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Hytiliaph's Mountain - Ancepes Trigeminusby John Calvin
There is a place that exists deep within the Altan Tepes mountain range just north and east of present day Goldleaf. It is a quiet valley surrounded on three sides by tall jagged peaks. Now known as Ancepes Trigeminus, the place has always been one of power. When the world caught fire, Ancepes Trigeminus provided shelter. The peoples of the Lost Nation used it as a fortress, withstanding attacks from the Darklands, and launching their own. Now it is home to the gold dragon Hytiliaph and his allies.
Hytiliaph took the lair as his own in the early 900s BC. He explored and expanded his lair for several years. When the mage Demetrion befriended him in late 933 BC, the two delved deep into the secrets of the place. In 935 BC Hytiliaph and his then mate, Meryitharia, raised their first clutch of wyrmlings there. For nearly 30 years Ancepes Trigeminus remained quiet and peaceful. Hytiliaph raised a portion of his clutch there and was only interrupted occasionally by his arcane friend Demetrion.
In 960 BC the peace of Hytiliaph, along with the rest of Thyatis, was shattered. His son Taralinaf was killed during the initial Spike Assault launched by the Alphatians, and his daughter Felminaria captured and spirited away at the end. Ancepes Trigeminus roared back to life. For the next 40 years Hytiliaph steadily built up his power base from that place. Now creatures of all sorts dwell there, loyal to Hytiliaph and his cause, waiting for the day when they can take retribution for the horrors committed during the Spike Assault.
Hytiliaph can count among his allies the elven princess Glynwyth (his current mate) and her clan of Vyalia elves, Demetrion and the Thyatian empire, and even celestial ambassadors from the Immortals themselves. And the gold dragon has secrets as well. Dark secrets. Secrets lost to time... or purged from it. The time for retribution draws near. As the Thyatian millennium draws near tensions between the great empires are rising. Hytiliaph will strike soon at the heart of Alphatia. He will bring his daughter back. He will make the Alphatians sorry for their transgressions.
Primancepes is the peak that Hytiliaph took for his own home. It is divided up into three major sections, each one newer than the last. The first section is the oldest, built long ago by the peoples of the Lost Nation. The section, dubbed the "Caverns of Secrets" by Demetrion remains sealed off, and largely unexplored. Both Demetrion and Hytiliaph have some idea of what lies within it, but have refrained from plundering it. They seek to learn more about the ancient chambers through other means. Slowly but surely they are building up their knowledge of the Lost nation through their studies.
Many of the portions of the second section were also originally created by the Lost nation. Hytiliaph took these chambers as his own when he laid claim to Primancepes, and modified them to suit his needs more closely. Many of the chambers here have been enlarged to allow the passage of a fully grown dragon, and it is from these chambers that Hytiliaph and Meryitharia raised their young.
After 960 BC the last section of Primancepes was excavated. Hytiliaph invited the Thyatian Empire to establish a small base here from which they could train their Royal Air Forces. Knights of the Air also maintain a presence here (as well as on the other peaks of Ancepes Trigeminus), as does Hytiliaph's long time friend and mage Demetrion.Level 1 /---P7 / / | | P8 / | / / P6---/ /---P11 / / / P10 P5 s---/ | / u | P9---\ \ P4 / \ \ \ / \---------P18-\ \ / | | P3 u s | | \ | | \--\ P15 P16 P17 | | \ | / | P1-----P2------------s-/ | | \ | u--| P13 \ | \ P14-P12-P14 P19 / | \ P14 P14 P14
Level 2 /-------d /---/ / |s-P20-\ \ \ | d | / | | | d s |--| | P21
P1 - THE WINDING PATH
Those wishing to reach the abode of Hytiliaph near the tip of the peak on Primancepes may travel the winding path to reach it. The trail head starts in the valley below the three peaks, and winds its way all the way to the top of Primancepes. It is well marked at its base by a pair of huge stone statues carved from the foot of the mountain itself. The statues are gigantic figures both seated in thrones. The trials of time have not been kind to the statues, but one very clearly bears the head of a canine, while the second is most likely human. At various points along the switch backs that form the trail smaller statues of a similar make line the way.
It takes a hardy traveller about 5 to 7 days to traverse the trail, depending on weather conditions.
