Storm Mountain Holt


The traveler's first view of the Storm Mountain area is usually from a high rocky cliff ledge. It was here many years ago where Bloodleaf and the others discovered the herd of elk that migrate through the valley, and here where they ate their first real food in days. Usually, this will be the same for any travelers. The whole eastern edge of their holt is bounded by high, barren cliffs, these same cliffs extend very far north and are where the giant eagles breed. The valley itself had been carved by a glacier thousands of years before, and now no ice remains in the valley after the winter.

A classic north-south running valley, Storm Mountain is at the very north head of it, a tall several-peaked set of mountains. North of there all that exists for any amount of travel is more mountains. Some animal life is there, but not very much, and what there is usually travels through, not staying more than a season. Storm Mountain is about five hands of days travel south of the arctic circle, but the actual holt is on relatively low lands, therefore it has seasonal changes, much like any other area elves live. The trees are mainly pine and other conifers, with plenty of low scrub and short-lived flowering plants. The valley is impressive in the summer time, as the ice from above has melted and a long snaking river runs seasonally through it. The wildflowers bloom in every imaginable shade and shape, and their pigments are used frequently by Goldfire the tanner in her works.

The valley is about a day's travel wide at its narrowest point, where the Holt proper is. It widens out the farther south from the holt, and becomes more plainslike. It is immeasurably long, and has many spots of forest and others of rocky desert. The north terminus is Storm Mountain. As mentioned, there is a river that seasonally flows, it begins very nearly under the holt itself, literally, as the whole area has a cavernous water table. It floods and becomes visible as the water also runs off the surface. This water is very very cold at all times in the year. A visible streambed runs from the peaks, and a wide part of it creates a waterfall which becomes frozen in the winter, this is directly on the west end of the elves shaped living quarters.

The entirety of the Storm Mountain elf population lives behind the walls of the main south-facing cliff at the head of the valley. The glacier must have terminated here, as all the wearings of stone indicate. The wall is nearly vertical, and has little growing on it, though there are trees and shrubs lining the base of the cliffs. Goldfire uses an outdoor glen as her work area, and sometimes in the summer others will take up temporary residence outside the walls, but always in winter they must remain inside. The chill in the air is more than enough to make this a necessity.

Outside, several areas are marshy, but most of the ground is covered in pale green grasses and low bushes. Less than a day away is a forest of great redwoods and pines, this extends several days travel south and is broken only by a stream. The hunting is very good here in fall and early spring, when the elk move through from the north-west and head directly where the valley takes them. There is a low, flat pass which connects the north-west with the valley, and this is occasionally explored, but is pretty far away.

At the cliff wall, looking up, the entrance is about an elfheight above the ground, and is fairly small. It points down, and has a kind of cowling shaped into it that shields it from the winter snows. Otherwise it would become completely blocked, and that would be inconvenient. There are doorflaps usually rolled up just inside the entrance, and they are used mostly at night or in winter all day. Higher than this, about five heights up, is the high entrance, which is reached by a narrow path, or in winter simply by walking on the top of the snow. (Yes, there is that much!) The wolves enter the caverns via the only other entrance, which is behind the waterfall, reached easily in winter because the water is frozen.

Inside the main entrance, the cavern is obviously mainly natural. Only slight alterations here and there make the cavern smoother or accessible to exits. The floor rises and dips naturally, and is pretty curved on all walls. The colors of the stones are fabulous, and are shown off by the torches hung on the walls and by the fire pit which is in the lowest hollow of the floor. Airholes and vents allow for easy breathing, and the waterfall entrance is the main source for breezes, many currents are altered by the shaped airholes, and crosswinds are common at the top of the cavern area. There are complex sets of ducts, shaped over the years to draw out the old air and replace it automatically with the fresh, and sometimes when the wind outside is kicking up, eerie sounds are created by these.

The main den and meeting area is about twenty paces long, and is fairly narrow, its maximum width is only about seven paces, mostly at about five. There are areas which are hidden from view when standing at one end or the other. North of the fire pit is the sharpest rise in the wall, and a path is carved into it. At the top, there is the speaker's ledge, common in all holts. Directly behind this, at a height off the floor of about three heights, is a room opening, it is the birthing den which doubles as the general healing den. All along the walls are holes and openings, with pathways to every one. A note: most of these were already there, since the population has far more plant shapers than rock shapers, they have not made much themselves, only concentrating on making the best of what they had.

To the right of the main entrance is a sharp rise, nearly the same height as the speaker's platform, and at half this height there is a corridor that splits off to the north. Snaking off to the east from the high opening is a set of sleep dens, rounded rooms and simple hallways that make life inside a cave bearable. Depending on whose den it is, there are an assortment of decorations along the walls and hallways, everything from shaped stones and bright paintings to rugs and tapestries.

