The High Plateau is a region of badlands in the Quellbourne realm of Jaiman in Shadow World. It is a point of ill-definition as it is still referenced in the game itself, and may even be physically present, but is not represented on the image maps. In the I.C.E. Age it would have been located north of Blototh (Modern: Glatoph), and south of the Seolfar Strake (Modern: Lysierian Hills). In the source book material the Seolfar Strake extends into the northern rim around the Bay and it is unclear how far north the implemented part was relative to Blototh. This in itself is inconsistent with maps developed in the late 1990s.
The High Plateau is where the high quality granite was imported from for the crypt in The Graveyard. It is also the location of the ruined city of Quellburn, whose refugees included the founders of the Spider Temple. These details are no longer treated as official history. Quellburn was not an ordinarily accessible area in the I.C.E. Age, though its evil sorcerer Zenon was a known and established villain.
The High Plateau is made of limestone and "is a badland with a few coarse grasses and shrubs." It is infested with Tergons, eleven foot limestone devouring worms, which were set free by Zenon. The High Plateau is much hotter than Kelfour's Landing in the summer, but colder in the other seasons. Claedesbrim Bay causes anomalous patterns in this way due to seasonal warm water ocean currents.
The High Plateau was the northeastern boundary of the fief of Kestrel Etrevion in "The Legend of the Necropolis of Etrevion" (1990), and the term "High Plateau" still exists in The Graveyard. The graveyard was built at this boundary in the story, as the burial mound was constructed near the battle field on "the northern marches." The Graveyard itself is consistent with this interpretation, depicting the burial mound as being on a vast "plateau." Thus, the High Plateau arguably exists in the game, but is not on any of the maps. The term would be copyrighted as an I.C.E. placename, but the terrain itself is not depicted.
The High Plateau can also be seen on the east side of the Bay from outside the town walls, but this line of sight does not exist in the source book. It is blocked by the peninsula where the Graveyard would naively be expected to be located, and would otherwise be obscured by Trelkinaark (Modern: Glaoveln) which was much further east than it is now on maps developed after the I.C.E. Age ended.
[Wehnimer's, Exterior] On this rocky beach stands the northeast corner of Wehnimer's Landing. Gazing off to the north you see the great rolling waters of the Darkstone Bay while to the east can be seen the rolling hills and high plateaus that skirt the icy waters. You also see a pure white porcupine, a wide bowered gate and a hammered rolaren sign. Obvious paths: south, west
I.C.E. Age Incompatibility
The High Plateau has a well-defined position on the maps of the Quellbourne (1989) source book. The subtle issue is that the travel through the forest maze to the Graveyard is deceptively fast, implicitly involving magical transport. The story and the terrain both suggest it is over one hundred miles east of Kelfour's Landing, and would not be far from the mountain Blototh (Modern: Glatoph).
- The Legend
"Kestrel came to be rewarded for his service after a particularly hard fought campaign (actually pulled from the jaws of certain defeat by Bandur's sorcerous intervention) with a small territory carved out along the west coast of Jaiman, along the craggy shores of Claedesbrim Bay. This is part of the land that forms the windward edge of the High Plateau in the region now called Quellbourne." "Before the dispute was resolved, an outbreak of hostilities along the land's northern marches called Kestrel and his still-loyal armies away to defend the borders. Demoralized and brokenhearted, Kestrel failed to vanquish the foes, and was beaten back to retreat with the few surviving weary and mutinous troops. ... As the new day dawned, he appeared before the remaining troops and announced that Lord Kestrel had died during the night of his battle wounds. He dismissed the pitiful remnants of Kestrel's army, who gladly scattered and returned to their homes without question. There, in a remote corner of the land, Bandur created several golems to build a burial mound to hold the remains of his brother along with some of his few cherished possessions." - Legend of the Necropolis of Etrevion (1990)
- The Graveyard
The Graveyard would have to be much further to the east of Kelfour's Landing than would be naively expected. There is no plateau anywhere near it in the source book. However, the burial mound can be seen from the Grandmaster's office in the Order of Voln monastery, which was added years later. This would seem to be another geographical ambiguity unless the monastery path or window is magical.
