In this article, we will continue our look at the lore of VulcanVerse and, more specifically, the frozen plateau quadrant known as the Mountains of Boreas.
The Mountains of Boreas are high up and at the same level as the fortified Vulcan City itself. The outer edge of Boreas is surrounded by mountains, with the inner area a mixture of forests, caves, and tundra. A rocky cliff face stands to the eastern extent of the land, where Boreas gives way to the Gardens of Arcadia. To the south, another cliff exists with an even deeper drop down into the depths of the Underworld of Hades.
The Lore of the Mountains of Boreas
As touched on, the Mountains of Boreas were a different place to that which we know today — larger and wilder, much more dangerous. The map we have access to is an accurate representation of the place of old, though it lacks detail relating to the smaller places.
The Sacred Way
The route running around the northern and western coast, between the borders of Arcadia and the Underworld of Hades, was called the Sacred Way. Winding along the cliffs, it was a solitary place, windswept and desolate. The route was dotted with piles of stones that were either waymarkers or, potentially, graves. Occasionally, in prominent positions along the Sacred Way, shrines could be found. The ancient books tell us that the Sacred Way was ‘once a thoroughfare fit for the chariots of gods and heroes’ but, at the time of writing, the Sacred Way had become a paving of cracked rubble interspersed with tufts of brittle grass. In many places, the route skirted the very edge of the land, like a modern coastal path. Below the cliffs, fur-clad seal hunters could often be found crossing the icy shore in search of a kill. The sea here was often as frozen as the land, with pack ice both drifting, large chunks many feet across, crunching and grinding against land fast ice.
To the north of the Sacred Way, the books tell us of a northern peninsula that juts out to sea, a place where the locals would bury their dead. The peninsula stretches out to sea and is covered in sharp rocks and cut with vertical ravines. A visitor here would have to negotiate their way through thorny scrub, and thick sea mist hanging in the air — not even the constant wind would move it. It is said that ghosts of those who passed were often seen here. At the northern tip of the headland, an ancient weather-worn alter could be found in an alcove hewn into the rock.
The Sacred Way to the north and west ran between the cliffs and the mountains, with occasional routes passing up the valleys leading to the interior of the landmass. Traveling theatres could sometimes be found on the Sacred Way, entertaining people from local villages.
Where the moist air blowing from Arcadia met the cold currents sweeping down from the mountains, there was a perpetual veil of mist surrounding this crossroads at the Sacred Way. Lush ferns and multi-colored fungi would sprout up among the stones lining the road nearest the border between the quadrants. To the south, where the Sacred Way straddled both Boreas and Hades, the route was bordered on one side by high snow-capped peaks and on the other by the dark marchlands of the Underworld. This stretch of the Sacred Way was dark and dreary, sometimes blocked by rockfalls or else submerged in icy fog.
Taking one of the mountains passes inland from the Sacred Way could be perilous. Often, these routes were narrow passageways with sharp inclines at either side, the visitor picking their way over loose scree and small, flinty rocks that tumble down the surrounding precipices that surround the trail.
It was said that the lucky observer may spot a rare phoenix flying among the mountain peaks — or the less fortunate may be prey to a Harpy, particularly when passing through the valley between Mount Nysa and the western mountains where they were known to nest. Nymphs, known as Oreads, could occasionally be found when traveling through the mountains and the caves and grottos thereabout — though only when they wanted to be.
Of the many mountains here on the interior of the Sacred Way, some were renowned— such as that one on which the Harpies choose to nest, the Hippogriff’s Eyrie to the north-west and the Lair of the Cyclops to the north-east. In the heartland of Boreas was the central plateau, the traveler passing through the mountains here would meet a mostly impassible sheer wall of rock and ice seemingly guarding this central area against outsiders. In these times, four mountains rose up out of Boreas’s central plateau, separate from the mountain ranges at the edges of the realm. They were Mount Othri, Mount Helikon, Mount Atos and Mount Nysa.
Our look at the lore and history of the Mountains of Boreas will conclude in our next article, where we visit the central plateau and look at the ancient people, creatures, and flora that could be found in the Boreas of old.
VulcanVerse is a flagship metaverse and an MMORPG game of the Vulcan Forged ecosystem where players can create their own quests and adventures, battle against other Vulcanites, forage for NFTs, and truly own their digital assets in the form of NFTs.