VulcanVerse Lore- The Desert of Notus Part II
We travel south-west from the Shrine of Tethys, to the west of the Great River into an ocean of seemingly endless sand…
Somewhere, lost in the vast interior of the desert, was the Great Pyramid, an imposing mausoleum of ancient kings said to stand on a limestone outcrop. The pyramid was said to hide immense riches, treasures of precious stones and rare metals deep in its chambers. Though this was not as tempting to the adventurer as one might think, if the stories were true, a sphinx guarded these treasures. There were said to be three Notus pyramids in total, each guarded by a different sphinx. The most well known being the Androsphinx, a sphinx with the body of a lion but a human head. The Criosphinx was said to have a lion’s body but with the head of ram, horns and all. Finally, the Hieracosphinx had a lion’s body but the head of a hawk. If a traveler was unlucky enough to cross paths with a sphinx, they would usually be asked to answer a riddle, often with terrible consequences should they answer incorrectly…
One of the most dreaded creatures to reside in the desert is the Spiderling. Children of Arachne, she who was transformed into a spider for offending the Goddess Athena, Arachne spawned half woman, half spider creatures, her Spiderlings. They have taken up residence in the deserts, lying in wait for their prey — the favorite of which is mortal man, particularly young man..
The unfortunate traveler ambushed by a spiderling would find themselves bound by unbreakable bonds of spider silk. Reports are scant as none survive an encounter with the Spiderlings of Notus, but it is said that the venom of the Spiderling filled its victims with a terrible delight, rendering them paralyzed with paroxysms of pleasure. The unfortunate victim, consumed with a dreadful joy, was then eaten alive.
If an explorer followed the Great River south, they would eventually reach the walls of the ancient city of Iskandria. Constructed on marshland where the river meets the waters of Oceanus, like much of Notus, Iskandria’s fortunes have wavered over the years. Streets paved with great stones linked by numerous canals, lined by the impressive houses of merchants, statues of gods and heroes at meeting points and public squares interspersed with lush gardens.
Iskandria had it all, until the time when the Cataract of Oceanus ceased to flow and the Potamegalos — and so the canals of Iskandria also, dried up. At this time, nothing grew but cacti and weeds, the buildings crumbled under the baking sun, the stone pavers cracked and the great population dwindled. The people of Iskandria were the Myrmidons, masters of strategic warfare. History tells us that they fought alongside Achilles in Troy and were as skilled architecturally as they were at arms. It was said that in days past, Iskandria rivaled the glory of Olympus itself, and in VulcanVerse was thought of as the second city to Vulcan City itself.
Iskandria was protected by great walls, some 25 feet or so high, with great gates to the north, east and west, the north “Tethys Gate” described in ancient writings as being faced in lapis lazuli, a shimmering deep blue.
Iskandria had its share of temples, beautiful buildings of pillared marble, and a great palace — all governed by the wise in honor and respect of the gods. In later days, following its ruin when the waters dried up, a great obelisk was raised, a monument to the city’s former glory.
The Shores of Psamathe
To the immediate east of the walls of Iskandria was an area known as the Shores of Psamathe, a series of cliffs and coves terminating in the marshland and sandbanks where the Great River met the sea. The area is named after Psamathe, a fair goddess, one of the Nereids, daughter of the sea god Nereus and the Oceanid Doris. In this area, small fishing villages could be found, the Sacred Way running just to the north of the coast here paved with mosaic tiles, so rich was the ancient trade heading toward Iskandria.
In the vast desert to the north of the Shores of Psamathe Spartoi roamed. Skeletal Hoplite warriors, they sprang forth from the earth wherever the tooth of an ancient dragon fell. The Spartoi, full of envy for the living, formed regiments and took over the former forts of the Myrmidons. Known for fighting among themselves, regiment vs regiment, they would rather consume mortal blood if it was to be found.
From this desolate quarter of the desert, should a traveler head west, past the north gate of Iskandria they would find themselves in a place where the desert meets vast pillars of red rock, known as the Land From Which None Return.
The Land from Which None Return
Looming towers of red sandstone, monumental tors stretched as far as the eye could see here. Somewhere, hidden among the pillars, was said to be a lonely shrine to Ares. Respite from the merciless sun could be found by standing against a pillar or in a wind eroded archway.
Here, a traveler must remain steadfastly wary, for this area is the home of the Cockatrice, possibly the most deadly of all inhabitants of the Desert of Notus. Like a cross between a wyvern and a rooster, a terrifying creature of immense size, the Cockatrice was said to be able to kill with its stare, its breath petrifying.
To the north, the rocky landscape slowly gave way to the foothills that mark the lower range of the Aetnaean Mountains. To the east, sand dunes as far the eye could see. For the traveler heading west, however, first came the Sacred Way, the ancient route circling VulcanVerse and here, the spoke between the waters of Oceanus to the south and Vulcan City to the north — but cross the Way here and the sand was said to slowly give way to a darker earthy grit, a creeping mist marking the border of the underworld — Hades.
About Vulcan Forged
Vulcan Forged is the company behind Vulcan Studios, a blockchain game studio, NFT marketplace, NFT minting engine and creators of VulcanVerse, Berserk: Vulcanites Unleashed and many other games. Vulcan Forged has also built Elysium, a carbon neutral layer 1 blockchain and MetaScapes, a metaverse as a service (MaaS) engine. The Vulcan Forged family is expanding rapidly, with many Vulcan Studios games now enabled within our blockchain economy.
The native token used within our ecosystem is $PYR, the secondary token $LAVA acts as a play-to-earn token. This dual token economy structure is ideal for blockchain gaming. Scholars or Cedalions are able to earn $LAVA while playing Vulcan Studios games and special NFTs can be earned while in-game. These can be sold on the Vulcan Marketplace for $PYR.
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