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Mount Ariadne

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 The Witches' Mountain

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Mount Ariadne is the eminence in which the Sisterhood of Witches reside in. It is located in the southernmost regions of No Man's Land, northerly ridging the passage to Palgard from the Great Pine Barrens. It is also one of the surrounding mountains on the northern outskirts of the Black Ridge and arguably apart of it. While this mountain dulls in comparison to the nearby Mount Ormond's 31,000ft elevation (resting at 29,000ft), it still stands as an impressive mountain with views of the western Palgard and the entire northern landscape of No Man's Land from its crown. When viewed from the grounds of No Man's Land, it is the largest in its region and is most accessible from it.

The mountain contains a multitude of caverns and is forested by palisades of jutting rocks and cliff sides that obscure most of its openings. Before the witches, this mountain was ruled by vicious orcs that abused and toiled the land. It is volcanic in origin with a previously noxious atmosphere that resisted all forms of  growth. Now the mountain stands out as covered in a thin patches of greenery and an overall radiance of magic that is often mistaken as the after currents of the southern Black Ridge.

As time drifts by, the mountain continues to demonstrate a resilience against the starved landscape due to the slowly increasing saturation of magic embedded into its soul by the witches and magical entities that have begun to inhabit it. The geography is demonstrating more fauna and flora, though it has not begun to sprout trees. 

Inside the Mountain

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Labyrinth

Ariadne in some Greek legends symbolizes the "Mistress of Labyrinths" and is fitting to the insides of the mountain.  When accessing the caverns, there is an open network of tunnels that leads into a maze of rocky aphotic corridors. Without guidance, one can wander miles in circles without light nor nourishment. An array of dangerous creatures live within this labyrinth and often prey on lost wandering intruders. Unless a witch of the coven has entered the threshold, the darkness will only thicken as one travels from the entrance light and eventually become pitch black. There are torches on the walls, but they are magically induced not to produce light to those not of the coven. When a coven member enters the threshold, the torches immediately light and the pathway. Otherwise, the natural denizens of the mountain see with near perfection in the dark.

The labyrinth is sporadically adorned with hidden runic inscriptions at locations most of the witches are aware of. When the blood of a witch bonded to the Coven's Soul is provided, a gateway activates and can provide easy passageway through the tunnels. This two key requirement of witch blood and connection to the Coven's Soul prevents the blood of a dead coven witch (whose soul would have passed with her death) from activating the portals.

. Orc Fortress
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At the core, the mountain is revealed to be the vessel for an underground volcanic world. The temperatures raise significantly as one reaches the center, spiking to a blistering 900 degrees Fahrenheit. Under the influence of runic symbols scattered across the cavern, this temperature has been subdued to a fifth of that, but the effects are still fatal to those incapable of handling the heat. Rivulets of magma stream through the chest of the mountain and lead to glorious statue of the Orc fortress.

The road to the fortress is about a mile long, and is met with gates atop a set of stone stairs. The doors to the fortress are ingrained into a metallic forged wall and constructed of illustrious gems and diamond dust harvested from the mountain. The stairs ascend over a magma molt that crescents the front of the fortress. Great towers guard the surrounding sights of the door and many more can be seen peaking over the thick stone walls.  Light is provided by the magma itself. 

 

Witches' Tower and Orc Courtyard

ruins_by_miryxg-d6mklg5.jpgThe entire rear of the fortress is embedded into the interior side  of the open cavern, consisting of specific chambers tailored to both witches and orcs alike. Some of the networking travels deeper into the earth to places such as the dungeons and greater sanctions of magma pools. The majority of sleeping quarters for the orcs are hidden within the mountainside. Most of the open area within the fortress walls consists of several great towers and a vast courtyard. Most of the architecture within the courtyard is low and consists of laboring supplies, training camps, armories, barracks for active guards, and stables for the tamed beasts and steeds. The courtyard is often crowded with orcs and hounds laboring for Luna's constant desire of expansion. The extending towers are the most impressive features of the fortress, extending between 20-30 floors in height.