P2 - ENTRANCE
Two more statues similar to those at the base of the Winding Path stand guard over the dark cavern that penetrates the mountain side here. These statues are made of green serpentine and both sport the head of a jackal. Both statues are actually stone golems (CR 11 - MM) that Hytiliaph rescued and restored from caverns deeper in the complex. They have orders to block the passage of any who wish to enter from this route, unless Hytiliaph personally grants the visitor leave to enter.
P3 - ANTI-CHAMBER
This large chamber is where Hytiliaph entertains most of his guests. It was enlarged from a pre-existing chamber, and portions of two walls (the south wall and half of the north wall) still bear glyphs and embossments from the Lost Nation. In the north wall is a pair of heavy iron doors (locked DC 35). To the east of the doors a narrow stairway leads down into a section of the chamber that was obviously expanded after its original construction. A wide balcony looks down into the deeper sections while a second balcony overlooks the first from the opposite wall. In the far north eastern wall of the chamber is a large cavern entrance.
Hytiliaph usually greets his guests here. In dragon form he can rest comfortable in the expanded section of the chamber while discoursing with those on the first balcony. Sometimes he prefers to take a smaller humanoid form, and in these instances he journeys up the stairway to speak with his guests face to face.
The second balcony hides three Dread Guards (CR 2 MMII) with short bows. They will fire upon anyone that attempts to open the locked door, or journey further through the caverns without being accompanied by Hytiliaph. If the northern door is forcibly opened (without the key), a magical trap is triggered that summons a Lupinal celestial guardian (CR 5 MMII). The Lupinal calls out an alarm before engaging any intruders.
P4 - THE LOST GUARD
A heavy door covers each of the entrances to this chamber. Both doors are made of reinforced iron, locked, and warded with magical traps. The southern door leads to area P3. Its original wards have been broken (by Hytiliaph), but the dragon reinstalled his own wards as soon as he learned the purpose of this chamber. The northern door has never been opened since its creation nearly 1500 years ago.
The chamber's other guardian, a Crypt Thing (CR 3 FF), has been here just as long. It is clothed in the styles commonly worn by kings of the Lost Nation, though its garments are now old and tattered. Hytiliaph converses with the Crypt Thing on occasion, and has been able to glean some considerable amount of information regarding the Lost Nation From it.
If anyone other than Hytiliaph or Demetrion enter this room, the Crypt Thing will warn them away saying that it guards the prison of an ancient evil. It will only attack those who attack it, or who attempt to open the north door. Long ago, during the corruption of the Lost Nation, a select few individuals of that country recognised what was happening to their homeland. They fought back against the evil that was destroying their land, and managed to imprison one of its minions here. Alas for them, they were too late. Irreparable damage had been done to the Lost Nation and the Immortals themselves finally turned upon it and destroyed it.
P5 - ENTOMBMENT CHAMBER
The corridors here are lined with large stone blocks, many of them weighing more than a ton. The air is dry and stale, and no signs of life, recent or otherwise, can be seen anywhere. At regular intervals large recessions are carved into the walls, each one of them containing an ornate upright sarcophagus.
Long ago the last fanatical followers of Entropy were entombed here as an eternal punishment for their transgressions. They exist here still, though not alive. Each sarcophagus holds a Mummy (CR 3 MM) that will attack as soon as its resting place is disturbed.
P6 - CHAMBER OF THE DAMNED
Deep gouges in the stone cover the interior this room, especially near the doorways. Any ancient frescos or glyphs have long since been destroyed. Fragments of painted plaster and stone litter the floor.
Here, one of the leaders of the Lost Nation's dark cult has been trapped for centuries. Consumed by evil and hatred, the once mortal continues to exist as a Bodak (CR 8 MM). It has been trying to claw its way out of either doorway (with little luck) ever since it was entombed. The bodak will escape if it can, but what it really wants is to free its old master in area P8. There is no place for it to hide however, and when this chamber is breached it will be standing on the far wall.
P7 - ENTOMBMENT CHAMBER
This area is identical to area P5 above.
P8 - BOUND EVIL
The walls of this room curve around to form one large circle. Every inch of the walls is carved into obscene reliefs. Statues of creatures with tentacular heads and bodies like eels with three long hooked tails are spaced at equal distances along the room's edge. The centre is dominated by a single large fountain, spraying forth black flames.
