THE MAP: The Gate, Mystery on the Mountain
The Gate has a long history in the development in Pantheon. It was shown off as early as 2016 and its history and present condition were discussed. Fast forward five years, The Gate has a new location, new tenants surrounding its ruins, and we have been given a much deeper understanding of its significance.
It's history remains shrouded in history. It's occupants also remain shrouded in mystery. Thankfully, Chris Perkins dropped several bean morsels for us to chew on until we can get in the game and percieve the truth. First, there was the concept art.
The Gate is a temple. The Gate is also a doorway, as some astute VIP questioner pointed out in the livestream. So temples are built for worship. A temple built on top of a passage to some great entryway to "somewhere" is significant indeed. Also, the dualism for the temple/gate doesn't stop there. First, notice on the above image. The top of the Temple's entrance holds two stones, "twin stones," and what appears to be an altar before them. The side of the pools below its high perch run "twin waterfalls" that flow into the Easter Plains (more on that later). Finally, as Chris Perkins pointed out, the whole playstyle of the dungeon is a dance of earth and water, both playing, in his words, important roles in its exploration and in its purpose. This is very significant.
History shows us that the dragons of Terminus have fled the surface of the planet, except in certain situations, abandoning their rule as per their agreement in the Dragon Accord. But, what is interesting is their rule was precisely over the two realms represented at the Gate: Water and Earth. Before Rok'Nhilthamos ruled over all dragons, they were actually separated into two kingdoms, Rhy'Vulrene which are Dragons of Air and rule the land, and Sol'Kromane which are Dragons of Sea. These two kingdoms waged war. Both Reignborn kings were killed in the end and Rok'Nhilthamos, son of the Dragon King of Air, took both kingdoms for himself. This was thousands of yeard before the arrival of the Dwarves, the first of the Sacred Six races to collide with Terminus. Another interesting point is the Sect of Peryth, who to this day worship the dragons and await their return to rule on the surface. Dragon worship would have been much more prevalent prior to their absconding their rule.
So, here we have a temple on a high mountainop from which we can see nearly the entire continent of Kingsreach with waterways that make their way into the sea below (basically spelled out by Chris Perkins in the last dev stream); a temple, mind you, that is all but inaccessibly but by flight or by water. Is this a coincidence? That would be highly unlikely.
The most straightforward answer to the history of The Gate is that it was a temple built to the worship of Dragons, having access to the King of the Vulrene and to the King of the Kromane below, that is the gate that leads to the sea and most likely, to the rulers of it. The two pillars on top of the temple represent both kingdoms, also making clear that this was no place of worship for dragons, but only of dragons. Other races were worshipping dragons in this place.
As a side note, I would expect the Ka, the representative "throne" or seat of power for dragons on the continent of Kingsreach, would be close by, being accessible to the rulers of land and sea.
This moves us to our next topic: location. After all the discussion over the last six dev streams of Wild's End and its progress and its history and its cultures, I don't think it surprises anyone that The Gate is and has always been within the region of wild's End. It has moved from its previous location by the halfling starting city of Sorhyrith, but still in the region.
As is clear from the notes on this concept art, The Gate is located on the top of a mountain that borders the Eastern Plains to its north and Wild's End to its south.
This is also obvious from this view, looking down from its mountain perch, into the Mad Moor and beyond. The location, by using these two images, should be enough to give an approximate location for the entrance to The Gate.
Pardon the crudeness and potential scaling issues, but this seems to be the most likely location and the scale should be very close. Remember, only the entry platform and temple entrance are visible from the outside. There is a possibility that the far west room has a portion that is open as well, or at least has some architecture that can be seen from the world below it, as per the notes on the concept art.
Presently, the Gate is occupied by The Withered, or wraiths. To understand wraithdom is to leave behind rationality, yet there they exist all the while. Their state is referred to as Unmortal, leaving behind the concept of mortality and immortality, for they are not immortal. Imagine a specific fruit, say an apple. Imagine if this apple lost its appleness. All the characteristics that would make it an apple went away. It is still a fruit. It did not gain other attributes to make it a new fruit. It did not change into another kind of fruit. It is now a fruit which used to be an apple and now is just not. That is how the mortality of these Withered has been soaked from them, leaving husks of souls which are not. How this sickness, for that is how it spreads, came to be is still unknown, but the halflings which came to Terminus had seen it before in their own world, and had almost been crushed by it. This is the reason they have such disdain for wraiths still and most likely why they kept their home so close to the hub of wraithdom on Terminus. Is it tied to a dragon sickness, or curse? Are the Withered actually the former occupants or priests of The Gate? Time will only tell.
The future holds many of the unanswered questions. What we do know from Chris Perkins is that the depths of The Gate holds a great and terrible force. We also know that several worldwide events take place surrounding this location. Will it be the location of the return of Reignborn to their old empire? Will it usher in a dark power into Terninus? Could it hold the power and knowledge of the Dragon Accord itself? This is what the future holds. Defending your people from The Gate's mysteries may come sooner than you think.
Benonai, leader of the Resistance Against the Corrupt House of Amensol