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Cenotaph

From PathfinderWiki
This article covers the dungeon in the Hold of Belkzen. For the monument in Magnimar, see Cenotaph (Magnimar).

The Cenotaph is an ancient, monumentally large pillar of black rock which rises from a cliff on the southern tip of the Tusk Mountains in the Hold of Belkzen. The main feature of this enormous rock is the huge pair of fifty-foot-high doors that bar entrance to whatever lies within.[1]

History

The Cenotaph is associated with the Whispering Tyrant, for it was he who marched legions of his army through its yawning gates. No one knows why he did this, and with the Whispering Tyrant's defeat, the doors to the Cenotaph swung shut and have not been opened since. Despite this association, the Cenotaph was actually built before the rise of the Whispering Tyrant, a fact that has led to much scholarly debate over its true origins.[1] It it believed that should the Whispering Tyrant ever escape his prison at Gallowspire, the gates of the Cenotaph will open again and legions of the lich's soldiers will pour through to retake the land.[2]

The creator of the Cenotaph was Zutha, the Runelord of Gluttony, master of the Thassilonian realm of Gastash and the greatest necromancer in history until Tar-Baphon. In the time before the cataclysmic Earthfall, Zutha prepared his survival using his mastery of necromancy. He embraced undeath, retreated into the Cenotaph, and buried himself deep in the earth where it is possible that he still slumbers today. The Cenotaph was constructed on this location and to its height specifically to allow access to a natural planar portal that was used by both Zutha and the Whispering Tyrant in their necromantic endeavors.[3]

Description

The entrance to the Cenotaph is a pair of huge doors made of the rare skymetal noqual at the end of a hazardous bridge. The huge hall within is tall and featureless, stretching hundreds of feet from floor to ceiling and containing no stairways, decorations, or balconies. Halfway up the tower's height is another pair of noqual doors accessible only from outside. These doors open directly to the Negative Energy Plane, and the negative energy that escapes the portal is channeled into the walls of the Cenotaph, strengthening all undead creatures inside. In the center of the floor, a shaft descends into the dungeons below, a sprawling complex of chambers reaching the bowels of the earth. Zutha's body lies somewhere in this complex amid his greater sources of power and his guardians.[3] Two of these guardians, at least according to the bard Estarva Zansion of Vigil, are a pair of clockwork dragons.[4]

Inhabitants

One of the most feared orc tribes in the Hold of Belkzen, the Defiled Corpse tribe, has claimed the mountains near the ancient mausoleum as their dominion.[5]

Reference