Tripalm Spine Mountains
The largest, longest, and most dangerous mountain range on Zheng-Kitar, said to house the prison for a beast whose awakening could doom the planet itself
The geography of the Tripalm Spine Mountain Range is one of the most extreme in all the world - as one of the tallest and most inhospitable mountain ranges that stand on the continent of Zheng-Kitar, its' geography is defined by towering rocky spires that stretch up to heights beyond mortal reckoning such that the very tops of the mountains in the range poke above the clouds themselves, forgotten cave systems that sprawl like veins throughout the range's interior and exterior, and all manner of roosts, nests, caves, and more that dot the range's length. Beautiful beyond imagination, the vistas and natural beauty of the Tripalm Spine are among the most gorgeous in all the world for those who can brave its dangers - sandwiched between the Yudao Rainforest and the Great Gyatsoshin Desert, the rivers that trickle down from the highest peaks of these fabled mountains run, in many cases, all the way to the City-State of Axiom far to the north-west. Almost no pathways exist here that have been carved by mortal hands - the only trails that exist that carry travelers over the mountain range are notoriously dangerous, and frequented only by the monsters or occasional reclusive Goliath tribes that dot the range.
As a towering mountain peak standing as natural barrier between the humid Yudao Rainforest, one of the most biodiverse locations on the entire planet of Ea, and the Great Gyatsoshin Desert, one of the most arid and expansive deserts known to mortalkind, the Tripalm Spine's ecosystem thrives in two distinct different biomes: on its northern side life thrives in the collective moisture that gathers about the peaks as the seasons pass - giving rise to all manner of hardy mountain plantlife and beastly monsters that subsist on those in this area, while on the other lies a rainshadow so large it defies imagination - little to no moisture remains after the high-scraping wounds howl through the Tripalm Spine's towering peaks, giving rise to a bone-dry, arid southern region where an entire different culture of beasts thrive, either by natural affinity or after coming up from the Great Gyatsoshin Desert to live amongst the arid peaks. Of course, the highest peaks themselves have a climate all their own - bone-chillingly cold due to their extreme natural height, the highest peaks of the Tripalm Spine are covered in snow almost year-round and are home to only the hardiest and most durable flora and fauna.
As tall as it is, the great Tripalm Spine stands mostly isolated from the passing of time as far as seasons are concerned - wet, waterlogged winds constantly scrape against its northern peaks while hot, arid winds howl down its southern canyons at most hours of the year save for minor temperature differences; and even higher still sit the frigid, constantly snow and rime-covered peaks of the range who stand absolutely unchanged almost year-round. For those that dwell in the Tripalm Spine, mobility is one of the most important parts of life - as there are no paths across the range that allow for ground travel of any normal or easy kind, the inhabitants of these sacred mountains tend to form semi-permanent settlements in places across the peaks, and roam accordingly as their needs arise; cycling between several sites is common for most non-monstrous inhabitants of the area, as remaining stationary is a luxury reserved for only the range's most dominant threats such as the various Harpy Clans and the fearsome Dragons said to inhabit the highest peaks.
While there are a handful of localized phenomena unique to the Tripalm Spine, most legendary among these are The Worldquake and The Rippling - both catastrophic phenomena that rock the entire Mountain Range and the surrounding area for dozens or hundreds of miles around:
- The Worldquake: A legendary even that occurs around the same time each year(Typically the first or second week of the third month of the year) said to coincide with the inhumanly powerful heartbeat of The Judazhai that supposedly slumbers imprisoned beneath the mountains - with but a single beat of the terrible Husk-Beast's Heart, an earthquake of unfathomable size and scope rocks the entire mountain range down to its very foundations; entire structures and villages are often blasted off the mountainside and entire fortifications simply slide down the softened or blasted rock for hundreds or thousands of feet into absolute destruction on the rocks far below. An event of unfathomable destructive power, it is infamous among the denizens of the range for weeding out those who lack the strength to survive within its reaches and has thusly influenced the cultures of every tribe and monstrous race that calls the area home - lairs, villages, castles, and settlements of any kind simply must be built to withstand these mega-quakes lest those inside them lose everything to collapse. Most critically, the Ezdhûl who call the range home within their Mountain City-Fortress Citadels have, even among their own people, designed some of the most robust earthquake-resistant architecture in all the world.
