Heart of the Jungle
Of all the things to come into my possession, one of the most intriguing is a rough sketch, drawn on tree bark with charcoal, that depicts an enormous step pyramid, deep in the heart of the Amfrisian Jungle, out of the top of which grows an enormous tree, larger than any of the other vegetation surrounding it. This sketch came to me from a sailor I met in the city of Avaricum who claimed to be the artist of the image, having been shipwrecked off the coast of Greater Amfris and in his desperate bid to find civilisation become lost in the Jungle. Having defied the impossible and survived for weeks on end, the sailor in the midst of his endless, clueless wanderings, stumbled upon the step pyramid. When he was eventually found by the tribesmen who guided him back to civilisation, he was near mad, and clutched the crude drawing of the structure, which was identified to him as the Heart of the Jungle. This sailor, now poor and destitute, sold me the drawing and his tale for a few silver pieces, enough to keep him in drink for the next couple of weeks. One day, perhaps when my affairs are more in order, I shall gather an expedition to brave the harsh Amfrisian Jungle to find this intriguing structure, and ascertain whether it does truly exist, but for now, I am content to believe what the sailor told me of the Heart of the Jungle for, after all, it is not the most outlandish thing I have ever been told.Extract from Maximilian Hoherberg von Zottehal’s History of the Known World. The Heart of the Jungle is an enormous step pyramid located deep in one of the remotest parts of the Amfrisian Jungle, out of which a huge tree, far larger than any of the others surrounding it grows. The jungle tribes of Greater Amfris who are known to and who are occasionally in contact with peoples from beyond the jungle, all declare ignorance as to why the structure was built, who it was used by, and whether it is still in use. When pushed they will simply say that as a people, they avoid the Heart of the Jungle as it is a temple built and dedicated by people who only really exist as a memory, and who performed unspeakable deeds there. Tribal peoples from the Amfrisian will refuse to go there, and will warn those intending on travelling to the location to change their minds, as few return from the pyramid.
Purpose / Function
The original function of the Heart of the Jungle is not known, though it has been suggested that the structure is a temple, potentially built to honour and worship the tree that it is built around. As the Heart of the Jungle is not actively used by any of the tribes known to still live in the Amfrisian Jungle, it is thought that the structure is no longer in active use. However, as there are thought to be many more tribal peoples living in the Jungle than the number that have had contact with the outside world, it is well within the bounds of possibility that the Heart of the Jungle is still used as a place of worship by residents of the Amfrisian Jungle, perhaps even by the descendants of those who originally built the structure. Given that the tribes that do have contact with the outside speak of the place in tones of fear and awe, and will adamantly refuse to go near it, unless under the most serious duress, it is eminently possible that the temple structure is still used and inhabited by the people who built it, or by creatures or spirits that were summoned into it. In any case, all tribespeople of the Amfrisian claim that the structure emanates a sense of evil.
The Heart of the Jungle is, in form, an incredibly large step pyramid, built from sandstone quarried in the depth of the jungle many, many miles away. The remnants of the laborious efforts to drag the colossal sand stone slabs through the Amfrisian can still be detected by a skilled tracker, as the trees that have taken over the routes that were used are noticeably younger than those that surround them. The pyramid itself is estimated to be nearly 400ft tall, and its base is wide enough to give the whole structure an upward slope of around 47 degrees. The top of the Heart of the Jungle is flat and the top of the pyramid itself is a walkway that surrounds the top of the immense tree that sprouts from the top of the structure, and that continues upwards for another 50 feet or so in height, with its immense canopy spreading out and obscuring the upper reaches of the pyramid. In order to allow the tree to grow from the top of the structure, the whole pyramid has a hollow chamber, approximately the same dimensions of its top running all the way down to the ground below, in which the tree has rooted itself. The remaining structure is, if the accounts of those who claim to have explored it are to be believed, a honeycomb of internal chambers that reach all the way up from the ground level to the top of the structure, along with numerous chambers that have been built below the ground on which the pyramid is set.