Sunday, July 16, 2023

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States - Week 28

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States - Week 28

Compiling week 28 of the project, comprised of an additional 7 posts, this week's subject being a deep dive of a site of interest, Lake Natia Vai of the City-State of Taodeas as shown below:


Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #190 

July 9th, 2023 

  • Number: 190 

  • Name: Deep Dive on a Site of Interest: Lake Natia Vai of Taodeas Part 1 

  • Location: Central Tuton Maug mountains 

  • Population (approx.): 300-500 across the various sites about the lake 

  • Brief: The Earthblood Flow Ley Line continues underneath Taodeas eastward from the Crack in the World (#19) to the Sea of Hethichol. As it passes under the Tuton Maug, in the distant past, the aether interacted with local magma to form a volcano on the surface above. Thousands of years ago the volcano erupted, and the caldera collapsed upon itself. The hollow began to fill with water each passing season creating Lake Natia Vai, the hidden waters known to only a few and accessible to fewer still. There are number of points of interest summarized herein and described in detail over briefs to follow: 

  • Clan Earthmule mine 23S38W– Southernmost Clan of the three Dwarven Cantons of Tuton Maug (#161), the Earthmules have carefully explored the unusual nature of Natia Via for centuries. They are particularly interested in the Spire of the Ancients 

  • Dragonette caves – In the depths of the island, that was pushed above the surface of Natia Via years ago, is a warren of caves that is home to a “Flight” of small, winged fire-breathing miniature dragons. They hunt creatures of the underdark as well as fish in the lake. 

  • Red Squirrel Resort and Spa – Years ago sons of the Danthas Tribe (#156) chasing a vision on an epic quest discovered an area of hot springs on the slopes of Natia Vai. The steam and hot pools are reputed to have healing properties. Elders of the tribe built a resort in secret, which can only be reached by treacherous overland trek, magician or flying craft. 

  • Spire of the Ancients – Thousands of years ago, before the forming of Natia Via, the Earthblood Flow intersected with a rising magma bubble. The resulting eruption thrust a great spire of rock into the air. The Spire, about which the lake later formed, is the remains of that tower, worn by weather and time. 

  • West rim airbase – after the discovery of the springs at Natia Via, the Danthas secretly requested that the High Plains Drifters (#91) guard the site. They agreed for certain considerations including building their own base to the west. 

  • Wosen altar – Centuries ago a Wildfolk (#126 and #161) druid undertook an epic quest to Natia Via and was rewarded by the Gods of Fire and Water with a dragonette companion. In return the Wosen built an altar to these seemingly opposing Gods on the slopes of the mountain. Many young priest, druid or magician have ascended the heights and entered the tunnels of the Natia Via in the hopes of befriending the creatures therein 

  • Geography: Lake Natia Via sits in the heights of the Tuton Maug about 7,000 feet above sea level. It is approximately 5 miles west to east (almost directly above the Earthblood Flow in the depths below) and a mile across. The waters are at least 1,500 feet deep at some points. 

  • Clan Earthmule mine – the mine can be found along the north slope of the mountain below the rim of the lake. 

  • Dragonette caves – a single large island about a half-mile in diameter, rising 700 feet in the air, sits on the southeast corner of the lake. The miniature dragons live in a series of caves in the depths. 

  • Secret resort – the resort and its hot springs can be found on the south slope of the mountain toward the west end. 

  • Spire of the Ancients - the spire, rising 400 feet above the surface of the water, can be found in the northwest corner of the lake. 

  • West rim airbase – the High Plains Drifters established a small base on the west side of the lake to survey the site and guard the resort for the Danthas Tribe. 

  • Wosen altar – the Wildfolk’s holy site is on the eastern rim of the lake with a view of the island of the Dragonettes. 

  • Next Article: Notable persons and sites of the Arc part 2. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #191 

July 10th, 2023 

  • Number: 191 

  • Name: Deep Dive on a Site of Interest: Lake Natia Vai of Taodeas Part 2: Red Squirrel Resort and Spa 

  • Location: Central Tuton Maug mountains on the slopes of Lake Natia Vai 

  • Population (approx.): 40 staff and guards plus a variable number of guests 

  • Brief: Centuries ago, a revered elder, K’Tea of the Danthas, fell ill. Following a vision, her sons chased a red squirrel into the Tuton Maug mountains, each taking turns carrying their mother on their backs. Exhausted, frostbitten and nearly snowblind, they stumbled through the woods finally reaching their destination, bubbling hot springs of magical waters which healed K’Tea to their great joy. The Danthas built the Red Squirrel Resort and Spa at the site, and to keep it secret they concealed it from view by illusion and erased the location from most records. Outside of the Danthas Elders, trusted recordkeepers and a line of long-lived Elven Innkeepers, few know of the resort. But recently, sightings of wildfolk to the east on the ridge and at the lake have forced the Elders to contact the High Plains Drifters (#91) for covert protection. 

