Every good quest story needs a final destination. In the case of Dragoncharm, it’s the Plated Mountain, an ancient volcano in the bowels of which lies the legendary (and lethal) Maze of Covamere.
Here’s how I described the mountain’s terrain:
“The stars turned about the world and the dragons travelled cautiously upwards. It seemed no time at all before they were clear of the pine trees and climbing the steep approach slopes towards Covamere itself. Behind and below them the forest sprawled around the foothills and out of sight; above, the Plated Mountain revealed itself only tantalizingly as they moved alternately into gullies and up on to stony ridges. The rock possessed an extraordinary range of colours here above the treeline. Despite the dimness of the starlight the bands of red and yellow gleamed, then gave way to blue-grey and even green rock before the black pumice finally reasserted itself and the landscape resumed its former drabness.”
And here’s the place I was thinking about when I wrote it:
When I wrote Dragoncharm, my only real experience of mountains came from a trip to the volcanic island of Tenerife. Actually, it’s a great place to go if you want to climb a mountain but don’t possess a set of crampons. There’s a main road that takes you most of the way up Mount Teide’s 12,198 feet, hairpinning in terrifying fashion through steep-sided gorges before entering a great swathe of pine forest. As you get higher, oxygen depletion means the trees get steadily smaller. Eventually the forest disappears completely, leaving you to cross a barren moonscape filled with extraordinary rock formations. A short cable-car trip completes your journey to the summit, from which you can see what appears to be the entire Atlantic Ocean.
If you half-close your eyes, you can see dragons too.
In part 3 of this occasional series, I’ll take you deep underground in search of a waterfall made of solid rock. Now where in the world could that be …?