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Irrum Vath

There is an old part of the world, deep in the Ogyka mountains and far from the sea, where earth itself splits apart. Here a great valley has been carved from the rock, and from up on high the howling winds come down to roll across the plains of hardy grass and thorny brush. At the heart of this expanse is a single snow-capped peak.   They call it Irrum Vath. It is an old name, but this is a place where old names linger.   Within this mountain lies a city. Some call it a ruin, others a home, but to speak plainly it is a place as feral and unexplored as any wilderness. Beneath the city there are deeper places still; caverns and tunnels in the earth filled with life and wonder and other darker things. There are glowing forests down where sunlight will never reach, gaseous marshes that are said to be the last likeness of a world before even the gods were born, and flooded and winding waterways whose currents beat like the lifeblood pulse of the planet itself. Magic lingers here, even as it fades from the world at large. Some say the sheer weight of history here is enough to keep it pinned down. All the layers of dust and dirt from all the epochs and ages, all the graves marked and unmarked, all the memories and triumphs and tragedies; together it is a mass matching that of the mountain itself. Or at least, the stories say that it is so.   Let it be said that all the peoples of Irrum Vath enjoy a good story.   And there are many peoples here! From icy peak to hidden roots, Irrum Vath has been home to all sorts. Beneath the earth are the shaggy and scaley Kobolds, who are both bastard offspring and age old foe of the ancient dragons. There are the Bajir, burly humanoids who often come from the surrounding mountains -or farther still - to establish themselves on the slopes or shallow caves. There are the wise and inscrutable elves, whose insectoid ancestors were reshaped in the image of their long dead human masters. They have many sacred places and hidden conclaves in twists and turns of these depths, and are glad to offer their wisdom to the other races around them so long as the old laws are adhered too. And finally, there are the ethereal Lymnatria. Mothlike figures with beautiful wings, who some see as myths and others as angels. But they are wholly real, even if they prefer to keep to themselves. They tinker away with their strange machines at the peak of Irrum Vath, rarely descending to appear to the other races, let alone speak to them. They have watched from their perch since before even the humans lived and died in this place.   Irrum Vath itself straddles the dividing line of a continent. Travelers come from the west speaking of petty wars between Bajir nations in the name of wealth and gods, and come from the east speaking of a growing empire ruled by great and terrible shapeshifters who wield the loyalty of a hundred different races. Some travelers come from the south bearing alien goods from island markets, and stories of the strange lands beyond the sea. Some even come from the north and can speak of nothing more than harsh wilderness that stretches until the roof of the world. There have been more merchants and travelers of late, and some stranger sorts besides. Whispers say that war and worse things have made all other routes too dangerous. Irrum Vath is no stranger to newcomers, but all actions have reactions. Money is changing hands, new ideas are circulating, and those losing faith in weakening gods look for ways to remake the world to their preference.   Bajir outlanders and refugees come in greater numbers each season, intermixing and warring with their native kin in equal measure. Kobold clans seek to advance their fortunes as trade increases, with the most ambitious beginning to dream of uniting all the clans under the mountain as one. The elves, so quick to offer diplomatic solutions in keeping with the oldest laws, are increasingly concerned that the oldest laws might not bear weight anymore. Even the Lymantria have been sighted more and more. They venture among the other races, asking questions, trading for odd items, and offering their own strange sort of wisdom to those curious enough to listen. All the while the attacks from monsters and spirits sent feral by fading magic grow worse with every season. Few leave their communities without means of protection, and those who know the mountain well grimly wonder what may happen when magic begins to fade even in the deep places. There are old things down there, and what happens when they awaken hungry, angry, and scared?   But what will come to pass is not certain, especially in Irrum Vath. The keys to the time-locked secrets of this place are not easily yielded. Yet the mountain has survived worse than petty conflict, worse than the waning of powers as flighty and impermanent as magic and gods. Come what may, The winds will still blow from their high places across the planes, whipping up dust and snow over the ancient valley road that leads to the ends of the earth in both directions. Water will still flow in the deep places. And any who find their way here will always be welcome to call it home.