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Oewflin Vanishing Bridge (OH-flinn)

The Oewflin Vanishing Bridge is a natural formation in the deep north of Sanoris. It is made of several large chunks of floatstone, which cause it to rythmically rise and fall above and below the icy waters of Lake Oewflin.

Shifting Stepping Stones

While it is called a singular "bridge", the Vanishing Bridge is actually a chain of several large floatstone boulders that lead to a small island at the lake's center. Fifteen of these boulders make up the bulk of the bridge, not counting the many other smaller chunks of rock that accompany them. When the bridge is fully visible, the surfaces of the stones sit about six inches above the water. They are smooth, flat, and black, with marbled reddish markings that glitter in the weak Sanori sunlight.

Stepping on the bridge causes the stones to sink slightly into the water. The amount of weight they are able to support varies depending on their size, but the fifteen primary stones can handle upwards of 250 pounds before they duck below the surface. The bridge sways and bobs with the movement of the water and any being that crosses it.

There One Moment, Gone the Next

The Vanishing Bridge reacts to solar Aura. This schedules its appearances and disappearances with the movements of the suns.

The bridge remains completely hidden during the long, dark winter. It only just begins to appear near mid to late spring, when there is sunlight for at least 8 hours a day. Over the course of the summer, the amount of time the bridge is present each day and the height it has above the water steadily increase. It is present for its longest durations during the middle of the bright summer, where it only just barely dips below the surface for a brief night before being raised again by noonday.

Besides making the Vanishing Bridge vanish, the floatstones also keep the bridge together. The stones' individual Aura fields pull at each other, keeping them from floating away into the lake and helping them lift each other above the water every day.

Just Out of Reach of Darkness

Most floatstones that find themselves below the surface of water will remain there forever, as Aura cannot move through water very well. The Vanishing Bridge manages to avoid this problem due to two factors: the depth and clarity of Lake Oewlin.

Lake Oewlin is cold and quiet. Though its waters sometimes appear as black as ink, they are not especially deep. Its deepest point reaches to about 18 feet, but the average depth of the entire lake is only about 10. Thanks to the lake's eerie stillness, the water is also quite clear. These factors combined allow just enough Aura to seep through the waters and awaken the bridge every summer.

A Path and an Omen

Animals and people use the bridge to access the island at the center of the lake. Since the bridge is only visible for a few hours a day, though, it is easy to find oneself trapped on the island once the suns disappear. Cloudy days or bad weather can also cause the bridge to prematurely vanish.

The bridge can also be used to estimate the seasons. Measuring the bridge's height above the water at its peak can testify to how much longer summer will last. Spotting the bridge just under the surface one cold afternoon is an omen of warmer weather soon approaching.

The bridge is viewed as a mythical object to the people that use it. Some believe that the island it leads to is a portal to a spirit world, or is completely suspended in time. Others believe that the bridge only allows lighthearted or goodly people to cross it, and will dump those whose hearts are too heavy with evil into the freezing waters. Still others don't believe the bridge is natural at all, and was instead crafted by a lost society, the gods, or even aliens.

"I knew he was no good, but my daughter wouldn't believe me. I made him cross the bridge. He was almost across when that bridge sensed his filthy soul and sucked him right into the water. I ran out to grab him, but by the time I dragged him out..."
— Oewflin Villager

No matter what story one believes, the bridge does not change. It appears and disappears with the seasons, every season, no matter who crosses it. It is the heartbeat of the lake, and it won't stop until the suns stop rising.

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Cover image: SanZera world cover by Aster Blackwell


Author's Notes

The words of this article are finished, but I'd love to draw up some imagery sometime.

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