Desert Redoubt

Gridded map of a desert redoubt, with an elevation illustration of same

With dedication, even a small force could hold out here for a long time.

In the earliest days of imperial expansion, Old Wyrmsbane and his order of outriders came across a stunted spire of granite rising from the flat desert plains. Expecting just to use it as a position to get a higher vantage of the area, they instead found a long-sealed door into an ancient fortress.

The scout’s first clue that this pillar of volcanic stone was anything more than purely natural was a series of steps carved into the winding path up its southern side. Only once she reached the narrow ledge on the western face near the top did she see the door. Made of cold-forged iron, the massive portal was almost hidden behind a drift of sand that had been undisturbed for centuries.

The mystery of how the door was opened is lost, but however it was accessed, this hidden redoubt served for many years as a crucial focus of the empire’s influence on its borders. With openings on every face and a hidden trap door to the spire’s flat top, a small force could hole up here and keep an eye on any activity nearby, and see much farther than those being observed.

The interior of the fortress is carved smooth out of the granite, with cold-forged iron doors throughout. Spiral staircases lead down from the entrance level to a middle level and then to a lower level. The lowest level was mostly used for the storage of provisions, and some remnant of long-consumed foodstuffs and other items necessary to live independently can be found within its chambers.

Unknown to many of its residents through the years, there is a secret passage leading from the lowest chamber even deeper into the earth. Once it was thought this could lead to a back door, to be used in the even of a hasty retreat, but the other end of the rough-hewn tunnel merely opened up into an even more extensive labyrinth of unexplored passages. Wyrmsbane ordrered the tunnel sealed and left it alone; he had enough trouble above ground.

In the years of the empire’s decline, as its borders retracted and the outriders were pulled closer to its core, this small fortress was abandonded and sealed. It’s assumed that the seals have held, awaiting the next cycle of conquest and empire, but who knows who—or what—has managed to find its way into these timeless chambers?

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