Having made your way along the path of virtue, climbed the mountain of the dragons and ascended the Clfif Stair you will find yourself before the greatest challenge of all. The Black Basalt Cliffs that support the home of the Dragon King rise into the sky, high above the snowline below. A plateau at the base of these cliffs gives ample space for mortals to rest, to camp and prepare themselves for the final ascent up the mountain. The platform can be circumnavigated in four days, the view down over creation admired from every angle and some say if you have the strength of will and power you can view any point, any time in creation from this ledge for it is the "Aleph"
Roll: Willpower+Channeling TN 22 To view somewhere you want to see in creation
Legend says if you can bargain with Mephistophles for the secrets of the Alpeh you can learn the ways of the ancient masters, the way to form a crystal imbued with the properties of the Aleph that can transport you across all of creation with a strong mind and will. But it is just legend, there are no recorded instances of anyone asking the Dark Sage for this lost knowledge.
When a mortal is ready to climb they will find it easy going, there are ample ledges, hand holds, cracks, crevaces, it looks like it should be an easy thing to climb.
Roll: Strength+Athletics+Climbing TN 10
This can be called on as often as the Judge of the scene feels is required. Falling off the wall is a one way trip to the Abyss, you will plummet and land in the dark realm of the dead and from there fate shall decide if you will return to the mortal realm or if you have been called for the final time.
The problem with the cliffs are no matter how long you climb you will never reach the top, you can climb back down to the Aleph and leave but you will never reach the top unless you meet the criteria for access to the Twelve Pillars of Bahamut. It is known that only one person in a group of travellers need meet the requirements to climb the cliffs, as long as he or she passes the test of will and has the backing required all their party can ascend to the cliff top. The group limit does however appear to be no more then three or four companions and still some of them may be denied passage to the top or requested to remain at the Aleph and climb no higher. On very, very rare occasions someone might be granted audience with the Dragon Spirit but they will be called for by his servants only in these circumstances will the other requirements be waived.
- Strength of Will: Willpower+Fortitude TN 20
- The blessings of 2 other Dragon Spirits
- Support from 3 other Spirits
At the top of the cliffs is a curving wall of stone, rising higher over head, smooth as glass and impassable, delving through this outer wall however is a long arched tunnel. Half a mile long the passageway is divided into sections each one blocked by a magnificent twenty foot high gateway which encompass the thirteen domains of creation. To open each gate-way the summoner must do something to acknowledge the domain that the gateway represents. It could be anything from casting a spell of that particular element, reading from a scroll, chanting a poem, performing a dance, offering a gift, the choice is the summoners and after an appropriate gift the gateway will open allowing them to pass. Beyond each doorway the tunnel through the rock is decorated in the style most appropriate tot he domain of the gate they have just opened, it is said to be both a beautiful and a disturbing walk that no mortal will ever forget.
The Gateways are:
|Gate of Stone||Earth||A massive gateway carved from grey granite, two mighty panels sealed seamlessly carved with a massive representation of Titan wielding his famouse hammer stood atop a pillar of stone flanked by Fenrir howling to the sky and Demeter holding the Cornucopia.||Titan|
|Aether Postern||Air||A shimmering curtain of swirling fog sparkling with purple and violet lights, streamers of clouds weaving their way through the whole, forming banks of rolling fog and patches of clear blue sky through which the corridor beyond can be seen. The postern is loated at the base, a swirling rectangle of clouds that will open to permit passage through the little slice of captured air.||Pandemona|
|Obsisdian Pillars||Fire||A pair of obsidian pillars, interspersed with open grills through which bright orange flames roar, lancing out as foot thick bars blocking passage forward. The heat of the flames is over a thousand degrees making it impossible to approach too close unless the flames are switched off.||Ifrit|
|The Aquarium||Water||Clear, warm blue water fills the passage, hanging in the air unsupported by any glass or frame, bright sunlight blue at ceiling level deepening to dark glimmering twilight at floor level. Swimming through the water are fish, big fish, small fish, exotic brightly coloured fish, they swim in and out of sight continuously. In the centre surrounded by water is a minature castle, with wavering green underwater plants to either side, all standing atop a bed of bright gravel, a massie free-standing aquarium.||Leviathan|
|Diamond Gate||Ice||A pair of gates carved from ice, clear and crystalline like flawless diamonds, they reflect the light beautifully, a captivating work of art, a statement of wealth and an abrupt reminder of the cold. The air is still and freezing, breath mists and water starts to freeze as the gates are approached, the stern domain of Queen Shiva in all its beauty summed up in these marvelous gates.||Shiva|
