Golden Tarn Geographic Location in Cairne | World Anvil

Golden Tarn

Believed to be one of the last untouched regions and completely unaffected by the Blight, the sad truth of Golden Tarn is that it has always been a deadly location for organic life even before the cataclysm. The air is thickly saturated, as is every surface within the Golden Ridge with a concentration of fungal spores that will lead to death if one remains in the area for any length of time, and for those that do exit quickly, fungal infections of the respiratory system follow them for the rest of their lives that are often fatal if not treated.    Despite this, the few glimpses of the location that have been achieved through aerial observation have revealed a strangely beautiful landscape below the cloud. A huge lake nestled in a bowl canyon that shimmers like gold in the light that reaches it surrounded by thick and apparently healthy mixed forests on all sides, all glimmering due to the heavy dusting of the spores as well. The illusion of something fantastic and magical cannot be ignored, and despite the wealth of resources that are there, just out of reach, these glimpses are all that explorers and researchers alike have managed to attain thus far.


The tarn itself is approximately two hundred fifty kilometers in length and one hundred kilometers at its widest point. Around its forested banks are steep inclines of the surrounding mountains that create a canyon around it, making it even more inaccessible than it would be normally.


A mixed forest surrounds the tarn and while it is believed to be devoid of animal life, flora seems to flourish, well out of reach of the Blight and further protected by the spore cloud that hangs over the place. Without anything to curb their growth naturally, the flora here has created a thick, near impenetrable mass of trees and undergrowth that is believed to be impassable.

Localized Phenomena

The huge cloud of fungal spores that hang over the location is the result of a huge concentration of the coccidioides fungus, which blankets the location in a golden cloud and coats everything there. The cloud is thick enough that it traps a great deal of moisture in the area and generates heat in a localized greenhouse effect. This causes a constant state of water runoff from the mountains above which feeds into the canyon below and keeps the plant life hydrated with fresh glacial feeds. The spores do little that affect the plants themselves and have developed a symbiotic relationship over hundreds if not thousands of years, and because of this plant life thrives here like nowhere else.    In organic systems, the spores quickly move into the respiratory systems and bloodstream, quickly reaching the brain and attaching there leading to the death of the organic host in a matter of only a few days. Despite several efforts to circumvent this with various apparatus such as environmental suits and breathing apparatus, there have been no successes and several fatalities. The spores a fine enough to be able to sift through even the finest of filters currently available, sne seem heartier that normal as well, documented as extremely resistant to all antifungal substances.   It is believed that the Foundling Glade exists on the edge of the tarn as well, if it does at all, and should this be true, it might explain the strange ability of the spores to pierce even the more expert attempts to circumvent the fungal shield.


Due to the greenhouse effect of the spore cloud, the tarn and the lower regions of the mountains as a whole remain temperate and even warm in some locations. It never rains over the tarn, though the snows still fall regularly at the higher altitudes of the mountains above.

Fauna & Flora

All manner of trees and undergrowth exist along the banks of the tarn. Deciduous and conifer alike, as well as a wide variety of fungus and lichens. No one has ever been able to get close enough to get an accurate account of the full variety that exists there, but it is believed that sampls of flora now thought to be extinct may well exist in this location, protected from the Void that destroyed so many of them in those early years.


Golden Tarn has remained a mystery as long as the people of Cairne have known about its existence, though due to the inhospitable nature of the location little is known about the place other than the danger it poses to those that attempt to go there. As such, only myths and legends about the location exist. Tales of strange and unusual beasts and creatures that exist within the golden clouds and rare mentions of The Orphan and Foundling Glade from people who have dreamed about visiting that place.
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