Ósksaelur Grotto Building / Landmark in Istralar | World Anvil

Ósksaelur Grotto

Aye, the fey-folk can bring joy... but be careful who pays the cost of it.
— Fjolkan mother
  Ósksaelur Grotto, lit. 'grotto of wishful bliss' in the language of the Feidísfolk, is one of the most famous landmarks of Kynngisdalr. It is a wellspring of ley power and the source of a permanent gateway to the First World, land of the fey, and is one of the oldest remaining areas demonstrating strong Feidísfolk presence. Because of this, it remains one of the more significant historical sites in Fjolkandr, and especially stands as one of the most ancient sites still in regular use with little alteration.   Renovations over the years have integrated the grotto as a central landmark in Kynngisdalr as one of the city's largest and most magical green spaces; whilst some areas are off-limits to the public or to non-citizens, the majority of the grotto is freely accessible by all and provides a unique connection to the land that many druids greatly enjoy. It is often a site of pilgrimage for those who work closely with the natural world, and is oft cited as the reason distant nature-loving Myrkalla maintains its positive relationship with the oft-wild Fjolkandr.   Prior to a destructive fire in the year 4729, the grotto's lower levels contained a library of historical books documenting both the fey and the Feidísfolk; whilst the library withstood the flames, it was thereafter removed from the grotto to protect the books from future issues.  


It's beautiful!
— young dwarf
Ósksaelur Grotto by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
The grotto, contrary to what its name might indicate, is an expansive underground cavern spanning multiple levels, with ancient stone architecture leading from level to level.   As time has destroyed certain areas, they have been rebuilt - with every intention to maintain the original Feidísfolk architecture, or at least consulting with the feyfolk.   Stone bridges lead over the various pools within the space, and lead off to small nooks around the grotto that, over time, have largely been developed into reading or relaxation areas.   Some of these smaller nooks and pools have taken on their own lives as significant landmarks of their own regard.  
I'm fairly certain most of these are fey tricks, but the dwarves seem to know that too?
— confused gnome

The Pool of Glass

I hope I get someone nice...
— hopeful dwarf
Also known as the Ósktjǫrn, or "wishing lake", the Pool of Glass is a still pool within the grotto that contributes greatly to both the name and general reputation of the grotto. Here, messages in glass bottles can be placed as appeals to the fey.   These bottled wishes are invocations for fey intervention, for good or bad; when the fey retrieve them, it is entirely chance on what sort of entity will pick them up.   The bottles are retrieved in one of two ways. When, three hours past midnight, the feyfolk dive through their gateway and fill the grotto with their laughter and light, some head straight for the pool of glass.   Here, they fish out the wishes and spend their time giggling and trading them, deciding who wishes to answer what - and in what manner. Some folk stay awake until this late hour to sit by the pool and make their requests in person, or to at least watch the spectacle.
The Pool of Glass by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
  If the bottles aren't retrieved directly, at these late hours, then they are retrieved via magic. A number of fey entities - both benevolent and malevolent - watch over the pool, reading each request with magic that rarely requires access to the bottles themselves. Should they wish to intervene, they will do so by teleporting the bottle to themselves. These instances are both the most dangerous and most fulfilling - the very kings and queens of the fey, and the fey demigods themselves, are said to watch over the pool.   The manner by which these wishes are answered... well, it varies. The results are, by their nature, varied.  

The Guardstones

Protect us?! Ha! Nae, lad, these bastards'll do the opposite!
— jolly dwarven soldier
A Guardstone by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
Many who hear about the guardstones presume that the stone statues are there as guardians - a reasonable assumption, considering the name. Too reasonable of an assumption: the guardstones are training assistants, enchanted long ago for another world.   They learn from their combatants' actions, and are generally used as reaction training tailored to one's exact reflexes: whilst they start at a reasonably simple level, they grow faster and more aggressive the more powerful their opponent seems to be.   Experienced fighters within Fjolkandr will often ensure they do a warmup with the guardstones before rejoining combat after a long break, for the guardstones only adjust to a lower level ability after a number of failed attempts.   The guardstones do immediately stop if their opponent cries out in pain, they draw blood, or their opponent falls unconscious. The only recorded times this limiter has failed have been when the individual in question has done harm to the grotto; in those instances, the guardstones really do seem to turn into guardians, though it is not the people they aim to protect.

