Secrets of Pavis
Excerpts from the Journal of Federang Sandpiper
Biturian’s comments: Federang Sandpiper was a freelance sage who worked in Boldhome around 75 years ago. He died around 50 years ago. His most famous work is his Journal, a travelogue he wrote while sitting on his famously fat backside, never traveling a key mile from Boldhome, except once to the village of Tink. His book is a compilation of travelers’ tales, many written from first hand conversations, but others pieced together from more ancient sources. It represents a tour round the areas to the east of Sartar, covering most of Prax, the valley of the River of Cradles, some parts of Shadows Dance and the occasional foray into the wastes of Vultures’ Country. Of particular interest to you, I think, is the fact that it contains many references to ancient artifacts and places where they might be hidden. Federang is regarded as accurate about half the time, inaccurate four times out of ten and making things up to fill gaps one time in ten. Of the accurate items, however, some have been shown to be remarkably accurate. The only trouble is we have no real way of knowing which bits are true and which bits aren’t. A Lhankor Mhy history spell might be able to determine what he thought when he was writing a particular segment, if you have the original. Which brings me to the document you have in your hands now: I have reason to believe that this is the original manuscript and not a copy. I had intended to sell it to Valstach Guilder at the knowledge temple in Pavis, but he and I have had our disagreements, shall we say. I’d be prepared to sell it to you for, shall we say, 500 Wheels?
The Blind King’s Palace: On Blind King’s Hill in what is vulgarly termed the Big Rubble of Pavis, sits an ornate and exquisite palace, built some time after the days of Pavis’ first glory, but well before the troll occupation. No-one knows who the Bling King was, but I have ascertained certain facts about him. First, he was a Sorcerer, for sorcerers have been attracted to his palace ever since, and the library of the palace contains numerous grimoires of those dark arts of the atheists of the west. Secondly, he was not blind, except to the identity of his murderer, and all owners of the palace since him have been assassinated, or so say the tales of the Black Fang Brotherhood. Thirdly, he struck a deal with a race of murderous wanderers of the night, the Nighttide Dancers, who still reside in his palace and set forth to find prey around the Hill and its environs at dusk. Finally, he was cruel and excavated a set of chambers beneath his palace to hold victims for torture, each chamber celebrating a different torturous art. Whether or not the trolls have found these chambers in their burrowings, I cannot say.
Kakastan’s Art Museum: Of great fame within the ruins of Old Pavis is this intact museum of art from the four corners of the world. Kakastan, or the Curator as he is now known, gathered great examples of art during the time of Pavis’ glory, and weaved great magicks to protect his collection. He himself survives as a mighty spirit that strikes down all who would enter with intent to rob. There are many galleries, filled with works from as long ago as the time of the EWF, and considerable magical power resides therein too. Kakastan has a simple rule when it comes to his collection: you may take an item, if you exchange it for an item of equal power or rarity, and you must promise to return the original. Any attempt to cheat the Curator is met with swift vengeance. There have been times when the magical protections of the galleries have been by-passed and the collection ransacked, yet always the items return, normally after the bloody demise of the thief. Kakastan is said to be generous to those who return a piece of his collection, although I do not know what the nature of his generosity is.
Caverns of Thanracia: Thanrax the Fair was the God Learner governor of Port Sog and Feroda, and later founder of Robcradle. During the height of his greatness, after the capture of the first cradles, he founded a third port, between Port Sog and Feroda, which he immodestly called Thanracia. He made it a haven of learning, a quiet city of white marble, where God Learner scholars could pace the streets debating the meaning of the myths of Prax and the Giants. A particular specialty was study of Beastmen, and many examples were shipped to the city for examination and servitude. When the Closing came, however, the city was beset by a multitude of evils. First, the sea retreated, leaving the city surrounded by swamps. Secondly, all communication with the God Learner Empire ceased and when the Empire fell, all knowledge of God Learner sorcery was wiped from the minds of their scholars. The descendents of the last governor, Agamenton, proclaimed themselves Kings and turned to the worship of gods whose myths their ancestors had studied. During the excavation of the foundations for a new temple, the Thanracians discovered a series of caverns beneath their city. Whether Thanrax had known it or not, he had built his city on top of an ancient site of draconic activity. As the Thanracians explored these caverns, they turned increasingly to the worship of the darkest god their ancestors had studied, Thanatar, especially in his aspect of Atyar, the Devourer of Knowledge. The Thanracians built more chambers within the caverns and began to be creatures more of the underground than of the sunlight. They woke a Sleeping God, and suffered mightily. Then their beastmen slaves revolted, and broke the back of the Thanracian military, and took over the caverns. Soon the nomads learned of the city, and came down and sacked it as they had sacked Port Sog and Feroda before it, although they knew naught of the caverns. Today the location of the city is lost, and its inhabitants, children of the Thanracians, grandchildren of the mighty God Learners, are mere primitives, whose knowledge even of Atyar is lost. I say the location of the city is forgotten, except that I have talked to a scholar who had traversed the swamps of the Defender’s Shore, looking for lost Feroda. He thought he had found it when he came across the ruins of Thanracia, but lost interest when he realized it was not the city he was looking for. I have plotted its location on the map, and am sure it is Lost Thanracia. The other tales come from emissaries of the Agamentine era, who were sent out periodically to try to re-establish contact with the Emperors of Land and Sea. I have pieced their stories together and am reasonably sure they represent an accurate chronology of the fall of this doomed city.
