Coldforged Atlas: Landmarks and Locations 3

I continue rushing headlong into the second year of writing Coldforged material, and this year I hope to cover enough topics in preparation to print as is possible. I hope we’re in the home stretch. Here I’m continuing my atlas, turning from looking at the physical geography of the continent to the political geography of where they all live, this time focusing on the most impressive structures and natural locations in each region.

Continuing on the efforts of the past two weeks, we finally wrap up the last of the Locations and Landmarks. Though these are but a few in each region, they are some of the most important or most interesting.

The Central Forests

Tyrindall

Tyrindall, the seat of the Kingdom of Tyndaria is the largest city on the continent, a massive and impressive sight home to thousands of people from all over the continent. One of the more diverse and integrated cities, Thraxians, Levishans, Drimmen, and Killbarans mingle together, both low and high. Its massive walls hold scars from when it was taken during the Lichwars, but the people have held together. Here, Nobility tries to garner influence with the Royalty, the singular King Wanderer, whose return has thrown much of the rest of the kingdom into turmoil. Forges belch smoke, carpenters shape wood, and merchants trade wares from across the continent and beyond. The poor huddle against the walls of most districts, as well as squat precariously within the city gardens.

Lergenwald

The largest central forest, Lergenwald is a dense and untamed land in the middle of Tyndaria. This forest is an untapped resource potential, but it is also home to savage and wild creatures, and people, who have no qualms about killing you to take a few coppers or simply to feed their endless hunger. Located in its depths are rebels, bandits, Orc and goblin tribes, giant beasts, and uncounted, unknown monsters. Yet, every year, the nobility and the merchants push forward into the wilderness, establishing towns and base camps here that are forever under assault. Here, within the heart of the continent, is one of the most dangerous and wild places that exist.

Dragilin Caves

Within the stony hills that lead up to the Drimmak Mountains, there is a set of caves that are said to be the mouth of the Underworld. Here, the winds blow fetid out from the caves, and it vomits forth mutated and monstrous beings on a regular basis. Many adventurers have made their name exploring its seemingly endless depths, returning with tales of underground kingdoms, hideous beings, and treasure from another age and time.

Ilrin

Ilrin is the home of the Bloodstrike family, located on the border with the old Killbaran Republic, and is one of the most fortified cities in all of the Tysis. Its massive walls and buttresses are marvels of its age, and the keep is a massive and, supposedly, unbreakable fortress even inside the cities walls. It has been besieged three times, and none of the attacking forces have ever made it past the first of the gates. It is possible that more people have lost their lives against this one single fortress walls than anywhere else on Tysis. Even inside the city, The Bloodstrike’s have provisions for months, if not years, and the multiple wells within keeping it safe from water woes. One of the Tyndarias enduring symbols of power and dominance over the region, and the continent.  

The Abandoned Temple of Kinsrake

Abbot Kinsrake built a massive temple dedicated to the entire pantheon of deities. The elegant edifice had a glorious and resplendent chamber at the center and separate and different grand chambers for each deity. Carved pillars and decorated friezes, personally dedicated altars, and statues representing each Paltonarch in the Iron Marches. It was an expensive project, and difficult work on those peasants who labored, often without pay, under the fierce gaze of the harsh Abbot. The workers were nearly finished with the monumental structure when, as luck would have it, the food supplies were destroyed by a blight. Unable to acquire replacements swiftly, the Abbot cut rations in half, but the workers had had enough. The rebellion slew Kinsrake and his overseers and acolytes, and the workers left behind the temple, its shell a hollow reminder, now covered in the ruins of the forest.

The Drimmak Mountains

Mt Strarak

Many of the largest and most intimidating mountains of the range were carved out in a past age by the delvers, leaving behind their mysterious and enormous halls within the stones. Mt. Strarak is not one of those. Located along the edges of the range, the Mountain has become the location of a spiritual pilgrimage for the Voskag people. The mountain splits into three equal peaks. The between the peaks, the master spiritualist Ushak saw visions of the gods, and spoke with them to give many of them guidance. He taught disciples the ways of accessing his visions, and now the mountain is home to an oracle at all times, who speaks to all who come before him and present a worthy offering.

Ossuary Valley

While there are thousands of peaks that are named and occupied, many of the valleys remain unnamed except by those few who live in it or travel through it. The Ossuary Valley is one of the exceptions. Located at the end of one of the hundreds of Eastern fjords, the Ossuary valley is scattered with the bones of great beasts and monsters of unknown origins. These bones lie open to the air and litter the ground in no particular order, and though the Voskag prizes them, they are protected by powerful magic, including animating the very bones to defend themselves.

