The men of this land used long pikes in warfare during the Golden Age of the Inner Sea (VI,172). <This suggests that a Hellenistic-style empire once existed in this region of Orb, possibly connected to the ancient empire of Greydawn..>
Arkadan, Forest of
This blue-green (III,111) forest is filled with beautiful trees and ferns; majestic elms canopy the brown-leaved ground, everywhere dappled in sunshine (III,73). Further in, past the deep green gloom of straight pine trees (III,44), the ground becomes moist and mossy and the leaf carpet gives way to marsh marigolds and spider grass (III,73). The woods eventually reach a series of forested gullies (III,35). Inhabitants include leopards (III,73) and the mischievous Forest Sprites (III,44) who delight in stealing from travellers. The sprites sometimes help those who find themselves in danger, but will not aid people who have harmed the forest or its inhabitants (III,114; III,122; III,132). The forest has at its heart the Crypts of Arkadan (III,111). Those who trespass on the Crypts are struck by paralysis and cannot leave (III,201).
This city is notable for its worshippers of Béatan the Free (V,227) and its own (lesser) Legion of Vasch-Ro (V,32).
A range of hills between Doomover and Irsmuncast (III,5) shrouded in a perpetual mist (I,341; I,336). They are roamed by many strange beasts including the two-headed Ettin (I,314). The country on the edge of the Swales is a gentle landscape of rolling meadows with small hamlets nestling in the valleys (III,13). The ancient tribes of the Barrow Swales constructed shrines to the All-Mother in the form of cairns of stones, which cover the landscape (III,348). Here also is the Ring of Vasch-Ro (III,70).
To the west of the Rift <the Barrow Swales and the Forests of Passing (q.v.) meet> in a range of wooded hills (TD,185). In these woods is a sacred grove, tended by the Guardian Druid (TD,199), Wodeman. He typically carries an oak staff in one hand and a silver sickle in the other. One his head he wears a crown of mistletoe. The grove is idyllically peaceful (TD,152). Creatures of the forest include huge white wolves (TD,256), Basilisks (TD,159) and the hag-like Grendel and the tree-like Willow Weird both of which haunt poolside areas (TD,270; TD,230; TD,319). The sap of the willow weird has healing properties (TD,161). Further to the west is a steep sided and verdant valley deep in ferns (TD,111; TD,227). On the valley floor is a bubbling spring (TD,203).
Beasts, Lands of
This land lies east of the Forests of Passing, separated from the Manmarch by the ‘Barren Lands’ and the River of Beasts (V,395; VI,51). Although men live here, their rule is disputed by ‘Beastlings’, a race of animal men (V,265).
Boreas, Bay of
<The area of sea immediately west of the Manmarch, protected by a long peninsula extending from the countryside around Wargrave Abbas. The main port in the bay is the city of Doomover.>
A town in the lowlands of the Crow valley on the way from Harith to Ulrik’s Haven (II,135).
The countryside to the west of Quench-Heart Keep and the Sea of the Star. It is dotted with barrows from which the revenants of ancient barbarian warlords now stalk the land (II,415 et seq.). The lands to the south of here are populated by suspicious and hostile hill dwarfs <this may be Dwarrowhame; refer to the entry for the river Flatwater>, south west is a wild land where brigands often ambush travellers. The west is open country (II,9), bare but for the occasional giant pine (II,32).
Change, Pillars of
An edifice in ‘the snow wastes of the north’ <either side of a northern inlet of the Sea of Snows>. If the Word of Power from the Scrolls of Kettsuin is spoken here during the great conjunction of the planets, it will bind the god Kwon <and others (ref.)> in the Inferno (I,191).
The meadows of the Crow river are full of asphodel and roses and the fertile land at the edge of the river is strip-farmed. The river flows west past the city of Harith and into the Endless Sea (II,21).
Death, Talisman of
Long ago the minions of the God Death in the City of the Runes of Doom, fashioned a Talisman that would allow them, if the time was right, to summon their god to the surface of Orb. If Death was summoned, his presence would spread like a grey shadow across the world of Orb and all life would cease; only his followers would exist in an awful half-life. The Fleshless King sent the Talisman to the Rift for safekeeping (TD,100). The Talisman is virtually indestructible by normal means (TD,388) and can be used to command the undead servants of Death (TD,336). A glowing inscription appears on the Talisman as ‘the nearness of the minions of Death lend it power’, which reads "I am Death’s Talisman. I am protected by the Faceless Ones who serve my wielder" (TD,138). The Faceless Ones (also known as the ‘Instruments of Death’) are coven of at least seven mounted wraiths who do indeed serve the bearer of the Talisman (TD,46; TD,138).
Death, Valley of
After death the souls of mortals wander aimlessly in this featureless wind-blasted plain, a blasted desolation which stretches away endlessly beyond the horizon (TD,109; TD,300; TD,326). At the edge of the valley it bleeds into the mortal world; these regions are misty and ethereal (TD,116). The dead wander alone in the valley until the end of time (TD,23).
One of the largest cities in the Manmarch with over 400,000 souls. It is ruled by the Legion of the Sword of Doom under the iron grip of Honoric, Marshal of the Legion. There are shrines to other gods, but the temple to Vasch-Ro overshadows them all (I,26). The Cathedral to the Wargod is a grand cathedral of basalt blocks, with a great square tower, stark and unadorned, rising 200’ above the surrounding buildings. Honoric’s manse, more a fortress than a palace is behind it (I,408).
The city is bounded by strong walls. Gate guards are armed with crossbows (I,125) and swords (I,16). The harbour walls of Doomover are also fortified, and protected by the Barbican League (the Doomover navy) with their long black-wood ships. Naval commanders assess the business of ships arriving in the port. The Barbican itself is a huge gate-house like a fort that spans the harbour walls in an arc. The barracks of the Legion of the Sword of Doom are not far from the harbour. (I,6). The main street heads under the Obsidian Gate, a huge arch of dark glass (I,408). The city itself has tall solid buildings and roofs of sloping slates. There are shops everywhere; selling fish, wine and grain as well as a slave market; slaves pull the oars of the Barbican League (I,408). There is a town crier (carrying a bell) who announces news to the city. This official is traditionally dressed in clothes of orange and green (I,6; I,26).
The Black Sword tavern bears the symbol of soldiers with spoked wheels on their shields cowering before a black sword which hangs in the air. <The spoked wheel is the symbol of the god Fate, and the sign most likely represents the men of the Spires.> The tavern stands inside a fork in the street (I,408); past it lies the monastery of Vile. The Sword is a long drinking hall which maintains a blazing fire, even in late summer. The drinkers are mostly soldiers and all men. There are no sailors (even in a tavern so close to the docks). Weapons are not allowed (I,307), and inside is raucous noise (I,273) sweltering heat and a reek of stale sweat. The barman weighs 20 stones or more and ambles up and down the long bar slamming down mugs of mead and pocketing silver (I,307). A night in the tavern costs two gold pieces (I,214; I,225).
There is a temple district entered via the ‘Portal of the Gods’; this legend is written in gold leaf on a portico held up by white marble pillars (I,26). As one passes below of the Portal of the Gods, a voice speaks from the stones, "Welcome to the Sanctuary, draw no swords here". The Sanctuary is a plaza of temples. Yellow robed priests attend the temple of Béatan the Free; they live lives of capricious goodness, mocking laws that constrict the free spirit. (I,208). Béatan's temple has wooden pews placed seemingly at random. The roof is pierced with rose windows; the inside is bright and cheerful. Crystals reflect the sun’s rays against a painting showing a demolished castle, and soldiers and peasants dancing in the meadows before it (I,196). Priests of Béatan use a secret hand signal to identify one another; the ‘Many Ways of Freedom’ (I,56). They do not take kindly to followers of lawful deities (I,183), and can be somewhat fanatical about this, unless working together to combat evil (I,297).
Also in the Sanctuary is a small wooden chapel to Fate (I,27) run by an old seer and his young female acolyte. The chapel is small and dark but clean and well kept and could seat around 20 people (I,36). Scrolls are stacked neatly in racks along the walls. The seer can divine the future of a subject, who lies on a marble slab. Blood is let into a silver chalice, a green liquid is added, a short chant recited and a crystal prism employed before visions of what is to come appear in a mirror (I,50).
There is a temple of the monks of the Order of the Scarlet Mantis in the city; a monastery of dark stone with bright red shutters at its windows (I,26; I,408). Beautiful towers and arches adorn this building dedicated to Vile, twisted brother of Kwon, and its walls are topped with spikes (I,273; I,408). Its cloisters are well guarded by traps including many threads as thin as spider weave crossing the floor that ring bells and dead end passageways inside the walls which lead intruders into an inescapable hole (I,303). The Hall of Webs is an arcing corridor, like a hump-backed bridge which connects the upper floor of the sleeping quarters to the refectory, which is itself overlooked by a balcony (I,368). The outer walls of the Hall are coated in a sticky web; a spell cast by the priestesses of Nullaq, but one should note that this is the sole defence of that area. These priestesses wear black cloaks covered in the pattern of green spiders’ webs (I,323).
Outside the walls of Doomover corn and barley ripens in the breeze. After the fields is a low plain, the ‘Plain of Feet’, where the Legion of the Sword of Doom practise for war. The smooth plain eventually gives way to a wilderness of trees and rivers (I,65).
<This is an island in the Inner Sea> and there is an order of Paladin Knights based here (III,237).
A city of narrow cobbled streets with tall thin houses of dark brick, save for wooden balconies which almost touch above making the streets dark and gloomy. The Square of the Gods has a red-shuttered monastery to Vile faced by a temple to the All-Mother (I,219). There is a poor house, the ‘All Mother’s Hostel’ in a dingy side street (I,124; I,219) as well as an inn called the ‘Hydra’s Heads’ (I,190). The ground between Druath Glennan and Quench-heart Keep is called ‘The Wold’ (I,300). Bung Hole Road, (II,409) leads to the quarters of the well to do. Flowers in the gardens here include the yellow All-Mother’s Splendour and fragile Moon Lilies (II,364).
Paradise, ringed by an unbroken wall of thorns (III,302).
The Order of the Scarlet Mantis sends acolytes for hardship training here (I,26). The city has white domes and ice houses (I,313).
Fell Kyrinla, Swordswomen of
This band of warrior women worship the goddess Fell-Kyrinla, known as the Man-Hater. Their main temple is in Greyguilds where the swordswomen patrol out of the city to the edge of the moorlands (TD,331). They also fulfil the role of the watch. There is rivalry between them and the temple of the All Mother with regard to the latter’s leniency (TD,35). This rivalry may have arisen over the fact that the followers of the All Mother are responsible for the city’s gate guards on market days and the three days after (TD,117) <and the followers of Fell-Kyrinla guard them the rest of the time>. Their insignia is of a pair of crossed swords above the ankh-like symbol of womanhood (TD,165f). There is also a temple of the swordswomen in the city of Horngroth (V,122).
The city of Fiendil lies in a cool and verdant valley. The journey from Mortavalon to here takes four days along the banks of the River Fortune. An old track joins the river to the City of Learning, Greyguilds on the Moor, far to the south (I,260).
The city walls are ill-kept and in places breached. There are no guards (I,260). Whimsical, Theocrat of Fate, rules the city. He often knows much of what is to happen (I,76). The army of Fiendil is commanded by General Hickling (V,369). Those who follow Fate wear robes with a ten spoked wheel on them. They too often know what will come to pass. They believe that what will be, will be and cannot be changed. The cathedral to Fate is topped by a large dome (I,76).
The main street of Fiendil is called Dreamer’s Saunter, which turns right into Wheel Way (I,185). A tavern on the Saunter, called The Volunteer, has the sign of a young warrior on bended knee receiving a sword from a man in golden robes wearing a smiling golden mask (I,234). The Volunteer is a wheel shaped building, airy and light, with a circular bar at its centre. There are ten tables with chairs screwed into the ground (I,200). There is a monastery of the reverencers of Vile here (I,221).
