Wanbarum Crater

It might look beautiful in its eerieness, but don't be fooled. That "paradise" is fuelled by broken glass and forgotten bodies, and a pretty flower ain't worth the risk.
— Superstitious Riyimunburi citizen
Wanbarum Crater, located entirely within the eastern Thurásin nation of Riyimunburi , is a large depression in the landscape. Despite how much territory within Riyimunburi it takes up, the area is very sparsely populated, owing to its mysterious origins and the many horror stories told about the shattered glass within.

Geography

In most respects, Wanbarum Crater resembles a large scale valley. In the west, the region ends in steep cliffs which lead directly into the Dividing Mountains, with these cliffs being less harsh the further east you go. In the southeastern corner is the smoothest entry to the valley, though these hills are still steeper than many expect them to be.   Once within the crater valley, visitors are greeted by a rather dry but nonetheless verdant landscape, with few large trees and many thick tangles of shrubbery and bushes. Small rainwater ponds and "lakes" are scattered throughout, though they turn to cracked mud during the dry summers and winters. Many small creatures such as foxes and badgers can be found throughout, scavenging berries and eating the wiry grass.

History and Mythology

Once an expanse of flowering fields in the foothills of the Dividing Mountains, Wanbarum Crater "appeared" during The Collision - an earth rending event which brought many elves and their landmarks through to Tiyu Amara. The reverse, it seems, was also true, as the fields vanished during the chaos and were replaced with the large valley people know today.   Nearby residents who explored the "crater" for the first time found it mostly barren of life of any kind. Strangely, they did find large quantities of colourful glass shards and rods of metal and wood which seem to have held large panes of it together. Investigating this further took a great deal of time, as the government of Riyimunburi focused on repairing damage elsewhere in the country and getting acquainted with the new elf populace.   When the crater was finally explored in greater detail, including an excavation at the site of one of the largest shard deposits, the explorers found a damaged glass tower encased in earth, complete with the trapped bodies of its long-dead inhabitants. Many more of these towers have been discovered throughout the area, all entirely filled with dirt and stone, as though buried in a landslide.   These macabre findings are regularly made more tragic by the spate of accidents that happen around the excavation of each tower. Sickness spreads among diggers, strange visions are experienced by those who explore within the ruins, and many a famed project leader has been "driven mad" by the secrets within. For this reason, many consider the crater incredibly dangerous and discourage living or even visiting the location, instead advising it be viewed from the safety of the clifftops. This has not stopped small scale habitation in the southeast, which has thus far not turned to tragedy.
I reckons you that them towers was reaching up to the heavens, see, and they was buried for hubris, eh? Divines ain't take kindly to prying mortal eyes, sees it as disrespect. 'Swhy it all happened, that whole collidey thing, to punish us!
— Deeply superstitious Riyimunburi woman
Alternative Name(s)
Valley of Broken Glass
Type
Crater / Crater Lake / Caldera
Owning Organisation
Riyimunburi

Glass Remains

Though many elves came to the continent of Thurásin through the Collision, none recognise the glass towers as belonging to their kind. The Shyanhol people, of the titular League, are the only ones whose ancient stories allude to such structures.   In their tellings, they speak a people far beyond the borders of their valley who were masters of fire and earth, and who used these talents to mould grand and delicate glass towers. These soon stretched high into the sky and reflected the light of The Divinities back down to the ground in a glittering rainbow glow.   Though their stories never name these elusive glassworkers, the Shyanhol have nevertheless given them a name in the modern day - the Rakhenkonhol, or people of the Bright Sun.
church glass windows
Sunlight Arch by kirkandmimi
Spirits yet roam the valley, souls splintered like the glass that became their tombs. They call out for help, but we cannot hear them. In anger they lash out, scarring earth and flesh alike.
That land is a graveyard. Grant it respect.
— Shyanhol elder
Stained Glass by K. Mitch Hodge

Origins

Unbeknownst to Thurásin, the city at the center of Wanbarum comes from the old elven kingdom of Nousetl Meyámii, inhabited by the Kailkoseltii elves. It was the city of Noinihal, and it was the great jewel of their kingdom. Though it was not the capital of the kingdom, it was one of the most populous cities, and famed among their neighbours for the beautiful rainbow lights that streamed down from the high towers.
The highest tower of Noinihal was last inhabited by the city's duchess, Zouchiisen. Under her reign, the city's glassworking factory reached its peak of productivity, and construction began on a new tower that would serve as the centerpiece of a new creative district. Its base was designed to look like a rose and decorated with innumerable stained glass windows, and was the only section ever completed before the Collision.


Cover image: Dusty Valley by T L

Comments

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Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
3 Jul, 2021 19:46

I love the idea of those towers! Full with bodies ad mysterious secrets...

To see what I am up to, my latest article is a choose-your-own-adventure story featuring a job interview to become one of the Dark Lord's evil minions :D
8 Jul, 2021 22:15

This is so creepy and moody and full of mystery. I love it. I also *really* love the opening quote.