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Bhaluin

Little is known of Bhaluin even by the Sempharans who live along the coasts of Brightstar Lake. It is not that adventurers never return from the ancient ruins; they almost always do— dead, adrift in strange little hide boats. Those that do come back alive only add to the confusion. Their stories are eagerly grabbed up by the curious populace and quickly garbled beyond all recognition. Some adventurers have come back rich beyond imagining: others have returned with no more than what they started with. Most return dead.

Bhaulin can only be approached by boat or air, since it is built on a large island about 10 miles out in Brightstar Lake, or the Gbor Nor. The city fills the northern end of the island, the houses built in terraces down the rough slopes of the shore. The ruins extend into the water and below, giving the place the name the Drowned City. Marine lizards bask themselves in the sun at the water’s edge.

It is believed Bhaulin was built in the ages of the great Raurin empires, over four thousand years ago. The building style of these ruins is similar to others found in the heart of the Raurin Desert, particularly the ruins of Raudor. Older than Mulhorand, these empires are thought to have also been more powerful than decadent Mulhorand in strange magics and lost arts. Some say powerful wizards kept the desert sands of Raurin at bay. Others claim equally powerful wizards destroyed these empires and transformed the lush Raurin plain to desert.

Although ancient, the ruins of Bhaulin are well preserved. Most of the buildings are stone or brick that have out-lasted the centuries. Only a few have roofs since the wooden beams have long since crumbled away. The narrow streets are often choked with sections of collapsed wall. At the center of the ruins, on the highest part of the city, are seven minarets of swirling rose-colored stone. Strange wails are heard from these towers, thought to be created by the wind whistling through the finely pierced windows. Because of the bodies found drifting in the leather boats, it is certain someone or something lives in Bhaulin. No one, however, has ever communicated or traded with inhabitants of the island and by normal standards it is deserted.

Some returning adventurers have told of battling manlike things in tattered and dirty red robes.Whether these were men or beasts, living or dead, is not clear. The robed figures did seem to be some sort of cult.

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