Firedrakes, Land of the
The Firedrakes are fierce reptilians that rule the lands to the north east of the Inner Sea. <Firedrakes can take many form, possibly part of their life cycle>, one of which is the Demiveult, a huge winged reptile larger than any other Drake, but unable to reproduce (VI,79; VI,279).
Firenewt, Essence of
Essence of Firenewt is a powder, non-magical <and probably valueless> but with a distinctive odour. It can stimulate the croaking of bullfrogs (I,52; I,272).
This river flows from the NW corner of the Sea of the Star (II,41). West of here a range of wooded mountains are inhabited by stocky mountain dwarfs <This may be Dwarrowhame; refer to the entry for the Borderlands> (II,417).
Where lives the monk and mystic Togawa, on the slopes of Mount Gwalodrun (I,221). The mountain has a jagged peak and the air is crisp with the scent of mountain heather. Only a skilled climber could reach Togawa’s home (I,210).
The pass is three days out of Mortavalon (I,210). The River Fortune pours down a narrow valley which winds down an escarpment of the Mountains of Vision. The snow capped mountains are inhabited by Arocs; bird men (I,70). Dwelling in the mountain caves are the sightless Rock Hulks (I,83).
Garden of the Gods, The
The ‘Garden of the Gods’ is a magical realm where the gods of Orb live. It has been known to take the form of a turreted white castle, hanging in the clouds amid an ocean blue canopy of a sky with no sun (TD,0).
Fate, Keeper of the Balance (TD,400) appears as an pale, eyeless female figure enfolded in a swirling robe of many colours with a perfectly smooth and hairless head. The robe shimmers, its colours shifting to reveal images of the future. Time, Eldest Father, Youngest Son (TD,400) changes as one looks at him. One moment he is an ancient, white-haired man, heavy with age, at another an infant, wise beyond his years. His voice is soft and ageless (TD,0).
The gods have a detailed map of all Orb in the lower chamber of the castle which depicts the mortals going about their business in minute detail. The inhabitants of the Garden of the Gods cannot intervene directly in the Manmarch, they must use men as their tools (TD,0). They can still send help to aid a champion; but never in the temple of another god (TD,6). The tales of the gods were chronicled by the sage Vertégal (V,127).
Many thousands of years ago, the Pantheon descended to Orb to do battle. During this conflict, the sage god Gauss, Enchanter of Arms, took up the sword and fought on the side of good (VI,52).
<A monastery in the hills south of Ionalbion.>
<A town on the south east coast of the Sea of the Star>, which may be notable for its religious tolerance (V,351).
Great Plateau, The
A large plateau south east of Greyguilds (TD,248), topped by the great Mount Star-Reach; the tallest of the mountains. At its summit is rumoured to be a portal between the worlds (TD,6).
Steep cliffs surround the plateau, but at least one point on the western side has steps cut into the reddish rock face. As one climbs the steps, the temperature and humidity increases. Partway up the steps is a cool, fine spray rising from a waterfall which cascades down the side of the plateau, casting small rainbows in the sun. The thunderous roar is almost deafening (TD,20; TD,328). Under the waterfall is a cave entrance (TD,33) with a network of trap-filled tunnels behind a door of black wood inlaid with alabaster (TD,42 et seq.). The musty air reeks of decay (TD,42). In the caves is a hideous idol with the coiled tail of a huge serpent; its muscular torso sprouts four clawed arms, two gruesome heads and bat-like wings; this is the dormant form of Damolh, Son of Nil, Mouth of the Void (TD,339). Also in the cavern is the tomb of an ancient mummified warrior bearing the spear ‘Dragonsbane’ (TD,395) which is enchanted to sorely injure dragons (TD,51). These caves are an abandoned temple to Nil, Mouth of Void (TD,90)
At the top, the plateau floor is covered in a thick prehistoric rain forest; giant ferns abound with pools of waist deep water amid their fronds as well as antediluvian beasts like the pteranodon, triceratops and tyrannosaurus (TD,4; TD,25; TD,86). Amid the forest one encounters oppressive heat and huge flies circling the tall straight conifers; violet creepers trail from overhanging branches, great ferns cover the ground. The air is alive with the strange noises of the jungle animals which include the scarlet macaw and huge dragonflies, vibrantly coloured, hovering from flower to flower (TD,4; TD,192; TD,263). When the black flies of the forest lay their eggs on travellers, their larvae hatch and start feeding off their flesh. They can be removed by immersion in one of the many algae-filled pools in the forest (TD,14)
There is a tribe of hairy, blue-grey hogmen in the jungle, with heads like tusked boars (TD,192). They don’t speak the common tongue (TD,151). The Hogs’ village is composed of several elegant buildings made from wattle and daubed with clay. A deep dry moat and spiked palisade surrounds it (TD,72). They eat mangoes, nuts and guavas (TD,110). The Headhog’s dwelling is a two storey building, part of which is made of crumbling green stone. There is a huge mud wallow nearby. The Headhog sits on a carved stone throne, his muscles rippling under his blue-black skin. He wears a red robe fastened at his thick neck with a necklace of amber (TD,365). He is <or claims to be> hoglord of the plateau (TD,72). The Hogs fear the ancient ruins and cities on the plateau, especially the temple of Nil to the north (TD,90).<The ruins are probably the remains of an old empire, possibly connected to Greydawn (q.v.), that fell under beastman incursions.>
At the foot of Mount Starreach, stunted bushes grow on its slopes, the air becomes thinner and travellers short of breath before they reach a wide cave mouth reeking of sulphur (TD,14; TD,110), where an ancient red dragon has made its lair within the mountain. The dragon is immense; sixty feet long, and covered in thick scales. Its tail is curled round a vast hoard of treasure; gems, gold, goblets and vases lie higgledy-piggledy beneath its bulk (TD,48). Small puffs of sulphurous smoke billow from its nostrils as it sleeps (TD,378). The last time the dragon awoke, it despoiled the villages of the hogs. The only way to withstand its fiery breath is to fashion a shield made of the dragon’s own scales to shelter behind (TD,110). When the dragon speaks, its voice is as soft as honey (TD,170), rich and mellifluous (TD,356) and in conversation it can charm victims before pouncing (TD,317). It is the ‘Lord of the Skies’ and can summon gales of wind to buffet adversaries (TD,275) as well as the power of shapeshifting (TD,12; TD,29; TD,77). ‘Never trust a dragon’ (TD,77).
On the summit of the mountain the air is rarefied and pure. The panorama is incredible. The whole plateau lies below like a table; a collage of mountains, huge glittering lakes and emerald forests which shimmer and glisten in the haze of the sun (TD,369,TD,400). There is a rectangle of shimmering silver dancing in the air, unsupported; the legendary portal. The dragon is bound by the Gods to guard the portal; it will live until the day somebody passes through (TD,369).
Goblin’s Teeth Mountains
There are tunnels below the mountains (II,336), entered via stone trapdoors (II,318). They were mined by hammer and pickaxe (II,303) <probably the work of mountain dwarfs> but are now inhabited by goblins, most of whom live in a single large cavern (II,286).
A second chamber (II,252) has a square rock carved into a representation of an amoeboid mass of jelly and tentacles (II,188). This is a sacred shrine (II,164) where goblin sacrifice occurs (II,113). There are grain stores and rat farms (II,113) as well as pools of grey slime. The caves are teeming with plague (II,9).
The king’s chambers are lit by crude ornamental lanterns (II,72). He is a big powerful goblin with a huge sword, ringmail armour and a copper crown. His sword is an enchanted ‘dancing blade’ which fights on its own (II,368).
Elsewhere in the complex are falling portcullis traps (II,46) and goblins riding on giant rats whilst wielding stone tipped lances (II, 146).
Deeper underground is a 20’ pool of black ‘lava’ (II,174). Sacrifices are hooded and tied here, and hung over the bubbling pool, which is in reality an amorphous Primordial Terror, worshipped by the goblins (II,99). Contact with the black mass has an effect like flesh-stripping acid (II,117), but it can be driven back with fire (II,88).
Eventually, the maze of tunnels past its cavern lead to steps exiting the caves on the opposite side of the mountains to Quench-Heart Keep; there is a commanding view of the forests and wild lands stretching west to the Crow valley (II,13).
Goddess, Island of the
An island, found north-east of the Land of Plenty (I,232). Also known as the Island of the Magical Goddess, here is the school of Dithyrhambo, a college for minstrels and (as some say) charlatans (V,82). The scented Passion Flower grows here (VI,265).
Great Valley Reaches, The
A coastal region of cold fjords in the far north (II, 406), carved out by the ice floes of the Age of Snows (I,1). <The settlements here include Strand, Ulrik’s haven and Oakenhulls.>
A marshland north of Doomover. Skirting the swamp, a track leads north from Mortavalon to Sundial, climbing the wild and windswept Barrow Swales (I,341).
The city of Greydawn lies south of the Rift and west of the Great Plateau on the River Greybones (V,43). It inhabitants follow Moraine, god of the empire (V,251). Little is known about Greydawn in the rest of the world, indeed the city is often literally cloaked in mist at sunup. The only other cities in the same valley are the City of the Runes of Doom and the Walls of Shadow (V,43). Many of the inhabitants are not men but great hog-headed beastmen (also known as beastlings) each as strong as two men (V,215; V,251) The people here speak the common tongue of a millennium past (V,295). According to Glaivas one should ‘…not risk (one’s) life by entering this city’. (III,299).
In ancient times this was once a civilised city from which a large empire ruled, but those times have long passed. It is thought that the followers of Moraine wish once more regain their empire; the only way they can expand is northwards into the Manmarch (V,43).
The city begins the day shrouded in mists. As the day waxes the mist lifts to reveal proud gaunt walls built in the style of the ancient ‘Emperors of the Blue Seal’ (V,215). The city gates are bound with iron (V,275). A neat patchwork of fields is laid out around Greydawn; these fields are tilled by both slaves tied together in rows and serfs toiling on the lands of their masters. Many are driven on to labour by the beastmen, naked to the waist with hugely powerful torsos; their blue-black skin rippling on taut sinews (V,215).
Each of the streets and squares of Greydawn boasts an equestrian statue of Moraine, God of the Empire, majestic and arrogant. Some are more than three thousand years old. The temple to Moraine is magnificent. Great columns rise up in row after row towards mosaic roofs of lapis lazuli and gold leaf, somehow inured to the weather. Another shining gold statue to the god of empire stands astride the enormous stairway that leads to the temple gates. Although the temple to Moraine dominates the city, when the inhabitants pass the black temple that is built in the shape of the whirlpool of Nemesis, they make obeisance by describing the shape of a whirlpool on their forehead (V,335).
There are two rulers of this strange city (V,335). The first, Alchimenoid, is a great ox of a man with a ruddy complexion and the tan and callouses of a man used to sword practice in the open air. The other, Peisistratus has the olive-green pallor of one who shuns the sun. He is tall and almost unnaturally thin, as though he suffered from a wasting disease. Strangest of all, seven spherical gems of different colours hover above his head and move with his movements as if attached by invisible wires. Both dress in the gold and azure finery of Moraine (V,395).
The army also dresses in the resplendent gold and blue with an élite corps of wolfen, the ‘Wolf Warriors’. Wolfen are proud (V,335) fierce and tall (7 foot (III,343) or 2 metre) beastmen with wolfish rather than hoglike features. In melee the wolfen <of Greydawn> enter a frenzied state accompanied by a ritual chant; the ‘Prayer of the Forgotten Hero’ (V,325). There are also legions of both men and of the powerful beastlings (V,415). The Mighty Cavalry of the Resplendent Empire is captained by Lord Redhand, a wolfen himself (V,295). He rides a magnificently caparisoned black charger. His hair is braided with cloth of gold and he wears solid gold vambraces studded with diamonds. His retinue of servants and lackeys are all human (V,275).
