User:GoldenYak/Inner Kingdom Subregions

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Ahn'Saron, the Inner Kingdom

Ahn'Saron Subregions

Listed below are summaries of the various subzones located in Ahn'Saron, the Inner Kingdom, the dark heart of Azjol-Nerub.

Altar of the Old Gods

As the Inner Kingdom is the heart of Azjol-Nerub, so is the Altar of the Old Gods the heart of Ahn'Saron. The center of the Spider Kingdom's dark spirituality, the Altar is an imposing structure extending high above the nerubians' temple-cities, visible from nearby every part of the cavern containing the Immortal City. The nerubians constructed the altar long ago, shortly after they abandoned the city of Ahn'Vekir and constructed what would come to be known as Ahn'Saron. Within the structure of the Altar are dozens of prayer chambers, where the viziers and clerics of the previous generation performed rituals and presented offerings to the divinities the nerubians worshiped. In present times, the chambers swarm with the forces of the Newbreed, who bring prisoners to become living sacrifices.

At the center of the Altar is great terrace, open to the air, containing five great stone slabs, black as the darkest reaches of the underworld, their surfaces reflecting no light. Carved upon them are images of beasts, the faces of monsters, and ancient script never seen by people of the surface world. It is rumored that each of the five stones contains the true names of the five Old Gods.

Ahn'Saron, the Immortal City

Sharing a name with the Inner Kingdom as a whole, the Immortal City of Ahn'Saron is the largest in Azjol-Nerub, perhaps the largest city the world of Azeroth has ever known. Millennia old and witness to the rule of thousands of generations of nerubians, it was rendered virtually uninhabited by the Scourge during their war with the Spider Kingdom. For many years it lay empty, abandoned by the nerubians as they burrowed deeper and deeper to escape the marauding undead of the surface. Now, after the fall of the Scourge, the Immortal City teems with life once again.

The Newbreed hold full dominion here. Thousands of warriors march through the streets, preparing for war with the surface. Hordes of worker-class nerubians, overseen by spiderminds, work to restore the ruined portions of the city to their former glory. The Spider Kingdom is preparing to shed its ravaged skin, and emerged back into the world, a new and terrible power that will not be denied.

Ahn'Vekir Gate

This imposing structure mirrors the construction of the Shadow Web Gate connecting the Upper Kingdom with the Shadow Web Caverns. Constructed west of the Aqir Worldgate, the Ahn'Vekir Gate provides access to the Inner Kingdom from the Shadow Web Caverns. Unlike the Shadow Web Gate, the Ahn'Vekir Gate is largely abandoned. Few of the Newbreed are present in the region, focused as they are on moving to the Upper Kingdom and the surface.

The Ahn'Vekir Gate provides the most direct, unguarded access to the Inner Kingdom in the entirety of Azjol-Nerub. Securing it is a vital objective of the Doorward forces led by Baelgun Flamebeard.

Crystalweb Cavern

These caverns are situated directly beneath the forest of Crystalsong, and the magical energy that saturates the wood above has, over the centuries, soaked down into the underworld, triggering astonishing transformations in the wildlife there as well. The crystaline roots of the Crystalsong trees have magical grown and spread, forming vast shimmering webs of intertwining crystal growth that stretch across the entire cavern. The growth of the roots have carried with them the ancient remains of blue and black dragons, those that fell in a battle that took place long ago. Many of their bones hang overhead, bound by the crystalline roots.

Much of the wildlife in the region has been affected by exposure to the raw arcane energies of the cavern, taking on many magical attributes. Rift wyrms and arcane elementals are common threats, but recently even greater danger has emerged - the Malevolence that haunts Azeroth's ley line network has begun to grow in power, subverting all arcane energy to its dark will. Many of the blue dragon remains in the cavern have begun to pulse with tainted arcane energy, as the Malevolence attempts to raise them into undeath as wychwyrms.

Edge of the Pit

The great Wound of the World lies at the southern edge of the Inner Kingdom. Stretching down in the depths of the underworld, the Wound was formed nearly 6000 years ago after a series of earthquakes rocked the underworld, causing an enormous sinkhole to form, swallowing many nerubian temple-cities. The nerubians never made any attempt to recover those lost, or salvage any of the many treasures and relics that the temple-cities had contained. All tunnels that had once led to the cities were sealed, and the nerubians abandoned all nearby structures entirely.

