The Crystal pits of Kazrak
The twinned cities of Ka'z and Rak lie in the heart of the Great Mountains, one buried deep within the black volcanic rock, the other a city of marble and silver sprawling over a verdant valley. Though these cities are impressive in their own right, visitors to this subterranean kingdom often speak in awe of the cavern of Gr'dak that connects these two metropolises, and the great crystal pits that are found within. These pits stretch down, perfectly circular, burrowing deep into heart of the world, seemingly without end. It is this pitch blackness that throws into relief the coruscating brilliance of the crystals. The sides of these shafts are covered in crystals: amethyst, diamond, rhodochroite, sapphire and carnelian, each imbued with a dancing light that seems to originate from the source of the pit and dances on the cavern walls. The first settlers tried to mine the crystal for use in jewellery or their primitive clocks, however they found that as soon as the first crystals were removed the light vanished, flowing back to the bottom of the shaft. They range from between the size of a cart wheel to many meters across, and are often covered with iron grates to allow the light out and prevent unwary travellers from falling in. Though the bravest dwarves and men have sought to descend to the source of these enchanting lights, ropes fray and break on the jagged edges, and no chain has yet been wrought that can extend to such a depth. Those who dare to climb their way down often slip and fall, and the very few who extend beyond the range of sight are later heard, their screams echoing up from the Stygian blackness.
Purpose / Function
None have divined the purpose that the creators of the pits had, if indeed they were intentionally designed at all. However many scholars believe that they were purely decorative, a statement of the power and ingenuity of whatever race lived in these caverns before the arrival of the nomadic dwarven clans. Nowadays the pits that are still whole are used as constant light sources, whilst the darkened husks of their damaged counterparts are mined for the valuable resources within.
The pits are perfectly circular, cut into whatever rock dominates the cave structure in which it was found. The placement is seemingly random, some being found in rows along a carved vault like some inverted colonnade, others dotted around the great walkways and side caves. There is currently a fashion among merchants and shop owners to cap pits near their establishments with decorative iron covers, letting the lights illuminate scenes from history and legend. More affluent patrons utilise the skills of elvish lens makers to manipulate and contort the light, drawing in crowds to stare in wonder and awe.
Little is known about the history of these mythical artefacts, but the size of some of the crystal growths show that they are clearly of immense age.