The Thousand Fangs Below
The city of Ilmurea was founded countless centuries ago deep beneath the land that is now called the Mwangi Expanse, as a sister city to the notorious serpentfolk capital of Sverenagati far to the north. Ilmurea was built to provide a stepping-stone to the southern part of the surface world, where the power of mighty Azlant was weaker and the serpentfolk could win their longed-for stronghold on the surface. Ilmurea grew into a mighty fortress-city, and the serpentfolk were able to move into and conquer the jungle lands above.
The serpentfolk had scant time to consolidate their position on the surface, however, before a huge Azlanti army arrived upon the continent of Garund. As in the north, the Azlanti drove the serpentfolk back underground. Deep in Ilmurea, the Azlanti heroine Savith fought the serpentfolk god Ydersius, ultimately defeating and beheading him. She cast his head into a pool of lava and disposed of his body in a bottomless pit within the serpentfolk’s holiest temple. In the process, Savith was poisoned, and she died soon after.
With the conquest of Ilmurea and the apparent death of their god, the strength of the serpentfolk empire was broken, never to recover. The survivors slunk away into hidden redoubts in Sekamina, there to hibernate and await the day they could rise again and reclaim their rightful place above the lesser races of Golarion. With the serpentfolk retreat, the Azlanti collapsed all of the tunnels connecting the city to the rest of Sekamina, save for the six serpent gates that opened onto even deeper Darklands realms.
To further guard against a serpentfolk return, Savith’s followers founded a city in the jungles above, naming it Saventh-Yhi (“Savith’s Grave”) in her honor. Yet the advent of Earthfall eventually brought an end not only to Saventh-Yhi, but to the entire Azlanti empire. Far below in Ilmurea, the tremors that accompanied Earthfall caused a vast chasm to open in the cavern floor, dealing extensive damage to that city as well. Both Saventh-Yhi and Ilmurea lay forgotten for ages.
Ilmurea occupies an immense cavern thousands of feet beneath Saventh-Yhi. The city itself is built on the shores of a vast lake that dominates the cavern’s floor, fed from above by five great, circular waterfalls. At its highest point, the ceiling of the cavern rises 200 feet above the towering fortress of Thousand Fangs in the center of the city’s northern lake. The southern districts of the city sit on a ledge 50 feet above the level of the northern portion of the city. Over time, tremors have caused collapses within the cavern housing Ilmurea, destroying structures and shifting the earth in places. These tremors also opened a vast chasm in the city that divides the lake into two parts, whose waters fall thousands of feet into the abyss.
The spiral, or coil, is a common motif in serpentfolk art and culture, and many of Ilmurea’s streets and buildings ref lect this theme. Major structures tend to be circular or even spiral in plan, and all buildings display spiral and serpentine decorations. Roads tend to be curved, following the lakeshore, and smaller alleys wind sinuously between buildings. The entire cavern flickers with an eerie, ghostly light—the byproduct of decaying serpentstone. As a result, the city has dim light throughout, although most of the building interiors remain unlit and truly dark.