[Graveyard] You pause inside the gates to survey the eerie scene. A magnificently crafted granite crypt to the north inspires wonder and loathing. The carvings on the facade are horrific, detailing the onslaughts of the Unlife throughout the chaotic history of Elanthia. A gravel path wraps around the structure, while thorny brambles growing among the tombstones deter you from leaving the paved route. Obvious paths: northeast, northwest >look crypt The crypt is built of the finest gray granite from the High Plateau. Great magic and determination must have been expended to bring the ponderous blocks to this location. The demonic aspect of the decorations on the face of the tomb make you uneasy. Above the entry to the crypt, is an inscription. [Graveyard] The path girds the northern perimeter of the mound far enough away from it to grant a full view of the slopes. The closecropped surface vegetation might offer handholds for scaling to the top to the adventurer who travels light. To the north, the plateau continues off beyond the horizon, a trackless, windswept mesa of tall grass and thick sod that presents a hostile and formidable obstacle. Obvious paths: east, southwest [Graveyard, Top of Mound] From the lofty perch atop the burial mound, you look out over the lowlands and marshes to the south and west and the desolate plateau to the north. Facing southeast are the ominous graveyard, unquiet crypt, and the gates and cemetary walls beyond. The ridge is narrow and uneven, with little room to maneuver. Startled by the cawing of a nesting gorcrow, you realize that any distraction from keeping your balance would be courting to disaster. You also see a pool of stinking mud and a narrow gully. Obvious paths: down
Post-I.C.E. Age Incompatibility
Following the I.C.E. Age (maybe) there was terrain reminiscent of the High Plateau and potentially consistent with it introduced near Danjirland surrounding the Colossus. In the maps that were made after this, however, this is only a small patch of land situated south of Glatoph instead of north of it. The oldest part of the glacier is written to sound artificial, and does not exist in the source material for Blototh.
- I.C.E. Age Glacier
The glacier was much smaller in 1990, and still consisted of only a handful of rooms in early 1996. The climate on the other side of the mountain is completely different. This in itself is no incompatibility.
[Glatoph, Glacier] This side of the mountain is covered with ice. The ice field is almost big enough to be called a glacier, except that the conditions are all wrong for a glacier. You suspect some sort of magic at work, and wonder at the wizard powerful enough to freeze half a mountain. Obvious paths: southwest
The Colossus and its surroundings already existed in January 1996. Its precise timing relative to the De-ICE is unclear, and could actually be the High Plateau itself or even represent fallen Ugus Fost.
[Badlands, Hillock] The hilltop, frequently blasted by cold winds and chill rain, is barren of all but the toughest shrubs. A warren of canyons twists between the forlorn hills in every direction. On the next hillock to the southeast, you spy a huge humanoid figure which blots out the stars. It slumps motionless, perhaps a fearsome giant contemplating the wastelands. You also see the sheer ravine wall. Obvious paths: east
The glacier on what is now called Glatoph was expanded into a vast arctic ice sheet when Icemule Trace was created. This largely replaces where the High Plateau would have been on the map.
In the Wars of Dominion a group of refugees from Zor, west of the Grey Mountains, were fleeing servants of the Unlife who were hunting them down. These were implicitly the messengers of the Order of Dansart, one of the six branches of The Iron Wind, who had destroyed the kingdom of Zor. The refugees reached the cliffs of the Colewaether River (Modern: Locksmehr) on the High Plateau and could not pass the canyons. They followed the Colewaether to where it met Claedesbrim Bay (Modern: Darkstone Bay). They hid in the caverns after making it look like they had all hurled themselves off the cliffs, which was at the expense of a few suicides. In this spot on the High Plateau they founded the City of Quellburn, ruled by a Council of twelve spellcasters, representing each of the twelve Spellguilds of Zor.
The Citadel was also at the point where another river called the Quellburn (Seoltang: Killing River) flowed north from Blototh. This is an internal contradiction in the Quellbourne source book. The map of Kelfour's Landing on the adjacent page labels the river passing through town as the Colewaether. This is the only reference in the book associating the Colewaether River with Kelfour's Landing.
Quellburn ruled the surrounding region of "Quellbourne" for the next six thousand years. In the year 5840 Third Era it was destroyed by the betrayal of their Lord Sorcerer Zenon, who had been corrupted by the Unlife. In the Jaiman (1989) source book it is specified that the High Priest of Athimurl, one of the other orders of the Iron Wind, was the one who was ultimately responsible for the destruction. With the aid of these dark powers Zenon made pacts with demons, secretly allied with the Ice Kral (Modern: Krolvin), invented the threks (Modern: thraks), and orchestrated a massive invasion of trolls which later settled into the Kaldsfang mountains. The Citadel fell as he smuggled forces up through tunnels in the cliffs. Zenon was struck with a powerful amnesia spell, however, by Alladyre the ruling council Mystic.
I.C.E. Age Consistency
It was eventually specified in the Shadow World books that Lorgalis conquered Saralis in 6521 Second Era, which suggests he would have controlled the Kelfour's Landing region of the map between Saralis and Xa'ar. The High Plateau is badlands and may have been ignored, with Quellburn coming to control the environs after Lorgalis was defeated by Jaysek (Modern: Jastev) at the end of the Wars of Dominion. This precise date is not clearly established in a published book early enough to matter for the I.C.E. Age of GemStone III, and was not established yet in the 1989 books which framed GemStone III.
