north of the valley: (A) / (B) / (C)
     mountain pass, time of Morphius (A) / (B) / (high) / (art)
     mountain pass, after Morphius
     mountain pass sign (art)
     panarama view from lighthouse (art1) / (art2)

     Northern River & Frozen River Terran Map


The Valley of the Sparrows, located in the Desert River Province was home of the villages of Shanbar and Bel Naire. Large mountain ranges are barriers between the valley and massive deserts: the dwarven mountains divide from the Omai Desert at the northeastern end, while at the western end, other peaks separate from the Wutzfũr Desert. The Northern River flows southward through the valley's meridian, passes through the Raging Rapids, is joined by a lake, and empties into the Great Misty Sea. The Dwarven Mines, one of the first to discover illuymnite, were tunnelled out in the early 1600s and catacombed through the northeastern mountains. It was on the other side of these mountains where an Ancient Shrine to the Muses was constructed in 966, overlooked in the Great Diffusion, and left virtually unknown until 1647. The ruins of the ancient city of Kivolli are still found within the bowels of a hollowed out mountain (the summit of which collapsed before 945) at the northwestern edge of the valley, stacked upon subterranean cliffs at the base of the ruins of the underground Temple of Agrippa.

The subterranean landscape beneath the valley is quite extensive, with caverns so massive as to contain lakes, rivers, forests, swamps, and even entire mountain ranges. Locations of interest include the Forest of the Spirits, Themthar Hills, Creeping Bogs, Frozen River, Whispering Woods, Whispering Lake, Ferryman's Isle, Cliffs of Depression, and the Vulture Pits.

After the First Great Diffusion of 1247 GUE, the evil magic that had been scattered into the atmosphere and carried by the winds gradually settled into tiny specks over the landscape. They were especially congregated in the Valley of the Sparrows where they were absorbed into the soil and every living thing. Over the next four hundred years, plants and crops flourished, cows got fatter, people began to resettle in the valley, and peace settled throughout the land.

In the 1600s, the village of Bel Naire, home of the great temple, grew and became almost as populat as East and West Shanbar. Pugney’s Ranch raised strong and healthy cattle that provided enough meat and leather products for the entire valley. Snoot's Farm grew the most fabulous vegetables and grain imaginable. Anything seemed to grow well in the valley and there seemed to be no restrictions on what types of things could be grown there. Everything seemed to be perfect. But it wasn’t.

Over the years the evil magic had seeped down into the soil. Deep in the ground, the tiny specks of evil dust began to shift and move. The particles percolated down through the soil, and formed veils, much like gold veins. When they pushed their way into certain rock formations, they produced light. One of these new materials would be called illumynite, while the other, which could be made translucent, would be called translumynite. Both of these geological formations continued to attract the scattered evil magic. This fusion was not felt above ground in the valley, but underground. Throughout the hallways and mazes of the old, forgotten Empire, the effect was monumental.

At the same time, another miracle was happening; a particularly dense cluster of saturated illumynite had developed some unusual characteristics and started to behave like a magnet, drawing more particles and absorbing the energy from them, more and more day by day. The cluster grew…pulsated. It began to emit strange sounds and energies. This evil force, which later gave itself the name of Morphius, was unearthed by Feebo in the 1620s.

In the 1640s, the effects of Morphius permeated across the entire valley. The buildings began to vanish and be relocated to the Great Underground Empire. East Shanbar eventually totally disappeared while West Shanbar was appeared further south. The original lighthouse became no more than ruins, and Bel Naire village turned into a ghost town in a matter of months. The Northern River was infested with piranhas (see 'Piranha Run'). The crops began to fail and the cattle weakened. Even the people who stayed became overweight or skinny and seemed to lose their spirit. A curse settled in various patches across the valley; one such region was the Road to the South. All who ventured into the region between the lighthouse and West Shanbar instantly perished.

Matters only got worse with the introduction of Morphius' flocks of vultures. These vultures plagued the skies, carrying off many who dared to stay behind in the valley. By 1647 GUE, the Valley of the Sparrows was renamed the Valley of the Vultures.

After the defeat of Morphius in the same year, and the scattering of evil magic in the Second Great Diffusion, the vultures disappeared and all his evil curses were remitted. The Valley of the Sparrows regained its name. The ferility quickly returned and the population gradually returned to the valley, although now the both the surface and subterraneans regions of the valley were inhabited.