The highest of the towers is the Witches' Tower, which plasters into the mountainside and extends halfway up the cavern wall. It is the jewel of the fortress and where the sister witches congregate. Within the tower, their magnificent collective magic flourishes and reveals itself. The scenery transforms into a lush emerald environment of plant life woven through stone and stairway. The witches' chambers exist on different levels of the tower, tailored to the signatures of their own magic. The concentration of the Coven's Soul exists within this tower, its magic breathing the life seen within and manifests as sunlight rushing through the interior.  The wealth of the tower is a direct representation of the strength of the coven, and will weaken and flourish based on their numbers. The heated environment dissipates into cool manageable temperatures and the air becomes clean and fresh within. The tower is a fragment of what Luna hopes to transpire as her sanctuary for witches. She strives to extend the magic of the tower's interior throughout No Man's Land itself. When in the fortress, the witches spend most of their time within these walls, not interacting with the brutal and unsightly orcs lingering on the blistering outsides. Only selected leaders of orc brigades and invited guests are allowed within the tower.

 

(For more information on Mount Ariadne, the Orc Army, Hounds, Rider Dragons, Beasts of the Coven,  and their growth rates, see "Mount Ariadne" on Sisterhood of Witches main page.)

Edited by Fallen Joy
Abridged post and added reference link.

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Continued from.

“But I thought you made a wonderful ornament.” Alexandria chucked, but she acquiesced Morwenna’s request and put the witch down beside her. The tall elf likely towered, her height of 6’3” more akin to one of the many orcs that traversed the mountains.

Morwenna’s question brought the woman to pause, her golden gaze moving to peer at the smaller witch. A toothy grin splits her face, as she places a hand upon the woman’s shoulder.

“Do what? Search for food or interact with my fellow sisters?”

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"Probably both. I am new to this whole interaction with other witches. My clan never dealt with other people as we kept to ourselves. You're very outgoing. Almost wild."

Morwenna sighed as they walked through as she tried to think of stuff to talk about. She was trying to understand more about this coven. She was still skittish around people and so Morwenna tried to not be so much. Yet at the same time it was hard for her. 

"I don't think I'm fitting in very well..."

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Outside the depths of Mt Ariadne a great wind slapped the earth and forced the flora to bow. A great avian perched upon the side the mountainside.  Upon its back was Luna.

Some time had passed since her departure. She journeyed across the lands and cities in the east in search of a lost sword once embedded in the heart of a hydra. Through a matter of both luck and skill, she found its location and hurried back with haste.  Luna leaped off the bird, cloak flaring around her like wings before she landed with grace on the surface.

“Ah..” She sighed, reaching her gloved hands for her hood.  Much had happened in her absence, both great and  concerning. Nonetheless, a huge beaming smile shone upon her face when she removed her hood. She couldn’t have been more thrilled to be in a place she was learning to call home.

Behind her, the purple avian nudged her with its beak. Luna turned, bringing the bird's head into a well deserved embrace. “Thank you for everything, love. Rest well and Blessed Be.”

The bird chirped once, lifting its great wings. She squinted her eyes to the skies as the creature quickly vanished into the skies, grey clouds transpiring almost instantly around its body. In an instant, it was gone. Its final departing gift being Luna’s wind blown frazzled hair.

Not able to wait another moment, Luna quickly made her way to one of the many hidden entries of the mountain. She felt them, her sisters within the mountain. She had so much to tell them, to hear from them. Her first encounter was unfortunately orcs guarding an entrance. As the sight of her, they immediately bowed, but Luna ran passed them around a glance. Mauve eyes twinkling with excitement, she drew blood from her thumb, reached up and pressed on an indistinct spot on the archway of the cavern. The air rippled, danced, and then instantly consumed her.

 When Luna reappeared, she was within heart of the mountain,  flying towards the distant fortress upon her staff. Just as she knew they were there, they’d know instantly of her arrival.

 

Edited by Fallen Joy

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“Nonsense. You’ll fit in just fine.” Alexandria offers, a reassuring clap upon Morwenna’s shoulder being given to punctuate her words.

“Have more confidence, little Morwenna. You will be an amazing witch.” With that being said, Alexandria turns her attentions to rummaging through the food that is present. When she finally finds something acceptable, she cares not to use a plate, instead tearing into the chicken leg with a voracity often left for the orcs. Since the last mission into a mountain full of spiders, Alexandria has discovered an appetite like no other – likely the result of using so much magic. The lines that coursed through her still raw with the words of power that had forcibly ejected themselves.