In the year 6521 Second Era for GemStone, however, Uthex Kathiasas was killed in the Broken Lands by his Loremaster colleagues. The theocracy of Kadaena under Bandur Etrevion ruled at least in the early years of the Wars of Dominion, which took place between 6450 and 6825 Second Era. This suggests all together that Quellburn would not have been a conspicuous settlement until closer to the end of the Second Era. Claedesbrim Castle (Modern: Darkstone Castle) has no known backstory, whether Quellburn or Saralis or the brothers Etrevion. It is unclear if it has any relation to historical contexts.
Immediately south of Quellburn is the Black Forest of Dir, which would come up against what we call Danjirland, but the Jaiman and Quellbourne books are not highly coordinated on this issue and the Ugus Fost story was retconned onto the mainland from the earlier Iron Wind books. The Iron Wind rules this forest, which is the northwest edge of the Blue Forest of Lu'nak, and has done so since 4166 Third Era which was well before the fall of Quellburn. When the black reaver was released from a box at the tower in Danjirland, it contained a note that was written by Zenon. The Shards of Dir were huntable creatures outside the Spider Temple at one point in the early 1990s, and the Spider Temple was founded by refugees of Quellburn who hid in a giant spider's lair. The Ice Kral then settled on the island of Trelkinaark (Modern: Glaoveln) after raiding the coasts. The Gnolls of Stonehold (Modern: Cavernhold) became recluses after the fall of Quellburn. The Old Mine Road is presumably a relic of Quellbourne.
The Citadel of the Kingdom of Elanith is an early feature of River's Rest, which was released around the summer of 1996. The whole citadel is more or less identical to Quellburn, and was presumably designed in the I.C.E. Age and later given a retconned meaning in a different region. Quellbourne and Quellburn were both De-ICE'd to "Elanith", and then the meanings of Elanith changed.
- Example 1 - Council Library
(1) Quellburn "12. Council Library This door is closed but unlocked and untrapped. The room holds three desks, three chairs, and a large oak sculpture of a knight slaying a small Drake. This once-elegant chamber is lined with shelf after shelf of books, tomes, scrolls, and letters. Many of these books and papers are valuable to scholars, but to select them would take days." - Quellbourne: Land of the Silver Mist (1989), page 41 (2) River's Rest [Council Library] Once the private library of the magi, this room appears to have been ransacked in earlier times. Three desks, three chairs, and a large sculpture of a knight slaying a small drake remain. The understated elegance of the chamber is hinted at by the exquisitely carved bookshelves, still lined with the remains of books, tomes, scrolls and letters. You also see a knight statue. Obvious exits: west >look statue A human sized figure in elegantly stylized plate mail of a mysterious design stands triumphantly over the body of a slain drake. One foot is poised on the drake's head as the figure raises his sword in triumph skyward.
- Example 2 - Council War Room
(1) Quellburn "10. Council War Room The walls of this room hold two large murals, one of the city defenses, and one of the shores of Claedesbrim Bay, dotted with forts and settlements. Large sandtables hold forty lead figurines in warlike poses, and six small wooden ships. All artwork is excellently rendered and would bring 2sp each. A podium stands next to a slate board. It holds papers listing troop strengths and locations, now distant history." - Quellbourne: Land of the Silver Mist (1989), page 41 (2) River's Rest [Council War Room] One wall of this room holds two large murals, one of the city defenses, and one of the shores of Maelstrom Bay, dotted with forts and settlements. A large sand table holds lead figurines in warlike poses, and six small wooden ships. The far wall is dominated by a huge stone fireplace. A third wall has a silver inlay of the seal of the Council of Mages. Obvious exits: northwest >look other mural You see a pair of large murals. Looking at the murals, you see a large cityscape mural and a large coastline mural. >look mural The city of Elanith is shown in all its glory as a bustling metropolis with domed spires overlooking the bay. >look at mural Small settlements dot the coastline of an unfamiliar bay, surrounding Elanith like errant children. >look table This table holds sand on which to place the lead figurines. A table leg underneath it seems a bit wobbly. >look fireplace Made of rough native stone, this fireplace appears to be large enough to burn a fair sized tree in a single fire. A thin layer of ashes and dust cover the interior. A thin crack in the masonry forming the hearth seems to indicate a loose stone.
Behind the Scenes
The Council of Mages of the Kingdom of Elanith with its ruined Citadel in River's Rest is highly similar to Quellburn, including some fine details such as the council consisting of twelve mages. The story of the founding of Quellburn by hiding in the cliff caves is similarly close to the Wolves Den story, which is located at an analogous point of the Old Mine Road map to where Quellburn would have been founded. The term "High Plateau" is used modernly in a completely unrelated context on Caligos Isle. It is unclear if the "Badlands" around the Colossus were always named Badlands or if it is a De-ICE'd term.