<It is likely that the ancient mannish empire of Greydawn fell under pressure of beastling or wolfen incursions and exists today with a ruling class of beast-men. The empire may be connected to the ruins atop the great plateau and the golden age of the Inner Sea.>
Greyguilds on the Moor
A university city (III,357) at the end of the Manmarch (TD,196), also known as the City of Learning (I,260). The moorlands between Greyguilds and Serakub are known for brigands (TD,191). An old track joins Greyguilds to the city of Fiendil in the north (I,260).
The gate nearest the Rift enters the city along a street called Moorgate (TD,318). Along Moorgate are various food and pottery shops. It joins bustling Store Street. Guard Street turns right off here to a squat grey building; the Watch House (TD,351). Store Street is a continuation of Moorgate and is usually crowded with shoppers (TD,257). Smith Street heads left from here (TD,296). Further down Smith Street is Silver Street (TD,175). Store Street joins a tree-lined avenue called Booker’s Walk (TD,254) as does Silver Street, which turns left into it (TD,304). The Street of Seven Sins adjoins Guard Street (TD,264). From the Street of Seven Sins, a side street called Cobbler’s Walk heads west and Merchant’s Street heads north west (TD,289).
Greyguilds is not the tranquil city it once was. The armed forces protecting the city come from two groups; the warrior-women who worship the evil goddess Fell-Kyrinla, and the followers of the All Mother (TD,279). The city gates are guarded by the followers of the All-Mother on the evenings of market days and the three days following. <There is likely to be a rota between these and the followers of Fell Kyrinla for the other three weekdays and the morning of market day. This may be the source of the rivalry between the two temples> (TD,157). The guards of the All Mother are men and women in green livery (TD,249). There are mounted guard patrols in the city (TD,237).
In Booker’s Walk there are two very grand buildings, built of blocks of grey stone. One is the largest library in the Manmarch and is frequented by young students in blue togas, escorted by the older scholars. A flag, showing books and scrolls flies from the top of the building. The entrance hall of the library is filled with desks at which scribes are working, copying books and scrolls, the quiet and stillness is broken only by the scratching of pens. Visitors can recline on plush window seats (TD,304; TD,346). The other building is a university of some sort <probably one of the Guilds of Learning> (TD,279). Apothecus is a sage of Greyguilds (TD,98); he lives is a small stone bungalow (TD,143). He has a friend called Diodorus who is an expert on travel between the planes of existence (TD,6).
The Guilds of Learning are built around a cloister which circles a square of tall grass speckled with scarlet poppies. There is a huge greenhouse made of tarred wood and glass. Sages and professors from the Guilds of Learning wear light blue togas and the students form groups of young men and women who carry books and scrolls (TD,318). Two <disreputable> scholars of the guild are Moreau and Polonius (TD,216). They study vivisection; the use of surgery and magic to create new forms of life. In the middle of the greenhouse is a large sunken pit, ringed at the top with downward pointing spikes. In it they keep their creations. They offer money to bravos who agree to test their beasts in combat, but claim they will stop short of death or serious injury by putting the beast to sleep with an enchanted scroll (TD,182). <Not expecting anyone to survive melee with the beasts or not wishing to pay up any money> the scroll does not work; it’s a fake (TD,158).
The Red Dragon Inn is on the Street of Seven Sins (TD,92). The ale cellar of inn is a dangerous place (TD,19); it is a den of thieves (TD,281; TD,91). Steps lead downwards into the smoke filled gloom below, and the sound of raucous laughter floats into the street. The only part of this dive which is illuminated is the bar, behind which stands the bulky proprietor (TD,24; TD,156). The patrons are a disreputable bunch of villainous-looking cut-throats. A mug of ale costs a piece of gold (TD,3). Heimdol the Mighty was one of the most unpleasant men ever to swill ale at the Red Dragon. One day, a stranger, Tyutchev, accepted his challenge to a bout of arm-wrestling. Heimdol lost for the first time in his life. He was furious and threatened awful reprisals if Tyutchev ever returned. A few nights later, Tyutchev did return and began to insult Heimdol and two of his friends. In the inevitable fight which followed, Tyutchev killed them all and carved his initials into Heimdol’s forehead (TD,181).
On Merchant’s Street are several markets where grain traders deal. Here also is the drab shop of Alembic the Alchemist. In the window is a small plate with five hazelnuts on it, and a stuffed lynx. <The significance of these items is not clear.> Alembic dresses in a white, sleeveless robe with a phoenix rising from flames embroidered on it (TD,394). He sells the ‘Elixir of Life’ for 12gp (TD,372) which improves vitality (TD,360); ‘Barkskin ointment’ for 7gp (TD,372) which, if fresh, makes one’s skin as tough as bark for a week (TD,306); the ‘Fortunate Luckstone’ for 10gp (TD,372) which does actually work (TD,266); and the ‘Vapours of Speed’ for 10gp (TD,372) which one should inhale to speed up actions (TD,233). The Vapours do not work (TD,76).
Along Smith Street there us an armourer’s and a tinker’s shop next door to each other (TD,303). The armourer is a brawny man who sells swords for 7 gold pieces each (TD,139). On the bend of Smith Street and Silver Street there is a jeweller’s shop (TD,85). The jeweller, Oliol (TD,299), is a small man with a monocle. He has a large safe behind the counter (TD,278) where he also hides a shortsword (TD,299; TD,309). The safe is fire trapped to release a blinding sheet of flame when tampered with (TD,341); a magical glyph of warding (TD,354). Down Carriage Street is the Silver Trinket Inn, next to a large stable and a work house. It is much more pleasant than the Red Dragon (TD,28), if a little short-staffed. A room costs 5gp. A particular delicacy is the hippogriff in cream sauce (TD,15). On Cobbler’s Walk lives a sorcerer, a man dressed in black robes covered with odd symbols <He practices summoning rituals> (TD,195). The cemetery is on Pallbearer’s Row. The city walls run adjacent to the edge of it (TD,392) and the postern gate can be found here (TD,6).
According to ‘Greyguilds Revisited’ by Nyleve (the story of a dissolute young nobleman who failed to take advantage of the education offered by the Guilds of Learning), the religious orders of the city hold all the power. Vagar, the god of thieves, liars and cut-throats has the most worshippers in the city <indeed , there is a large and organised thieves’ guild in the city> (TD,196). There are at least two entrances to the headquarters of the thieves’ guild. One is through an open storm drain that leads to the sewers near Trader’s Row (TD,236), and the other is a disguised coal-hole in Hornbeam Road (TD,223). Under the storm drain in Trader’s Row (TD,183) is a huge sewer, where there is a small round door set into the wall. It is trapped with a harpoon throwing mechanism. Inside is a magnificently furnished room; thieves lounge on the sofas here, at the entrance to their guild (TD,242). The coal cellar at the back of a dilapidated warehouse in Hornbeam Road has a small crawl-way hidden on the far side of a pile of coal. A chute leads to a small passageway that winds under the city for some distance. Eventually it comes to the thieves’ guild chambers mentioned above (TD,149). The guildmaster of thieves is Vagrant, a handsome middle aged man who wears an ermine jacket. He has a large moustache which he twirls proudly (TD,209). Other thieves include Scarface, Jemmy the Rat, Bloodheart and young Lord Min (TD,276). Bloodheart is a hulking, silent fellow and Jemmy is a wiry man with fingers like spiders’ legs (TD,241). Lord Min is a small, agile young man (TD,194).
The magnificently tiered temple to the All-Mother, Fountain of Life is on the far side of a small grassy square. It is covered by a wonderful hanging garden and surrounded by flocks of many coloured small birds. A pair of guards stand at the wide green doors. Inside, the altar is loaded with grain and fruit. A priestess of temple is Lillantha (TD,117; TD,166).
The temple to Fell Kyrinla is made of white stone with dark grey columns. Steps lead up to the entrance between two pillars with a guard at the top (TD,221). The guard has a hidden bell to raise the alarm (TD,234). Inside the inner sanctum of the temple is an altar, behind which is a large marble statue of the goddess wearing chain-mail, her expression arrogant and cruelly beautiful (TD,239). The High Priestess of the temple, and Marshal of the Watch is Hawkana, a tall and striking raven haired woman. She carries a longsword with polished hilt (TD,78) and wears a magical ring that allows her to regenerate injury, even after death (TD,44; TD,54). <It is an item sacred to the goddess> and will only shrink to sever the finger of a non-believer who wears it (TD,137). Outside of the inner sanctum of the temple the ring does not hold any magic (TD,16).
Elsewhere in the city there is a large gothic building with tall pinnacles surrounded by bat-like gargoyles, in a tree lined avenue. <Probably a more wealthy district.> This is a grand temple to Death, where hundreds of Death’s black-cowled worshippers can kneel at prayer. Black candles shed an evil light and an organ sounding doleful music. The high priest is called Somnus (TD,97). <The followers of Death > wear black robes clasped at the neck by shrunken human skulls (TD,186). The temple is protected by the Angel of Death; a huge dark figure with the black wings of a shadow and a tall white crest sweeping back from the black helmet which hides its features. The mere sight of the Angel causes one’s heart to stop (TD,188). The priests of death use enchanted helmets interwoven with silver bands to magically transport themselves out into the street; so they can come and go from the temple without being seen. The helmets also have the effect of improving one’s quickness of thought (TD,97; TD,165). A golden chalice is passed around the rows of worshippers. It contains human blood, cursed in Death’s name. It curdles in the stomach of non-believers inducing a violent palsy. At least one of the worshippers of Death is an undead vampire (TD,157). Nearby is a house with walls of pale bamboo (TD,144). Mortphilio, who lives here, is a necromancer (TD,396) or a ‘death magician’ who performs human sacrifices and other unspeakable abominations in the pursuit of power (TD,279). The walls of Mortphilio’s home are not made of bamboo, but of the bones of his victims. He commands a winged skull and sits in a bath-chair swathed in cloth (TD,145). The walls can be made to animate as skeletal warriors (TD,396). A stone archway draped with a black blanket (TD,396) leads into the temple of Death next door (TD,97).
A large and flourishing city on the Crow river. A surprising number of urchins run about the streets in gangs but they are adept at keeping out of other people’s way (II, 6). The temple guards and priestesses of the temple to Illustra wear green and white (II,60). The city guards wear black armour with no token of any deity. An old woman sells unusual objects from an upside down cart, including the internal organs of exotic beasts including chimerae and hippogriffs. The woman is an old witch and also sells flash powder (II,6).
The high priestess of the Immaculate Illustran priesthood was slain by Tyutchev, Cassandra, Thaum and Olvar the Chaos Bringer (murderers and reverencers of Anarchil) on ‘the 47th day of Grimweird in the last cycle’ (II,21). They were banished from Wargrave Abbas for similar atrocities (II, 60).
The Church of Nil (II,404) is found amongst a maze of backstreets; a great stone edifice. The church has tall circular towers, around the outside of which spiral staircases twine like great serpents. Snake headed gargoyles with gaping mouths threaten the streets below (II,43). The Church has unfathomable frescoes of beaten copper (II,395). Steps under a trapdoor in a stable next door lead to a large ill-lit cellar below the church (II,43). In a dark crypt here exists Mardolh, Spawn of the Void, Greater Son of Nil (II,210; II,413). Defeating Mardolh in combat banishes the entity leaving behind a pulsating gateway to the Void as well as a strange black statue and a gobbet of the Blood of Nil, the most virulent poison known to man (II,210).
Horn, Mountains of
A range of rugged purple mountains to the south of Greyguilds (TD,326). They mark the southern boundary of the Manmarch (V,265).
<This dark plane of existence> takes the from of a bottomless pit of fire (I,191)
Seaweed cracks underfoot as one approaches Ionalbion, perched on white cliffs over the Sea of the Star. Sheep occupy the rolling downlands outside of the land gate. The guards bear a token of a dancing sword with a scroll wrapped around the blade <the symbol of Gauss, Enchanter of Arms (ref.)>. There is also a sea gate and harbour area. Most ships in the harbour are long-sided biremes. The fare for passage to Druath Glennan is typically 2 gold pieces. Around a square with a fountain in the shape of a dolphin are many scroll shops and sellers of coloured marzipan flowers. The people here speak a guttural version of the common tongue (I,294).