A Palrathee demon (MMII), Fiend of Blasphemy(Level 5, total CR 13)(FF) is bound within the flames of the fountain. It has the ability to change the flames to any colour that it likes, and can communicate telepathically with anyone who enters the room. This demon was the orchestrator behind a foul cult in the Lost Nation, a cult which ultimately contributed to the once powerful country's downfall.
Although Hytiliaph has never physically penetrated this far into the cavern, he is aware of the demon's existence here. He and Demetrion are planning to breach this cavern sometime in the near future, question the demon as much as possible about the Lost Nation, and then dispatch it. Since they will only get one chance to have their questions answered, they are spending as much time and effort as is possible to formulate them.
P9 - FAKE HOARD ROOM
Once a vast natural cavern, this place was modified long ago by the Lost Nation, and more recently expanded even further by the dragon Hytiliaph. A small chamber slopes upward to the north. Filled with humanoid furniture (desk, divan, chairs, and shelves), this is used by Hytiliaph as a study when he is in humanoid form. The northern and eastern walls of the old Lost Nation chamber have been broken away, and the room expanded into a large cavern.
The far end of the cavern floor is covered with gold and jewels. Also amidst the treasure hoard is a swarm of Hoard Scarabs (CR 5 Draconomicon). Characters who look hard enough will be able to discern that portions of the hoard are actually moving about on the ground. Hytiliaph comes here and wallows in this shallow hoard (which is really just a portion of his true wealth) and allows the scarabs to clean his hide of parasites. On the north wall directly behind the hoard is a large stone boulder which Hytiliaph can roll away in order to reveal a large passage leading deeper into the caverns (and eventually to his real hoard room).
P10 - INNER GUARD ROOM
One of the few chambers constructed by the Lost Nation that was not expanded by Hytiliaph, this is a long and wide columned room. The floor slopes downward from the west to the east. Thick columns line the length of the chamber on either side. The columns are embossed with intricate carvings, and the walls behind them are painted in vibrant colours that have withstood the trials of time. Studying the pictographs on the walls may reveal several secrets about the Lost Nation.
Two armoured Dread Guards (CR2 MMII) stand guard before a pair of iron bound doors that reach all the way to the ceiling. Their orders are to attack anyone other than Hytiliaph who approaches the doors. The real danger however, comes from the first two columns in the room. They are in fact Caryatid Columns (CR 6 FF) and as soon as someone approaches the door on the far end, they come to life and attack from behind.
P11 - HOARD ROOM
Hytiliaph enlarged this chamber to a comfortable size. He has more than enough space to manoeuvre around this room with ease. Here he stored the bulk of his treasures, including many of the larger objects of art and magical artifacts that he has managed to collect over the years.
Several years ago Hytiliaph picked up a stray Ravid (CR 5 MM) and decided to keep it as a pet. The Ravid accompanies Hytiliaph out of the lair occasionally, but it enjoys flying around this chamber and playing with Hytiliaph's "toys," animating portions of his hoard to follow it. The Ravid is extremely protective of his master, and will attack anyone who enters this cavern viciously. The Animated Objects (CR variable MM) that follow it around will also attack. Unfortunately for anyone trying to steal Hytiliaph's hoard, they are more likely than not to destroy large portions of it just fighting for their lives.
P12 - STABLES
This large semicircular room is filled with rows of stables, all radiating from the centre of the room out to the rim. Five sets of double doors are spaced equally about the diameter of the room, each one leading to one of the five landing strips jutting out from the mountainside. The stables are large enough to house 50 Griffons (CR 4 MM), or other large flying beasts, and all of the equipment necessary to maintain them. There are rarely more than 5 here at any given time, except under extreme circumstances.
P13 - BARRACKS
Several small rooms filled with cots and bunks make up the barracks. There are accommodations here for nearly 100 men, 50 animal riders and nearly the same amount of support staff. Each cot or bunk has a locked strongbox beneath it, to be used by the Thyatian soldier stationed there.
Royal Air Force soldiers and support staff share bunks, while those in the Knights of the Air have slightly more comfortable quarters.
P14 - AIR STRIPS/SKY DOCKS
Five of these stone ports jut out from the mountainside in a sunburst patter. The strips are wide enough for a flying mount to find purchase during landing. At the end of each one is a large set of double doors that leads into the stables. There are usually several Thyatian soldiers with Farseers stationed on a few of the docks. They spend most of the day scanning the air space around Ancepes Trigeminus for signs of any activity.