In recent times, many of the nerubian viziers and temple-priests of the previous generation that swore allegiance to Nezar'Kali, the new Spider Queen, have made pilgrimages to the edge of the great Wound. For days the priests fast and sing, giving praise to the Old Gods, and as their rituals draw to a close, they hurl themselves off the edge, into the darkness.

The Fire Sea

An ocean of molten lava that flows through the caverns deep beneath the Storm Peaks. The Ulduar substructure extends down into the magma, tapping the elemental and natural energies of the flow to power all of the titan machinery contained in Ulduar. The fire sea contains many rifts that lead to the Firelands, the elemental plane of fire, and numerous lifeforms from the elemental realm inhabit the magma flows, from lava worms and salamanders to smoulder rays and true elementals. Their numbers have increased of late, and they have become more and more hostile. It is believed that this is due to the destruction of Ragnaros, which has thrown the Firelands into complete disarray.

Earthen forces under the command of the watchers Thorim and Mimiron have been working tirelessly to secure the region ever since the liberation of Ulduar from Yogg-Saron. The Earthen have been struggling against not only the growing threats of the Firelands creatures, but increasing numbers of nerubian and Twilight Cult forces in the region as well.

The Forbidden City

The region known as the Forbidden City is one of the deepest and oldest in the Inner Kingdom. It had remained locked away for thousands of years by the nerubians, until the day that the traitor king Anub'arak led the death knight Arthas through the hidden under-passages of Azjol-Nerub, on a quest to reach the glacier of Icecrown. Deep within the Forbidden City, Arthas and Anub'arak confronted hordes of faceless ones that had been released by recent quakes. Arthas and his undead forces barely managed to overcome the mysterious beings, and defeat a rising Forgotten One, before escaping to the surface.

The Faceless Ones rampaged through the Inner Kingdom for a time before retreating back into the darkness of the underworld. The nerubians once again sealed up the Forbidden City, fearing that more evil would rise. The Newbreed unsealed the city in recent days, allowing the Faceless to surge free again. The corpse of the great Forgotten One slain by Arthas, Kar'kasz the Fallen, still lies festering at the bottom of the Forbidden City, its unearthly flesh pouring forth a seemingly endless corruption.

Halls of Flame

The Halls of Flame are the hidden heart of the Ulduar facility - the source of all the power for the great structure's machinery. Great titan devices draw up molten lava and minerals from the Fire Sea, distributing it throughout Ulduar for use by its inhabitants, the earthen. Thermal and elemental energy provides the energy that keep the machinery operating, and the raw metals and stone harvested from the lava provide the materials that allow the shapers of Ulduar to construct tools, weapons, and effect repairs.

Recently, the forces of the Twilight Cult have attempted to infiltrate the Halls of Fire, aided by faceless ones. If the core of the Halls is deactivated, all of Ulduar will go offline, including the Forge of Wills, and the earthen will have no way to replenish their forces. Watcher Mimiron has arrived to defend the Halls with many mechagnomes and XT-series clockwork giants, and has returned XT-002 to his smaller body. The faceless ones have had the saronite in their bodies tempered by the heat, forming naturally metallic armor over their flesh, making them well adapted to the environment, and battling Mimiron's forces. They are led by a great faceless one general, Vilgaxx.

Halls of Horror

When the titans constructed Ulduar, a significant portion of the structure went towards imprisoning the Old God, [[[Yogg-Saron]], in order to ensure the primordial fiend would not continue to endanger Azeroth. But the Old God was not the only prisoner of Ulduar's depths. The titans imprisoned many other creatures - raging elementals captured in the earliest centuries of the war and deemed too unstable for exile to the Elemental Planes. Undying abominations born from the flesh of the Old Gods. Faceless Ones and other terrors of the deep earth.

For millennia, these fiends have remained safely imprisoned in the depths of Ulduar, in a region that has come to be called the Halls of Horror by the earthen who maintain it. The Twilight Scourge has targeted the Ulduar substructure for sabotage, and they seek to release the prisoners within the Halls of Horror to cause chaos throughout Azeroth's underworld.