The Lair of the White Wyrm: When the EWF gained control over Prax and extended their power to the Zola Fel, many draconic creatures came with them. During this brief period, a White Wyrm called Auron was born. Such creatures are rare, and portentous. This Wyrm was said to herald the end of the EWF, and it was therefore viewed with great alarm and consternation. Being a holy creature, it could not be slain, and so the EWF officials in Pavis came up with a plan to constrain its power. They created a living tomb for it, and sealed it in the walls of the Zola Fel valley forever, to be ministered to by Dragonewt servants. I have talked to Farong Farosh in Tink, who claims to have been one of the architects of the tomb, and has provided me with its location. He says that on the very day the last door was installed and the last hope of Auron’s freedom extinguished, that was the day the Inhuman King turned on the human leaders of the EWF. Sealing the tomb sealed the fate of the EWF. Auron is believed still to live, although the dragonewts have moved on. Countless humans have replaced them, being seduced by the power of the wyrm to serve it. The only ones immune to the wyrm’s power are the Morokanth, and he possesses an item of great value to them. So told me Tapareek, a Morokanth berserk who swore to slay the wyrm. I have no idea whether or not he succeeded.
The Tomb of Gutheron of Org: Gutheron was a mighty general in the army of Palangio the Iron Vrok, during the early days of the Gbaji Wars. He possessed a legendary suit of armor and worshipped a servant of Gbaji called Akresh, whom today we would call a demon. He was mortally wounded during an early battle by Talor the Laughing Warrior, and commanded that he be buried where the armies of Arkat could never find him. His servants obeyed, constructing a huge tomb far out in the Genert Wastes, far from the battlefields. Above the tomb they set a statue of Nysalor the Fair, as the corrupt ones called Gbaji, and they armed the tomb with many traps so that any who sought to despoil the tomb could never do so. I came across this record in a history of the Iron Vrok, and from the clues contained therein have located the true site of the tomb. I have cross-referenced this with nomad tales of a vast statue of a god, surrounded by lone and level sands that stretch far away.
The Puzzle Canal: Labrygon, a demigod priest from the EWF, created the Puzzle Canal. To build it took the labor of several hundred citizens of Pavis for several months and seemed to serve no purpose. Observers suggested the canal might be a very elaborate Nyslaor riddle, but this suggestion was not well received. It is commonly known that it is best to approach the canal by water, and that the entrance is easy to find. Many have entered the canal; some have returned. Some explorers are suddenly wealthy; others are broke and owe the owner of the boat they hired the cost of one boat. Some returnees have spoken of the Eternal Question. When asked about it, they smile smugly and refuse to answer. The canal itself is remarkably vegetation-free, although plants of every kind burgeon on its banks. Trolls avoid the place. The desperate have been known to enter the place to hide. Rumors speak of God Learner treasures hidden deep in the canal. There are many maps for sale of the Canal, but all disagree.
The Feathered Priests: (In a confused, self-contradictory essay, Fedarang seems to tell a tale of a lost Grazelander tribe that would routinely raid the Zola Fel valley every thirty years or so. The last raid was a hundred years ago. During that raid, he claims the Grazers, called the Henninga, destroyed a dwarf colony and in the process discovered what he calls Elemental Crystals of Power. The tale also mentions an Earth shrine in the Eiritha Hills, a place of power sacred to the lost Pure Horse Tribe that predated the Grazers and a colony of scholars called Eyrie. Only the last is actually known to exist. The rest is so improbable it is almost certain Federang was making it up, but it is an interesting tale nonetheless.)
Duck Tower: Long ago, a tribe of ducks that worshipped Humakt were expelled from their homes on what was then Lake Vmes by the encroaching Upland Marsh. They wandered far and wide until they came to a site on the South Bog of the Zola Fel that seemed hospitable to them. There they found friendly neighbors (in the villages of Corbas and Giqu, now disappeared), settled and lived happily for 200 years. During that time they built an elaborate nest with temples to many of their gods, none more important than the Tower to Humakt. Their happiness did not last, however, for in 1514 an army of Dark Trolls who worshipped Zorak Zoran and who had been expelled from the Big Rubble of Pavis found and besieged the village. They captured it and ate nearly all the ducks. Those who managed to escape fled far away. Their descendents are bandits in the other bogs of the river. Once the trolls captured the citadel, they looted it of anything of value to them, and moved on to attack Corbas and Giqu (whose descedents founded Lokazzi). Eventually the Trolls came across the Eternal Battle, and vanished. In the years since, the place has remained a decaying ruin. The Temple of the Deathdrake was once the largest temple of Humakt south of Tourney Altar. I have asked the Household of Death about it and they would dearly love to reconsecrate it, but are currently preoccupied with the encroachments of the Lunar Empire.