Irsmuncast-Nigh-Edge (Map at III,161f)
A great city of the Manmarch. Its previous ruler was the Loremaster Szeged, Overlord of the city. Irsmuncast was the last stronghold of men before the Rift, the Bowels of Orb. He was one of the Loremasters of Serakub, ‘a wise synod’. Yaemon slew him and he was replaced by the Usurper. His seal was the mark of a hippogriff on a chequered background. He was survived by his only son, hidden on the Island of Tranquil Dreams (III,1).
The city is set amongst rich farmlands and meadows in which grow the various plants giving rise to colourful dyes. Irsmuncast is famous throughout the Manmarch for its weaving, dyeing and its carpets, pavilions and tapestry making. It is a fair seeming city, its walls made of a dull red stone with towers at fifty foot intervals along the battlements. The citizens are of many types; some flaxen haired, some with flashing black eyes and raven hair. Many peasants have a coarse-limbed orcish look about them; some have the noseless faces of halvorcs (III,236). Whenever the hosts of evil spew forth from the Bowels of Orb; the great Rift that scores the world like a black pit in a rotten fruit, it is likely that Irsmuncast will be the city they fall on in their search for new slaves (VI,0). Irsmuncast-Nigh-Edge holds back the black tide from the Rift which threatens to swamp the lands of men (IV,0).
The city is quite busy and large torches burn on street corners. Each house is obliged to hang a lantern outside its door to light the way. Despite this there is a general mood of spineless dejection. Orcs wearing chain-mail march the streets carrying shields emblazoned with red deer with barbed tails and spiralling horns; the symbol of the Usurper (III,254). The city is kept under the heel of his loyal troops (III,96) who number 5000 men and orcs (III,208).
Since the Loremaster’s death, the Usurper has terrorised the people, killing all who oppose him and grinding the spirit of the peasants underfoot. The farmers have had their land taken away from them; they are now bond-slaves, tied to the land, forced to give half of everything they grow to feed the Usurper’s army of orcs and halvorcs. To be married, couples must gain a permit from the Usurper’s Lord Steward. Worshippers of Avatar and Kwon are often refused and cannot bear legitimate children. Bastards can never inherit. Crippling taxes have been imposed on all save those who worship Nemesis; the temple tax is high, they cannot pay their dues, but even the Usurper cannot turn them out; he has no power over people’s minds (III,181).
The Usurper is also known as the Tyrant. His secret informers wear a yellow mark near their elbow <the order of the Yellow Lotus (q.v.)>. They gather at two large inns; the Cleansing Flame, exclusively frequented by followers of Nemesis, and the Hostel from The Edge, where newcomers to the city often end up (III,238).
The Lord High Steward is a follower of Nemesis who administers the city at the whim of the Dark Overlord (IV,41). The Lord High Steward moves like a great black-hawk, his silver and sable cloak is topped by curving wings of black velvet at the shoulders. His face is pale and drawn with a long thin nose and a little grey goatee that emphasises the length and point of his chin. He has been running the city since the death of Szeged and it has suffered no attacks in that time. Three in ten of all the inhabitants of Irsmuncast worship Nemesis (IV,31).
The great Southern Gate is a triumphal arch, topped by squat towers with a raised portcullis at front and back. The inscription on the arch reads; ‘In memory of the great victories won by the people of Irsmuncast against dark forces from the Edge’. The gate-guards are watchful and typically number ten halvorcs, sometimes under the command of a priest of Nemesis (III,236).
The street from the gate runs fifty yards before entering a large green, rutted with the trail of wheels. Traders caravans ply their wares on market days from ox-drawn wagons and one corner of the green is occupied with the gaudily coloured pavilions of the city merchants and their agents. One or two smaller tents boast the names of clairvoyants and soothsayers who will provide a reading of the future if one crosses their palm with gold (III,286).
Two large streets run on from the green; one north towards some imposing and grandiose buildings and one (the ‘Edgeway’) east towards a park (III,244; III,269). The Edgeway leads past the houses of well-to-do people towards a park surrounded by railings and two huge iron gates. Here traitors to the Usurper are whipped and broken on a wheel; left to hang in full view of the citizenry. In the park at night the glow of many torches lights up a cloistered monastery adjoining the great church to Kwon the Redeemer (III,269).
The east side of the city is named the ‘Egdeside’. The city wall there is taller than at any other point because it faces the Rift -the Bowels of Orb - from which nameless evil issues forth to pollute the world (IV,0).
Palace Walk, a wide avenue of lime trees, leads past the houses of the wealthy to a grand crossroads with Cross Street lined with three temples (V,187). Two dwarf all other buildings save the Palace itself. The brooding black pinnacles of the temple to Nemesis, the Supreme Principle of Evil, Lord of the Cleansing Flame, seem to claw rapaciously at the sky. It is a great church too tall for its width with great archways rising to a cloister 40 feet above the street, and four towers shaped like flames. Equally imposing is a very large church of grey stone with a central pyramid looking as much a square-towered fort as a place of worship; the great fortress-temple to Dama, Shieldmaiden of the Gods. Under Loremaster Szeged the warrior-women who guard it were the city watch and gate-sentries; they kept law and order. They were valiant fighters but were outnumbered by the Usurper’s army. The temple flies a flag showing a warrior woman holding a sword aloft with a lozenge shape shield resting on the ground before her. The worshippers of Dama believe in law and order and that only through discipline and the taming of havoc-wreaking elements will life on Orb realise its full potential. They do not see good as preferable to evil, but are by no means evil themselves. Their head is Force-Lady Gwyneth. Lady Gwyneth has a determined look, hands calloused from swordplay, and short spiky iron-grey hair. Smaller than the other temples and opposite the black pinnacles is a small white stone chapel in the shape of a cross, with a steeple and spire topped by the cross of Avatar, Supreme Principle of Good. In rare times of celebration, a great white torch flares atop the spire’s cross. The high priest to the temple of Avatar is called Greystaff. To the south is a park where lies the temple to Kwon the Redeemer. Nearby are the many coloured lights of the merchants’ quarter. The huge temple to Time stands dark against the stillness; the inscrutable priests of Time show no sign of welcome or rejection (III,109; II,172; III,296; IV,0; IV,41).
The street north from the green is called Palace Row (V,3) and leads past shops and stalls. At its end is the Usurper's palace; a small building set in a high walled garden with regimented flower beds. The pointed towers at either end fly two flags; one is his personal device, the other is the black whirlpool of Nemesis. It is guarded by men, orcs and wardogs (III,254). The Palace Library contains a book <describing evil-doers> called the ‘Tome of Maledictions’ (V,375). The ‘Donjon’ is a windowless tower at the north eastern corner of the palace where dissenters are imprisoned (VI,175). The palace treasury contains an ebony rod topped with a cone of alabaster; the Torch Of Lumen. When touched, it gives off a constant light (VI,105; VI,393). An illusion disguises it as an ordinary light source such as a brazier or a lantern (VI,359).
The magnificent royal bedroom is decorated with paintings of souls in torment. The bed is decked with sable furs and satin sheets (IV,1). The Usurper has palace handmaidens, who tend the bedchamber, chosen for their beauty (IV,11).
A hidden passage leads below the Palace to the Throne Room of the Palace from the tomb of Lord Kalmon in the cemetery (V,267). Awful horrors lurk in these dungeons. The wrought iron torch bracket that lights the epitaph of the long dead lord opens a doorway in the tomb when shifted down (III,9). This reveals an ornately carved portal leading below ground into a crypt. There is a single sarcophagus in the ancient chamber. A well oiled dust-free mechanism causes a wall to slide open. Beyond the secret door a flight of rough steps lead down to a cold flagstoned corridor. Murals on the walls show scenes of battle between men and other creatures; orcs, dark elves, ogres and other hideous monsters. Some of the figures bear the coat of arms of the Loremaster (III,7).
Guards down here include grossly misshapen Cave Trolls with greyish-green skin, warty and mottled, huge beards matted with filth, wide splayed nostrils and rotting teeth. They wear blackened and stained leathers emblazoned with the livery of the Usurper (III,28). The tomb of Lord Telmain III, a previous overlord of Irsmuncast is also in the crypts here and is protected by ethereal flames (III,315; III,417) but contains the enchanted golden circlet he wore (III,247). The final chamber before the Throne Room is the study of an evil Old One (III,207).
The Throne Room is decorated with the insignia of the Usurper, but beyond it can still be seen the hippogriff and chequerboard coat of arms and a statue of Dama (III,251). Here the Usurper sits in judgement on wrongly-accused innocents (III,319). He has the cold eyes and cruel yet handsome face of a tyrant, and sits on a carven throne, dressed in cloth of gold which shimmers as he moves and bears the golden rose-crown of the Overlords of Irsmuncast on his brow. He has no guards (III,363).
The Usurper is not a man but Astaroth, seventh Duke of Hell, with purplish-black blood, red and bloated flesh, spikes growing out of his back, huge bat-like wings and terrible clawed fangs (III,329). His flesh burns red and his leathery wings exude a nauseating stench (III,320).
In the easternmost tower of the palace, a winding stair ends at the tower roof. The Usurper’s flag flies above the battlements; the stag with spiralling horns and a barbed tail (III,189).
The grandmaster of the temple to Kwon here is called Parsifal (V,21). He is an old man; his watery eyes hold wisdom but he has lost the strength of his body. The martial arts tradition of this temple to Kwon is not strong (III,181).
A wide road called the ‘Avenue of Seasons’ leads towards the temple to Time which consists of a single silver dome rising like a flower bulb into a tall spire which acts as a sundial on the wide square to the south of the temple (III,394) known as either the ‘Square of Seasons’ or the ‘Plaza of the Infinite Instant’ (V,187). The Square of Seasons is joined to the Avenue of Seasons which connects to Palace Row (V,33) and the corner of Belfry Street (V,25). The symbols of a budding shoot, an open flower, a yellow leaf and a pile of dust dominate the temple front. Above the gate are the words; ‘Time, the Snowfather - Eldest Father -Youngest Son - From whose touch none are immune - without whom he would neither be nor die’. Inside is a sunny conservatory. A grey statue of an aged but wise man with his hands on the shoulders of a very young but precocious-looking boy dominates the bright room (III,394).
Solstice, the high priest of that temple has the power to control the flow of time (V,153). His priests wear grey robes and white belts, they meet visitors in groups of three. They resemble the old man of the statue (III,394). They are old, even by the reckoning of the very old, and are steeped in the thaumaturgical arts. They can stop time and seem for two whole hours to pass in an instant. They refer to non-priests as ‘young ones’ (III,386).
Of all the temples, that to Time is not subject to a temple tax and its priests and their followers enjoy special privileges. According to the sages of Greyguilds, Time is the most powerful of the gods. There are more temples to the Snowfather than any other. Good and evil mean nothing to Time; indeed it would take a year to explain the worship of Time. The Usurper does not see his priests as a threat, even though they are not allied to him (III,172). The priests don’t really care who rules the city as long as they’re left alone to ‘pursue their strange devotions’ (III,263).
The city’s three largest inns are the ‘Cleansing Flame’, the ‘Hostel from the Edge’ and the ‘River of Beasts’ (III,161).
The Cleansing Flame is in a narrow thoroughfare called Iskra Street, and the sign outside depicts a single violet flame. Up a set of wide stairs is a large clubroom with a spinet at one end. It could be used for dancing but many soldiers, priests and priestesses of lounge on divans, and chaises longues (III,19), drinking wine. The serving wenches are polite and wear dresses of black velvet and silver satin. As strangers enter, there is absolute silence and all heads turn. Most patrons wear black, and without exception the priests and priestesses sport the whirlpool symbol. There is a low chess table (III,105) at which customers can pit their wits. Notable patrons include Radziwil and Elektra. Radziwil wears a doublet and hose; Elektra has plucked eyebrows and eye kohl. She carries a black lace fan (III,19) and is a magic-user (III,84).
