Whistling Canyon

Whistling Canyon is an elvish trading post just north of the Clashlands. Being a people so devoted to travel, it is not much of a permanent settlement by the standards of the other races, but rather a place which can be temporarily inhabited and used as a cargo cache, meeting place for nomadic caravans and market for the more sessile races to come and find.


Whistling Canyon is a stunning and distinctive place, visually and aurally. It is built into a majestic series of wind-worn buttes and sweeping stone arches, weathered from ancient volcanic remnants known as the Flutes of Riwal. These rock formations are riddled with holes, natural and elf-made, which serve as resting places and storage space for overloaded caravans and flotillas. Additional room is supplied by the dome-shaped 'tortoise houses' made of baked mud - elvish architecture being a fairly crude and unpracticed art. Knotted ropes, carved hand-holds and wooden platforms provide paths up, around and between the different Flutes.

Both the settlement and the terrain get their names from the effect the wind, Riwal's breath has on the hollow structures. Whenever the air is not perfectly still, the Whistling Canyon sings, and can be heard for miles around. Haunting, rippling, natural music flows through every cave and magma tube, rising and falling with the breeze. Many caves have been carefully excavated to tune the song of the Flutes, making it sweeter-sounding to elven aesthetics.

Some of the stone pipes are home to colonies of bats; both insect-feeders and larger vampire bats that feed on animals in the nearby desert. They have become attuned to the whistling, and use it as part of their hunting behaviour.


The settlement's permanent population is so small it has no real political structure. Visiting caravans bring their own, for what little need there is of it. For the times when disputes arise between traders, there is a low dais of dry stone set up before the town's deepest well, under the shade of a silk pavilion; the Sokay'el. This serves as a bench from which wise priests, esteemed judges of mercantile law or neutral captains can weigh cases and mediate problems. Non-elven visitors and traders are expected to submit themselves to elven law should it come up, under penalty of forfeiture of goods and ostracism from elven trade networks in the future.

While Whistling Canyon does not have a government, it has a reasonable provision of guards. They are mercenaries under long-term, shared contract by a number of trade consortia, paid to keep the peace in the settlement, and more importantly protect the wares stored in the caves from thieves and scavenging animals.


Whistling Canyon's economy is based almost entirely around trade and servicing the caravans and flotillas that pass through. Merchants that do not wish to cross the Desert River on the coast at Port Cinnabar or upstream at the Rubyspan come through the settlement to make use of the nearby Osy'yan Ford, the best place to cross on foot or with wagons.

A few families make a permanent or semi-permanent residence here. Mostly pastoralists, they watch over herds of four-horned goats and flocks of strider-birds, making slow loops through the desert to graze on the sparse and hardy plants near the river, and they turn their animals into meat, hides and feathers for barter. Others are the guards and clerks employed by the companies, usually spending shifts of a few weeks or months at Whistling Canyon before returning to their duties protecting caravans on the trade routes. A few professionals such as da'janah shipwrights and sailmakers provide specialised services to those passing through.


Whistling Canyon's only great contribution to elven culture is the natural music of its structures. Priests who venerate Riwal and minstrels alike come from far across the Blasted North to listen in wonder, meditate in and be inspired by the zephyr song of the Flutes. They have been called a gift from the gods, a miracle of nature and a work of sorcery made solid by poets and artists. Besides this, the feather and leather bracelets and cloaks the locals make are occasionally of good taste and quality, but otherwise Whistling Canyon is defined by function more than form.

The trading consortia mark their storage caves with banners made from braids of three coloured ribbons. Learning which colours represent which consortium is a necessary survival skill here, as the guards will issue warnings and thrashings to those who trespass too close to areas claimed by companies they are unaffiliated with.


The Evenstar Coster, the Ko'Daiedis Flotilla, the Consortium of Westerwind & Gossamergold

The three consortia with the largest interests in Whistling Canyon between them control a significant fraction of trade in the lands around the Bay of Corsairs.

Company of the Condor

A group of orcish deserters, the Condors grew tired of fighting on the fringes of and for an empire that could barely supply them, They now sell their blades to merchants and isolated communities that don't enjoy the army's protection as regularly as they'd like, and are looking to muscle in on the contracts for guarding Whistling Canyon's ware-caves.

Characters of Note

Talein Val'Annyst, Mercenary Captain A fearsome, hawkish woman who has fought on many of the most bitter battlefields in the North and West and taken many scalps. Leader of the contingent of mercenaries that protect the caravan companies' interests in Whistling Canyon; the closest thing to an authority figure in the settlement.

Ceyleel Windsong, Caravanserai Keeper A failed priest of Riwal, Ceyleel is as carefree as the god he reveres. He is jovial and ambivalent about all the goings on in the town, treating his post as owner and keeper of the Prayer and Staff caravanserai as an opportunity to watch the comings and goings of those blown in on the winds.

Guluhn Baraqjad, Commander of the Condors Guluhn was the standard-bearer for his company, a prestigious regiment of border guards. Glory serving a thousand-mile-distant emperor held no interest to him, however, so he lead a revolt of like-minded troops, killed his commanding officer and set out to become a mercenary. They kept the standard and the military regalia, but gold proves a much more generous master than honour.