Zanzunu Tower Building / Landmark in Destiny | World Anvil
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Zanzunu Tower

Information gathered from published sources originating from ILDEK in relation to Eldervairian knowledge shared with the Citadel of Scholars dedicated to Our Lord Hamaskus

Written by David_Ulph

By the Gods, Carmichael, this place is as hot as the miners claimed. Never been this close to Xamen before, didn't think we'd find a scrap of any dream artefacts in this wasteland but ah, Effe's Destiny always plans the unexpected. You know what the say about wolves and dogs, Carmichael? There could be anything turning this site into it's lair and I'm refusing to go down it until I'm granted sufficient protection by the Institute.
Prelude to Expedition #4/044-01 attached on to the published document; a transcript of the messages sent from Expedition Leader [redacted] to Archmage Carmichael


On the Mortal Realm's eastern coastline onto the Sunrise Sea, lies the mountain range known as the Zanzunu Peaks which is responsible for keeping the horrid air of the Kakhabad Wastes from spilling out and potentially polluting the Sea. Further down the Peaks from the Fortress of Mampang on the volcano of High Xamen, lies a fallen piece of the ancient mythical floating city of Eldervair.
For an unknown reason at an unknown time, though dated to be time after the commencing of the Great Hunt at the start of the Third Era - where in revenge of the failed Invasion of Mortis Realm, some of the Dragons attempted a genocide against the Giant-Kin -, this piece of Eldervair lost its magical grip on the clouds and pummelled into the base of a mountain near High Xamen on impact with the Realm.
Since then, anything that did live in the Zanzunu Tower when it was still flying whether it be Gargoyles, Harpies or a Cloud Giant, and survived the impact have long since abandoned the ruin. This piece of Eldervair has become a part of the Kakhabad landscape, subsumed by the influences of the nearby volcano ready to erupt though soothed by the magics of Mampang Fortress and its resident Archmage.


A stinking sulfuric smoke clogs the air of Eastern Kakhabad as High Xamen is constantly kept at the point just before eruption. This has influenced the geography and nature of the surrounding Zanzunu Peaks and the Zanzunu Tower.
Only the peak of the tower extends out the base of the mountainside with what is clearly the inspiration for Gothic architecture featuring the spire. It resembles a harsh jutting spike like a thorn piercing the skin of a mortal, though only visible at close distances due to acid rain as a result to nearby mining operations. This masks the Tower from view, making it look like another natural piece of the mountainside with this distinct architecture eroding over time.
A hot spring developed and broke out next to the base of the Tower, often boiling from the subterranean magma flows of the nearby volcano. However, with the amount of acid rain common in the area, sulfide has mixed with the water and transformed into a deposit of sulfuric acid deadly to anyone attempting to explore the Eldervairian ruin.

I.L.D.E.K. Research

Expedition #4/044-01

The first expedition conducted by I.L.D.E.K. to confirm the reports of the site's existence was cut short due to the general inhospitable nature of being so close to High Xamen after an arduous journey across Kakhabad.
The pre-gothic architecture of the Tower was still recognisable at this time, though an entrance could not be located and the expedition retreated from the danger before succumbing to the elements via emergency 'teleportation circle' back to the Institute itself.

Expedition #4/044-04

The subsequent two expeditions after the first noted the steady erosion of the Tower itself, with the third noting that the steady acid rain and rockfall from the mountain above had created a large accessible opening even for higher grade equipment to excavate the ruin for any scraps of knowledge or artefacts connected to Chronurgy, Graviturgy or Somnium Realm, the Dreamlands.
The fourth and final expedition hoped to achieve this, but all contact was lost shortly after reporting that they were descending into the ruin. A lava river were said to have flowed a channel through a section of the Eldervairian ruin, and a faint lilac hue was noticed by one expedition member coming from what was believed to be an Ancient Gargoyle shrine of sorts. This was the final report from the team to the Institution.
Any attempt at a 'message' spell to the expedition team would have a reply of only snoring. This snoring sound was recorded and replayed to a Priestess of Effe, notably a Wax Maiden, who was instantly turned insane from the "Whispers of a Nightmare" breathing through the snores. Upon healing, the Maiden had no memory of the event.
Prompts Advent Calendar #15

WorldEmber Article #17
Fell from Eldervair after the Great Hunt of the Third Era
Founding Date
Second Era (Age of Myth)
Alternative Names
Unsecured Site #4/044 (ILDEK)
Parent Location
Zanzanu Peaks, Kakhabad Wastes