Yellowpeak

Yellowpeak is the largest permanent Voskag town in the Drimmak Mountains, Yellowpeak sits on the edge of the range where it meets both the Kulkus and Methrian oceans, at the foot of a mountain with a surprisingly stark and brilliant summit of yellow stone. Here, the Voskag have most of their interaction with the rest of the continent, trading with the ships that stop here on their way to Thraxian and other ports north. The town brings down from the mountains thick and warm hides, meats, and woods that only survive in the northern peaks, as well as their prized black porter made from grains that grow exclusively on the mountain slopes.

Shilran Falls

Shilran Falls are the largest and most powerful falls known on the continent. The Astran River flows out of the mountain plateaus plummets over the edge into a churning and roiling pool below. It is difficult to reach due to the harsh, rocky ground, and few people have ever been able to reach the pool below or the river above. However, it can be clearly seen from the ground from a significant distance away.

The Defenders of Shakas

Across the valley of Shakas, leading to the inner Drimmak Mountains from the Tyndarian side, there stand four great statues of Iron, bronze, and marble, standing over 30 feet tall, seeming to defend the valley, and all of Drimmak from invaders. Each is different, and it’s been said that they have moved and changed positions over time. The front two stands with shield ready heads raised in alert vigilance. One brandishes a spear and the other hefts an axe on its shoulder. In the rear, one has their bow drawn and ready, an arrow nocked and sighted while the other reaches into the heavens with one hand, drawing down power, while the other hand reaches toward the ground, beckoning its assistance.

The Southern Coast

Frathans Reach

Frathans reach is the southernmost point of the Southern Coast, an island city on the edge of the continent, controlled by its own independent populace, and ruled by the self-proclaimed Queen of the Reach. This island city keeps mostly to itself, though it does show favoritism to Killbaran merchants, and is considered a haven for smuggling and illicit goods. Frathans reach also has the distinction of being a trading kingdom with other continents, having set up enclaves for those far off and distant lands to be able to come and ply their wares within the walls. It has become the entry port for a number of trade goods from those very same lands, spreading them through their own merchants to where they have become popular at the tables or royalty and nobles alike.   

Hakkan Garrison

Hakkan Garrison is the fortress along the River Sorinim that separates the Kingdom of Tenil from the Kingdom of Tyndaria. This imposing fortress juts into the river on a massive cliff peak that can survey both the river and the forest for miles, able to spot any approaching armies. The Garrison is ever watchful for the armies of Tyndaria, led by Wanderer. It is common knowledge among the Tenil that Wanderer is eager to retake land along the coast, and it is assumed that Tenil is seen as the most vulnerable kingdom for that assault.

BloodIron Cliffs

Along the coast of the Principality of Vale is a stretch of coast that raises up high into the air, creating massive cliffs for dozens of miles. These grey-black cliffs facing the ocean apparently bleed, as some form of red-colored substance flows out of the cliff and slowly down to the beach, where the black and gray sand seem to suck the life from any who walk along them, and the red substance forms crystal structures as it meets the ocean water.  These black cliffs are a source of local speculation around their cause, with reasons varying from the death of a deity to the betrayal of a king to other more dire portents

Lake Pharathan

The largest lake in the southern regions, Lake Pharathan is home to a kingdom of welcoming and thriving merfolk who have traded with the locals for ages. Though they have little concern about the politics and powers of those who live on land, they do feel strongly for those communities that they have interacted with on the shores of the lake, and each defends the other strongly. The current Queen of the Lake, Lady Ashia, has started sending groups of explorers up the river to try and seek out new and amicable trade routes and partners, though with mixed success. 

The Gray Morass

Ruins of Castle Blackheart

In the time before there was a Tyndiara, Lord Edwin of the Black Heart was an Occuran noble who lead a war against the Eshkin. He successfully conquered the southern third of the kingdom with his powerful army but was unable to complete his dreams of the complete destruction of the kingdom. To cement his power over the local area, he commissioned the building of a great castle at the river’s bend, overlooking a vast marsh and a trade route to the south. The castle was finished and populated, but he marsh expanded ever forward, swifter than imagines, and eventually overtook the castle, the river, and much of the noble’s land, though he never abandoned his home. It is said that the dragon Jet expanded his morass to consume the castle because he could sense the treasure of conquest contained within. Lord Edwin was no fool, though, and the treasure remains locked, it is said, deep in the castle guarded by the cursed knight and household themselves as well as a dangerous dungeon.