The Hostel From the Edge is located down dark side streets (I,78). The people of Irsmuncast refer to the Rift as ‘The Edge’ hence the ‘Hostel from the Edge’. Inside is a low, huge vault, capable of holding 200 souls (III,78). About half the customers are human. The others are orcs, halvorcs and the occasional Wolfen, dangerous man-beasts over seven feet tall. Peasant girls carry tankards to the customers, seated at low tables and benches (III,343; III,401).
The River of Beasts Inn is on a crooked line of flagstones called Izvestia Street. The sign outside shows a sea serpent and grotesque snake-like horses and dogs frolicking in a frothing blue river. Inside are two armed guards and a number of small rooms each served by bars in which around 200 people are drinking and talking. The air is heavy with smoke and here the common people of Irsmuncast seem to enjoy themselves. They have a leader, the Demagogue. He’s a fine mob-orator, but no-one would fight for him. Despite this here have been recent riots where the orcs had to kill many citizens to quell their ardour (III,62). The Demagogue is a tall but emaciated man; his yellow robe flaps around legs no thicker than a sparrow’s. His face is all nose; his lips narrow and twisted, but his eyes burn with a manic intensity. There is a great meeting hall behind the inn where he speaks to the malcontents of the city (III,68). These mob meetings are often broken up by the Usurper’s soldiers. There is a secret back entrance, along which imperilled orators can escape (III,41).
The army barracks is a large building near the temple to Nemesis. The 5000 soldiers; men, orcs and halvorcs; drill in separate parties until evening. The halvorcs show commendable discipline (III,96; III,208). The army of the Usurper is commanded by General Barkant (IV,211).
A windmill tower overlooks the city on Seven Post Road (V,73).
The spokesman of the merchants guild is Golspiel of the Silver Tongue. Golspiel’s emporium is a purple pavilion furnished with exotica from far away lands. His eyes are like small shining currants in a face that shudders every time he moves. His fat jowls hang down like dewlaps and his hands look like balloons, his fingers like bunches of pork sausages. They have large numbers of well paid mercenaries at their beck and call and can afford to pay the Usurper's taxes. The merchants know a great deal about the underworld and the power struggles in the city (III,172; III,184; IV,251). Antocidas the One-eyed commands the mercenary regiment; their symbol is a golden sword and a bulging money bag (V,37) and they wear purple livery (III,184). Antocidas himself is a capable general and a burly scar-faced veteran (III,130; III,138; V,349).
Kettsuin, Scrolls of
These parchments hold the secret to the Word of Power, which will bind the god Kwon <and others> in Inferno if it is spoken at the Pillars of Change in the snow wastes of the north when the moon turns red during the great conjunction of the planets. Yaemon stole the scrolls from the monks of Kwon many years ago, but was unable to decipher the Word. (I,191)
Sometimes referred to as the Greater Continent (I,0) this is a large plain (TD,196) <west of the Rift, and east of the sea; the lands of men. The Sea of the Star marks the northern edge of the Manmarch (Ionalbion and Ulrik’s Haven are certainly Northland territories).> The southern boundary of the Manmarch is marked by the Mountains of Horn (V,265), south of which the birds fly in winter, in search of warmer climes (III,13). The scholars of these lands know little of the country that lies beyond their home; none of their maps seem to agree (V,61).
‘The death city’ (I,6). The hills around Mortavalon are low and covered with cypress trees (I,235). A journey by road to Mortavalon from Doomover takes until dusk on the second day (I,212). Mortavalon nestles in a bowl of green pastures and cornfields. The entrance to the city is through a large triumphal arch dedicated to a victory won by the Empire hunters, who follow the god Moraine, against the soldiers of Fate. The largest temple in Mortavalon is to Death (I,283), indeed the army of Mortavalon is known as the ‘Forces of Death’ (V,121). The priests do not interfere in daily life as long as the odd disappearance is ignored; they practise child-sacrifice (I,283). <The high priest of Death is called Kashu.> There is a zoo in the city (I,227). The streets of Mortavalon are quiet (‘the dead city’), but there is a rose garden and trees where a small monastery is dedicated to Kwon (I,169; III,186; III,348; III,377). The local grandmaster is named Bartok (I,221).
The arena is a grand white building, cool and marble floored, run by warriors dressed in blue and gold togas <the colours of the worshippers of Moraine> (I,290). There are arena games on holidays, with the chance of a fabulous fortune to the victor (I,283). Criminals are often sentenced to the arena (I,372), where winners are showered with rose-blooms (I,272). In one game the arena is divided into four quarters; marsh, sand dunes, grasslands and ice. In the centre is a mock castle, housing the reigning champion, surrounded by a moat occupied by voracious ‘floating mouth’ fish. <possibly a species of pirhana> Each quarter houses monsters; a bog octopus, a cobra man, a pair of lions and a snow beast, respectively. Four combatants start out on platforms between each quarter (I,261). <There is a network of dungeons under the arena.>
An adventurer found a secret way into the city via a cave in the hills which encircle it (I,6). The cave has steps leading into the darkness. A trap has since been set to capture any intruders including flowing water and an iron portcullis. Captives are sent into the arena (I,275).
Nemesis, Priest hood of
The priests of Nemesis know of a unique spell, ‘The Cleansing Fire’, which casts a wave of silver flame (IV,121).
<A land of cold mountains north of the Great Valley Reaches.>
<A general term for the lands north of the Manmarch.> Men of the north speak an uncouth dialect of the Manmarchers’ tongue (I,262).
Men share this world with weird and fell monsters, giants, dragons, demons and talking beasts. There are warlocks and sorcerers here too; great wielders of magic in the cities. ‘A world of pinnacled castles, knights on horseback, their men at arms bearing banners that stream in the wind, strange high walled cities with towers and spires, concealing the dives of assassins and thieves amid the splendour’ (TD,0).
The calendar of Orb seems to run in ‘cycles’ of months, perhaps equivalent to a year. Months include Harvest’s Bounty (IV,11), Grimweird, which has at least 47 days (II,21) and is followed by the month of Pantheos (VI,0). Once every five hundred years, during the month of All Mother’s Splendour, the moon turns red for three days for the great conjunction of the planets (I,191).
In ages past the pantheon of Orb descended to the surface of the world to do battle (VI,52). Another ancient epoch was the Age of Snows, when the whole of the Manmarch was covered by ice and frost (I,1).
Passing, Forests of
The tall trees of this woodland are so close together that they block out almost all of the sun’s rays. Travellers in the forest can hardly tell the difference between day and night. It is said that that those who enter here pass from this world into the twilight world of dreams and are never seen again. In the wood one encounters apparitions of grey robed figures <possibly Druids> accompanied by strange owls. Eventually the trees thin out at a beautiful green river, the Greybones, which winds from the forests down to the fabled city of Greydawn (V,265).
Plenty, Isle of
An island of rich and bountiful fields (III,15) in the Endless sea, where Eo is worshipped. Lemné is the main port on the Isle (II,289). There are 400 leagues of ocean between Lemné and the Island of Tranquil Dreams. In the bustling harbour are many junks and fishing boats (II,84). There is a southern port on the Island, Iga, from where the Island of Tranquil Dreams can be reached (III,15). There is an important strongpoint in a mountain pass; the fortress of Kanokura (II,91).
Local aristocrats are called Daimyo, and are served by Samurai warriors. Lemné is built on seven hills. On the highest is the house of Singing Wind, widow of the Daimyo, who serves the Great Daimyo, or Lord, Kiyamo (II,11). The chief advisor of Kiyamo is called Onikaba (II,36). The soldiers of Kiyamo wear red lacquered armour (III,15), laced together with white ribbons. Their flags are strapped to the backs of bannermen; the symbol (or Mons) of Kiyamo is a four pointed star with a quatrefoil, red on white (ref.).
A southern port, notable for its pirate fleet (known as Reavers); fast green and red ships flying red pennants (I,232).
Quench-Heart Keep (Map at I,418f)
Before the jagged Goblin’s Teeth range stands Quench-Heart Keep, made of the same black stone as the mountains. The gatehouse is flanked by two stout posts with iron maidens swinging in the wind, in which prisoners are placed. The Great Keep rises high above the walls, surrounded by three towers; one with the scarlet mantis flag (north tower), one with the silver sword hanging by a needle thread (west tower) and the third with the black whirlpool symbol of Nemesis (I,179). A gate from the courtyard leads to the inner bailey and there is a ruined tower at the back of the castle (I,112). There is a food/water-hole in the wall to the inner bailey. The captain of the castle lives here with his lady (I,99). The main hall of the keep has a large spiral staircase leading to the roof and the three turrets. The stairs from the banqueting hall to the roof are trapped <at night> by a loose flagstone which launches a pair of crossbow bolts.
When the three are visiting, the Sword of Doom flag marks Honoric’s chambers, the Mantis flag indicates the those of Yaemon and the Whirlpool flag flies over the tower of Manse the Deathmage (ref).
A grille in the ground beside the moat is used to throw prisoners at ‘Feeding Time’ (I,179). It leads into a wide rock-hewn tunnel, foot deep in slime; squealing sewer rats brush past in the darkness. There is something in here; its ear splitting roar can be heard (I,402). The beast is lit by a single smoking torch. A great horn protrudes from its head, and it is 15 feet high. Its outline is jagged, and smells of putrefaction; its hide sloughs off in great dead patches (I,383). It is chained at the ankles (I,373). <The beast may be related to the ‘Primordial Terror’ of the Goblin’s Teeth mountains.> An ink black underground river feeds the castle moat (I,309). A submerged tunnel leads to the ducking stool of the torture chamber (ref).
The moat is populated by bullfrogs (I,392), whose nocturnal croaking is halted should they be disturbed, thus alerting the wall sentries. Additionally, there is a blubbery Moat Horror (II,211).
Ra, Spirits of
When dissolved into ale or wine, these salts are known to increase the potency of the drink (I,206). They are also used in cooking; a peacock basted in the spirits is a particular delicacy (TD,6)
Rift, The (The Bowels of Orb)
The Rift has been a cauldron of evil since time immemorial. All manner of wicked and unnatural creatures spawn there, giving rise to an endless stream of evil pouring from the dark chasm across the land of men. Dark Elves, Sisters of Nullaq, Orcs, Old Ones, Sons of Nil, Plague Trolls; these are but a few of the denizens lurking in the unending darkness. The inhabitants of the Rift refer to humans and others as ‘Sunlanders’ (VI,250; VI,410). This is the most dangerous region in all the Manmarch, where much of the evil that affects the world boils forth from lightless pits near the centre of the world (III,97). The chasm itself is like an immense gorge surrounded by a honeycomb of natural tunnels and carven halls which stretch to the very centre of Orb (V,35). A man could walk here for a lifetime and still not trace every catacomb and vault (VI,125; VI,145).
At the edge of the great chasm is a fissured bleakness of baked mud and dark rock (III,350). The earth is blackened and cracked, full of pits and fissures where noisome fumes rise from the depths of the chasm; stale, hot air rank with the smell of sulphur and ammonia seeping out of the great fissures that split the barren landscape. There are no wild animals here at the edge of the Bowels of Orb, only dust. There is no bottom - or if there is it is lost in darkness kilometres below. The eastern wall towers a full kilometre above the western wall (TD,185; VI,95). In the chasm itself, great winged monsters wheel lazily through the twilight air like dark shadows. These Demiveults often pluck prey from the roadways without warning (VI,79). They are one of the forms taken by the Firedrakes (q.v.); the dark elves stole and hatched their eggs. They hunt in the abysmal darkness by scent alone (VI,279).
