At the southern end of the
Mithral Mountains, in the
Santharian province of
Manthria are three rounded mountains all roughly the same size. They are
not as tall and rugged as most of the Mithrals
and are even separated from that range by a wide gap known as
Broken Dream Gap.
These mountains are known as the Three Maids, in reference to the legend about
them which is still told by the people living near the mountains.
Description. The Three Maids are comprised of Mounts Jaya, Filitha and Plick. Jaya is the northernmost, and is the tallest of the three. To the west is Mount Filitha, and Mount Plick, the smallest, lies to the East.
In many respects the terrain on the three mountains is very similar. All three are too short to have any permanent snow, although Jaya has a white top for all but the four hottest months of the year. The sides of all three are rocky with pretty alpine plants immediately below the snow line, and then lushly grassed and forested on their lower slopes.
Their differences, whilst small, will still be examined here. Mount Jaya is the tallest of the three peaks. She is also possessed of the roughest terrain. Her rocky line extends noticeably lower than the other two and the woods about her base seem somewhat wilder. By contrast, Mount Filitha is tamer. Medicinal and edible plants tend to grow more readily on her sides than on those of her fellow Maids, and water can easily be found here, collecting in small pools. Mount Plick, the smallest and most easterly set, tends to harbour more creatures than the other two. She has also been known to shake more regularly than the other two Maids, and has caused some concern for farmers on the Kaelimi Flats.
The feet of the Three Maids join at their bases to form a slightly elevated ring, which is protected from the outside by a low natural wall. This hollow between the Three Maids is wide and is lushly vegetated. Perhaps the most interesting part of the dell is the small network of thermal pools which lie at the eastern side of the area, below Mount Plick. The pools and hot falls which feed them make a picturesque little scene, and the whole valley is sheltered and fairly safe. Knowledgeable travellers of the Eastern Mithrun trail or through Broken Dream Gap will make a detour allowing them to camp here rather than on one of the mountains’ more exposed flanks, taking advantage of the warm water to relax weary bodies. Despite the relative safety of this area, it is still fairly out of the way for most travellers so no permanent traders’ base has ever been set up here, although there are rumours of a hermit, or group of hermits, who make their home in this mist shrouded hollow.
Location. The Three Maids are located in the Kingdom of Santharia, in the easternmost corner of the province of Manthria. They stand south of, and slightly separated from the Mithral Mountains by a divide called Broken Dream Gap. To their south are the Svanfrills; to their East the Kaelimi Flats; to the West Lake Laath and eventually, by the Eastern Mithrun Trail, the city of Marcogg. The closest settlements are Tyr Ethran, home of the Mitharim Dwarves, and a human village called Kolbruk, a large trading owned by the Altnaus famous family.
People. Few people live
in this area, apart from in the nearby settlements of
Kolbruk, and Tyr Ethran. There have, however, been occasional rumours
of hermits, or group of hermits, the greylers, living in the valley between the
Three Maids’ bases, or part way up their sides, but these have never been
Climate. Like the Mithrals just to the North, the Three Maids see varied weather over the seasons, although their climate tends to be a little warmer than the Mithrals as the Maids stand farther south. The weather tends to be rainy in spring and balmy in summer, with mild breezes from the east. Autumn sees the prevailing wind swing to the north, with the wind coming down from the Mithrals. During this time the temperature drops noticeably, especially once the month of Passing Clouds is reached. Winter brings snow to the Maids’ brows, anointing them with white like their larger friends to the north.
Mist will often cling to the feet of the Maids, especially in the raised hollow where their roots meet, regardless of the season. This is probably due to the small network of thermal pools which lie here, but it is often said by the people in neighbouring villages to be the sighs of the Three for their lost love (see Myth/Lore).
Flora. The wide dell at the feet of the Maids is lushly vegetated with weeds and other moisture tolerant plants such as ferns and yrom-weed (heather). Trees also grow here in small thickets – both the pines so common to the Mithrals and other less hardy, deciduous trees, the meldarapple being fairly common. The vegetation becomes thicker upon the sides of the Maids, carpets of needles from the pines making the lower slopes a soft bed for weary travellers. Many other types of plant can be seen upon the sides of the mountains, too, which cannot be found in the dell. Bushes, food plants, herbs and flowers all add to the lushness of the Maids’ raiment. Above the trees, where the bare rocky tops of the Maids pierce low cloud, bloom the delicate but hardy alpine plants – grasses, mosses and small flowers like dwarfed lotann and ynia.
Fauna. Kuatu and surica are common in the woods upon the slopes of the Maids along with numerous birds, among which are aelirels, cuuloo and – lending substance to to the rumours of hermit inhabitants – numbers of taenish. Goats and sheep are probably the largest of the animals living here, unless you believe the rumours. Some say that what people believe are hermits living somewhere on the Three Maids are actually watchers, the feared neutral-seeming apparitions which are said to haunt misty places such as this.
Resources. The resources of the Maids are only those which could be found in many wild areas in southern Sarvonia – plants, animals and springwater. Whilst the waters flowing from Mount Plick are thermal Mount Filitha has one or two small springs which are pure and drinkable.
Myth/Lore. The Maids are the centre of a strange legend, a morality tale which is told often to young people in Kolbruk, and is remembered by elders and bards in a few other places in Manthria.
A Tale of Three Maids. The three
mountains, Jaya, Filitha and Plick were created by Urtengor as a part of
His design when He created the mountains of Sarvonia. He made them to give
softness and beauty to the Mithrals amidst the bountiful garden which was
then the whole of the area. As was His design, they all stood together at
the southern end of the Mithrals. They lived in happiness together, each
one’s character balancing the other two’s. Jaya, the tallest, was brave
and proud. She was the protectress of the other two. Filitha was very
beautiful and intelligent. She would spend her days talking to the wise
old mountains to the north. Plick, the last created, was the most playful
of the three. Animals flocked to her. She was light of spirit, and could
always cheer the other two when they felt down.
Information provided by Grunok the Exile