The woman pauses, however, long ears twitching as she senses the presence of Luna. Excitement paints itself along her brow before she grasps Morwenna by the hand, and practically drags the poor witch through the winding caverns of the mountain to meet their fearless leader.

“LUNA!” Her voice is a booming explosion of force and delight, her arms spread wide to catch the flying witch – perhaps a tad too tightly.

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Before Morwenna could speak her arm was grasped and she once again was being dragged along. Alexandria was somewhat different than her and it amazed her. 

Down the hallway they walked as she remained silent before Alex cried out. It seems she was meeting the leader of the coven. Her breath caught in her throat as she watched the two.

Morwenna stood there silent as she looked down at her hands.

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There was no mistaking that fiery red hair and great booming voice, even among the clamoring orcs of the courtyard. Luna’s eyes brightened as her staff sailed across the wall, eyes zoning in on the running witch like an eagle before she leaped intrepidly off her staff. Her traveler’s cloak waved wildly around her for a few seconds before she fell into Alexandria’s arms. Her arms hugged her face close, cheeks bright pink with joy and lips ringing with laughter. She pulled back and planted those coral lips upon her forehead.

 “Blessed Be, Sister!” She said pulling away. “I've missed you, and have never been so proud.  I eh...mmm..” She winced, her breath escaping through the tightness of her hug.

 “Mmm! Ah...I can’t breathe, poppet.”

 When Alexandria released, Luna slid down to her feet. She caught her breath then a laugh before reaching up to place her hands on her cheeks. “ As strong and zealous as always...You must tell me everything, absolutely everything of your adventure!”

 Her eyes then shifted to Morwenna. Her excitement softened into a motherly grace before she left Alexandria to approach the quiet witch. Her gloved hands  dropped down to grasp Morwenna’s hands, bringing them up to her own chest and holding them against her heart.

“Morwenna...It is my honor to finally see you face to face.” She suddenly pulled Morwenna in, holding her close like a mother reunited with her lost child. Luna's hand ran up softly her sister's spine and to her scalp, grasping the chocolate strands gently.

“We have much to talk about, " she whispered warmly into her ear.  “Never have I met a witch so tenacious. Even when so scared. You’ve done so much for me and I never once was able to thank you.”

She pulled away, stroking one of Morwenna’s cheek with the back of her finger. “I promise to make up for it, my dear young sister.”

Her face brightened up  as she grasped both their hands firmly. “Come! Come, we must discuss everything with merry drinks!”

Though it seemed she abandoned it, the her staff shot off on its own towards the witch’s tower.  Luna rushed forward, ignoring the bowing orcs of the courtyard and pulling them each along.

Edited by Fallen Joy

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Morwenna's hands were grabbed by Luna's own. She was finally meeting the head witch. And boy was it awkward. 

Her cheek was then touched as well. 

"It's quiet alright. I was just trying to help. And I'm sure you don't need to do that. It's nice to meet you finally face to face."

Before she could say more, Morwenna was dragged along to acquire drinks. She was very nervous and bit down on her lip.

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“Luna!” Alexandria was loathe to relinquish her hold upon Luna, but at the protests for air she finally loosened the hug enough to allow Luna to draw breath. Giving birth to a new myriad of emotions, Alexandria beamed brightly at Luna.

“Yes! There are all the things to tell!” She parroted briefly, even as Kamal sulked around her neck, face burrowed into the fire like tresses that set a blazing crown ‘top her head. Following their leader as she headed towards drinks, food, and the like, Alexandria’s steps were eager.

“Have you seen the newest dragons, Luna?” The giant elf asks, foolish pride among her gaze.

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"I have not, my sister." Luna glanced back at Alexandria with a grin. "But I have heard their calls echo over the mountaintops. It is as beautiful as a pod of orcas."

Hands grasping theirs firmly, Luna pulled her sisters through the courtyard. There were many orcs working around them, laboring though the great heat and parting like waves to their approach. She didn't take them to the kitchens. No, she traveled to the far end of the courtyard, ascending up the staircases and pausing at the extravagant doors of the Witch's Tower. She stared at its stretch to the stalactites above and inhaled proudly. Before opening the doors, she dropped their hands and turned to face them with a brilliant and jubilant countenance.

