As night falls, the eldest among the Ouzguin Dremorix gather around the banked fires that serve the kilns of their art, and there, standing close by the ovens where their wondrous glass works are placed to slowly cool, they weave tales of the history of their people. Listen now, and hear the words of the elder…
Many a traveler has heard of the Sending of Axtrami; the wonder that haunts the desert wastes where once the City of the Spire stood! Some have even heard it in the distance, singing its melancholy songs, dancing brightly in the desert winds. A few brave souls have even dared to call to it, to look into its depths and learn its truths as it dances, flashing and sparkling in the morning light. But few remember how this wonder came to be; even fewer know the truth of what it is…
So gather close, friends, and hear the tale of lost Axtramiya Zuno, the City of the Glass Spire! For not all was lost, and not all was forgotten, on that day, so long ago, when they of the Shattered Orbs sought their revenge and the might of Axtrami stood revealed:
The Tale of the Spire
Many long years ago, the clans of the Bright People each made a gift of their finest, most brilliantly colored beads, their clearest mirrored glass, and their clearest bull’s-eye panes to ornament a wondrous spire, a miracle of light and color in tribute to Axtrami, god of light.
Many were the worshippers called across the sands of Farakan to the city of the spire, to worship before the bright majesty of Axtrami, in the scintillating light of his temple’s spire. Equally numerous were the travelers drawn from across the sea to the bright city, bringing their wares to its great bazaar.
For miles around Axtramiya Zuno, the City of the Spire, you could see the bright colors of the spire resplendent in the beams of the morning sun. The ships of the foreign merchants could see the spire towering high above the shores of the azure sea, its light dancing on the waves.
And many were those, condemned to live apart from Axtrami’s light, who hungered for the city’s bright wealth. So it was that the warlock Soromines came to attack Axtramiya Zuno. Driven by an evil lust for all the city held, this vile oathreaker came at the head of a legion of pirates and mercenaries, bringing death to the city of the Bright Ones.
Worse than that, even his depraved followers did not suspect what evil the sinister man intended, for he sought not only the wealth of the city of the Spire, but the very souls of its people, to be seized as thralls to his wicked schemes.
Not least among his deluded followers was a large number of the desperate men known as the Sect of the Shattered Orb. Outcasts, angry and coldhearted, they yearned to bring death and suffering to the city of the Bright People and avenge themselves against the people that had cast them out.
Well did these outcasts know the ways of the land that had rejected them; well did they know of the Quilano, the High Holy Day when the devotees of Axtrami would gather in solemn prayer at dawn. They suggested an evil plan to their vile master: They would attack the city while all the devout were gathered at the temple in worship.
As dawn’s first clear light struck the gleaming tower, the slender dragon ships of the reavers swept into the harbor. They met little resistance, for no man suspected that they were to be attacked on that day. Men, women and children were slain, falling beneath the blades of the reavers and the fires that they started wherever they went. They swept into the crowded courtyard of the holy temple of Axtrami and began their foul slaughter there, even in the sacred precincts of Axtrami’s holy place.
As the reavers swept through the city, killing and burning, their fell leader was already at work on an unholy invocation beyond any that man should contemplate: A curse binding the souls of all that fell, that none should go on to their reward, that none should see the mirrors of their deeds as the god Axtrami had decreed. As the blasphemous words rose into the air, a foul wind sprang up, filled with the murmuring of dark spirits. Stormclouds rushed toward the city, contrary winds moving and whirling against each other. His spell complete, the souls of all in the city were bound, trapped by his baleful, inhuman magics.
Realizing their doom too late, the embattled worshippers of Axtrami were simultaneously calling for the Bright Lord to save his followers. Their song reached toward the heavens, beseeching Axtrami to see their plight and send his aid. The god’s voice called out as his staff struck down over and over through the city. The renegades and murderers that ran through the streets had forgotten one thing: Axtrami is also the god who speaks in the storm’s fury. His voice continued to crash around them as his staff smote the godless raiders in the midst of their evil deeds.
The wind’s voice rose higher and higher, howling around the complex patterns that covered the towering spire of the temple and then, flashing and glowing in the burning light of Axtrami’s staff, the tower shattered into a thousand thousand fiery motes, scintillating in all colors of the rainbow. The wind swept together the bright beads, the gleaming mirrors, the flashing panes of glass. All over the city, the spirits of the fallen felt their Ouzala Hemisa, the orbs of their lives, pulled up into the whirling vortex and their souls were freed to go with the orbs.
The sending’s winds pulled into it every cherished glass bauble, every flawless glazed window, every intricate bead, all the glass in the city as it became the whirling guardian of all the hopes and dreams, all the love and care of a noble people. Lent the power of a righteous god, the sending called out with the sad song of the desert winds and hurled itself at the invaders.
The reavers fled through the streets, but none could outrun the flashing edges and glittering fragments that filled the storm’s fury. Their screams were drowned out in the tragic song of the avenging wind.
In the harbor, some few reavers saw the brilliant column of their doom rising up into the sky, a tower of dancing light to humble any spire built by the hands of men. Bright and terrible, it leaped down upon them, flaying flesh from bone, shredding through sails and crushing ships. In mere seconds, nothing remained in the harbor but bloody foam on the wind-tossed waves.
And so the bright city fell and was avenged. The Bright People that survived chose not to rebuild the City of the Spire; to this day, the bare, sand scoured stones of the city remain, empty and abandoned.
Nonetheless, sometimes those who travel the wastes see a flashing column of brilliant lights sparkling in the morning’s light. Diminished now, no longer swollen with the power Axtrami gave it on the day of its wrath, it still haunts the desert, softly singing songs of hope and sacrifice, protecting the people of the wastes should foreign invaders come once more to their lands.