Sir Peter clapped his hands together once. “Very well, then. Listen up, people! Our destination is in Central Asia—the Karakum Desert, to be exact, east of the Caspian Sea. Thanks to Henry du Val, we have learned that the Black Fortress currently sits…I’m not joking…at the bottom of a fiery crater in the middle of this desert.”
And so the Order warriors find out where they will shortly do battle with the Dark Druids...
Yes, it's real!! Sometimes you stumble across a location that just demands to be a part of a book. When we discovered quite by accident that there is literally a fiery crater that's been burning for 40 years in the middle of the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan, it jumped out at us like the PERFECT place for uber-villain Zolond and company to park the Black Fortress for a while - especially since locals and journalists alike have dubbed the spot the "Door to Hell." Check it out!
Geologists, in early 1971, while drilling for oil, accidentally hit a pocket of gas, which in turn collapsed the ground under their feet, and thus formed the Crater of Karakum. It was originally NOT on fire, but it was determined to be leaking poisonous gasses, particularly methane. Rather than risking the health of the citizens living in neighboring towns and villages, the geologists decided to burn off the volatile gasses by alighting the crater on fire. They thought it would burn for a matter of a few days. But like a giant Bunsen burner, it's been flaming & smoldering ever since.
The leader of the Dark Druids, Zolond, couldn't resist such an incendiary location. Hidden from view below the surface & virtually impenetrable, it made for the perfect location to continue with his diabolical plans. What are his plans? you ask. Hmm? We can't say just yet. You'll have to wait for the final installment of The Gryphon Chronicles to find out!