- The Rippling: An event that coincides with The Worldquake, the Rippling is an event that happens at points evenly spaced at four times throughout the year(one of which falls on the days immediately after The Worldquake) - unlike the Worldquake which is a singular giga-quake that rocks the range, these are lingering "tremors" which, while not as violent, last for longer durations of time and are often repeated for days on end. Likened to the "breathing" of the massive Husk-Beast known as The Judazhai, these tremors thankfully do minimal structural damage, but create an odd sonic resonance effect among the taller mountains of the range - creating strange and often harmful fields that shred and tear apart flying creatures while the tremors persist as the breathing of the massive Husk-Beast entombed far beneath the range turns its tallest mountains into hyper-lethal sonic tuning forks.
The climate of the Tripalm Spine is broadly divided into three categories: humid and rainy along the northern sides of its peaks, dry and arid along the southern sides of its peaks, and bone-chillingly cold along its tallest spires where even air itself struggles to reach. Aside from these variations, the climate of the Tripalm Spine is as sturdy and steady as rock itself - relatively uncaring as to the changing of the seasons the same exact way that the rest of the world does.
Fauna & Flora
Though relatively little grows in the Tripalm Spine compared to the rest of the lands of Zheng-Kitar, it is not without its flora and fauna - grasses, shrubs, alpine flowers, mosses, and lichens are counted among the most populous of its flora in its lower reaches. However, above the snow line in the highest reaches of the peaks, almost nothing grows. As for the range's fauna, only the hardiest and toughest of beasts can hope to survive the mountain's clutches - most popular and dangerous among the fauna here are the fearsome Harpy Clans that happily abduct any who they can grab with their talons and return them to their mountain Aeries, though a great number of other beasts and monsters dwell here as well, from griffons and the massive Rocs to more humanoid creatures such as Goliath tribes(Who are one of the most populous races in the Range, as it contains the largest concentration of their people on Zheng-Kitar) in the lower reaches, while certain extremely rare Dai-Yukai tribes are believed to dwell above the Snow Line in places where almost none have ever truly explored. In general, the danger of these monsters such as true giants, harpies, rocs, griffons, and more are far in excess of the norm - meaning that traveling around, through, or even under these peaks is preferable to most.
The natural resources of the Tripalm Spine aren't well documented - only the Ezdhûl have settled the area with any degree of civilization, though even then only within their hyper-fortified and well-entrenched Mountain Citadels. Otherwise, though the Mountains a great source of interest to scholars of all kinds, few have returned alive from their expeditions up into its peaks.
The history of the Tripalm Spine is murky at best - many of the oldest tales speak of it as being formed incredibly recently by geographical standards: that the mountain range itself only formed in the aftermath of the Advent of the Spirit Kings some thousands of years ago when one of The Six Husks, the beast known as The Judazhai, was born from the corpse of the The Spirit King of water, Yezhiha. This massive beast, so large as to encircle the entire continent itself, was supposedly sealed away deep within the ground on the land which the Tripalm Spine now rests - its spine literally emerging from the ground of its prison to form the mountain range which is now known as the Tripalm Spine. The story, while not entirely confirmed, is plausible enough that many across the continent buy into it as the truest "history" of the area known at the current moment - even if it does implicate the size of The Judazhai as being vast beyond mortal reckoning.
Almost no creatures visit these terribly dangerous peaks outside of the Ezdhûlian Mountain Citadels, and just as few ever leave them if they dwell there - making it one of the most unexplored and mysterious locales on Zheng-Kitar.
The Tripalm Peaks, The Tripalm, The Worldspine