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[Lore] Mount Aris


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Mount Aris - A High Perch of Glory




Far to the southwest of the Equestrian Heartland, over rivers and ranges, beyond wastelands and woodlands, lies a single solitary peak: Mount Aris. Rising from the Sparkling Sea just offshore of the eastern Neighples Delta, Mount Aris is a tall and imposing basalt monolith; the ancient remnant of a long-extinct volcano. And into this basalt, the Hippogriffs have carved out their seat of power, the great fortress known far and wide as the Winged Citadel. 

The Hippogriffs’ Citadel gets its name from the basalt wings hewn from the rock of Mount Aris, which protectively shield the city proper from the oceanic ravages of winds and waves. Land access to the Winged Citadel consists of crossing a causeway of basalt columns — which is only exposed at low tide — followed by a climb up a narrow, steep flight of stone stairs leading to the sole gate into the fortress. While hardly convenient for non-winged beings, it’s proven a highly defensible arrangement for the Hippogriffs, who themselves nest on the mountain’s leeward side just past the Gates. The Hippogriffs of Mount Aris build their elegant, organically-styled dwellings out of majestic trees; trees cultivated specifically to serve as sturdy and graceful foundations for buildings.

Above the city resides the Harmonizing Heights, a place of natural beauty from which a zen-like hum can constantly be heard emanating from. Legend says that Queen Vetera — the mythical founder of Hippogriffia — personally weaved the enchantments that created the Heights so that her people would have a sanctum to find inner peace. Overlooking the sanctuary are the gates of the Winged Citadel itself, a masterpiece of masonry unmatched in all of history. A high spire rises from Mount Aris’s peak, the top of which is crowned by the Throne Room of the Hippogriff monarch. Elsewhere, tunnel networks bore through the Citadel’s protective basalt wings, housing everything from food stores to barracks and concealed embrasures for defensive siege engines.

For more than two thousand years, the Kingdom of Mount Aris has played a pivotal role in shaping world history. In days of old, the Hippogriffs were known for their legendary skill in smithcraft, imbuing magical enchantments into their work via methods now lost. Mount Aris was also a nexus of commerce, occupying a strategic point on the trade route between the Griffon Kingdom and Saddle Arabia. Mount Aris’s prosperity gave it immerse diplomatic clout, and it was here where the Treaty of Aris was signed, ending the Zephyr War between the Griffon Armies of Flavia Razorclaw and the Pegasi Hosts of Commander Hurricane.

Yet while the Hippogriffs of Mount Aris desired peace with their neighbors, achieving that goal in practice often meant preparing for war. The Hippogriffs have defended themselves against many threats over the centuries; from the pillaging of dragons to the storms of Acroneighos, from the greed of the Aquellian Empire to the treachery of Puerto Aguila’s sky pirates. Consequently, the Hippogriffs became a proud folk who embraced a culture of athletic accomplishment and martial skill. Few warriors showed as much prowess in battle as the Royal Hippogriff Marines, while the Winged Citadel withstood all sieges thrown at it without ever falling... all sieges but one.

Ten years ago, the Winged Citadel finally found itself outmatched by the modern machines of war wielded by the Storm King’s Armada. Rather than risk her kingdom perishing in a lightning assault, Queen Novo ordered the Hippogriffs to abandon Mount Aris and take refuge in the submerged sea caves below. No news came out of Mount Aris for the following decade, and it was presumed by the outside world that either the Hippogriffs were all gone, or were so well hidden that nobody would ever find them.

Except that the Hippogriffs were found by ponies seeking allies to free Canterlot from the Storm King’s grasp. Queen Nova’s daughter — the bubbly Princess Skystar — helped bring upon the Storm King’s downfall, freeing Hippogriffia from the threat of enslavement once and for all. Mount Aris has since been reoccupied and restored to its former glory.

~Canterlot Research Journal (Revised Edition)

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