Information sourced from I.L.D.E.K. documents and''The Great Hunt, a History vol.1: Sun Giants''
Some legends speak of a time when the rare Gargoyles were not stony monsters but another mortal race who found their homes in the clouds and this wonderous City of Dreams was known as Eldervair. Some legends even equate the Gargoyle King to be a son of the First Man Logaan. The tales of the Second Era speak of a conflict between the Gargoyle King of Eldervair and the Griffon Queen of Valina, who would go on to curse the inhabitants of Eldervair into a state of stone.
The Gargoyle civilisation became too heavy for their clouds and fell down to the Mortal Realm below. Some shattered and others were lost, over time forgetting their glorious past. The Gargoyle King kept his consciousness and is believed to seek the remnants of his people and assist then ascending back into the clouds, and revisit their arcane mastery of the Dreamrealm.
However, as the Giant-Kin were being assaulted by the Dragons in their Great Hunt, the golden Sun Giants had their peaceful scholarly civilisation destroyed after refusing the assistance of the militarist Fire Giants. Surviving refugees found refuge in the empty cloud Kingdom of Eldervair, most seeking solitude so the now-Cloud Giants broke the city into hundreds of individual pieces which the graviturgical magic slowly fades away from over time.


I.L.D.E.K. were an Institution established by the Arcane Council to research the Ancient Gargoyles and source the fallen ruins for excavation. Since the establishment of the Empire of Midland, the Institution has had near full reign over this field across the Mortal Realm and are some of the few mortals to know of Realmgates and regularly access other Realms in the Great Dance.

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Cover image: by Vertixico


Author's Notes

A wee bit of trivia for this, over the Spring 2020 Covid lockdown my partner at the time got me to sit down and watch Riverdale with them and in one season the town is plagued by a drug-inducing satanic cult board game meant to be a parody on the scare about Dungeons & Dragons throughout the 1980s. The game was called Griffins & Gargoyles and followed a struggle between the Griffon Queen and Gargoyle King in the Kingdom of Eldervair (anagram for Riverdale).   Now at the time I happened to be writing the first notes of this new worldbuilding project and a throwaway line about the gargoyles being cursed to stone and falling from the heavens and they hunt and kill in a quest to reclaim the home the Griffon Queen took from them completely enamoured me and I wrote it down. Months later of developing this and fitting it into my world history and Eldervair (what I called the cloud kingdom as a nod to Riverdale) is now one of the most important pieces in the overarching story out of happenchance.

Destiny is unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.

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15 Dec, 2020 19:24

It very much remind me of "Made in Abyss" anime. Ruins hidden in a dangerous place, potentially deadly, descending explorers. And the snores would be the "Voices from Hell" recorded from the borehole in Russia.

What are passions if not the high times we enjoy life?
— Tílíâr the Lark of Summer
For the Treasured Companions competition meet the friend and mentor of the main character.
Journeyman David_Ulph
David Alexander
15 Dec, 2020 22:19

I'll need to check them out :-) those "voices from hell" sound... interesting!

Latha math leat! Sending praise from the Hebrides!
Master Brinsmead
Caitlin Phillips
15 Dec, 2020 21:13

This is such a brilliant idea. A ruin from a mythical floating city that fell from the sky. It's amazing what can strike us as inspirational. It might seem so insignificant at the time, but can become so important later.

Cait x
Journeyman David_Ulph
David Alexander
15 Dec, 2020 22:20

Glad you enjoyed! Feel free to check out the rest of my stuff on Destiny, a new world for WorldEmber!

Latha math leat! Sending praise from the Hebrides!
17 Dec, 2020 00:53

I just love how detailed things are in your world. Seriously, every time I read an article there are so many little throwaway lines about different bits of mythology and history and just aaa! It's so cool! (Ignore me fangirling, I just don't know how to put my thoughts into words today.)   I love the idea of the tower having been slowly eroded over time by acid rain. That's such a great image. I wonder what happened to the expedition - the bit about the snoring is rather creepy and ominous.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Journeyman David_Ulph
David Alexander
17 Dec, 2020 01:13

Oh man wow thank you! Never thought I'd ever have someone be referred as a fan of my work, I'm not blushing I swear! With the WorldEmber prompts everything seems all over the place but going into 2021 hopefully things will be expanded on in a more.. natural process. That and if I ever get the item prompt finished, which should develop various things I've been skirting round like the Great Dance, Logaan, the Gargoyles of Eldervair, Midlandian Empire etc but it's a lot of things to touch on so bear with me!   I too wonder what happened to the expedition hmm maybe if a prompt about nightmares show up we'll find out!

Latha math leat! Sending praise from the Hebrides!