Name: Cohai Observatory
The Cohai Observatory is a keep that sits at the top of a spire of rock that thrusts up some three or four thousand feet from the western face of the Uraval Mountains . The only land based approach to Cohai is from a narrow pass in the Forest of Brume that leads to an ancient rope bridge spanning the two-hundred foot gap from the mountains to the spire. The Cohai Observatory was carved by hand from the tip of the spire, and is surrounded by a high wall with only one gate in it. Inside the high wall is a bit of a paradox, a lush, almost tropical garden fills the considerable space between the outer wall and the actual keep. The garden is filled with well manicured grass, trees, flowers, and other plant and animal life that is all constantly attended to by the occupants of the observatory. The keep itself is a utilitarian structure, with no luxuries to speak of aside from warm baths that are filled from a hot water mineral spring somewhere far below the observatory. In the distant past, it is said that Cohai was used to keep watch over the forest of Brume and surrounding land so that warning might be sent off if armies were seen moving or massing below, but now it is used as a place of self discovery and meditation where people are welcomed and allowed to stay for as long as they want in the pursuit of self realization. Cohai is loosely governed by the troll Gornin and its doors are open to all who are willing to perform work and chores that keep the observatory running while they continue their studies.
The Cohai Observatory is more of an outpost than an actual city, however it is a node on the Kalijor portal network and as such it bears mentioning as a population city.
Features/Places of Note
The observatory sits atop a spire of rock that juts out from a high, sheer cliff on the western face of the Uraval Mountains. The only physical access to the observatory is via a narrow gap in the cliff wall in the Forest of Brume, barely wide enough for a single person to squeeze through. Once through the gap, you must make your way through a narrow valley that is filled with twisted, interwoven trees and shrubs. As you move deeper into the ravine, you head up a sharp incline and eventually it widens as you move higher into the mountains. Eventually it becomes wide enough that the trees no longer have to be threaded through in order to gain passage. At the top of the pass, after you move above the tree line you turn around a sharp bend and come face to face with wide open space. From here you can see the entire Forest of Brume, the Great Inland Sea and even the edges of the Endless Ocean. In the center of the view, sitting atop a massive column of rock is a large, walled keep that is connected to the top of the pass by a rickety rope bridge.
Entrance into the observatory is gained by ringing the bell next to the massive gate in an alcove in the surrounding wall and then waiting until someone answers the call, which can take upwards of a week in some cases. Even those arriving by portal will appear in a small chamber that is locked from the inside and has a similar bell set up next to it.
Once inside the wall of the keep most people are taken by surprise. The courtyard is filled with well-manicured flower gardens, trees, and rock gardens. Many sentients move about the grounds taking care of things, meditating, debating, and practicing magic or martial arts.
Inside the keep is a simple, utilitarian environment that is nothing more than what is necessary to keep its occupants clean, out of the weather, and well fed. Beneath the keep, well below the level of the forest floor far below, is a giant reservoir with a massive column of water rising out of it. This column pushes its way up into the bottom of the observatory. This magic spring is where Cohai gets all of its fresh water and the caverns around the reservoir lead into the depths of the Uraval Mountains and, eventually, to a myriad of other places in Kalijor.
The shepherd of the Observatory is a troll by the name of Gornin who is said to have been there for centuries, and whose council, although cryptic at best, is highly regarded among all sentients of power throughout Kalijor.