Ilexus Caves

The last known Dratisi Dragon is rumoured to live here.


The caves below Ilexus Forest are a wondrous and ancient sight; its twisting tunnels of a varied number of rock types has baffled geologists, and some even are beginning to suggest that it is not a natural formation at all, and may be some kind of impact crater. What caused this crater is still a mystery, but there is a Subminian legend that states that the caves were created due to the earth-Being Manzang falling from the sky in order to be one with his creations, his body turning to sandstone. Indeed, the sandstone that makes up the cave entrance was carved into a likeness of the god's head. Scientists hotly deny this theory, but it would explain certain supernatural elements that the cave possesses, such as its incredibly rare species of mushroom (Argantuan Mushroom), Wood sprites that circle stone pillars and other phenomenon.

"And when Manzang fell to earth from his place in Heaven, he clove the ground asunder; and the soil quaked and rocks turned to ash under his feet; and the body of the god himself turned into stone; sleeping there for all eternity, he shall watch over the Children. The Children travelled far and wide to see his grave, and when they found it, they built a shrine to him at the entrance, his face carved in the very rock he became... the place was called Ilexunnan, the 'burrow of the great'."
- Hibernation 5:11-13, The Book of Four (Subminian and Velosian holy writ)


Around a thousand or so years ago, when the human population of SW Island was an insular, feudal society concentrated mainly on the island's central regions, and the Nimbusians were rarely seen to creep out from their floating cities for fear of being hunted down as monsters, a small exploration party of Subminians and Velosians made their way from Velothi Island in search of what they believed to be the grave of their earth deity.

Research of the ancient texts had led them to a large block of sandstone sticking out of the earth in the middle of some sparse woodland, in SW Island's northeast. Puzzlingly, a fearsome face, reportedly the face of Manzang, was carved into the entrance, and they concluded that an ancient party of Subminians, or the 'Children' as the Book of Four calls them, must have chiselled the likeness some years previous. For many years, this particular mixed party they lived just inside the caves, praying that their god may come to life again. However, they were soon driven out by a human expedition - panicked, the Subminians retreated deeper inside, while the Velosians blended into the woods and eventually returned to their home by an unknown means. Behind them, though, they sealed the entrance with a massive sandstone gate, and none were allowed entry.

For a while Ilexunnan stood as an unexplainable relic from another time, and as the might of the Scarabian Empire rolled itself across the lands, it became the site of many a village, devoted on unravelling the caves' secrets, but one by one they failed.

Argantuan Mushrooms growing
around a cave pond.

Meanwhile, deep beneath the surface, the Subminians, fearing for their safety, built a settlement deep within the earth, linked with their ancestral homeland on Velothi Island by a small underground channel. Fearing for their safety though, and wary that the humans may chase after them, a cunning gearmaster named Chunzar devised an incredibly dangerous system of booby traps. The icing on the cake, though, was the capture of a fearsome dragon from Dratisi Island, stolen when it was just an infant.

The settlement eventually grew into the Subminian nation of Morgulzth-Bethamz, and they soon began to regret their isolation.

Very few have made it through the twisting tunnels and the dangerous Subminian traps, but the reward at the end for locating the lost city chiseled off Morgulzth-Bethaunravelingmz is said to be incredible indeed...