  • Kolvir Dalanna, 240, Elf man, is the current Innkeeper of the Red Squirrel. 

  • Aubron Olarie, 203, High Elf woman, is a magician-scientist who lives year-round at the hot springs of the Red Squirrel Resort and Spa. She is tall and gaunt, with a crooked spine. Aubron wears spectacles and has long, flowing silver hair. Her work outfit is overalls with many pockets for the various tools and beakers she uses. She also wears a small tool belt filled with a small dagger, pipet, tongs, and other valuable tools. 

  • Aubron has been working at a laboratory attached to the hot springs for over fifty years. She mainly studies the effects of the ley line deep below and waters on the area's fauna, flora and herself. When Aubron arrived, she hoped the hot springs would cure her spine. That hasn't happened, though many other people and the local wildlife seem to benefit from a dip in the pool. Her main test subject is the red squirrels that proliferate throughout the area. 

  • Aubron is friendly with Kolvir. The two have been friends for years and often take a meal together. Aubron would like to get married and have children one day, but her spine is in no condition to go through a pregnancy. Until then, she writes many letters to friends and family, taking care not to reveal the Resort’s location, and enjoys meeting new people who visit the spa. 

  • Geography: The Red Squirrel Resort and Spa can be found on the southwestern slopes of the mountain that contains Lake Natia Vai. The hot springs are concealed from view by a circular ridge above the waters crowned by tall conifers. The resort includes a main chalet with kitchens and lounges on the first floor, storage and servant quarters below and luxury accommodations on two floors above. Six slightly lesser chalets are connected to each other and the main house by covered walkways. Discreet guard posts mark the compass points of the mostly circular springs. Across from the chalet is a raised platform used as a target for transport spells. A wooden tower rises from one corner of the platform to serve as a docking point for the rare arrival of skyships and hot air transports. 

  • Next Article: Notable persons and sites of the Arc part 3. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #192 

July 11th, 2023 

  • Number: 192 

  • Name: Deep Dive on a Site of Interest: Lake Natia Vai of Taodeas Part 3: Mine 23S38W 

  • Location: Central Tuton Maug mountains on the slopes of Lake Natia Vai 

  • Population (approx.): Minimum staff of 30, increases when finds are exploited 

  • Brief: Mine 23S38W is the most distant mine of Dwarven Clan Earthmule (#161). The Dwarves have long explored and examined the magically induced geological oddities of the mountain home of Lake Natia Vai. The exploitation of the area is fraught with dangers from the frequent earthquakes to all manner of strange phenomena likely tied to the Earthblood Flow in the depths. There is no more cautionary tale of the dangers of 23S38W than that of Galgrim Caveshaper, prophet of rock and speaker of stone. 

  • Galgrim Caveshaper, 93, Dwarf man, is an inspirational speaker for Clan Earthmule. He has a unique appearance; pieces of the Spire of the Ancients are attached to his entire body. Galgrim's clothing is woven specially for him and designed to highlight the rock pieces. He keeps his shaved head and long chestnut beard meticulously clean and neat. Galgrim wears a belt that has many pouches where he keeps herbs and a notebook.  

  • When Galgrim was a young Dwarf swam the lake and was playing near the Spire of the Ancients, a small earthquake occurred, and bits of the magical Spire buried him. His Dwarven brethren unearthed him but they could not remove all of stone from his body. The embedded stone from the Spire gave him prophetic power. As he matured, his visions of the future became more precise and accurate. The local Dwarves learned to listen to his visions, and they helped the whole tribe prosper. 

  • Galgrim is happily married to Tumalin, 87, Dwarf woman. They work well together, and she arranges for him to speak to his fellow Dwarves when the visions possess him. Galgrim dislikes travel and cannot or will not be separated from the Spire for any length of time. They live in several chambers on the lakeside of the ridge so that Galgrim can always keep the Spire in his sight. 

  • Geography: Mine 23S38V is roughly 44 miles southwest of the citadel of Clan Bloodmule. Its precise location is a closely kept secret. A combination of tunnels, natural passages and surface trails zigzag through the Tuton Maug to the north slope of Lake Natia Vai. There the Dwarves established their minehead. Tunnels extend into the depths, west and east in the ridge and a main avenue crosses through the ridge to an exit on to Natia Via side where Galgrim meditates at the water’s edge in view of the Spire of the Ancients. His companions and wife eagerly await his visions as some have led to notable deposits of unusual aether-infused metals and gems. 

