The Howling Gap

This break between the mountains of Teyla Shan and the Raurin Alta is the major trade passage between Semphar and the East. Passing through the gap is the Silk Road, running from Dhaztanar to Shou Lung. The land rises from the Semphar plain to the higher altitudes of the east, although the space here is too broad to be considered a pass.

No one is certain how the Howling Gap received its name. Three stories are commonly told. The first and most prosaic is that the gap is named for the numerous tribes of baboons found here. The creatures howl and bark when threatened, raising quite a din. The second story says the gap is named for the fierce winds that sometimes sweep east to west, pouring off the high desert plain. These winds, scorching in summer and bone-chilling in winter, raise huge dust storms that impede travel.

The third story is the most fanciful. Supposedly the gap is named for the howls of enraged djinn that roam the region. These elementals, barred from their own plane, were the work of the Manetho wizards who bound the creatures to guard the empire. Now, with the empire long since collapsed, these beasts still attempt to carry out the commands of their ancient masters.

Although this last is an unconfirmed tale, the Howling Gap has a history of danger and death. Every year some caravans disappear. Some are never heard from again while others reach shelter badly shattered, attacked by something in the winds. Several garrisons stationed in the gap have been destroyed. The current Phi has made no attempt to occupy this frontier. Bandits do not base here. Natives refuse to settle in the jaws of the gap, telling tales of bad omens, evil luck, and death.

The Howling Gap was one of the two main routes of advance used by Hubadai in his conquest of Semphar. Three tumens of horsemen seized the gap and advanced onto the Semphar plain. These tumens were not disturbed by evil spirits, but the Tuigan, being superstitious, did not leave any forces in the gap to garrison it. View

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