Griffon rider patrols fly from hear throughout the day. They fly over the valley below and then out about 5 to 10 miles in a random direction from the peaks before returning.
P15 - GUEST SUITE/VALAXII
This suite of rooms is large and well apportioned. Though built in the Thyatian style, there are many elements of the room that speak of the Lost Nation. Some of those elements are obviously recent... facsimiles created by Thyatian craftsmen, but others are original pieces of artwork, brought here from other portions of the complex.
Valaxii, Handmaiden of Ixion, an Astral Deva (CR 14 MM) currently occupies this suite of rooms. Sent here to treat with Hytiliaph on behalf of her god, Valaxii has been offering the dragon advice on creating a strike force to save his daughter. Valaxii's entourage is minimal, but includes several Lantern Archons that can be found wandering about the Thyatian quarters.
P16 - GUEST SUITE/HYPHANIF
This suite of rooms is apportioned similarly to that in area P15, though it may be slightly more opulent. Hyphanif, a young gold dragon and son of Taralinaf, resides here in humanoid form. His two surviving siblings have been assigned as wards of the Imperial Court, and are beginning their studies under Thyatian tutelage, but Hyphanif chose to stay with his grandfather. He trains here most days with his companion (a Knight of the Air). The two spend at least 8, and sometimes more, hours in the air above the peaks. When not flying, Hyphanif can be found either here or in the library (area P21).
P17 - DEMETRION'S CHAMBER
This suite of rooms is apportioned similar to that in area P15. One of the rooms in the suite has been set aside as a small library and contains many of Demetrion's person tomes. A small closet off to the side has a summoning circle and is used as a focus for teleportation spells. Another room is heavily warded with glyphs, on the walls, ceiling, and floor, and is used as a safe room.
When not at the Imperial Court, Demetrion spends many of his free hours here. For nearly 70 years he has been fast friends with the dragon Hytiliaph, and helped his friend establish this lair. After the Spike Assault Demetrion was instrumental in establishing this as a Thyatian base for the Royal Air Force and Knights of the Air (of which he is one). Demetrion is rarely found here however. If real wizardly work needs to be done he can be found in the lab (area P20) and he prefers the view of Hytiliaph's library to that of his own.
P18 - ILLUSORY WALL
A fork in this wide tunnel is hidden by an illusion spell that simulates a portion of the cavern wall. The main passage leads to the second level of the lair, and to the library. The passage hidden by the illusion leads to Hytiliaph's fake hoard room (area P9).
P19 - CLIFFSIDE EXIT
A black hole opens up onto a sheer facing of the mountain. Though nearly inaccessible from the ground, the cavern is large and easy to access from the air. It is this opening that Hytiliaph uses to enter and exit his lair.
P20 - WIZARD LAB
Magical wards protect this room, both from without and within. It is a large room, dominated in the middle by a heavy stone workbench. This is where Demetrion performs much of his practical research and magical experimentation. Iron cupboards and chests line the room, and ever burning torches hang in sconces on each wall.
All of the lair's construct guardians were created in this room. Currently lying on the workbench is the lifeless form of a large stone golem, much like the ones that guard the entrance (area P2). Demetrion is working to restore this jackal headed golem back to its former glory. When completed it will be set to guard either the library or the air docks. Demetrion is also working on developing a smaller version of the golem. The smaller golems will be cheaper to build and faster to produce, and both he and Hytiliaph hope to use them on their assault of Blackheart.
P21 - LIBRARY
This large semi-circular room is situated directly over the stables. Its large windows span the entire height of the room, completely line the southern wall. Looking out the windows reveals the air docks below, and griffons and their riders can often be seen flying outside. The northern section of the room contains a balcony supported by two large stone statues. Hytiliaph moved these ancient sculptures here from portions of the lair that he excavated and expanded. Giant fireplaces flank either end of the entryway, and are always kept lit. Large warm tapestries hang from the walls between rows of bookshelves. Free standing book cases and several study tables fill the rest of the room.
Both Hytiliaph and Demetrion have contributed to this library. It is little surprise that this is one of the foremost libraries in the studies of the Lost Nation, but several other subjects can be researched here as well. Many tomes deal with Alphatia as well as other political entities in the Known World.
Demetrion can be found here on occasion, as well as Hyphanif. Most guests to Primancepes like this room the best. It is always warm and cheery, and view is breathtaking.