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Standing as one the highest points on the map, these majestic mountains are a great place to get a view of the surrounding lands. The Ascarlin mountains are famous for their wide variety of rocks and minerals, especially the large deposits of ascarlin. Also called dreamstone, Ascarlin is an extremely rare gem, greatly sought after. A single ascarlin is easily worth a dozen times that a diamond of the same size, and empires have waged wars over just a handful of them. It's a semi-translucent teal-blue stone with red veins running through it. It's incredibly beautiful and, when socketed in magical artifacts, it can increase their power tenfold. The Ascarlin mountains are legendary on some worlds, and their name is often more famous than Felarya's. They attract many people from foreign worlds and their resources are the basis of power for the great city of Negav that lies at their feet. The mountains are riddled with mines, tunnels and small underground cities.
Despite the intense human activity inside, the exterior of the mountains is surprisingly devoid of any trace of human civilization, aside from a few outside passageways. Few predators live there but those that do are dangerous. Rock harpies in particular pose a big threat to reckless miners, with their huge appetite and fearsome wind-based magic.
An expansive network of winding tunnels, dug by humans in the upper to middle parts of the Ascarlin mountains, and riddled with veins of diamonds. Over the course of many long years, activity here has decreased in favor of the more profitable ascarlin mines, but because of a recent surge in predator activity there, many miners have come back these much safer mines. Indeed, aside from some shadow fish dwelling in the deepest parts, the tunnels are mostly empty of any dangerous creatures. The main danger comes from the Rock harpies that fly over the mountains and will sometimes vacuum whatever is inside tunnels that breech the surface, or attack outside structures and passageways. Both the diamond mine and the ascarlin mine share an entrance, a reinforced tunnel that is next to Negav, within the radius of protection of the Isolon eye.
== Great ascarlin mines ==
Inhabitants: humans, silver succubi, fire succubi, earth elementals, night anemones, shadow fishes, glophorbias, lucicamps, various demons, antithronos
Characters : Iridan
The upper section of the mine is brimming with activity. Miners, Negavian guards, merchants, wizards, and adventurers from every world are gathered there, chatting, forming plans, and buying artifacts. Once you go deeper into the mines however, past the powerful protective magical wards, the place becomes eerier. It's an immense network of long, wide, winding tunnels seemingly stretching endlessly through the mountain and under. The walls are covered by strange fungi, some of them glowing faintly. Only solid teams dare to venture there. It's common for them to hire powerful wizards and mighty mercenaries to escort them along the way, to and from the excavating sites, for going this deep is very dangerous. In their frenzy to extract the precious ascarlin, the human miners have dug too deep and attracted the attention of the many strange, dangerous, and hungry creatures that dwell in these depths; countless miners have fallen prey to them. Some vicious demonic monsters roam the deeper parts of the mine as well. There is even tales of whole tunnels suddenly turning to flesh, becoming the digestive track of an earth elemental, trapping the helpless miners inside.
The deeper you go, the stranger the environment become and the more unbearable the heat gets. At first people believed it was due to some intense volcanic activity. yet there is no lava, tremors, or any of the other normal signs of it. The sweltering atmosphere has now been confirmed to come from an open portal to an infernal dimension.
When you arrive in the Madeggna throne room, the oppressive, dark tunnels suddenly give way to a very large and majestic chamber. The place is well lit, with large candles, and some cracks and narrow clefts piercing the walls and leading directly to the outside, bathing the room in a gentle dim light. A lush and colorful vegetation grow all over the room, on top of stone statues and other ornaments decorating the place. At the end of the room stands a massive throne, made for a giant being. The throne seems very ancient, with many cracks and some ivy growing on its chipped surface. A series of small streams flow through the room, coming from one wall next to the throne, and filling the quiet atmosphere with their gentle flowing noise.
The place is definitely charming and very relaxing. It's not really safe however, as the throne is sometimes occupied by one of the giant succubi of the zone, who sometimes decide to take a nap to digest the prizes of a successful hunt in the gentle tranquility of the place. Who Madeggna was and why this throne was created is unknown.
== Black Falls Pass ==
Among the maze of tunnels and hidden paths criss-crossing the Ascarlin mountains, the Black Falls Pass is the largest. It's a very long tunnel that was probably dug ages ago and whose purpose has been largely forgotten. Some people speculate it was used as a transit passage between two cities now long gone. Its existence was uncovered only a few decades ago by a courageous party of adventurers.
The entrance of the Black Falls Pass is situated west of Nekomura. It runs along the northern side of the mountains, eventually leading to the eastern portion of the Lake of illusions, just next to a choice fishing spot.
The Tunnel is a good 3 meters wide, carved within the rock, with a varying height. It looks very ancient, judging by the smoothness of the walls, and one has to admire how well it has stood the test of time.
It probably used to be extensively lit by small fragments of luminescent gems and phosphorescent moss, but it's now completely dark. It's a dangerous and unsettling place, with strange sounds echoing in the darkness. Some claim it's actually haunted. While this is probably not true, there are definitely all sorts of unpleasant creatures lurking within, and straying from the main path is a sure way to get lost with no hope of ever seeing the light of day ever again.
The tunnel is clearly a faster way to travel from Negav to the Lake of illusion, but the thought of being trapped deep inside of a miles-long dark passageway tends to scare most people away. However it offers an alternative to brave adventurers who prefer to choose the fear of the dark and the creatures lurking within over the danger of the jungle and its voracious predators.
Plans have been formulated in Negav to fix and patrol the tunnels but the distance to cover and the many disappearances have keep the project in limbo. There are rumors of similar tunnels hidden in many parts of Felarya.
- credits to XLRP for some ideas to develop the Ascarlin mines and to Archmage Bael for the Black Falls Pass idea.