small springs which are pure and drinkable. Return to the top

Myth/Lore. The Maids are the centre of a strange legend, a morality tale which is told often to young people in Kolbruk, and is remembered by elders and bards in a few other places in Manthria.

A Tale of Three Maids. The three mountains, Jaya, Filitha and Plick were created by Urtengor as a part of His design when He created the mountains of Sarvonia. He made them to give softness and beauty to the Mithrals amidst the bountiful garden which was then the whole of the area. As was His design, they all stood together at the southern end of the Mithrals. They lived in happiness together, each one’s character balancing the other two’s. Jaya, the tallest, was brave and proud. She was the protectress of the other two. Filitha was very beautiful and intelligent. She would spend her days talking to the wise old mountains to the north. Plick, the last created, was the most playful of the three. Animals flocked to her. She was light of spirit, and could always cheer the other two when they felt down.

They lived a long time this way, but the harmony was not to last. Etherus, the treacherous God of Lust and Excess, caused a volcano to erupt at the point just north of the three maids. This new mountain was called Wraelen, and after the smoke and fire of his birth had cleared, the maidens saw that he was beautiful. They crowded around him to impress him - Jaya with her strong spirit, Filitha with her deep wisdom, and Plick with her liveliness. Wraelen was pleased with the maids’ attentions and fell in love, not with one, but with all three of the maidens. Unable to choose, he tried to give attention to each one equally, but the maidens were not content. They fought amongst them, using their differences against one another. Jaya tried to cow the other two with her fierceness, Filitha to outwit them, and Plick played horrid tricks on her two friends.

This went on for an age, and Mount Wraelen became tired of the incessant fighting. Unable to see in these three bitter women the maids he had so loved, he sent all three of them away to the south. They went, although not too far, weeping amongst themselves for their foolishness and their loss. Their movement left the broken, bare stretch of land called the Broken Dream Gap.

Many ages passed, and they forgave one another, but their sighs are visible to this day as the mist which shrouds the hollow between the three as they huddle together to the south of the Mithral Mountains. Return to the top

 

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