There are many twisting stairways and tracks leading down the side of the canyon wall and there is even a road, wide enough for carts and siege machines, winding snake-like into the depths of the earth. The road passes contain many guard posts (VI,95). The stairs are mostly crumbling and underused; the steps are half eroded in places. After half an hour they reach a gallery of caves served by many tunnels and paths cut into the side of the canyon wall. This is the first tier and is a twilit world of darkness (VI,415). The road winds gradually downhill, criss-crossing the canyon face in kilometre wide zig-zags. Every now and then it burrows into the rock, cutting through a spur that makes a natural archway of stone above the road. At the first there are the signs of a deserted sentry post (VI,7). Beneath the next archway, Dwarf-Trolls; fat but powerful cross breeds with pug-like faces, are ranged across the road, tethered there by their necks like dogs chained to their guard posts. They howl an alarm at the sight of intruders then hurl tomahawks and boulders (VI,287; VI,367). They are surprisingly skilled axe-fighters (VI,407). Further down the road a great fortress of stone blocks the way, perched on a buttress of rock. This is the gatecastle of the first tier and the road runs through the middle of it. There are guards in each of its towers, as well as on the battlements, wielding bows. The elves in the gatehouse sally forth on flightless fire breathing dragon-lizards (VI,259; VI,389). Also commonly encountered on the road are motley groups of creatures repairing the surface (VI,237). Just before the gatecastle, a tunnel in the rock twists and turns down to the chamber with the fresco just before the second tier (VI,217; VI,417).
The gallery of caves on the first tier is enormous; there are storerooms, mostly plundered, and a forge and armoury, both deserted, but further down are signs of life. There is a certain amount of growling and wailing and much low chatter in guttural complaining voices. This area is a slum; here the refuse, the helpless or foolishly scrupulous inhabitants of the Rift are forced to eke out their days. Here they are closer to the danger of crusaders, who come to the Bowels of Orb to attempt to slay evil beings indiscriminately, or to the many renegade orcish tribes who do not obey the Black Widow. Tunnels descend form here to the next tier, away from the chasm edge (VI,27). The tunnels converge on a cavern with a chilling black fresco of a great web with a black widow spider, identifiable by the scarlet hourglass shape on its back, testing all the lines from the web with her legs. At each extremity is a smaller version of her, crawling over some poor unfortunate - orc, dark elf or human - even an Old One is shown trying in vain to free itself from a silken web. Another fresco shows a Paladin in full armour, but without a helm. He is being assailed by the small spiders which seem to be creeping into his ears, nose, and as he screams, his mouth (VI,417).
The tunnels wind down steadily into the depths of Orb. Soon they reach the more populous second tier. Here complete villages and towns exist, trading with one another, mining and raiding each other for slaves and booty. Interlopers must tread carefully (VI,9). Countless tunnels diverge in all directions at this level (VI,39). The tunnels and caverns of the second tier are as lively as the streets of a market town, but the darkness discourages conversation. The people of the second tier, low in the hierarchy of power, are too busy conserving enough energy to keep alive to indulge in frivolity. Also on this level live the shamblers in holes in the rock. They are shifty-looking but intelligent man-like beings with short arms and bandy legs, shaped like an orc, but fairer of face (VI,419). Their narrow tunnels in the walls are covered in dried ordure. They wear grime-ridden furs (VI,49). From the second tier, a small tunnel branches away into the rock away from the cavern; a wider tunnel has rusty rail tracks at one side of it and leads gently downwards and ahead (VI,289; VI,319; VI,402). The small tunnel ends abruptly in a steep stone stairway shelving deeply down. After a long climb it reaches the edge of an immense chamber; the Sacred Vault (VI,312) of Nullaq (VI,232). (VI,409). The Vault is huge; echoes return from the faraway walls out of torchlight range. About halfway across a ring of flames bursts up around trespassers. The chamber is like an huge underground temple with mock pillars that no longer quite reach the ceiling and cast shadows at irregular intervals. There is a gallery leading to stairs, heavily guarded by a score of orcs with crossbows. To the right is another tunnel also guarded by Ogres wearing leather armour and wielding 15ft pikes (VI,172). There are prison caves on the second tier (VI,290). The wider tunnel with the rails curves gently for about half a kilometre; these tunnels are fairly deserted (VI,210). There is a maze of side tunnels (VI,250). Orcs roll wagons down the rails; one such is the personal conveyance of Lord Sile of the second tier (VI,62); wooden chariot with rusty iron wheels, pulled by a team of orcs. His driver is clad in an outlandish suit of spiked armour with a polished brass horn which seems to grow out of his forehead. Sile is an orcish chieftain; of all the orcs in the Rift, he is the most brutishly strong and ugly looking. His torso is scored with ugly scars, the trophies of many battles (VI,152). The tunnels twist circuitously down to the third tier (VI,372).
Past them is a seemingly never ending stair with a number of stone landings (VI,52). It is a long way between the third and fourth tiers. There are few connecting tunnels and stairways; in the event of an assault on the Rift, this area is easily defensible (VI,410). The third tier is filed with smoke of burning braziers that burns the lungs until one becomes accustomed to it. There is a constant hum in the background; the everyday noise of the denizens of the third tier going about a multiplicity of mundane tasks. The sounds of their voices and the scuffing of their shoes blending with many thousands of other noises into a monotonous low drone (VI,208). On the third tier is a dark cavern with fluted arches meeting at points in the ceiling. Hanging from each of the points is a skeleton, a grim reminder of the fate that befalls many here in the eternal darkness (VI,368). The railroad from the second tier leads to a balcony above a great open underground plaza with rows of guruka trees; a cross between trees and mushrooms which flourish in large spaces underground, nourished by the bacteria and guano of bats and other creatures. They are like great still beasts, contorted into grotesque shapes and entwining as if they had been writhing together when the sun suddenly went out and they were robbed of movement. In contrast to the rest of the Rift, this area is brightly lit by furnaces and blazing fires. The plaza is busy; this is the main route from the third to the fourth tier; along the Fire Giants’ Stair. There are no guards to be seen on the 35ft wide stair, just a steady bustle of people coming and going. It glows redly, like a stairway to hell, in the light of banks of fires on either side. Halfway down, are what looks like perfect waxwork models of fire giants, their dark hirsute bodies glowing in the rubescent firelight, their unseeing eyes, like dark stones, gazing into empty space. They are as still as statues and no-one even looks at them. Travellers on the stair do not arouse suspicion from the inhabitants of the Rift, unless they try to turn back before reaching the giants. When it comes to passing the giants, the people of the Rift either hurry by or linger behind. They are blind, but the giants need no eyes to see for they have the inner eye. When their sixth sense warns them to anyone who should not be on the stair they hurl huge flaming boulders before smashing intruders under their iron clubs, perfectly synchronised and on target, their weapons striking great chunks of rock from the stair. Fire giants aren’t the largest giant race, but are among the strongest. In this way, subjects who have no business leaving the lower tiers are kept down, just as interlopers are kept out (VI,96; VI,196; VI,336; VI,376). Elsewhere on the third tier is a chamber with an etching on the floor which extends over most of the room. It has been plated with metal on to which a huge bloated spider-shape has been etched with acid. The spider has only four legs, one at each corner of its huge body, each of which points towards a tunnels exit. The tunnels are trapped with suddenly flaring walls of fire (VI,240). One can find an alternative route to the fourth tier by watching the thieves of the twilit world; mainly orcs and elves, who have their own thieves’ cant, unlike any other in Orb. There is a secret doorway in a rock face. The mechanism swings the rock aside to reveal the descent to the fourth tier (VI,176).
The twisting tunnel of the thieves soon branches into myriad other tunnels and caves (VI,296). Legend has it that there is a colony of evil humans here on the fourth tier (VI,232). The tunnels end at a great dimly lit hallway of dressed stone. A magnificent and sinister sight greets the visitor; an huge archway away to the left, and beyond it a succession of carven thrones with statues of the former rulers of this part of the Bowels of Orb; the ‘Way of Thrones’. A right hand tunnel is tall, but narrow, admitting only one abreast (VI,416). The Way of Thrones is trapped so as to be blocked off by a great slab of stone which rumbles down into position at either end and trapping victims forever (VI,256). <There is a huge vaulted chamber deep underground. The room is lit by the ruddy glow of flaming torches fixed to pillars, soaring beyond sight. The walls are running with damp, the air musty and heavy with age. There are two archways at the back of the cavern (TD,1). The arches are trapped with smooth slabs of stone that crash down to block them off (TD,17; TD,21; TD,41). This may be part of the Way of Thrones (VI,416), as it has a similar trap mechanism (VI,256).> The narrow way continues in a straight line for many hundred of metres without widening of offering any other openings. Towards its end it climbs slightly, and halfway up the incline, the floor tilts and pitches travellers forward onto their faces into a small well lit room hung with lush tapestries (VI,224). The tapestry on one side of the hallway hides the true dimensions of the room- it is far larger. In the hall is a large secret door which leads to the ‘Worldworm’ (VI,34). The end of the hall slides back to reveal a bowl-shaped cavern running with fire; the lair of the Worldworm, which fables tell has its head in the Rift, here, a body that stretches all the way around Orb, through the roots of the mountains and a tail that stretches to the very centre of Orb. In the middle of the bowl is what looks like a gigantic statue of a snake’s head, its mouth open, showing great curving fangs (VI,411).
The Worldworm comes to life <when someone enters its mouth>; the statue turns to grey-green scaly flesh with a cracking noise. It closes its jaw (VI,411). From the Worldworm’s maw is a dark tunnel of ridged stone, leading towards its belly. The Worldworm no longer has what passes for stomach and tail. It opens out of a jagged hole into a pitch-black void. The wind whistles past in vast pass. The fall ends on the seventh tier in a cocoon of gossamer thread, smooth as silk. A pale and sickly light heralds the great heaving body of the Black Widow who scuttles on eight black hairy legs (VI,424). Beyond the seventh tier lies the Forbidden Sanctuary; the Black Widow’s web reaches out from the hub there (VI,183).
The orcs of the Rift dress in greasy blackened leather and carry saw-toothed scimitars as well as shields emblazoned with a purple claw (TD,134). They have yellowed tusks like those of a boar (TD,68). Orcs have a keen sense of smell and it can be used to sniff out prey, but they are greedy for gold and are easily distracted or bribed with a handful of coins (TD,148).
The dark elves are tall and lithe, wearing ornately spiked armour and carrying longswords of a dull black metal (TD,134). The elves are known to use magic (TD,214) and to employ carrion crows to spy on their enemies (V,53). When abroad in the Manmarch, they sometimes ride these crows (V,115). The dark elves of the Rift make their homes in caverns with a rock façade built across the front, like a house. A typical cavern-house is entered through a stone door. Insider they are richly furnished with ornaments and even paintings (brought back by raiding parties). Usually a stream cuts across the room. The dark elves wear coloured robes to indicate their status and profession; sorcerers wear blue robes, soldiers clad in green and red. The personal bodyguard of the Black Widow wears red robes (VI,34). The elves practice slavery and use coffle chains to transport human slaves (VI,29). Only female dark elves attain proficiency in the magical arts (VI,249). The elves worship Nullaq, the Supreme Queen of Malice, who rules in malicious envy. The followers of Nullaq wear purple head-dresses with bloated green spiders perched on top (V,343). They have been known to command the small purple Executioner Spiders. The spiders are no bigger than a man’s thumbnail, but their bite is fatal to a horse within seconds. The worshippers of Nullaq can instruct these spiders to seek out specific individuals and kill them (V,343). The dark elf sorceress Shadazar is commander in chief of the forces of the Rift (V,375; VI,1). The cruelty of the dark elves of the Rift surpasses understanding (VI,123); the ‘death of a thousand torments’ is a torture so horrific, only the immortal elves have the patience to carry it out (VI,71). The dark elves of the Rift hold the followers of the Temptress, Zarahrayal, in scorn (VI,190). Sisters of Nullaq are dreaded elven magicians, whose mothers have mated with one of the three Mother-Spiders in the deeper vaults of the Rift. They appear as dark elves in robes of purple and green, but the usually beautiful jet-black face is horribly contorted. Eight splayed legs and a bloated spider’s carcass project from below the chin as if half a huge spider had been grafted onto the face. They are magic users; one spell creates a shimmering haze (VI,297) which forces a raging thirst on the targets who find themselves choking and gasping as if they had been without water in a desert for hours on end. The desire to slash one’s own wrist and drink the blood is overwhelming. They can turn into black crows to escape pursuit (VI,337), as well as summon a cloud of acidic green dust (VI,59; VI,297; VI,377). Some cobwebbed and hidden spaces in the Rift are home to the Daughters of Nullaq; tiny spiders that attempt to enter the head through the nose, mouth or ears, and make their way to the brain, where they can subjugate their victim’s will to the control of Nullaq herself (VI,68; VI,397). The Krathak is a monster ‘as large as a city’; it is too big for its dimensions to be guessed at. In shape it is like a chameleon with huge pincers and claws around its mouth (VI,34). The Krathak has stinking breath and its footfalls shake the earth (VI,411). It has howdah behind its head; from where the beast is driven by dark elves of the Black Widow’s bodyguard. They are armed with bows and bolas (VI,34).
