Azdun

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Azdun-map.png
Azdun
Leader Lachesis, the Spider Queen (upper level) Zsarachnor, the Vampire Lord (lower level)
Founder Meran'tir
Discoverer Azhrarn


Azdun is a dungeon within the Dakhota Hills, discovered by the serpent Azhrarn in 190 AF. It is located below the courtyard of a ruined castle and accessed via descent through a hidden well.

Discovery

Azhrarn Amaratha (born Aeguary 6, 166 AF) is the adventurer responsible for the discovery of this area. While wandering through the Dakhota Hills, Azhrarn chanced upon the heretofore unnoticed ruins of an old castle. Upon descending through a decrepit well in the courtyard nearby, he stumbled across a mining operation headed by goblins. Though the goblins chased him relentlessly, he found a sanctuary in which to catch his breath. Azhrarn was largely scoffed at by Sapience upon the revelation of his discovery; his tale did not gain credence until Sarapis Himself made a public news post that lauded the Serpent's bravery and encouraged all to follow his example.

Upper Level

The upper level of Azdun is the original area scouted by Azhrarn and was all that was known of the dungeon for the first twelve years following its discovery.

The Mines

The west wing of the upper level of Azdun plays host to a massive goblin mining operation, complete with an on-site smithy. Those who come to work here dwell in a goblin village up above ground. It seems to be that, no matter what the history was between the goblins and Lachesis and her minions, the two factions have struck up a peace of sorts.

The Forest of Webs

Holding dominion over the Forest of Webs, a network of crisscrossing spiderwebs, is Lachesis, the Spider Queen, who also rules over the entirety of the upper level of Azdun. Her spider minions accompany her here at one of the Tsol'teth bases of operations during their battles with the goblinoid races of Khazadmakan. Nearby, at the bottom of a pit, resides a strange, big-mouthed statue.

The Library of the Ancients

Additionally, there is a long-forgotten library on the first level of Azdun, the Library of the Ancients, that is linked to Lorielan, Goddess of Knowledge. It is located in the southeastern corner of the dungeon and is guarded by Candlemas, Last of the Lorewardens. The Library is the first and oldest feature of Azdun, and it is also here that Azhrarn sought sanctuary when he first discovered the dungeon in 190 AF.

Lower Level

Discovered in 212 AF, the lower level of Azdun is a dangerous place indeed. On this level lurks Xylthus, the Outcast - once known as Lord Luxsyth, son of the Countess Belladona and the vampire lord Zsarachnor.

The Underground Forest

To the northeast lies the Underground Forest of Azdun. A river known as the Unicorn Run flows through this area, over which is built the aptly-named Unicorn Bridge. On the cavernous ceiling above is seated a magical portal through which sunlight streams, allowing the plants therein to photosynthesise as per normal.

Inhabitants

Living (and unliving) creatures run the gamut in the Underground Forest. Among the more unpleasant things to be found here are choke creepers and vampires. Also of note is a hill giant, as well as Faun, the forest Satyr. A hidden faerie village is located here as well, though its faerie inhabitants usually hide within their homes and out of sight of any giant adventurers that might lumber by. The monstrous insect known as the ankheg dwells here, too. Naturally, the standard creatures you would find in any forest also make their homes here, such as rabbits, elk, and bears.

History

The Underground Forest was not always underground. In the wake of the War of Humanity, when this forest still enjoyed the fruits of the surface world, there lived a Tsol'aa named Darnashta'i. At this time, many people were wary of humans, as they had been prophesied to inherit the land. Darnashta'i shared in this sentiment. As a Tsol'aa, he had been pushed further and further into the forests as humans expanded more and more.

While most had simply accepted their fate, Darnashta'i wished to excise the blight of humanity from Sapience, eventually turning to arcane rituals to summon a hideous demon lord, the Wyrm of Worlds, from the Netherworld. This demon was so powerful as to never be under threat of domination by Darnashta'i, but play along the Wyrm did anyway. Darnashta'i presented his plea to free the forest of humans, which the demon granted. The demon produced a dark mist that stole the souls of the humans, transforming them into hideous, screaming haunts and spectres. The mist then proceeded to turn on the Tsol'aa as well, much to the horror of Darnashta'i.

But the demon was not yet done fulfilling the task asked of him. He raised his hands and uttered a chant that ripped the forest from the earth and placed it in a large subterranean cavern. Naturally, this drew the attention of Gaia, the Goddess of Nature. She appeared before him, but, ignorant of the powers Dieties wield, the Wyrm was not impressed and warned Her not to intervene. Angered, She bound him in a cocoon of energy and turned to Darnashta'i, who begged for forgiveness at Her feet. This She granted him. Sensing a slight weakening of the cocoon, the demon secreted into the Goddess' essence a seed of his own hatred, paranoia, and arrogance. Gaia, unaware of this, turned then to the demon and sentenced him to an eternity without physical form, save for a writhing wyrm statue of Her design. She cursed Darnashta'i with immortality so that he might watch over the statue unto eternity. Meanwhile, the Wyrm's seed festered silently within the Goddess, taking effect many years later in the form of Gaia's betrayal.

Khazadmakan

In the northwest, one can find the fortress known as Khazadmakan, which houses goblins, hobgoblins, and other belligerent creatures. This was the last stronghold of the goblinoid races in their struggle against the Tsol'teth forces of Lachesis, and was once ruled by Ugrak, Warlord of Khazadmakan.

The Graveyard

South of Khazadmakan, the Graveyard looms. Filled with zombies, wraiths, ghasts, ghouls, mummies, wights, and vampires, it is quite the deadly place. Even worse, below it lies the crypt where Zsarachnor, general of Prince Slith during the War of Humanity, makes his eternal home. It is at the west end of this crypt that the nefarious gargoyle was discovered, in reality a traitorous being trapped in stone by the Atavian shaman of Genji. The gargoyle was slain by the gold Dragon Garth.

The Temple of Unlife

In the centre to the north lies the Temple of Unlife. It is built around a root that is said to grow from Yggdrasil, the World Tree itself, and provides passage to the Underworld where Ugrach reigns.

Catacombs