|Lightning Passage||Lightning||A bolt of forked lightning, bright and white and eternally frozen in the moment of striking the ground, spinning slowly around the pillar of energy are six forked tines, a bright, white deadly electrical blur blocking the tunnel. When the gate opens vistors must pass through the revolving door of lightning but anyone stepping into that whirling mass of lightning before it slows will be atomised||Ramuh|
|Seal of Battle||War||Mighty oaken gates, bound with iron and inset with a massive octagonal wax seal impressed with the image of a pair of wings and two crossed swords. The seal fills the centre of the gate, crossing both halves of the door and legend says in ages past, in a temple long forgotten when war was declared the seal was broken; here it is remembered and the might and word of Odin is revered.||Odin|
|Gates of Bone||Death||Two pillars of age darkened ivory with symbols, whorling lines and ancient letters carved into their length. Curving out from each pillar are six massive ribs, interlocked to bar the passage forward. A simple, plain gate like its creator the Master oft he Dead.||Hades|
|Gate of Memory||Knowledge||A large rectangle of gently glowing ruby set into the walls, ceiling and floor of the tunnel, there is no physical barrier stopping passage forward. Anyone stepping between the ruby before the gateway has been appeased and open will be subject to a deluge of memory. Glimpses, incomplete and maddening sights of other people, other creatures past. Knowledge flows here and knowledge destroys here beware the portal of Memory is not as harmless as it may seem.||Carbuncle|
|Door of Light||Civilization||A segment of the passageway that is part machine, part divine and every inch a work of art. The door-frame is metal, starting out as basic bronze, then transitioning to copper, iron, steel and other metals exotic and unknown until the frame touches the ceiling. The keystone at the apex of the arch is a brilliant shining white crystal that fills the frame with impenetrable white light. An image of the mighty city of Alexander can sometimes be glimpsed within the light, flickering in and out of sight until the light dims and the portal opens.||Alexander|
|Twilight Wall||The Cycle||A wall covered in tiny, minute tiles which tessalate, turn, shift, move, slide and click from position to position endlessly, never ceasing, always shifting as if an unseen player is trying to solve the puzzle. The final picture is that of a pair of open doors and a tunnel leading onward. The image will only ever complete when an appropriate gift has been presented to open the way forward. Diabolos' gate of mystery, his insight into the ever flowing Cycle of what is, what should be, could be and what was summed up in a single puzzle that can be the hardest gate to open.||Diabolos|
|Portal of Dragons||Power||A sheet of black marble polished to a mirrored sheen, beneath the surface of the marble dragons fly, magnificent creatures of legend swooping through alien and unknown skies. Different dragons fly in and out of sight at all times, majestic despite their size, each one unique in colour, no dragon is ever seen more then once but they all have wise, knowledgeable eyes that see further and deeper then any other looking out of the marble, judging, weighing, waiting.||Bahamut|
The Twelve Pillars
Beyond the Dragon Portal the entrance tunnel opens out into a wide ampitheatre, a bowl shaped crater at the height of dragon mount that has been carved into thirteen terraces. The black bassalt ledges are all twelve feet high and a wide staircase runs from the tunnel exit down to the floor. The stairway is illuminated by stone lanterns filled with soft blue fire, the real illumination for the twelve pillars comes from the star field of Andromeda, Lady Fate's refuge and home blazing brilliant in the sky above the mountain seen clearly only here at the centre of all.
At the base of the staircase, 144 feet below the tunnel, 200 feet below the crater rim the view visitors have of the world is reduced to two things. The blazing stars over-head and the columned walk that leads from the stairs toward the throne of Bahamut. There are twelve pillars, six either side and atop each one is a beautiful coloured carving of a dragon, each one different, majestic in their own way towering over the realm, looking down at those who pass between them. They are the forms of Bahumat, many and varied and eternally different, the few reports we have from mortals who visited this place all speak of different statues atop the pillars.
There are no more challenges here, no more tests of will or mettle, to have come this far is to have proven yourself now all that remains is to pass between the pillars and pay your respects before the throne of the King himself. Bahamut waits, regal and imposing atop a tall column of rock, carved at its pinnacle into a plateau flanked by mighty wings of stone, a throne to put all thrones to shame. Bahamut is here, upon the throne of creation, beneath the ever guiding light of his closest advisor and confident the lady Andromeda. Show respect, speak not until granted leave and listen to the words of the King of Kings, the spirit whose will and thought brought creation into being.
Here, in this place the culmination of dreams can be met, the king's quests and rewards handed out and his favour given, hark and worship unto him, he who is all that is and all that should be. You are in the presence of the dragon, at the heart of all creation, the focal point around which existance turns.
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