Icecrown Citadel - Umbra'thar, the Darkness Gate

A reflection of the mighty gates of the Scourge, Umbra'thar the Darkness Gate was constructed in the depths of the Spider Kingdom, deep beneath the surface of the Icecrown glacier. Just as the Lich King ordered the gates of Icecrown built to act as a defense against any threat that might seek to march against Icecrown Citadel, Umbra'thar was built to guard the stronghold of the Scourge against any enemy that might rise from the darkness of the underworld. Records of the Cult of the Damned indicate that Umbra'thar was, in fact, constructed first of all the gates of Icecrown, and that it was built with the greatest amount of reinforcement.

Where once the gate had remained sealed for years, it now stands open. The forces of the Twilight Cult have once again assaulted the citadel, this time striking at chambers concealed in the lowest reaches. The dread necropolis, Malykriss, hovers before the gates, its dark power having stolen control of them from the Knights of the Ebon Blade. The Knights are being forced to fall further and further back, as the Twilight forces push deeper.

Icecrown Citadel - The Saronite Refinery

Deep within the lowest reaches of Icecrown Citadel are the great refineries where saronite ore and harvested liquid saronite were processed into the dark metal used in all Scourge construction. Built close to great flows of molten saronite, the refineries extracted much of the black blood from the frozen earth of the deep underworld. Where they had once churned out weapons, armor, and construction material, the refineries are now silent - the Knights of the Ebon Blade shut them down when the true nature of the dark metal was revealed.

The Knights of the Ebon Blade and their allies are currently struggling to hold the refineries against the onslaught of the Twilight Scourge. Desperate to reach the deepest chamber of Icecrown Citadel, the Twilight forces are ignoring every trace of raw or refined saronite located in the refineries. Given the Twilight Cult's recent reported fascination with the substance, and their efforts in gathering the ore, their goal in returning to Icecrown Citadel is a mystery.

Icecrown Citadel - Vault of Remnants

The deepest part of Icecrown Citadel. Constructed after Arthas' ascension to the Frozen Throne, its purpose was a mystery, known only to the Lich King himself. No other thinking member of the Scourge was permitted access to this chamber - like the Halls of Reflection, only the Lich King himself was permitted to set foot in here. After Arthas' fall, the Knights of the Ebon Blade explored the chamber at last, and discovered the truth.

Within the Vault of Remnants lay the armor Arthas had worn as a paladin of Lordaeron. Also found was the bloodied and broken crown of King Terenas, the father of Arthas. As the Knights explored the Vault, they found more relics - a funeral urn believed to have held the ashes of Terenas. A dark stained metal arrowhead, taken from Arthas' own body after a failed assassination attempt by Sylvanas Windrunner. A severed black horn, hewn from the head of Mal'Ganis, the tip of a tentacle preserved in alchemical fluids... the Vault was a monument to the adventures Arthas had experienced, from his days as a young paladin, to his final hour as the master of the Scourge.

The current Lich King has made a contribution to the vault as well. Shortly after the Knights unsealed the chamber, a single telepathic command was sent to Darion Mograine by the new king of the undead. A short time later, Darion and his most trusted knights carried a casket made of black ice carved from the Frozen Throne into the Vault, leaving it in a place of distinction among the relics. This artifact, along with several other treasures, were recently stolen from the Vault by the Twilight Scourge.

Icecrown Glacier

Like many glaciers, the great Icecrown is much larger than it may appear. The frozen wall of the glacier covers many leagues of the surface, and extends ever further deep underground. The glacier remained frozen and unchanging since the great Sundering, and the nerubians have carved many tunnels through it, even populating entire frozen caverns and sculpting temples and cities out of ice. The spell-casting of Illidan Stormrage and the recent Cataclysm has caused the collapsed of many tunnels, while opening other pathways to the surface.

The ice of the glacier stretches down deeper than the oldest tunnels of the nerubians, and the recent shifting of the glacier ice has unblocked deep regions. Faceless Ones have begun to swarm up from the darkness, spreading throughout the frozen tunnels and beginning to make their way into the underworld. Evil rises from the depths...

