The Fabled City of Dar-Kesh Anam
In the scholarly settlement of Nellix Town, deep in the dark alleys of the community known as Dry leaves, a wanderer can find a signless establishment known by students and scholars as the Dross Shop. Depending upon whom one asks, the Dross Shop is either a museum or a chaotic collection of trash. The proprietor ( some say curator) of the Dross Shop is one Venal Lon-Verdagis (particulars uncertain), a gregarious. apparently human man with burgundy skin, a jaundiced left eye, and a wardrobe consisting of at least seven sets of identical deep green robes.
The interior of the Dross Shop is dominated by several oak tables, upon which arc situated a number of items, from empty buckets to rusted swords to librams containing words in languages never before seen in the Flanaess. Whether these items arc genuine treasure or the junk collection of a madman is anyone’s guess. For his part, the curator sits in a corner rocking chair, solemnly nodding to all who enter, inviting them to handle the items as he stands to explain their history.
Lon-Verdagis is something of a local mascot, and visitors to the Dross Shop can of ten find collections of students surrounding the curator as he walks from table to table, explaining fanciful histories of this or that item. No one knows for sure if the man speaks truth or lies he has a strange way of deflating difficult questions or criticisms by launching into some lengthy tale of ancient derriog-do. Many find the man insufferably insane, but those who appreciate his odd genius return to the Dross Shop again and again, supporting Venal Lon-Verdagis with donations of food and gold.
If a visitor returns often. Lon-Verdagis will whisper to him conspiratorially, leading him to a large table covered in cloth near the back corner of his shop. Here, he will lift the cloth to reveal a city in miniature, covered by an intricate glass dome. Though the tallest onion-domed spire reaches no higher than a foot, the detail of the sculpture is amazing. No fewer than four dozen buildings, some of them ruined, line the narrow streets of the miniature city. If one looks closely, tiny figures seem to move along those abandoned, sand-swept streets, a phenomenon the curator blames on the reflections of light upon the enclosing dome.
Venal Lon-Verdagis introduces the model as the Fabled City of Dar-Kesh Anam, the legendary birthplace of the saga hero Molaho Khem. In a time so ancient that history melds openly with fable, it is said that Dar-Kesh Anam was the location of the first union between man and dragon, the resting place of the Five-Fold Deity, and the final refuge of the Sisterhood of Balash-Kopeh. Those scholars who believe the city ever existed cannot agree upon its location. placing it either in the low lands of ancient !tar or in a vast mountain valley west of Mur.
The curator of the Dross Shop, however, will inform trusted visitors that neither is correct, and that the fabled city now and always has rested within a dome of glass. Further, for a small donation, he will twist a magic ring worn on his left hand, sending his visitors to the city, that they might tempt history themselves.