"Adventurous tales and celebration calls for true extravagance, my sisters! Magic woven into our gaiety!" Her British accent was strong with her excitement like a great philosopher and storyteller. "On my travels back I made some arrangements, but we must manifest them into the tower." She turned back to the door and placed her palm on the surface. "Join me sisters, imagine a banquet of great food and drink. Music and celebration! See it in your mind's eyes and it blossom within the Coven's Soul."

With her glimmering coral lips plastered into a smile, she closed her eyes and did just that. Should they join her, they'd feel their thoughts manifest into magic, invisible arcane flows coming through the door and embracing their desires. It all birthed from the Coven's Soul within the tower. When Luna felt it was ready, she opened her bright eyes and pushed the doors open with a showy spread of her arms.

The once forestry interior of the tower transformed into a banquet. The bright soul high above rained down violet shades pregnant with floating lights that resembled whimsical fireflies simply too bright to make out.  It made the air look like dancing stars in the night. A great oak table extended before them, littered with chalices, plates, and great spread of food. The pond that once settled in the middle of the tower transformed into a great silver fountain of red wine.  The forest vines and stairways into their individual rooms still existed, hidden in the beauty. 

"This!" Luna boomed running into the display and spinning joyfully. "This is what our collective magic does! Two magical dragons within the mountain, a great pack of them just beside it. All our new sisters! Feel it and celebrate!"

Her grandiose voice seemed to echo through the stone walls and throughout the entire mountain.      

Edited by Fallen Joy

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Alexandria was eager for celebration. She pours her thoughts and will into it’s very being, splitting the red wine fountain into ale on one side, and many large roasted beasts for the rest. She gives a cheerful cry as it is presented to them, and easily both witches are scooped into her hold and ushered inside.

“We are wonderful, and powerful! Together we will rule these mountains.” Alexandra states, grasping a chalice as she dunks it into the ale fountain, downing the chalice in easily a single gulping swallow.

“Aaaaah! That’s good stuff!” The giant elf grins – lips spreading into a wide grin that shows rows of teeth. She pauses, momentarily, before chuckling as she grasps another chalice and fills it eagerly.

“I would not have been able to complete my mission without Natasha. She should be allowed to partake in this feast and celebration.” The redhead mentions to Luna.

“How have your own travels been? Fruitful, I imagine, for you to return so high spirited. Mm, to that end, I’m eager to make the next mission! Syvos and I are eager to bash some heads.”  

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Morwenna watched the two witches remaining in silence. It was odd to watch but she didn't stop them. Maybe it was supposed to happen. But the witch didn't know. 

As the witches walked towards the main hall as Morwenna still didn't speak as she watched. Sitting on the floor, the nature witch just listened. These things were so different to her. 

And it was interesting to watch.

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Jadis had been deep within her mind when she felt the surge and channelling of power from Luna within the mountain. It reached her as she walked through a sea of minds and waves of thoughts. Her body was sitting crossed and stone like in her room, the first sign of life was an increase in breathing, previously non-existent, to a flick of an ear as the sounds of rambunctious conversation whispered from below.

 

The pull of the others, the feeling of wishes to be among them was so unexpected that it draws Jadis back to her physical form with a start. Bloody pupils rolled back into place and the candles around her room lightened from their dim glow to a bright flick as she returned.

 

Picking herself up, stretching first as she limbs protested at the sudden movement from long hours of motionless dreaming, Jadis hesitantly opened her door and listened to the music floating up the stairs. Taking each step slowly but surely, she let herself be dragged by the pull and soon came to the entrance of the tower.

 

She let out a soft gasp, her eyebrows raising in surprise at the beauty of the inside combined with the surplus of scrumptious foods. Her nose twitched, inhaling a variety of delicious smells that made her mouth water. She wanted to sing, dance and talk to with and to all those gathered here. Stepping out into the fray, she started to weave her way towards those gathered around a loud and animated person.


She caught sight of Morwenna and smiled brightly as the moon, moving forward to introduce herself to the others. They looked lively and most amusing. “May the stars shine on our meeting, I am Jadis, new to the coven but eager to become one of you.” She bowed low and formally.