The Immortal Gate

The central city of the Inner Kingdom is the Immortal City of Ahn'Saron, the most glorious in all the Spider Kingdom. Guarding this most sacred of cities is the great Immortal Gate, a towering structure built into the vast tunnel walls that lead to the Immortal City. The Newbreed guard the gates with frightful numbers, the first line of defense against any incursion into their kingdom's dark heart.

Spider Lord Shardri'Nax leads the Newbreed forces at the Immortal Gate. Ferocious and powerful, he commands a legion of fanatically loyal followers in defense of his home and queen.

Manadeep Lake

Beneath the wondrous Crystalweb Caverns are an even more breath-taking sight - vast underwater lake, encompassing across an area greater than all of Crystalsong Forest, and stretching deep underground. Unlike many of the subterranean water sources in Azeroth's underworld, this lake is clearly lit, the water itself imbued with so much magical energy that it emits a uniform glow. The source of this power is the ley line running through the cavern, through the lake itself - a rare occurrence of a ley line not being contained deep within the earth. The energy of the ley line has leaked out into the waters, giving them their unusual qualities, and affecting much of the life that dwells in the region.

The energy of Crystalong has begun to fade, and the cause of this malady can be found within the Crystalweb Caverns. Beryligos, the ancient blue dragon who cast the spell that transformed the wood long ago, no longer rests, but has risen as a wychwyrm, an agent of the Malevolence that dwells within the ley lines of Azeroth. His remains lay at the bottom of the Lake of Mana for centuries, until the Malevolence awoke and began to raise the fallen dragons under its dark control. Beryligos is the first and most powerful the wychwyrms that have begun to awaken in the lake, and as they draw upon the energy of the ley lines, the lake and the forest of Crystalsong begin to lose their magical energies. Soon the entire region will be left lifeless, and an army of wychwyrms will emerge from the underworld, all under the command of the Malevolence.

Malykriss, the Vile Hold

Malykriss, the dark necropolis, forged of saronite, the black blood of Yogg-Saron. Designed by the Lich King himself to be the ultimate weapon, superior to any other necropolis used by the Scourge, beyond even Naxxramas and Acherus. The purpose of the vessel was never revealed - its construction was completed only a short time before the death of Arthas. The forces of the Twilight's Hammer cult in Northrend, led by their master Velius, masterminded an invasion of Icecrown Citadel, culminating in the capture of the necropolis by Xarosan, the current leader of the Twilight Cult.

After retreating from Icecrown with the necropolis, Xarosan began a search for the artifact known as the Eye of Nerub. Shattered long ago during a conflict with the night elves, the eye fragments were hidden by the nerubians, who lacked the ability to repair it. Xarosan has already gathered many of the fragments, using them as a source of power for Malykriss. Now, the dark necropolis has appeared hovering over the Immortal City, overlooking the gate of Umbra'thar, an underground entrance into Icecrown Citadel. Xarosan seeks to capture treasures hidden deep within... treasures that will bring about his ascension to dominion over all of Azeroth.

Naz'anak, the Forgotten Depths

These ancient caverns lie beneath Icecrown Citadel itself, and were one of the few entrances to the surface from the depths of the Spider Kingdom, before the Cataclysm opened more. These passages had once been used by Arthas and his Scourge forces to flee from the underworld. When Arthas ascended to the Frozen Throne, he ordered the construction of Icecrown Citadel and made certain that the Forgotten Depths were well fortified against the horrors of Azeroth's depths.

The cavern teems with underground life, much of which has been driven into a frenzy by the recent geological upheavals that have wracked the glacier of Icecrown. The engimatic faceless ones prowl the depths in even greater numbers, constructing many of their vile altars to their dark masters, the Old Gods. Their presence makes passing through the depths extremely perilous. The herald Yugazjo commands the faceless host that dwells here.

Recently, the forces of the Twilight Cult have been seen in greater numbers, clashing frequently with the Knights of the Ebon Blade that have taken it upon themselves to patrol the region. It is whispered that the Twilight Cult are searching for something that was lost in the depths, an order given by Twilight Master Xarosan himself.

The Necropolis of Nerub

For thousands of years, the dead of the Spider Kingdom have been entombed within the great Necropolis of Nerub, one of the most sacred sites in all of Azjol-Nerub. Hall after hall of the great necropolis is filled with the kings and queens of the past, embalmed and mummified in eternal repose, along with thousands of their loyal servants and guardsmen, who embraced death as well to join their monarchs for eternity.