Shrine of the Dragon King

Deep within the Morass, it is rumored that the Children of Jet have created a shrine to their Dragon King, a temple to their lord and the creatures from beyond space and time that they pledge their powers to. It is said that here is where the people they capture are taken, to be sacrificed, consumed, or gifted to their Dragon King as servants and workers. The rumors of the shrine have it carved completely from obsidian and basalt, stones that are impossible to find within the morass, and raise dozens of feet into the air, a climbable shrine and statue in a crude form of their King.

Ka-Zakun, City of Scales

The Children of Jet are not known for building cities and settlements, instead, they wander the morass in search of victims and food. Ka-Zakun is their only known city, and it is not of their making. Instead, the city was found, a ruined wreck, by Xiakan, prophet, and Scion of Jet, a Half Dragon explorer and one of the pivotal leaders of the Children. The city was excavated and repaired, damns built to keep out the deepest waters, though most of its roads are ankle-deep in mud and filth at all times. It is a dark and violent city, malevolent in its very existence, built on a drowned city through suffering. It is from here that all of the Children’s directives emanate, from either the voices of the Dragon or from the Scions themselves.

Blackscale Bay

Blackscale Bay is the entrance to the Arasur River, the slow and plodding waterway that feeds the entirety of the gray morass. Few dare wander into its dark depths, but those few who can explore it are greeted by twisted frogfolk, blighted Crabfolk and other horrors of the depths, before even being able to travel up the river, to encounter even greater evils along the waterways. Traveling across the bay is definitely quicker than sailing around the Dragons Talons, but it is also more dangerous, and those who dare its passage are considered either extremely brave or foolhardy.

Tower of Black Dawn

The Tower of Black Dawn has existed, within the Morass, long before recorded history, perhaps having been constructed in the Age of Deities. This tower, just a few stories tall, wide and squat, has somehow not sunk into the much and dirt of the morass like so many others. No openings exist, and its surface is dull and corroded, though nothing more than surface level. Little is known about its origins or functions, though it is said that, on occasion, its roof will open and spew out a vile, stinking, ashy black soot that covers the land for miles around, even so far as out to sea, preventing those on the ground from getting any light from the sun.

The Bloodhunter Lochs

Loch Rakas

The largest and, supposedly, deepest of all the locks in Bloodhunter bay, Loch Rakas shores host several villages, but its depths hold the greatest interest. Within the loch lives a great monster, powerful and dangerous. Most of the time, it leaves the passing boats and ships alone, but from time to time, one will displease it, at least that is what the locals say, and it will thrash out of the water and consume the boat, leaving no survivors. It is treated locally as both a demon and an elemental, a primal force of water and malice. There are stories of the beast also destroying invading forces from other locations that come by sea, but none has been so brazen in the recent past, so some speculate that this is simply a tale to scare off possible attackers.

The Colossus of A’ak

Standing guard on Bloodhunter bay, a colossal statue of unknown origin stands eternal vigil over the waters, watching stoically and proclaiming its power for all to see. It is so large that, according to both arcanists and engineers of the day, it should be impossible to support itself, let alone be built and continue to exist through the harsh and miserable weather of the bay. Yet, still, the dragon exists, coiling around its base, yet its body thrust forward and upward, its head reaching out over the bay and its wings thrust into the air as if it could take off at any moment. It the first thing many travelers see when entering the bay, and the last object that can be seen when leaving the bay to travel to other continents.

Port Walorrin

The Largest port on the bay, Walorrin is Held by the Kingdom of Tyndaria, and defended as a stronghold as the last open water port that Tyndaria has access to. The port is not large as other port cities go, but its location between Thrax and Drimmak, as well as its easy sea accessibility, make is an important hub none the less. House Steelbringer holds the Duchy but has entrusted the city to the hands of Lord Mayor Usus Icebreaker and House Icebreaker. The city, for all its importance, is woefully undefended, with low, wooden, and earth walls surrounding only portions, large docks, and multiple gateways that stand open, rusted that way from years of neglect. Though the king has ordered the city to be improved and defended, its squalid nature and the corruption embedded deep within the bureaucrats of the city will prevent that from happening for a long, long time.

Isle of Xakain

The Isle of Xakain is one of dread and worry, an island that holds no permanent inhabitants, but to those who end up here, it is often their last stop. The Deadly and warlike sharkfolk that live in the bay have built temporary structures here, and maintain these structures, using them to store items that cannot be kept underwater, including prisoners and other livestock, as well as gold and treasure, and whatever dues they are able to demand from passing captains. The Island is patrolled by tame sharks and guarded by a few of the Sharkfolk themselves, lurking underwater so as not to be spotted. Those captains who know of the demands that the sharkfolk make avoid the island, and those captains who don’t arrive short some of their coins, or short crewmembers, as the toll is taken, in either metal or meat.