In a lost land, that only dreams have known,
Where flaming suns walk naked and alone;
Among horizons bright as molten brass,
And glowing heavens like furnaces of glass,
It rears with dome and tower manifold,
Rich as a dawn of amarant and gold,
Or gorgeous as the Phoenix, born of fire,
And soaring from an opalescent pyre
Sheer to the zenith. Like some anademe
Of Titan jewels turned to flame and dream
The city crowns the far horizon-light
Over the flowered meads of damassin ....
A desert isle of madreperl ! wherein
The thurifer and opal-fruited palm
And heaven-thronging minarets becalm
The seas of azure wind....
(Note: These lines were remembered out of a dream, and are given verbatim.)
The City in the Desert (1922)
- A family of six refugees is traveling away from Hule fleeing from the dangerous army that they've found themselves in the cross hairs of, they are willing to trade food and water for information for a safe oasis on the trail ahead. They have with them an aunt who appears to be an a semi attractive woman of forty years, she is not what she appears to be at all and is in fact a half ghoul black wizard who has brain washed this family into being her cover. She is a sixth level black wizard and at night fall takes on all of the abilities of a ghoul including the paralysing touch. Zara is very dangerous and will sacrifice any of the family members to achieve her goals of leaving the country for a safe haven. She is armed with a +1 dagger and a mean streak a mile wide.
- A wandering peddler with camel and trade wares is entering Hule in an effort to see his brother in law for supplies, he carries 1d8 minor trade items with him and charges three times normal price for his items. But he makes superior adventuring and camping supplies. He is actually a spy though on a mission for the Republic and may confide in fellow adventurers if they let their guard down. He is cagey and quick with his words and has a charm spell scroll with three spells on it.
- A wandering priest who is seeking shrine in Hule, he is very nice and offers healing services to fellow travelers. Actually he's a part of the Hule clerical secret police and will rat on any adventurers he gets a chance to. He will also poison those who are too strong to be easily taken out. He is actually a 5th level assassin who has extensive first aid knowledge. He carries no real weapons but is very good with a straggling cord and his bare hands.
- A fellow traveler is seeking help from anyone who might aid her, she is fleeing Hule and in need of assistance to reach the border passes. She is actually a princess whose family has fallen out of favor with the Master and the clerics of Hule. She really is fleeing for her life and there are clerically paid assassins on her trail. Her handmaiden was lost twenty miles up the trail and the assassins are hot on her heels. She has 100 gold pieces to use as a bribe.
- A pair of spies of from Hule are disguised as fellow travelers and are gathering information on those who travel the trails and are actually 5th level fighters with short swords and slings. They travel on camel back and are very helpful, cheerful, and inquisitive. They will also inform any patrols of the Master's army of any suspicious activity on the trails. They have 200 gold pieces that they've taken from others on the trails.
- A lone old peddler who travels with his donkey and a plays a weird stringed instrument. Zrabab' the wanderer' is a peddler and bard of sixth level who ministers to several minor thieves guilds along the trails and undermines the theocracy of Hule in subtle ways such as giving wine to the theocracy guards on the outskirts of the border and helping those in need with minor issues of the road. He also is a well loved but underestimated fellow who is beloved by the peoples of Hule. A salt of the earth type of bard, he quick with a story or tale and a slim dagger hidden in his instrument. He will help adventurers if its advantageous to him.