Let us sing now of adventurers
Forthright and bold in verse
As a second great journey they start!

We head now to the dwarven king’s halls
Mines deep and spoils rich in those walls
As our heroes with empty purses enter!

Gem and coin they did need
Afore the planting of seed
But the mines they were full up with monsters!

O’er a lake they would slosh
To reach mountains of dosh
But a cthulhu lurked deep down within it!

Our heroes soon realized
As they fought for their lives
That the monsters were eating the treasure!

The longer they did wait
And their fury abate
The less spoils there were for the banker!

To make bad matters worse
The dwarf mines were cursed
With severe tectonic instability!

As the monsters did feast
Leaving heroes with least
The dwarf-cave did threaten a cave-in!

As all hope was lost
And regardless of cost
The heroes’ mage stepped forward with grim purpose!

He gave up his life
In an orgy of strife
That his friends could escape from the maelstrom!

As they fled the great blast
They seized jewels at the last
And erupted from the mines with a pittance!

Their good friend had now gone
With brain over brawn
And left them just enough richer!

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The king’s life it did wane
Our nation’s heart cut in twain
When three heroes did venture to cure him!

There was a cure they did say
With a witch it did lay
And they struck through the mists to find it!

Their search took them three days
Across the most dangerous of ways
‘Til from mists the witch rose before them!

The crone she did speak
Of an herb they might seek
In a tower that by monsters was guarded!

As our heroes set out
With fey monsters to rout
An unearthly scream they witnessed!

The great tower had sprung forth
In the forests to the north
And monsters issued forth to fight them!

Our heroes did fight
For far more than their lives
To keep king and castle preserved!

After battles most grim
They had forced their way in
And the tower yielded up its treasure!

An herb they did take
And a potion did make
The king’s life was saved by imbibing!

With the mist-ery solved
And the king’s sins absolved
A tower-ing achievement it was!

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This is from the recollections of Le Aauin, explorer of the dreamscape, as transcribed by Ad Dakhla beneath the gaze of perfect, immortal Vloles set upon the Dreaming Moon.

Most fortune seekers head south from the Black City of Korton, seeking the Silver Sea, and thence the Dead River and the hoped-for path to the Dreaming Moon. I eventually turned my sights south, as well, but there is far more to the dreamlands than that. Another theory holds that the true answer to the nature of the dreamlands, of Vloles, and of life eternal, lies northwards.

I won’t go into the journey that lies ahead for those who are willing to set off from Korton and cross the plains of Laïs beneath the deadly light of Køs the Cruel Star. But at its end lies the city of Insbara, which exists almost entirely to support those who enter its labyrinth. Ask anyone in the city about it, and they will tell you–while trying to sell you food, shelter, and supplies–that the center of the labyrinth contains the word of Vloles, carved in a steady hand.

Who needs to reach the Dreaming Moon to uncover the truth, when it has been written down so carefully for them?

The labyrinth is dark, featureless, onyx. I explored only its uppermost chambers out of curiosity, and soon found it to be a profoundly deadening place. Cut off from light, from all but the loudest noise, and the little details which attend life on the surface, and you slowly find yourself going mad. The non-euclidean contours of the place are the shadows of madness. Nothing, from singing songs to making maps, lessens this feeling of alienation. When it became too much, I left.

The citizens of Insbara received me graciously, and informed me that I had been gone a week.

The labyrinth is a fate worse than death: the further you go, the slower time moves for you. There are explorers down there, still eating the food they bought from dead men centuries ago, still winding their way to the center of that cursed place. Seven lifetimes or more of that misery that I felt for just a few short hours–or weeks–is not something I would wish on the most evil being in all creation. Perhaps perfect, immortal, inscrutable Vloles finds it amusing–the answers are there, writ in crystal eternal, but forever out of reach

I asked an Insbaran what they thought awaited at the center of the labyrinth. “A circle of men,” they said, “hundreds if not thousands strong, frozen in time like fish in a winter river, damned not only to never reach their prize, but never to even see it, for they will be blocked by the bodies of others who have failed before them.”

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