Located deep beneath the surface, the necropolis was well hidden when the forces of the Scourge invaded the Spider Kingdom. The Lich King and his undead legions searched for years for the necropolis and the hidden treasure-trove of powerful corpses, but the nerubians guarded the resting place of their honored royal dead better than any other location in the Inner Kingdom. It has remained undisturbed for years, until very recently...

Palace of the Spider Queen

The Palace of the Spider Queen has been the ruling place of Spider Kingdom matriarchs for over 10,000 years. Constructed on a spire of rock suspended from the cavern ceiling on countless intertwining strands of webbing, millennia old and stronger than adamantine, the elaborate palace of the Spider Queen is an imposing sight, the most magnificent structure in all of Azjol-Nerub. Far beneath the suspended spire is a flooded chasm that stretches down deep into the earth. At the very bottom can be found the unnatural hulk of a forgotten one, the dread Nar'jun.

From the black throne of the Spider Queen, surrounded by grand birthing chambers and nurseries, the dread monarch Nezar'Kali oversees the growth of the Newbreed nerubian empire. Her children swarm forth from her palace in greater and greater numbers, swelling the ranks of the Newbreed with military might unseen by the world since the age of the Azj'Aqir. The secret of Nezar'Kali's rise to power, and the terrible price she has paid for it, lie within the Palace of the Spider Queen.

The Scourgewall

Built along the southern edge of the Immortal City of Ahn'Saron, preventing passage to the Upper Kingdom, this immense structure is one of the greatest achievements of the nerubian race. Unlike much of the Spider Kingdom, it is a relatively recent construction, built during the war with the Lich King and the Undead Scourge. The structure served, for a time, to halt the Scourge advance against Azjol-Nerub - the nerubians could make hit and run attacks against the Scourge and then scale the wall to safety, while the undead could not follow. But as nerubian casualties began to increase, the Lich King soon had an army of undead nerubians, to whom the mighty Scourgewall was no obstacle at all.

After the Newbreed were driven from the Scourgewall in the Upper Kingdom, their holdings at the base of the barrier in Ahn'Saron were reinforced with forces of the arach'layn. The Newbreed continue to muster their forces to push back into the Upper Kingdom. If they can launch a new offensive against the forces of Doorward, a serious blow will be dealt to the champions of the surface world.

The Shuddering Passage

In the deep regions beneath Storm Peaks is located a vast volcanic area saturated with elemental energy from Azeroth's molten core. The surrounding caverns are highly unstable, wracked with tremors from the seismic activity.

Twilight Stronghold

Even before the Fall of the Lich King and the defeat of Yogg-Saron at Ulduar, the forces of Twilight had been gathering in the depths of the Spider Kingdom. In the shattered remains of Ahn'Saron, Velius drew together countless agents of the Twilight Cult from all over Azeroth to worship the Old Gods, in the very heart of a once great empire devoted to their veneration. That place of worship is still sacred ground to the Twilight Cult, even under their new leadership.

Xarosan, formerly a lieutenant of Velius and current master of the Twilight Cult, has continued to use the ruins of Ahn'Saron as a stronghold for his forces. The dread saronite necropolis, Malykriss, can be found hovering overhead.

Ulduar Substructure

The sprawling Titan city of Ulduar covers the Storm Peaks of Northrend, built an eternity ago to lock away the sprawling horror of the Old God, Yogg-Saron. Though the dark fiend's minions had recently opened the gates of Ulduar in an effort to release it, this effort was thwarted by heroes of the Alliance and the Horde, and the city of Ulduar was retaken by the loyal servants of the Titans, the Watchers. In recognition of their efforts, the mortal races have been permitted to send token representatives to walk the halls of Ulduar, learning its secrets and communing with its keepers.

They have learned that the city of Ulduar is even more vast and wonderful than any have realized - the cities and structures of the Storm Peaks are but the surface, and the Ulduar complex in reality extends deep underground, stretching far into the underworld. The Ulduar Substructure reaches to a region known as the Fire Sea, where volcanic activity and elemental regions collide and have created a vast burning ocean of magma and flame. From this source, Ulduar draws all of the energy that fuels its many functions.