The Old Ones are fell monsters from before the time of man (V,35) a race of creatures that inhabit the depth of the Rift. Utterly evil and said to be schemers and ultimate leaders (other than the dark gods) of much that is evil on Orb. When abroad in the Manmarch they hide their hideousness under grey robes. Deep within the Rift lies their home, the dreaded City of Bone (V,241). They have eyes that are completely white save for the pupils, two pinpoints of blackness. Their faces are hideous; totally bald, the skin a pale blotchy colour. Under the flat nostrils of their boneless faces, five tentacles each a foot in length writhe horribly. Just below these, the mouth is small and circular with sharp pointed teeth. Below ground, they typically wear purple robes edged with gold. Their hands end in three long thin tentacles in place of fingers. They speak in a sibilant whispering voice and can assault a victim’s mind with waves of psychic attack (III,207) capable of shredding the mind like paper, leaving victims as mindless vegetables (III,335). Their tentacles secrete an acidic substance that corrodes flesh as they gnaw with their teeth. They can summon an exact replica of an enemy to fight (III,369) but this is merely an illusion, dispelled if one does not believe in it. They can create a magical gate from reddish energy to escape (III,400).
Scarlet mantis, Order of the
An evil order of monks, worshippers of Vile, twisted brother to Kwon. Their head is Yaemon, Grandmaster of Flame (I,0). Monks of this order wear a Mantis tattoo on their forehead, a scarlet jacket and loose trousers (I,101).
Sea of the Star, The
A salt sea with invigoratingly chill waters (I,219). There is an unnaturally calm part of the sea, near a whirlpool that sucks swimmers down (II,23).
Below the surface live blue skinned mermen who can impart water breathing to land dwellers, by a globe of air formed in their cupped hands that surrounds a swimmer’s head (II,23). The bubble bursts when a swimmer reaches the surface (II,160). The coral meadows of the sea elves (II,23) include the poisonous Dead Men’s Fingers (II,41) a fan-shaped coral. No one speaks under the sea (II,23), but the voices of the mermen are heard in the mind. There are Narwhals (II,97), horned whales. The prince of the sea elves was imprisoned in a giant clam (II,264) by the sea-jackals (II,111), who resemble winged sharks.
Serakub is also called the ‘City of Gardens’. It lies a tenday’s travel east of the Bowels of Orb on the banks of the beautiful blue waters of the Ebone river amid richly fertile fields. Everywhere flowers blossom and there are clouds of many-hued butterflies in the meadows. Serakub is larger even than the Spires, with as many souls within its walls. They speak an unusual version of the common tongue, but a visitor can pick it up with a little practice (V,27; V,391). Many of the buildings of the city have been built out of many different types of stone of many different colours. Most are covered in a drapery of flowing creepers, clematis, Ra’s glory, red ivy, and widowfoil (V,391).
The largest temples are to Dama, Béatan the Free and Ilexkuneion (a strange nature god whose priests call themselves Druids). The temple to Dama is run by Swordmistress Hivatala of the Serakub guard (V,371). The followers of Dama patrol the lands between here and the Rift (V,391). They hate the spawn of the Rift more than all else (V,391). Hivatala wears a plain kirtle of a blue shawl, her coppery hair done up in silk twists. She is a striking woman with warm and soft blue eyes (V,227). Her shieldmaidens wear grey, white and green (V,409).
There is no one ruler of Serakub, it is a republic. A hundred Prodromese, each chosen by the vote of the populace, sit in a council called the Boule, where decisions of state are made. The followers of Béatan hold a few votes more than either Dama or the nature god’s followers (V,17).
In the city chambers is the Hall of Governance where the Boule meets. It is an oval hall with tiered pews. The 100 Prodromese could not look more different from one another. Many proclaim the deity they serve through their dress. The followers of Béatan spread themselves evenly throughout the hall and wear the five spoked wheel of myriad possibility. Seated opposite them are a body of men and women who wear the sword and lozenge shaped shield of Dama. On their right are the followers of Ilexkuneion, god of animals and plants, clad in greens and browns, each wearing a sprig of oak in their hair. Beyond them are the seats of 15 or so black whirlpool badges and a like number of purple and green spiders. Fate and Torremalku the Slayer are also represented. Six young priestesses wear the symbol of a crescent moon (V,67) the signifying followers of ‘Batayan’ (V,237). <The nature of this deity is a mystery; he or she may be connected to the Loremasters of Serakub.>
Head of the Boule is Obuda Varhegyen (V,237) a learned man and a follower of Béatan (V,307). He wears the long yellow robe with the five-arrowed half wheel that signifies the many ways to do good deeds (V,227). Also based in the city are the Loremasters of Serakub, a ‘wise synod’. Szeged, previous ruler of Irsmuncast was a member of this order (III,1). The Loremasters sent the ill-fated group of crusaders into the Rift to steal the Talisman of Death (TD,100).
Here is a glowing archway beyond which a silver path leads into the clouds. Cherubs flock around its pillars and a guardian angel, flawless and white stands between them (I,304). The angel of the Seven Heavens guards the archway against all comers, but does not intervene in events around it. It can send travellers on the spirit plane back to their own world with the word ‘Llandymion’. This is the command of the god Avatar and his consort, Illustra (III,276; III,295). The Spirit Tiger who dwells here is a servant of Kwon (III,291).
Severed Head, The
A tribe of man-eating Orcs from the Rift (V,73; VI,11).
<A cold region of the north, which includes the Sea of Snows.>
Spires of Foreshadowing
The domes and spires of this, the largest city on the Manmarch lie within a sea of rippling corn on the banks of the Greenblood (III,13). The city lies between Irsmuncast and Doomover, two tendays from the former (V,401). The ruler of the Spires is Dom the Prescient; ‘He who sees all things that are to come to pass’ (V,407).
The temple spires that give the city its name are awesome to the newcomer; they stretch to awesome heights, each built to outdo the others and proclaim the importance of the god or goddess to whom they is dedicated. The city is bustling; full of life and different types of seemingly well to do and powerful people (V,163; V,401). It is a city of great architecture and at its centre is one great towered dome, larger than any other building; the great hub-shaped Cathedral to Fate dominates the city. The wide avenues are lined with magical lamps in which orange flames flicker, casting a dull brown glow over the night sky (III,40; V,401).
The Spires of Foreshadowing are the ancient foe of Doomover; they have clashed three times this century (V,301). Even though there is a temple to Vasch-Ro in the city; the followers of Fate see the wargod as their greatest enemy (V,401).
There is a magnificent spired palace with jewelled gates and huge rooms lined with velvet, halls with crystal chandeliers and wide marble staircases. These are the chambers of Dom the Prescient and are blocked by doors of solid gold (III,40). He and the other followers of Fate rule the city (V,401). Dom is short and powerfully built, but no fighting man. He wears a magnificent robe of many colours and his eyes twinkle merrily beneath a forehead lined with cares. He sits on a throne that is carved from rocks in as many colours as his robe; somehow welded together. The effect is of a colourful waterfall of glass (V,29). He knows the future, but only as Fate herself reveals it to him (V,59). His personal bodyguard is a seven foot tall Golem of Flesh (III,40) and has stood on a pedestal in his hall of state for three centuries (V,407). It speaks rarely, with a cracked voice, long unused, and has the sweet scent of honeysuckle (III,55). It continually returns from being ‘killed’ with the words "My name is Everyman, and I am Legion" (III,120). It can cover ground at a surprising rate (III,240). It must be killed a hundred times before it finally dies, or be pushed into the Rift to break the enchantment (III,409).
The élite regiment of the army of the Spires is the ‘Cavalry of the Wheel’ who number 500 heavy horses and are one of the best in the Manmarch (V,139). The Scholars’ Guild of the spires wear pale blue robes (V,397). The Tools of Fate (q.v.) are based in the city (V,401).
A silvery grey realm that exists between the planes. Mandrake root, which resembles a little misshapen man, frees the mind from the ties of belief and allows one to enter the spirit plane (III35; III,152). Once there, an ethereal wind bowls travellers in their silvery ethereal form (III,295; III,302).
Storm Giant’s Causeway
A pass leads through cool mountains where snow falls. There are no tracks except those of mountain goats. At the highest point of this pass, clouds cover the path. There is a titanic statue on the peak of the highest mountain. Trespassers suffer avalanches caused my mysterious bolts of lightning (I,81). <This is probably the work of the storm giants, protecting their home from intruders.>
The forests north of this city of the Manmarch are home to wood elves (V,159).
Sword of Doom, Legion of the
An evil order but one of the best armies on Orb, based in the city of Doomover. The Marshal of the Legion of the Sword of Doom is Honoric, never defeated in combat, who once slew a storm giant single handed. Honoric’s great black sword Sorcerak dispels magic when unsheathed (I,112) and emanates fear (I,154). It can make him levitate (III,316) and he can command it to fly through the air to impale an enemy before returning to his hand (V,390). The blade seems to have the ability to deflect missiles cast at it’s bearer. Honoric slew three Tools of Fate at the battle of the Hollow Tower (I,297). He also possesses a horn that summons a 25ft colossus, a black titan wielding a mirror image of Sorcerak (V,250). On campaigns Honoric’s tent is a massive pavilion adorned with the sword symbol of Vasch-Ro (V,142). The Legion worship the Wargod, Vasch-Ro, He who Sows for the Reaper (I,26) to whom the first day of Grimweird is sacred (V,121).
The symbol of the Legion is a silver sword hanging from a silver thread on a black field (I,50). The Legion in Doomover is currently paying well for recruits; for manoeuvres on the Plain of Feet. Enlisted recruits are drilled for a few hours and sent to their barracks (I,6). Some are chosen to demonstrate their swordplay. There are different regiments within the Legion; the ‘Rain of Doom’ are heavy crossbowmen (V,394) whereas the ‘Bringers of Doom’ are cataphracts; both they and their mounts are clad from head to toe in glowing mail armour (V,158; V,290).
The Legion intends to attack the Spires of Foreshadowing for loot and pillage (I,16). The swords of Legion officers glow with a black light and inspire fear when drawn (I,176; II,106; V,134; V,138; V,158).
<It is likely that the sword Sorcerak is the true power behind the Legion, Honoric being merely a puppet for this evil item.>
In this place, near the Jungles of Khesh, lives the Oracle of Oracles, also known as Terengedion (III,362).
Tools of Fate, The
The Tools of Fate are an elite band of heroes who are fated to do great deeds in her service (I,200; I,297); the best include Happening the Mage, Kelmic the Warrior, Tolber (his twin) and Hoitekh the Priest (ref). They are based in the city of the Spires of Foreshadowing (V,141) where they command the famous ‘Cavalry of the Wheel’ (V,401). Honoric (q.v.) slew three Tools of Fate at the battle of the Hollow Tower (I,297).