On the left side of the meeting den, the west side of the cavern rises where the outside wall is, and dips down farther into the hill. Therefore, the cavern entrances are high on the one side, and low on the other. The high side contains the most air ducts, and also the entrance to the heated pool room. This heat is provided by a geothermal pocket far below, and literally forced air heating is the rule. The pool itself is separated by walls shaped by the elves, they are very pretty, thin gem encrusted slabs that are slightly transparent. A torch on the pool side will be clearly visible through the walls, and from the drying room a torch seen on the pool side will illuminate the walls brightly, for the gems catch all the light and shine on that side.

The pool is deep, and is a source of minerals, the elves rarely drink this water, bathing in it regularly is more than enough to give them a lot. (They drink the fresh runoff water from the waterfall.)

Running behind the pool on the other side of a thick wall is a passage that leads to the main tanning den, smoking rooms and drying racks. These rooms are all fairly high, but there is a passage that connects the tanning room with a very narrow corridor, completely dark, which opens outside near Goldfire's work place. The passage loses more than six elf-heights on the way, and is taken only when necessary, because Gold insists on it remaining clear.

Beyond those walls to the north and deeply into the mountainside, there are more twisting corridors and chambers, more dens and living spaces. In these western halls there are drips, coming from the stream directly above. The water sometimes drips loudly, but most often simply coats the walls and is collected via gutters shaped into the floor. There is a stream made by elves that pools and runs off behind the waterfall and it is here that things like food that needs to be preserved is kept, suspended in baskets or containers and chilled by the water.

The waterfall cavern entrance is back about three paces away from the water, reached by a switch-back path, though only about two elf-heights above the ground it is a steep path. The waterfall has a very small pool beneath it, which also freezes over in winter, there are no fish here, but there are a considerable number of very hardy and strange frogs. Behind the frozen waterfall in winter, many elves sit and simply look at the water, imagining shapes and telling stories. (What else is there to do here in winter? Invent stories, for certain!) The chamber is flat and wide, nearly the shape of a bowl turned upside down. There is the one large corridor leading to the meeting den, and several smaller ones that have not particularly been shaped, since there are only about 20 people living here at any given time, the spaces they have already suit them just fine.

Other activities in the winter include sledding down the west cliffs, they are angled well for it, and a second waterfall often appears here, simply from all the runoff in the spring. (Winter is officially over when the waterfall is flowing again.)

The mountains to the west of the valley are smoother than those on the east, but still have not really been explored. Three days south of the caves is a kind of meadow, where stones erupt from the ground and have flood-marks on them from the rising river. It was here that the Deer folk arrived to be taught how to use weapons, and reawaken their old magic of plant shaping and hypnotism.

South-west of this area by about ten days travel is where the Deer folk usually reside, their range is extremely wide, often half a year's travel in duration. They have shelters they shaped, these all on the west side of the hills bordering the valley, not on the valley side. There are great forests, comprising all kinds of trees and climates, mainly northern rainforest and huge conifer lands. The Deer folk drove out their mutant offspring to the north and west, and the whole area they may live is unexplored by any elf (maybe Aerie, or Peregrine?).


The trip to the Ambience is the easier of any travel taken by Storm Mountain inhabitants. The way to the Tundra Hill is very long and dangerous. First following the eastern mountains (as mentioned) to get to the eagles' breeding range, then follow the Rift Valley north-east until the whole plain of Arctic land is utterly flat. Look for the Hill in summer, because you just won't see it in the winter. This trip to the Hill takes about five hands of days by foot, but less than two by flight or eagle-back. The Ambience can be reached by going all the way south (nearly due south) in the valley, then once reaching the single west-flowing river, travel along it until you 'get there'. This trip takes about four very easy hands of days to the river, then about three hands to the west. Again, the trip is cut by two thirds if flying or on bird back.

Leader is often considered Snow , though she is rarely seen, and does not like the title.

While Snow is away, Shadowfrost the hunter is in charge. He is strong and good-hearted, and brave beyond most others. Since this holt is the smallest (at less than 30 persons) they tend to make group decisions rather than depend on one person to say law.

The Storm Mountain tanner is Goldfire , or just Fire. She is a prankster, and her clothing shows that trait. She is serious about only one thing, and that is lovemaking. Goldfire uses her healing/flesh shaping power to meld the colors of dye into her furs.

The person responsible for getting the elves into their far north caverns is Bloodleaf , whose astral projection powers found the narrow passages around dangerous cliffs and snowbound pastures. At the edges of his range are the Tundra hill elves and far to the south at Silverglen.

Another person of note is Heartpace , who is the first child born to any Otherforest elf. He is the son of Goldfire and Hotstrike . He is strong and clever, and none too reserved.

Inhabitants of the Storm Mountain Holt ((FEMALE)) ((MALE)) /c = child