As the savannas move north the soil becomes more and more dusty. The grasses thin and the trees disappear. The dust soon piles ankle deep, sinking deeper and deeper until it becomes a giant, desolate sea of loose and blowing silt.
The reasons for the seas creation are a mystery. Some believe that it was the past battleground of some ancient battle between mighty Warrior-mages or armies. Others say that it is the ancient bed of a giant inland sea, cursed by the folly of a young god. For whatever reason, the waters drained from the sea leaving a giant open hole. Loose dust blew into the whole from the deserts to the north, slowly filling the dry seabed with loose, thin dust. Today, the Silts are almost ten fathoms deep in some places and the wind blows the dunes across the surface like waves.
Although desolate, the Silts are far from lifeless, zelplins and firedrakes coast on the rising heat, land kra plough through the shifting earth to devour travellers and winged creatures foolish enough to alight on the sands. The eerie beauty of the strange Siltgliders and their offspring, the alien and powerful Kinara combine with the strange landscape make this land the most alien on the continent.
The land presents dangers to the unwary. Dust storms are common as the
fine grains are picked up by the slightest breeze. Travel must be done
only on specially constructed duneships called siltrunners or on siltglider
sleds, for anyone who steps unaided onto the silts sinks slowly downward.
Swimming in the dust is impossible as it clogs the lungs and weights down
a person to quickly for them to gain purchase. Only a few brave caravans
or desperate mining platforms cross the silts for there is no water and
the environment is not hospitable for human life.
Only few creatures can live in the choking silt. Even the subterranean land kra must come regularly to the surface to breath and empty their gills and lungs of the silt that collects there. The plumes of silt caused by their bellows can be seen across the horizon. Siltgliders skate across the surface of the dunes, propelled by the winds and their massive fin sails. Their young, the elusive Kinara, is the only creature known to live perminatly below the dunes. Known shapechangers, their natural form is four foot long with a snake-like body and a featureless human head. Their skin is an iridescent blue. The Kinara are intelligent but possess no skills, no language or culture. All their needs are taken care of by their powerful magic that they weld to protect and feed them selves. Yet the Kinara enjoy companionship and news of the outside world often stopping travellers to talk or sometimes even wandering for a few years in the outside world using their talents of illusion and communications to disguise themselves.
The Kinara are born from the giant sandgliders. The begin as small, one foot creatures that sink into the silts and come to rest on the solid basin leagues below the silt. There, safe from predators they feed on the wastes and refuse that sinks into the silt. They grow steadily for a hundred years until they develop large enough to fully understand and weld their inherant magical powers.
They then rise to the upper layers of the silt where they follow and
protect their unintelligent sandglider parents. They remain in this
stage for over two hundred years, growing stronger and more powerful until
they begin to take on a bright red glow. Then one day they sink back into
the silt, weaving a cocoon of solid magic as they descend. By the time
they reach the bottom, they have entered a stage of hibernation that will
last for twenty years as they feed off their stored magic. When they emerge,
two years later, they will have developed into full grown sandgliders.
The sandgliders, unable to survive under the immense pressure and airlessness
of the bottom, expend the last of their remaining energy and strength into
rising as quickly to the surface. As they break into the light of the suns
and shoot for almost one hundred feet straight into the air they demolish
anything in their path. Siltships, entire caravans and even mining platforms
have been utterly destroyed by one of these erupting juggernauts.
The newly hatched sandglider then begins a live of coasting across the
dunes to find mates and begin the process all over again. As sandgliders
they retain only very little of their former power and what does remain
lies only in an instinctual power of levitation that allows them to sail
above the dust.
Their Place in the Empire
The Kinara are not seen as intelligent to most inhabitants of Parthenthius. They are prized for use as a source of raw, magical power and the Parthenians expend a great deal of time and manpower to capture them. Teams of five Endazi are tied by long ropes to a platform and kicked into the silts. They must find a Kinara worm, capture and subdue it without killing or seriously harming it before they are allowed back onto the platform. Those teams that fail are cut free of the platform and left to drown in the dust.
The captured Kinara are then placed into status and shipped north where they can be turned by the Jinn into powerful magical staves, wands and artifacts. The Malthan are especially coveting of these devises and pay exorbanant amounts for the items.
Even more valuable are the cocoons woven by the Kinara before their metamorphosis into sandgliders. The Jinn know a secret ritual that allows them to kill the Kinara inside yet preserve the shell. That shell is pure magic and its uses to a mage are countless. Yet not even the Endazi can travel that far below the silt and it is extremely rare for a cocoon to come close to the surface. Even if a platform finds a cocoon they must be very careful because for unknown reasons when such an even happens the cocoons are usually very close to hatching. If the cocoon hatches before the sandglider is killed then they emerge forth and instinctually expend all of their remaining power, yet with no need to push itself to the surface the power is unleashed unrestrained and the resulting explosion destroys vast tracts of land, leveling all structures and creatures for almost a mile.
Sandgliders themselves are no longer intelligent and are captured and used to pull the sandglider sleds that pull most of the caravans that cross the Whitebone.
The Sanctum Alcedon
Shigata Ga Nai High