  • Next Article: Notable persons and sites of the Arc part 4. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #193 

July 12th, 2023 

  • Number: 193 

  • Name: Deep Dive on a Site of Interest: Lake Natia Vai of Taodeas Part 4: West Rim Airbase 

  • Location: Central Tuton Maug mountains on the slopes of Lake Natia Vai 

  • Population (approx.): 36-48 (variable based on patrol sizes) 

  • Brief: The High Plains Drifters (#91) during their years of operation had scouted but had little interest in Lake Natia Vai until a series of events occurred. The Wosen (#161) discovered the lake. Then scouts at the resort of the Danthas Tribe (#191) spotted the wildfolk. And the worried Elders contacted the Wardens. In exchange for regular patrols over the lake, the Drifters were permitted to establish a post for Earthwardens and Airwardens on the western rim. Several years later, the resident Airwardens encountered a nest of viable wyvern eggs abandoned by the mother and father. With the help of a druid or two, they managed to hatch the eggs and bond them to six lucky candidate Airwardens of the United Tribal Forces (UTF). 

  • Davin Lighthollow, 74, Halfling man, is one of the lucky lizard-riding Airwardens for the High Plains Drifters at the West Rim air base. He is short and has spiky brown hair that he dyes white. He wears the uniform of the Drifters; but dresses casually when off duty. Davin fights with a spear and crossbow and carries some unusual magical bolts. 

  • Davin rides a wyvern, Quekas, who he bonded with when Quekas was two days old. Davin was a trained mountain scout and was excited to be accepted by the Drifters. The curriculum for a flying scout was challenging, and the additional skills he needed to learn were tricky. 

  • Davin is dating Hilini, 77, Halfling woman. They met at the mess hall on the base where she is a cook. They have gone on several dates and are getting serious. Davin is considering proposing but wants to achieve the position of Lieutenant first. 

  • Geography: West Rim Airbase is a currently spartan affair consisting of a large wooden landing platform with a large building sheltered underneath containing the barracks, mess hall, exercise rooms, workshops and officers' quarters. Nests for the wyverns sit on the stone surrounding the rim of the platform. Present at the base are the wyvern “wing” of six Airwardens (usually one oe two are in the air at any one time), another dozen Earthwardens (a third to half of which are on patrol of the area), a cadre of three officers and fifteen support staff (crafters, hunter-foragers, Hilini the cook and wyvern-keepers). The Wardens hope to convert the site to a more permanent stone installation once they secure funding from either the Danthas Tribe or the UTF. The latter choice being tricky as they don’t know what the other Tribes know of Lake Natia Vai and the unique nature of the Resort. 

  • Next Article: Notable persons and sites of the Arc part 5. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #194 

July 13th, 2023 

  • Number: 194  

  • Name: Deep Dive on a Site of Interest: Lake Natia Vai of Taodeas Part 5: Spire of the Ancients 

  • Location: Central Tuton Maug mountains on Lake Natia Vai 

  • Population (approx.): none known 

  • Brief: There is a legend related by the wildfolk of the Tuton Maug, that in the beginnings of time, before Kin walked Aenwyld, a great argent wurm swam through the molten rock below the surface of the world. One day it encountered the blood of the earth and felt that power trying to consume the wurm’s essence. The wurm turned and burrowed skyward trying to escape by boring through the magma and stone, but the earthblood pursued, the flow slowly turning the wurm solid and immobile. It burst through the surface but could not escape and all that remained, after its lifeforce ebbed away, was its towering corpse. Time and weather picked at the tower, pieces sloughing off. A later battle, still millennia from the present day, caused the mountaintop to collapse about the spire. Lake Natia Via began to form with the rain and snow that fell over the years to follow. 

  • Geography: The Spire of the Ancients appears as a massive outcropping of stone rising above the surface of the lake. About 200 feet wide at the water’s edge, it rises 600 feet to the tallest irregular point. The Spire is mostly white with streaks and whorls of silver and gray. There appears to be patterns in the colors, but the surface seems to change before the meaning can be discerned. The supernatural pillars resemble a cluster of towers, and some have claimed to have seen lights dancing about the tops in the dead of night. Locals avoid the Spire as the stone has strange effects such as the changes to Galgrim Caveshaper of the Dwarves (#192). As the rim of the ridge about Lake Natia Vai rises 500 to 1000 feet above the surface of the lake, the tallest point of the Spire cannot be seen except from the air or if standing on the ridge. 

