The Mines of Koigua

Koigua is a deep and twisted mines in the central mountains of Tokaru , long abandoned by the Motu .   The entrance was well hidden, with statues erected in a 2-mile wide ring at the base of the mountain below by ancestors of the Motu. The statues are carved from the black volcanic rock of the island, and take the forms of various demon, and skeletal symbols of death and warning. The Motu themselves know of it only as a cursed place, to be shunned for the good of all, and before they were driven off, they kept the mines hidden from the forces of the Protectorates, afraid for what the ignorant outsiders might uncover. Unable to continue this defence once they were dispossessed, the mines were rediscovered by explorers from Omberstad.   Many have entered, and those that have returned bring back tales of long twisting tunnels that maze their way deep into the centre of the mountain range, connecting huge open cathedrals of natural, and carved caverns within. There are clear signs of clever stonework left behind by the Motu, but more clearer signs of a hasty exit - with mining gear, and even the ancient Motu dead left discarded - very much against tradition.   There are also signs that the mine has not been depleted of its resources. The surface caverns are filled with caches of ore and gems brought up from below. Explorers have found depositis of iron, gold and other ores, along with stores of uncut rubies, sapphires and diamonds. The hint at further riches still hidden below has led the forces at Omberstad to keep a contingent of Shield at the Mine, and the slow exploration of the depths.   To this date, only the surface layers have been explored in any detail, and no-one who has delved very deep has returned.   Hot steams and sulphuric laden air arise from the depths, alluding to connections to the volcanic forces deep below Tokaru.

Geography

The entrance to the mines is a huge temple-like structure carved from the side of the mountain, a few hundred feet above the dark plains below. It is reached via series of paved switch-backs, the cobbles now overgrown and in such disrepair that vehicles or beast of burden cannot make the ascent - only those on foot can hope to.   The wide entrance is framed by a series of columns, carved with glyphs of the gods and heroes of the Motu, with Aetora, the sky god atop the back of his eagle stead taking centre stage directly above the entrance. The immediate chambers are devoted to Aetora, with expansive side chambers and tunnels which look to be living quarters for those who lived and worked in the mines below.   Beneath the entry layer of the mines, lie the storage caverns, carved more crudely, and the many entrances to the mine shafts and passageways that delve steeply into the mountains.

History

The Motu mined these mountains for centuries, using the ores for their weaponry and gemstones for trade with the waterfolk of the Tangled Fathoms. The Mothers of Motu tell the tale of Koigua, how the Motu delved deep beneath the feet of Aetora to bring the riches of the earth to the light of the two moons, and uncovering huge natural caverns within. Over the generations, the mountain's interior became a maze , with many Motu forsaking the skies of Aetora and living beneath the mountain, forever delving deeper and deeper.   The Mothers of the clans warned them that Aetora could no longer see them when they delved so deeply, and tried to remind them that the skies were their home. The Delvers ignored them, but the Mothers adorned their headdresses with the gems that were brought up from below nonetheless.   The tales grow silent then, and the Mothers do not talk about what happened. But they ordered the people to shun the mountain, they erected the warning statues, and set up sigils of warding. All they say is that it is Aetora's wish that the depths remain dark and that the Motu must stay in the light.   Many rumours persist, and the Motu believe that their ancestors broke through into the Hollow Earth, and awoke an ancient evil from before the age of Shadowfire.
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Eallixy
Eallixy
6 Dec, 2020 19:56

Nice article! I'm really curious what would lay deeper into the maze like tunnels and what people might encounter. I also really like your map style, it looks really pretty.

6 Dec, 2020 20:27

Thank you! I'm going to delve a little deeper too and find out. :-)

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