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Ogun Zarkx

At the heart of Fallcrest lies the black mountain, Ogun Zarkx, whose name when loosely translated to the common tongue means "The Hungering Dark." Other names for the mountain include the Gallow Peak and Devil's Headstone.   Ogun Zarkx is a landmark of infamy in the Dawn Realm. When the Elysium Knights first arrived in the lands of Iskandar it was a region ruled by darkness and hellish lords of iron, flame and fang. Fallcrest was the crown of these sorrows and Ogun Zarkx its black jewel. From the mountain poured a horde of dark armies. Hobgoblins and their lesser kin. Ogres, giants and other towering evils. From the bellows of the earth beneath its jagged peaks swarmed legion of creatures tainted by the evil that lairs where the light of Orr's sun can never strafe.

Geography

Ogun Zarkx is the highest peak in the Foulspear Mountains, standing at nearly twenty-four thousand feet. The summit and the mountain's higher reaches are covered in a sheen of atmospheric ice and snow that glitters white even on the brightest summer day. At the foot of Ogun Zarx lies the wretched swamps of Poxxus, the famous lair of a vanquished Black Dragon of the same name, as well as the fortress of Muir'Ballar, a keep long held by the Knights of Umbra to defend against the menace of what clamors forth from the depths of Ogun Zarkx. The lower reaches of the mountain are furred in a dense pelt of evergreen pines, whereas its higher slopes are bare, armor-like shelves of shale and granite. A mountain spring passes through the cliffs of the mountain and adjoins the fetid pools of the moor at Ogun Zarkx base. The exterior of the peak is only one lair of its great dimensions for Ogun Zarkx lies above a fell gateway to the dark bellows of the world. The the interior of the mountain is a labyrinth like maze of twisting tunnels, black chapel chambers, curtains of stalactites and deep, city-swallowing ravines that tunnel far below the crust of the world into the very hollows of Orr.  

Black Chapel Caverns

Black Chapel Caverns

  Beneath Ogun Zarkx lies a deep network of twisting caverns and winding cave systems, and many brave souls have lost their way among the yawning portals that lead into the mountain's foul guts. Those that have return speak of primeval cities carved into the stone lying among the rough rubble of great chambers that the scholars of Iskandar call Black Chapels.   These Chapels have gained their name for the presence of ancient, abyssal magic that is carved into their walls from floor to ceiling. Runes and glyphs that predate even the Cataclysm. Some small translations of the Chapels exist, and from them have been gleaned insights into dark rites and ceremonies belonging to Gods and Beings of old that have long expired from the world of Orr, or lie in slumber in some hidden plane beyond the prying eyes of mortals.

  The Chapels are jealously guarded by the denizens of Ogun Zarkx and lie deep within the heart of the mountain. It is very likely that mortals have yet to even uncover all of the great chambers, let alone unravel their mystery. What little is known in regards to them is that the sigils and glyphs written upon those basalt walls are the precursor for what common folk sometimes refer to as Lambsblood Magic or Primal Sorcery, and perhaps more concerning than even this knowledge is the script of the runes carved into the Chapels may very well have been the root of the Celestial language.  

Lambsblood Magic

Mortals learned to wield the powers of arcana after the sundering of the planes that followed in the wake of the heaven-dragon's fall, but other beings have wielded sorcery for far longer. Monsters and Outsiders who can manipulate the winds of magic or whose beings have become so twisted and mutated by its coursing power call upon this sorcery in primeval ways. Blood and souls are their material components. Fetishes, bones and totems are their wands. Even the most feared arts of Necromancy pale in comparison to the means by which Outsiders such as Demons and Devils stoke their power. Lambsblood Magic is as diverse as any sorcery that mortals wield and thus there are innocuous forms whose practice may go unnoticed to those ignorant of its origins, perhaps even slipping into every day life as simple wise-spells or omen reading. There are many mages who speculate that its practice may feed some type of Outer Being similarly to the way that belief emboldens the Endless.  

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Ironfang Keep

Ironfang Keep

  The Black Chapels are not the only feature of the mountain that remains fearsome and irreproachable. Upon the slopes of Ogun Zarkx lies a fortress that the denizens of the Dawn Realm refer to simply as the Ironfang Keep. The fortress has a storied history of malevolent inhabitants, and has been the centerpiece of a number of mysteries in the realm. It is a basalt castle lying in a narrow and sunken valley between two higher peaks. The walls of the fortress are perfectly smooth and bare no windows. One rising slope leads to the towering doors of the fortress and no other entrances are visible from the exterior.   No form of scrying magic known can penetrate the walls of the fortress and conjured beings, such as a mage's familiar, cannot step through the doors lest they disintegrate. The fortress has passed between many factions over the long centuries and it seems to swiftly drive its inhabitants towards a violent madness. The Knights of Umbra have many times conquered the Keep but have never found the source of its strange perversions upon those drawn there.

The Ironfang Keep seems to call out far beyond the mountain. Travelers in the region have been said to leave their carts upon the roads and wander into the dangerous summits of Ogun Zarkx to stand upon its precipice and die of hunger there outside its doors. There are tales of men who venture there appearing on the other side of the world many months later, having gone completely insane. Drawings of Ironfang Keep appear in strange places, such as the final journals of dying men and tattooed upon the tongues of the mute. There are speculations that the Ironfang Keep is an artifact of the Great Old Ones, or a shard of the demiplane of Ravenloft lost onto the world. None know with any certainty the true origin or nature of the Keep, only that it is a terrible omen.

Hand of Glory

Long has this effigy, the Gallow Hand or the Hand of Glory as it is sometimes known, been the crest of Ogun Zarkx, though none know how it arrived as such. The hand in legend is that of a hanged man and if its fingers are transposed for candles the light is said to burn only for he who holds it. The symbol drawn upon the back of the Gallow Hand is the Magium Eye, an arcane sigil representing the everlasting mind that is often closely associated with immortality.


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