  • Next Article: Notable persons and sites of the Arc part 6. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #195 

July 14th, 2023 

  • Number: 195 

  • Name: Deep Dive on a Site of Interest: Lake Natia Vai of Taodeas Part 6: Wosen Altar of Fire and Water 

  • Location: Central Tuton Maug mountains on the slopes of Lake Natia Vai 

  • Population (approx.): 40 in a settlement downslope of the altar 

  • Brief: Centuries ago, a Wildfolk  druid, Dayn Oaktree, of the Wosen tribes (#126 and #161) received a vision and left her lands upon an epic quest to ascend Lake Natia Via and explore within. At the completion of her quest, she was rewarded by the Gods of Fire and Water with a dragonette companion. In return Dayn, and other wildfolk, built an altar to these seemingly opposing Gods on the slopes of the mountain at a crevasse on the top of the encircling ridge. In the years to follow, many young priests, druids or magicians have ascended the heights and entered the tunnels of the Natia Via in the hopes of being deemed worthy enough to have the chance of befriending one of the creatures therein. 

  • Tellmei,22, Wildfolk woman, is a Wosen Druid who longs to bond with a dragonette. She is of average height and slightly plump. Tellmei dyed the ends of her brown hair green to symbolize her unity with the forest. She wears brown robes and has a belt made of solid leaves. Attached to the belt is a pruning knife and small bags that contain powders that help plants grow. 

  • Tellmei knew her whole life that she would be a druid. Now she has sought a partner that will make her life complete. Tellmei is friendly with all the animals in her local forest but feels called to meet a unique creature. When Tellmei arrived at the altar atop the entrance to the tunnels, she heard voices calling to her heart. Finally, one voice became clear, it named itself Shyrry, a dragonette, and urged her to come forward and find her. 

  • Tellmei feels joy and looks forward to binding with and bringing Shyrry back to her home, but she fears the dangers of the trials in the tunnels under the lake. Tellmei lives with her brother, Dall, and sister, Alinda. Their small tribe lives in the Graybark forest region of the Wosen nation, and it's their job to meet the forest's needs. Their parents died recently in a small forest fire, which has shaken their whole tribe. 

  • Geography: Along the southeast curve of the ridge encircling Lake Natia Via, there is a great crevasse a hundred yards long, twenty wide and fifty deep. At the bottom Dayn discovered several tunnels into the depths under the lake. On the outer edge of crevasse is a gap where the wildfolk built a circular platform of stone 30 feet across. In the center is a dais upon which they set the altar column. This short pillar is topped with a bowl containing a pool surrounding an eternal flame resembling the island in the lake less than a mile to the west. A stone staircase descends the side of the mountain several hundred feet meeting a narrow switchback path that leads a further mile to a hidden Wosen settlement sheltered by stone and a copse of conifers. Huts and caves provide lodging for attendants of the altar, rangers and hunters who guard the site, and candidates preparing to undertake Dayn’s Journey like Tellmei. 

  • Next Article: Notable persons and sites of the Arc part 7. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #196 

July 15th, 2023 

  • Number: 196 

  • Name: Deep Dive on a Site of Interest: Lake Natia Vai of Taodeas Part 7: Dragonette Isle 

  • Location: Central Tuton Maug mountains on Lake Natia Vai 

  • Population (approx.): none 

  • Brief: In the distant past, millennia after the Spire of the Ancients (#194) was formed, Wosen legend relates a second great battle was fought between the gods of skies above and the gods of the fire and earth. The top of Natia Vai was torn asunder and collapsed within itself. In time the smoke cleared, debris settled, and the gods of rain and water filled the caldera creating Lake Natia Via. A time after that, the fires of the underearth struggled to the surface, pushing upward stone and earth forming the single cone-shaped island of the lake.  

  • The wildfolk do not know when the islands only inhabitants, aside from scrub and small trees to the surface, arrived at the island. Some believe a great fire drake used the help of aether-infused waters to shrink itself to hide from enemies, creating a nest for a clutch of eggs that formed the current colony of dragonettes in caves under the surface. Perhaps the drake even created the island itself to hide the clutch. The Wosen druid, Dayn Oaktree (#195), after discovering the small drakes, brought varieties of fish from nearby streams and ponds to the lake and taught the colony to fishToday one might catch a glimpse of the small bright orange and red winged lizards darting back and forth across the lake, snagging their catch and disappearing into one of the small crevices on the island’s slopes. 

  • Geography: Dragonette Isle is about a half-mile in diameter, rising 700 feet in the air, and sits on the southeast corner of the lake. It is covered with grass, brush and small trees. The surface is pockmarked with ravines, crevices and small caves. Whisps of smoke and puffs of steam drift into the skies. The miniature dragons live in a warren of caves in the depths well below the surface of the lake near a subterranean chamber of magma as wide as the Isle above. The path from the Wosen Altar (#195) to the warrens is a complex and dangerous spelunking expedition requiring descents, ascents and crossing an underground lake. The best path is a closely guarded wildfolk secret but it's by no means easy because there are other creatures in the underdark. 



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