The Mirror

Mirror, mirror, in the stone...
It needs no other name, nor does it need description to any who live in Fjolkandr. The Mirror - always capitalised - reflects what it wishes you to see most, powered by the ley magic beneath. This may be a facet of your past, your present, your future, or some other uncertain illusion.   Most importantly: the Mirror does not lie. Its truths are clear, and its uncertainties or illusions are veiled in fog to clearly distinguish them. This is oft assumed to be the influence of the Feidísfolk, rather than the classically-misleading fey, but whilst the Mirror always shows the truth, the truth can still mislead.   Many have fled from the Mirror's gaze, and most must clear requests to gaze into its depths prior to being allowed.
The Mirror by Hanhula (via Midjourney)

The Sugarfalls

No children allowed!
— sign near the Sugarfalls
The Sugarfalls by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
Beyond the grotto's usual waterfalls is one most special: the Sugarfalls. Whilst the waterfall appears to only have milkier water, its water is in fact highly prized for the sweet, sugary taste it produces. The taste seems to originate from the cluster of crystals at the waterfall's top, and likely the magic imbued into them, but any studies done on it have been lost to time.   The sweet water is regularly bottled, purified, and used in fine dishes and cuisine across Kynngisdalr. It has inspired many recipes, and copies involving the dissolution of sweet sugary flavours have made their way into the pantries of many dwarves. The pure stuff straight from the Sugarfalls does seem to have the slight drawback of addiction if consumed too often - for safety reasons, it is limited to once-a-week.   Naturally, due to the addictive properties, many actual drugs have been made using the water from the Sugarfalls, and the alchemy-minded are ever clamouring to get their hands on it.
  Out of fears of contamination or damage to the source, any research requests for these sorts of product must be fulfilled with water harvested from the Sugarfalls, and not performed directly at them.
The Grotto by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
Founding Date
Prior to the Second Divine War
Alternative Names
the Wishing Cave
Parent Location
Owning Organization

Dancing Lights

The animate lights that flit around the grotto are, in fact, somewhat sentient themselves! They are given shape and form as nascent fey, new to this new life.   They're sent by high-ranking fey to gain experience with the mortal realm - and especially the brusque, stern dwarves who provide a very different experience to the elves and gnomes most commonly interacted with.
A fey friend visits the grotto by Hanhula (via Midjourney)

Ley Wellspring

As a rare wellspring of ley magic, other magic performed in the area of the grotto is often wild and upredictable - even natural magic, as is used by druids.   It is an intensifier of all effects nearby, and many times, shrines or wells have been set up to try to harness the planet's lifeblood in such a manner. Every time, the result is catastrophic.   Those few entities that possess knowledge of avatars suspect that Fjolkandr's avatar - or perhaps that of the Feidísfolk, if such an avatar still exists - likes to dwell in this wellspring of their power, watching the dwarves enjoy these most fey delights.
Dwarven Druid by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
Fey? In my dwarven nation? It's more likely than you think.
— Fjolkan dwarf


Please Login in order to comment!
Jul 21, 2023 16:51 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

My heart almost stopped when I read about the library fire. Thank goodness it survived and the books are safe. ;-;   The Mirror scares me a little.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Aug 15, 2023 00:55 by Reanna R

Hahaha 'no children allowed' XD   I love the variety in the different magical items and effects of the grotto and how that brings a wide variety of people to the grotto for different reasons.

May your worldbuilding hammer always fall true! Also, check out the world of the Skydwellers for lots of aerial adventures.
Aug 16, 2023 00:40 by Dani

How did you manage to make so many frankly STUNNING articles this summer? (Of course, the visuals are super fun as always!) Content and layout are ON POINT; I especially love the quotes and how many elements of this location you go into such cool detail on. It's chock full of useful things, and pretty to boot! I want to find a spot in the grotto to sit and just...be. :D

You are doing a great job! Keep creating; I believe in you!
Luridity: Where love is love and life is lived. Contains NSFW content.
Now with serialized fiction on Ream!!
Aug 16, 2023 08:03 by Han

there's actually sort of a trick to it! having a specific layout I use makes it a lot easier, since I can write a tonne of whatever and then spend a little bit pushing it into my layout (4 - 8 split, or 8 -4 on the next line), then add pictures in after, save, and start rearranging text to read well!   thank you so much <3 I hope you get to spend some time sitting in a pretty grotto sometime!

welcome to my signature! check out istralar!
Aug 18, 2023 21:59 by Dani

So smart!! I think I'll have to try to pre-do layouts for WorldEmber :D

You are doing a great job! Keep creating; I believe in you!
Luridity: Where love is love and life is lived. Contains NSFW content.
Now with serialized fiction on Ream!!
Aug 16, 2023 23:54

That was wonderful... I love the way the dwarven druid is looking, his gaze and appearence.

You wanna see what we did for the last events? Go, click here: Eddies Major Events