A city on the river Greybones, Tor is a huge city of half a million souls (III,21). At the river mouth is the harbour of Ilvontor; Tor itself is further down the estuary, where different ships’ cargoes are unloaded at different wharves, e.g. the Grain Wharf for agricultural produce (III,21). Glaivas the ranger lives here in a house at the end of Temple street beyond the temple to Avatar (III,21), within a wayward garden (III,407). Tor has no temple to Kwon, but does have one to the All-Mother (I,26). The temples to Vasch-Ro, Moraine and Avatar the One are located on Temple Street (III,21). The other cities on the river are evil (I,26). <These cities include the Walls of Shadow, the City of the Runes of Doom and Greydawn.> The city is the origin of Torean Fire, exploding balls of flame used at sea (II,84). A pottery factory hides the Assassins’ Guild of Tor (III,407).
Tranquil Dreams, Island of
A mysterious island in the Endless Sea, with golden shores and emerald rice meadows. Monks dedicated to the worship of Kwon have shared the island with the villagers for centuries. Their centre of worship is the Temple of the Rock; a huge pillared hall built into the side of an enormous boulder of red granite, brought rest on the island by the ice floes of the Age of Snows. The monks of Kwon live only to help others resist the evil that infests the world. Some of their order follow the ‘Way of the Tiger’; these Ninja are known as the ‘men with no shadow’ in the Land of Plenty and the Manmarch, and the mere mention of Ninja strikes terror into people’s hearts. The Ninja’s covenant, the ‘Ninja No Chigiri’ is as follows; "I will vanish into the night; change my body to wood or stone; sink into the earth and walk through walls and locked doors. I will be killed many times, yet will not die; change my face and become invisible, able to walk among men without being seen". There are five Grandmasters who rule the order. <Grandmaster of the Dawn, Five Winds, Stars…> The secret litany of the Ninja Grandmaster is as follows; <…>. Naijishi was the Grandmaster of the Dawn, the most ancient and powerful of the monks on the island. He was killed by Yaemon, Grandmaster of Flame. Using borrowed sorcery, Yaemon tricked the monks into believing he was a worshipper of Kwon from the Greater Continent. He was in fact a worshipper of Kwon’s twisted brother, Vile. He slew Naijishi and stole the scrolls of Kettsuin (q.v.) from the Temple of the Rock (I,0; I,1; I,177).
A dank land of mists, an enormous expanse of fog-bound marshlands (I,59) inhabited by Trolls with the power to regenerate even the most severe injuries (I,30) as well as the bloated Shaggoth, a ‘tentacular green mass’ (I,385).
Five days north-west of Harith, this is a port where the fjords (II, 406) of the Great Valley Reaches pour their cold waters into the sea. It is peopled by buccaneers and barbarian coastal raiders (II,395). The city is well defended from the sea but has no guards on the land gate. They speak an uncouth barbarian dialect. Trading ships that land here are seized, and their crew put to death.
The Barbarian Overlord (or ‘Liege-chief’) of this haven of men is a grizzled old warrior with a cunning gleam in his eyes called Ulrik Skarsang. He holds court in a long wooden building, where he sits on a wooden throne surrounded by his advisors (II,135). Skarsang is an arrogant leader, who demands that his subjects kneel before him. His chief advisor is best described as ‘hatchet faced’ (II,312; II,329) and is a reverencer of Nemesis who possesses a magical ‘Chalice of Visions’ (II,234).
His personal vessel is the ‘Sack of the South’ (II,283), which has sailed as far as the city of Upanishad. It is a large three-masted sailing ship (II,193). The barbarians do not use slaves as rowers, but row themselves from the open deck, shaded from the sun by their shields (II,406).
Also known as the Seven Hells or the Abyss (V,231). A plane of evil, composed of cold iron (III,276) including the iron city of Dis, where fiends are created. This plane is home to Nemesis, a huge threatening figure, more than a hundred feet tall; his eyes pools of blackness, his skin silver. Black fire covers his sable robes and is tinged with scarlet (III,27; III,44; III,419). There is a ‘Death Knell’ in the city; a great bell, deep in the underworld (III,283). The three rings of the bell count out the time on the earthly plane allotted for summoned fiends (III,66). The Fiends from the Pit are hooded and black; their faces glisten silver; they have no mouth and chin; instead of hands they have two spikes of bone; their wings are black and leathery (III,419). The malicious Vulcan Imps dwell on the lower planes. These wizened creatures are capable of reaching in the minds of men and dredging forth images of fear from the memory, before assuming their shape (V,231). They achieve this transformation with an enchanted potion of brownish liquid (V,273; V,399).
Demons of these realms (aside from Astaroth, Seventh Duke of Hell), include Scourge, the centaur devil, with the body of a giant man-horse, his tail a mass of writhing serpents, his head a lion’s skull (III,251) and Hazarbol and Mazarbol, Devils of Twilight; two hyenas ‘as large as the gates to the Temple of the Rock’, with eyes of liquid fire. They laugh so loudly, one can hardly think for terror (III,229).
This great city lies far to the south of the Manmarch, beyond the desert of the Dhervan and between the deltas of the Great and Khesh rivers, north of the Jungles of Khesh (II,193; V,271; V,351).
It is the largest city on Orb. A city of a million souls, it ‘caters for as many creeds as Goth of Ten Temples’. <This may be the city of Goth on the shores of the Sea of the Star.> The main temple here is dedicated to Kwon; Upanishad is known as the city of the Redeemer. The temple is larger than all of Kwon’s other temples piled on top of one another. The Grandmaster of the Stars is reputed to be the most powerful man in the city. People call him the Right Hand of the Redeemer. He seldom leaves the Duomo monastery (V,351). The next largest temples are dedicated to Dama and Moraine (V,271).
Valley of the Lich Kings
Two immortal beings rule over this valley. Each keeps his own court; one in the Walls of Shadow and the other in the City of the Runes of Doom (III,368).
The City of the Runes of Doom lies on the River Greybones, and its tyrannical ruler for more than a millennium has been the Fleshless King, a necromancer who discovered the secret of half-life after death, kept alive only by the power of his arcane magics and the daily virgin sacrifice to his god, Death. The people of the city are fed by slaves, forced to till the fields by cruel orcish overseers and the walls of the great cathedral to Death are dyed the purple of putrefying flesh (III,154; III,368). On the altar table to Death in the cathedral are conducted the awful sacrifices that maintain the Fleshless King’s half-life (III,185). ‘The Sylph’ is imprisoned in the great keystone above the west gate to the city. Her doleful cry is a signal that that the eldritch brother of the Fleshless King, Ganarre, leads the Spectral Company forth (III,115; III,106)
The Spectral Company are a band of <nine> spectral knights in the service of the Fleshless King (III,110). Each of the nine was once a baron of Greydawn. In the centuries past they led an invasion into the Valley of the Lich Kings, then known as the Valley of Grain. In those days the Fleshless King was more active and rode at the head of his troops. His magic cast down the generals and he took them as servants, bringing their tormented bodies back to life as spectres than can drain a man’s life from him with a single touch. Their countenances are cruel and they look upon living things with contempt. Their clothes were once gaudy martial finery but are now no more than a ghostly shimmering around their transparent forms. The might of their evil intelligence is almost palpable. Their chill touch is death; victims become shadows in the service of the spirit knights. Ganarre leads the nine Spectral Knights. His body has retained its cloak of flesh but part of his brain festered many years ago (III,83; III,91; III,224; III,268). There is a set of white boundary stones near Greydawn topped with a black pitch, that the Spectral Company cannot pass (III,299).
The city of the Walls of Shadow is at the end of a small river and is surrounded by an anvil shaped pall of black cloud (the city walls always shed an unnatural darkness beneath them, no matter how bright the sun) and is ruled by Ganarre. It is one of the few cities where the last chapel of Good has been driven forth. There is a palisade of poisonous (III,404) thorns surrounding the city (III,414). It is twenty miles round; there are guard huts around the perimeter. Within and around the circle of thorns are seas of rippling corn, tilled by slaves chained together and driven on by cruel orcish and halvorcish overseers. Inside the thorns huge (II,341) Blackhawks are used to spy on intruders (III,264). In at least one part of the palisade there is a concealed gateway (III,69).
The lands between the City of the Walls of Shadow and the City of the Runes of Doom are dotted with forbidding castles around a flat plain known as the Slave Fields. The slaves are kept staked out under canvas awnings near the fields they harvest. Each group has orcish guards; this race is chosen for they have never shown any compassion towards humans. Vampire bats flit past at night (III,69).
Vasch-Ro, Ring of
An arena in the Barrow Swales (III,70), maintained by the Legion of The Sword of Doom, where duels of honour are fought (III,5). Fate curses those who refuse a challenge in the Ring (III,25). It is run by the Legion of the Sword of Doom. In ages past a covenant was made between Vasch-Ro and Fate. Fate will turn her back on anyone who will not take up the challenge of the Ring, or crosses the encircling Fatestones before the contest is over. Each combatant enters at the opposite gates (III,70). The Pillar of Death at the centre of the Ring is an ancient menhir carved with runes from top to bottom (III,82) in an archaic tongue (III,300). It pulses with ethereal energy (III,312). The laws of the Ring state that victors are free to go unmolested by the legionnaires who garrison it (III,309). A detailed map of the ring is found at (III,70f).
A wealthy trading port of the far north with a strong military tradition; there are many training schools for mercenary soldiers (II,395; V,45). The city exports both grain and wool to the south (II,408). The road to Wargrave Abbas (from Harith) is long and hard; three nights spent in the towns of Chaddy, Steeplefell, and Cheaping Knowe. After this, the road runs along the banks of the Crow river. The journey from Irsmuncast, by way of contrast takes almost a month (V,45).
The city stands on an island in the delta of the Crow. Just north of the gate is a beautiful public garden. By a stand of rhododendron bushes is a monastery to Kwon; the grandmaster is called Hardred (II,131). The children of the city come to play in the garden (ref).
Men and women come from lands far away to learn the skills of swordplay taught at academy for would-be mercenaries run by the temple of Dama, Shieldmaiden of the Gods, opposite to Vasch-Ro. Head of the academy is the powerful soldier Alfrida Watchguard (V,45; V,301). Near the barracks there is a tavern called the ‘Swordarm’s Rest’ (II,408).
The assassins who revere Torremalku the Slayer have a guild here; anyone may go to put a price on the head of an innocent man. They pride themselves that few brought to their attention live long, if the price is right. It is their law that none save members of the guild may use poison for any purpose (II,408). Mere mention of the assassins’ guild causes fear in many people. No one will answer queries as to its location; enquirers will eventually be contacted by a member of the guild (II,380). The guildmaster of assassins is called Mandrake (II,393).
The guild is located in what looks like an old grain warehouse in the city back-streets (II,365). Inside is near darkness and there is gold and silver everywhere; the coinage of murder is melted into fair seeming candelabra and altar ornaments. In the centre of the dark hall is an effigy of the god himself; a four armed monstrosity dressed in quilted black leather jerkin and tight black velvet trousers with an executioner’s mask. Each hand holds a different object; a dagger dripping with white venom, a purple-jade cup of poison, a crossbow with a rune written bolt (the name ‘Everyman’ is scored upon it in silver) and a box of curses. Mandrake has an open, friendly face an a sandy mop of wayward hair (II,319). The temple is trapped with a huge net that can be made to fall from the ceiling and the effigy of the god can animate to fight intruders. Opening the curse box inflicts on the unfortunate target every disease known to man; a painful death occurs within a minute (II,219).
Yellow Lotus, Order of
The secret informers of the demonic Usurper, evil lord of Irsmuncast. They are his instrument of subjugation. The head of the Order is the shrewd and captivating Foxglove (V,21), a beautiful courtesan and enchantress (VI,1; VI,15) as well as a priestess of Nemesis (IV,41). Another notable member is known as Radziwil (V,32).