One of the many mysterious features of the Sunamyo is the lonely peak of Mount B’taol, which rises (sometimes, at least) from the sandy wastes to the south of the stretch of the River Oued several days ride east of the Crossing of a Million Pebbles. It’s rare that it can be seen from the river road itself, but it has at times appeared to travelers who have wandered too far south and missed the river crossing.
Any caravan master worth his salt knows to steer clear of the peak, not that one could expect to reach it in any case. The entire mountain is trapped in a time-pocket, and depending on where and how one approaches it one may see just the rugged wind-scoured granite of the peak, or the many strange constructions that the Empire of Zid built into and upon its slopes. It would seem that, like many of the mysteries of the deep desert, that approaching the place along the correct path would lead one to one or the other version of the mountain, but passing the wrong way leads only to one of the patches of so-called ”slow sand” that have trapped so many travelers in the Sunamyo.
The bare peak is (it would seem) Mount B’taol at an older time, before the rise of the God-Kings. Why, and even how, such a place / time could be reached is unknown, of course. But what really interests seers and treasure-hunters in Zangiers and beyond are the possibilities inherent in the seemingly later version of the place, either during or after the height of the Empire. The great pillared halls and balconies (some seem like they must be large enough to encompass the entire City of Zangiers!) and the colossal statuary that watch over them jut out from the slopes of the mountain; seemingly uninhabited, but likewise not suffering the dilapidation and decay that has beset so many of the structures left behind by the Zid.
There is much debate as to the exact meaning of what those who have stumbled into sight of these palaces, temples, or whatever they were built for, have seen. It is entirely possible that distance (or even magic) has simply hidden either signs of those who dwell there or of the fall of the place into ruin. But it is too enticing a thought to entirely ignore the possibility of a trove of lore and artifacts from the lost Empire, unguarded by the God-Kings (although none doubt there would certainly be some form of defense) and untouched by the scouring hand of time and the elements. The question is: how would one go about uncovering the ”walking key” that would grant a safe approach to the place…