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Caught off guard from behind, Luna released a loud startled squeal as she was scooped under the impressive strength of the zealous Alexandria. A plethora of giggles followed, the ancient six century old witch converting into an excited toddler as she flailed her buckle shoes and waved her arms wildly until sat on the edge of the wine fountain. Exhaling away her laughter, she waves a finger to send a chalice into her gloved hand. Synchronously dipping her cup into the wine as Alexandria did the ale, she lifted her drink to kiss Alexandria's before downing it. Flush and heat flew upon her face, and she leaned back with sheer glee.

Her sister suddenly mentioned Natasha and Luna raised a curious brow with a pause before laughing again, waving her hand in the air at the thought.

“Oh sister,  surely you jest. These orcs have no finesse for such celebration. They sooner beat their chests and grunt than dance and be merry. We’d accomplish nothing but tainting the pleasant air with their horrid odor.” She paused to take another gulp and then placed her free leathered hand on Alexandria’s shoulder. “But I am proud her obligations have not tarnished. She’s been a bit worrisome, that one. A bit intelligent for a blimey orc."

 Suddenly the floating lights above them starting to ring with music; celtic melodies filling the air with wondrous sounds. Luna perked up with joy, grasping Alexandria’s hand.

 “Come poppit, let’s not think of orcs! Let us dance!”

 The witch stood, grabbing Alexandria hands and pulling her with such momentum that when she swung her body she took the witch in a whirl around her.

 “Oh my dear sister,” she sings as she whirls the redhead around the table. “My high spirits are in sync with my thrill for being home.” Magic levitating her body, she came off the ground, lifting Alexandria's hand around her tall head and spinning her around.  She watched her crimson hair  fly like a blossoming rose. “My travels took me far to the west, where I came across soldier and rider of dragons. An intriguing man of simple gesture. With a spot of pizzazz and  charm, I convinced him to trade for an amazing gift.”

 She descended close to her sister, interlocking their fingers. “One I shall now bestow onto you,” she whispered with velvety charm before pulling away, bridging them with one of their arms. Her other hand slyly removed the hat from her hand and when she pull them together again, she offered the inside of it to her.

 “Reach inside and retrieve it.”

 With their next pull away, Alexandria would have a beautiful sword with her grasps. Within its sheath was a matte obsidian blade with the finest sharp edge. To Alexandria, Luna gifted the legendary Sable Sword.

 Luna released her hand, standing back to watch Alexandria take in the blade. As she did so, another very welcome guest brushed her way into her periphery.

“May the stars shine on our meeting, I am Jadis, new to the coven but eager to become one of you.

“Jadis,” Luna breathed out warmly as she turned to her. Without another word, she glided into her space and swooped her up into her arms.

“Sister, you’re already one of us.” She pulled back, pressing her forehead onto hers, connecting their eyes and smiling wide before separating and addressing the others. “Sisters, this is Jadis. I found her during my search for the sword. She is the true treasure I bring back to our family.”  

 

Edited by Fallen Joy

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“I don’t jest.” Alexandria protests Luna’s claims, brow furrowing as the ale is brought to her lips and held there – waiting to protest further the remarks Luna makes. It deepens the lines of her face, and the giant elf considers whether or not she should relay her protests once more, but finds that thinking has eaten up the time available for such things as she is tugged to dance.

Forgetting her potential insolence, Alexandria’s face splits into a wide grin once more as Luna leads into a tuneless dance. Carefully and eagerly, she joins as she finds herself warm and pleasantly loose with movement as she twirled and danced. Luna’s instruction, however, gave her curiosity as her hand reached into the hat without hesitation.

She trusted Luna with every cell of her being, afterall. When she withdrew the sword, however, the giant elf made an exclamation of glee.

“It is beautiful!” In excitement, the ebony blade is thrust into the air directly above her head – her face one of rapture as she held the sword before she carefully brought it back down. Setting it lovingly at her side, Alexandria beamed as she clasped a hand (Gently, of course, she knew the other witches were more delicate than she) upon Jadis' shoulder.

“Welcome, sister! I look forward to adventuring with you! Come, fill your cup and your belly! And Luna, Thank you for such a remarkable gift. I shall cherish it." 

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