THE IRON SPIRES
The Nevernever is like Earth, but more so. The mountains are higher, the shadows are darker, and the houses of sin are more sinful. One excellent example of this principle can be found in The Iron Spires, an inhospitable region of the Nevernever that embodies the harshness and grandeur of the natural world.
The Iron Spires are an enormous mountain range formed entirely of cast iron blades. Even the rain is made of metal. The spires are hot enough to boil water during the day and cold enough to freeze alcohol during the night. As you can imagine, most people don’t last for very long there.
Nonetheless, the spires do support life of a sort. For one hour in twelve, as day changes to night and night changes to day, the climate of the spires is actually fairly comfortable. During those hours, swarms of metallic bladeflies and sharp-feathered iron birds cloud the skies, searching for something nonmetallic to devour. They don’t actually need to eat, of course, but that doesn’t matter.
You might be wondering why anyone would ever choose to go to The Iron Spires. And indeed, almost nobody ever does. People wander into it through the Ways, which are inevitably located in the harshest environments on Earth. But once they’re there, people become strangely reluctant to leave. Despite (or perhaps because of) their extreme inhospitability, The Iron Spires cast a sort of spell that makes people refuse to leave. Those affected become something other than human, and spend their lives in a fruitless search for a legendary treasure called the Crown Of The Iron Spires. They take pride in their honour, which demands three things of them. First, that they never give up the search for the Crown. Second, that they never show pain, sadness, or discomfort. And third, that they never mention the Monster of The Iron Spires.
The Monster Of The Iron Spires is the undisputed master of this locale. It resembles an enormous tiger made entirely out of blades, with six legs and a face like a set of gardening shears. It is the reason that the spires are so terrible. It created the spires as a reflection of what it believes. If it could talk, it might say that the true beauty of nature is in its brutality.
The Iron Spires look beautiful on a postcard, it’s true. But no-one sane would want to live there.