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Ice Peaks and Lost Valley

by Marco Dalmonte English translation by Gary Davies

Hel - Darkness and cold energy, corruption, death, reincarnation
Terra / Yamag - Creation and protection of all forms of life, balance of the life cycle, birth, prosperity, fertility
Idris - Domination, vengeance, intrigue, magic
The Shaper - Peace, equality, justice, combat disorder
Garl Glittergold (Garal) - Gnomes, inventors and thinkers, science and mechanics, crafts
The Celestial Traveller (Sinbad) - Travel, exploration, adventure, courage, overcome borders
Ka - Wisdom, protection, healing, prosperity, knowledge, magic, rakasta, stone giants
Zalaj - Cloud and mountain giants, knowledge, magic, strength
Great One - Dragons and lizardkin, creation, justice, knowledge, magic
1. The Ice Peaks is the highest mountain range of Davania, and which extends from Pelatan to the Vulture Peninsula, bordered to the north with Brasol and to the south with Vulcania. The region is inhabited mainly by monsters of every type, comprising humanoids (orcs and ogres especially), giants of all types, draconic clans that are faced periodically, snow apes and sasquatch that live in small family communities. To the east of the Ice Peaks, separated from the latter by the narrow Emerald Valley (the valley in which flows the Green River), that reaches the Diamond Ring, a mountain range that border on three sides the so-called Lost Valley, whose only outlet is a rocky coast opening on the Green Bay to the north. The Lost Valley is so-called since it is guarded by monstrous and terrifying creatures, which kill whoever tries to penetrate into the valley and frequently come out in order to deliver assaults and prey on the N’djatwa communities, which because of this have fortified the passes around the Valley. Among these monsters, besides dinosaurs, dragons and unidentified bestial beings, there could also be the legendary mek, magically animated mechanical creatures that have protected for centuries the tomb of their creators situated in this valley, blindly obeying their last order in expectation of their awakening.
2. The most populated area is the wooded area close to Green Bay and to the south of the Vulture Peninsula. Once this and the southern part of Low Arypt was probably the homeland of the native Davanian elves, among which number the Hatwa clan (who were later fused with the Nunjar ogres to give life to the N’djatwa) and the Belcadiz clan (that migrated northwards together with the second expedition departed from Grunland in 2500 BC). Now Green Bay is dominated by the N’djatwa, half-elves-half-ogres who here have founded a rather prosperous and powerful kingdom, N’Djatwaland. They live both in houses built on the trees according to the ancient elven style, and in massive cyclopean fortresses built on the highest points and in the strategic passes (among which is the capital, M’Banyka), and follow a distorted version of the ancient elvish known as the Way of the Forest. Indeed, they are considered rulers and protectors of the environment in which they live, and as such they should hunt the weakest animals for food, and protect those younger and stronger so to keep the local fauna stable and can breed other game. Extending the term “game” to any species living in N’Djatwaland, the N’djatwa don’t therefore have any scruples in hunting and enslaving the other human and humanoid races, besides the animals, nevertheless take care to kill only the weakest members (who become the food of the N’djatwa), and take the most healthy and youngest as slaves. The N’djatwa respect their slaves as a precious resource, and assigned them the more common jobs (cultivating the most harsh lands, gather the fruits of the forest, fish and guard the herds). The slaves (the majority gnomes, together with rakasta, humanoids and humans of the neighbouring lands) are subject to the N’djatwa domination and always attempt to remain efficient with the hope of being able to flee before being judged too old and become food for their jailers. The N’djatwa entertain commercial exchanges with the neighbouring Varellya before its collapse, and only recently have renewed the contacts with the distant Cestia, after which the Androkian inhabitants of the island had pushed them back and had exterminated their colony about one thousand years before (Dragon Magazine 158).
3. The N’djatwa are obedient followers of Idris and Hel, thanks to their intercession were able to survive the extinction united the two races to which they initially belonged (Hatwa elves and Nunjar ogres) around VII century BC. Hel is seen as the patroness of darkness and cold, the one who presides over the cycle of death and reincarnation that governs the creation, but doesn’t necessarily have an evil reputation: she covers the role of the dark side present in every thing, which they embrace and content in order to be complete, according to the N’djatwa philosophy. Idris instead is the patroness of the N’djatwa nation, the one who allows the fusion created the Altar of the Stars (holy relic guarded in M’Banyka) and led the N’djatwa towards the progress and the domination of the area. She is an Immortalised heroine, the N’djatwa version of Ilsundal, patroness of deceit as a weapon for crushing the enemies and gain the supremacy, associated with vengeance, domination and magical experiments. However, despite the influence of the two entropic Immortals, the N’djatwa society isn’t excessively chaotic or evil, since it is extremely taken by the naturalist and neutral philosophy of the elves, even though distorting it in part. Furthermore, the N’djatwa also worship Yamag (Terra), who compose the so-called Sphere of the Balance according to the N’djatwa mythos. Yamag (ancient heritage of the Brunian humanoid cult brought by the Nunjar ogres) indeed embodies the positive and vital side of the universe, the creator and parent force that is opposed to the death and devastation brought by Hel. Yamag is the nature that gives fertility, the stabilising power of the cosmos, considered protector of the N’djatwa and of their lifestyle as much as Idris and Hel. In the last five centuries, to the cult of Yamag has been also been joined by that of the Shaper, lord of peace, harmony and justice, imported from neighbouring Vulcania by orcish priests in missions of evangelisation and suitably modified by the N’djatwa to their own liking. The N’djatwa considers the Shaper the son of Yamag, like Idris is the daughter of Hel, and all are recomposed in the philosophy of the opposites that is the basis of the Sphere of the Balance.
4. On the mountains of the Ring of Diamonds are found many settlements inhabited by the ice gnomes, created by Garal in 2900 BC and who are adapted to live in the extreme climatic conditions in that part of Davania. They are all followers of Garl Glittergold, even if they are divided between the factions of the Progressives (who seek to exploit the fire and gas spouting from the natural geysers as a resource and as a source of power for their inventions) and of the Conservatives (who prefer not to use the energy of fire, highly unstable and harmful, but that of the sun, easier to deal with and less dangerous, even if more scant to these latitudes). The gnomish settlements reach down to the southern region controlled by the N’djatwa and because of this are frequently victims of attacks and when the N’djatwa are able to storm their villages (usually carved in the mountain walls), the prisoners were taken into slavery in their city-fortresses. Because of this the cult of Garal is also present in N’Djatwaland, imported by the enslaved gnomes and willingly adopted by their lords.
5. It is thought that among the highest summits of the Ice Peaks rises a great nation populated by giants of various species and led by the ruling caste of the mountain giants, extremely feared by the N’djatwa. In this are also present the cults of Zalaj (supreme patron) and Ka.
6. Among the N’djatwa the are also present diverse clerics of the Celestial Traveller (Sinbad), the patron of travel, adventure and exploration. However, given that the philosophy of the Traveller prohibits the building of temples and having stationary abodes, his priests are perennially in turn among the N’djatwa settlements and accompany the caravans and the expeditions directed northwards, and the holy sites dedicated to him are of simple milestones placed along the streets or at the centre of the crossroads.
7. The cult of Hel is also popular among the creatures of the cold and darkness, in particular among the frost giants, the snow apes and among the humanoid tribes that survive among the grottos and mountains and have never abandoned the ancient traditions of Urzud. Diverse tribes of sasquatch worship instead Terra, while Ka gains the favours of the few clans of stone giants and rakasta (snow pardasta) present in the region. The Great One finally is worshipped by the draconic creatures and the lizardkin present in this region.