Dungeons

The Halls of Fire

The vast titan-made complex of Ulduar stretches across much of the Storm Peaks of Northrend, but the vast majority of the complex is actually located beneath the surface, extending down for miles. While the primary complex above the surface houses the tribunal, the archivum, the obseratory, the Forge of Wills, and several other important structures, the facilities located beneath the surface also hold secrets important to the functioning of all Ulduar.

The Halls of Fire are a portion of Ulduar that reaches down deep into the magma flows of Azeroth's underworld. The machinery in the Halls taps into the geothermal and elemental energy of the region as a source of power for all of Ulduar. Within the Halls is an eidolon prison obelisk, containing a powerful fire elemental that was imprisoned by the titans long ago. The forces of the Twilight cult have infiltrated the Halls and seek to release the creature, plotting to use its fury to destroy Ulduar's power supply.

The Halls of Horror

When the titans went to war with the Old Gods, they were forced to deal with the servants of the Old Gods first. Legions of elemental beings were sent to do battle with the titans and their servants, and after their defeat the elementals were locked away in various prisons, the elemental plane and numerous prison obelisks. Once their elemental slaves had been defeated, the Old Gods unleashed their most powerful servants and children upon the Old Gods - the Faceless Ones, the Voiceless Ones, the Azj'Aqir, the Shapeless, the Cold Ones, and many other horrors. All of them fell to the might of the titans, and even the Old Gods themselves were defeated in the end.

The titans, respectful of life in all its forms, no matter how corrupt, sought to preserve as many living beings as possible in the aftermath of the war. Many servants of the Old Gods were imprisoned like the elementals - some in pocket dimensions, others in facilities like Ulduar. The Halls of Horror are one of these prison facilities, and locked within are numerous horrors from the pre-history of Azeroth. The Twilight cult seeks to release these beasts, and turn them lose upon the people of the surface world.

Altar of the Old Gods

From the Altar of the Old Gods, the followers of the Old Gods give dark praise to their masters. Sacrifices are made an ancient prayers are song, offerings of blood and hate to the lords of shadow, masters of chaos. The faceless one, Darkspeaker R'khem presides over the rituals at the altar, directing the faithful in their adulation.

Five champions await within the halls of the altar. Each an ultimate warrior, totally devoted to one of the five Old Gods. They prepare to lead their followers into war with the forces of order, a war that will burn the world black.

Raids

Necropolis of Nerub

The Necropolis of Nerub holds the royal dead of the Spider Kingdom, thousands of nerubian monarchs flawless preserved for all time. The nerubians protected the necropolis against the ravages of the Scourge above all other areas of the Spider Kingdom, ensuring that none who knew of its location betrayed that knowledge to the Scourge, either in life or in death. The necropolis remained undiscovered throughout the war with the Scourge and for decades afterwards - even the forces of the Newbreed did not seek to disturb the resting place of their ancestors.

In recent days, however, the halls of the necropolis have been defiled at last. Remnants of the undead Scourge, free from the influence of Arthas, fled into the depths of Azeroth's underworld to escape the domination of Bolvar Fordragon, the new Lich King. Banding together under the command of powerful necromancers, liches, and death knights, this burgeoning Scourge has discovered the location of the necropolis, and plots to raise the dead entombed within as a powerful new army. With thousands of elite nerubian undead under their command, this new Scourge could become as great a threat as the forces of Arthas ever were.

Palace of the Spider Queen

Nezar'Kali, Spider Queen of Azjol-Nerub and matriach of the Newbreed, rules supreme within the great Palace of the Spider Queen. Mother and monarch to a new generation of nerubians, Nezar'Kali's children are legion and stand poised to overwhelm the surface world. Her most powerful servants stand guard over their queen, as she ceaselessly gives birth to soldier after soldier.

The Newbreed swarm through the palace halls, attending to their mother, but other dark forces have gathered as well. The enigmatic Arach'layn are present, standing guard over the Spider Queen. The Twilight Cult has a presence as well, with their leader Xarosan commanding them personally. At the heart of the palace, Nezar'Kali awaits. Those who dare to breach her sacred throne-room will learn the true horror of the nerubian race, and the dark architect behind the rise of the Spider Kingdom.