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Thursday, 22 April 2010

The archetypal lost city

The original Chorazin was a splendid oasis in the heart of the Akali Desert, its people impregnable from attack by reason of the leagues of scalding black sand that surrounded them. Pipes deep beneath the desert brought water from the Delenda Mountains to fill the city's cisterns. But Chorazin was destroyed when a meteorite laid a pall of poisonous iridium across the mountains, polluting the water so that the inhabitants became mad and fled into the desert.

Now there are two Chorazins. One is the half-buried ruin where bands of eremen(desert folk) make their lair. The scholar Zaverchand has speculated that it may be in imitation of the crested helmets of the ancient murals that the male eremen's dorsal fins have grown so exuberently large. The other Chorazin is a twin of the original, cut off in its own pocket dimension at the time it was abandoned. This Chorazin is the destination of wizards seeking a place to meditate and expand their arcane knowledge.

The Akali Desert itself is an unwelcoming region whose jet black sand forms huge rolling dunes. Tors and crags of blinding white stone stand above the desert, blasted by the wind into baroque shapes. Who knows what ruins lies buried under the sand, or what creatures dwell in the interior of the desert? No explorer has ever gone there and returned to tell of it.

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