Around the western entrance to Garl Nave, southernmost pass through the Black Riage, flow three steady tributaries. Their utility is marginal, and often the most thought afforded them is by the rare grazers who pass through the area. That was until nearly a decade ago, when an odd pattern began emerging. Each year the ground would become increasingly transparent and the waters ceased to flow as the weather warmed. This would continue until the summer solstice, at which point the entire landscape was a flat plane of shifting light and color. As the year progressed, the landscape would regain opacity and all returned to normal. The inhabitants of the nearest settlements, the Twinned Cities of Jargolamis and Luigolamis, have heretofore treated this as yet another of the many innocuous peculiarities one encounters living in the Ninth World. Waters closer to the main body of the Sadara River went unaffected and crops grown on more arable land remained unchanged. Many began traveling to the Glasslands, as they became known, to enjoy the placid splendor of the sight. However, this previous year brought a further development.
As the waters began to slow there grew kaleidoscopic crystals along the riverbanks. At first these appeared only at the very ends of each finger, but as the season progressed they moved farther down. Those who came across the growths noted that they emanated with a subtle thrumming, almost like a heartbeat, and they were harvested to be sold as novelty trinkets. The crystals quickly spread throughout the community, being hung from door frames and tossed about by children. They would soon discover two unintended consequences. Firstly, it was found that the crystals emitted an odorless gas upon shattering that caused all who inhaled even the smallest amount to experience prolonged depression, becoming listless and, in some cases, even suicidal. Secondly, chance contact with a traveling cohort of Varjellen revealed that they do not hear the same soft, rhythmic noise in the presence of the crystals. Instead, to them it sounds like the wailing of children.
Debate rages in the community over what to do with the spreading growth. The summer solstice has passed and despite the slow return to normality continuing apace the crystals have not disappeared. Instead, they seem to be developing at an increasing pace. Emissaries from both the Order of Truth and Rarmon have been dispatched, but no official position has been reached.
- The Steadfast
- The Glasslands Hearsay:
Rumors of an extensive dig site being erected in the depths of the crystal field have begun spreading, heavily funded by the Pytharon Empire. Despite vehement denial from officials, many more impoverished workers have begun migrating toward the Black Riage in search of employment.
A small group of Varjellen recently built and encampment at the tip of the northernmost finger lake. They are under the impression that the growth are not naturally occurring, but instead are the product of a long dormant shiftship reawakening. They say that there is another sound beneath the wailing of children that members of their species hear, a plea for release. According to them, the ship is trapped deep beneath the field and that the crystals are the physical manifestation of the ship’s pain.
Several travelers along the roads to the have reported being harassed by unusually gentile bandits. Instead of brandishing blades or bits of numenera, these individuals carry bows and arrows tipped with small crystals. The travelers can’t explain why they relinquished their goods; none had been physically harmed. The only reasoning they offer is a sudden onset of intense depression, almost as though they could no longer find the will to defend what they had.