Torán's Creek is no more than a small river originating on the east side of the snow-covered heights of the Chalbern Peak, one of the prominent double summits of the Mithral Mountains in the province of Manthria in the United Kingdom of Santharia (Southern Sarvonia). It is known mainly for Norgerinth's Tomb, which it passes on its way down, and for its spectacular Falls, though these don't have the water volume and height of the nearby Ravenwing Falls. It joins the Rocky Moss Creek in Nepris not far away from the coast. It is not known, if the name "Torán" derives from an eagle roaming the Mithral Mountains, or if Torán's Creek is named after an adventuresome inhabitant of the former Phris, which is now part of Nepris.
|Image description. View on the impressive Torán's Falls near Nepris. Picture drawn by Nalfaren.|
The Origin. Torán's Creek doesn't have a defined
well or spring. A multitude of little rivulets, rills and runnels emerging from
the snow fields near the summits of the Chalbern Peak dart down the steep
granite slopes to the east of the mountain and join one after the other till
they form a considerable creek, rushing down a trench formed by massive rocks.
The Ridge and Tomb. The Creek reaches the ridge which protrudes from the mountain at about a height of hundred fifty peds above sea level, forming a small shelf about fifty peds broad and not much longer. Still channelled in a bed which was formed by its own water masses, it crosses the small shelf in a turbulent way. No one can cross it easily till its waters are almost tossing over the edge. Due to some stone formations in its path, it doesn't take the shortest way down on the southern, flatter slope of the ridge, but turns to the west to shoot over the brink of the abruptly ending rocks to fall gloriously down along a vertical cliff wall.
Not far away from the edge a wooden bridge spans over the white waters, a fragile, delicate building constructed out of thin tree trunks held together with leather strips. One support in the middle of the creek on a big boulder allows it to span more than ten peds. The permanent mist produced by the waters beneath make it a slippery path across the deadly abyss. To the south the path crossing the bridge leads past Norgerinth's Tomb, turns then east down the ridge till Nepris. To the north a steep track meets the path which leads up to the Crazy Woman Pass near the ruins of Karthmor.
From the bridge it is just a ten minutes' walk south to reach the entrance to Norgerinth's Tomb, a cave with mysteries and unsolved puzzles. Annils Norgerinth (236-212 b.S.) is said to be buried here, a local hero of the ancient Avennorians: He was a simple fisherman, who proved his courage in the last year of his young life when he organised and led a small force of fishermen to defend and hold the Crazy Woman Pass against an advance guard of the orcish army during the Third Sarvonian War till royal forces arrived.
The Falls. The Falls are of course the most
spectacular part of the creek. Just where the bridge crosses the brook its
channel widens till it is about eleven peds broad when tossing over the edge.
The fall's beauty lies in the way in which nature formed the riverbed. At the
edge a flat, broad, but thin slab of rock protrudes about a ped farther than
the underlying structures of a slightly different rock. This allows the
water to fall without hindrance for more
than a hundred and twenty peds. When the
water level drops in autumn, a jutting boulder rising from the middle of
this flat rock parts the waterfall into two separate ones.
Falling so smoothly over the edge, the water doesn't aerate much, not taking much air in. When looking at the falls from the right angle, one can nearly see the wall of rocks behind it, so clear and lucid it falls down. Therefore the falls was also nicknamed "Veil Falls" by the locals.
At the foot of the falls just about twenty peds before it would reach the ground, another strong slab of rock, this time about two peds thick, reaches out for about three peds forming a kind of rim. The upper side is slightly hollowed out to a basin by the always carving water, underneath it is supported by the underlying rock, but still being more prominent.
Only in the last twenty peds when darting over the rim of the basin, the water becomes more opaque, taking the white airy color familiar to us from other falls. However, this basin can only be seen, when the water coming down the mountain is running only sparsely, in spring or early summer it is hidden behind the water masses.
At the very foot of the falls the water masses tossing down have formed a deep pond along the ridge, about thirty peds broad and seventeen peds long. The water in the pond is constantly troubled and especially dangerous in spring, when in the mountains the snow has melted and the creek carries its largest amount of water. Then the falling white masses of water which transport stones of the size of half a ped or more with them show you the brutal force of nature. The noise is tremendous at this time; the air is full of drops and now and then you can see a rainbow in the spray - if you have the time to look at it.
However, this time doesn't last long and during summer the falls have a more moderate look. In autumn, as soon as the water gets scarce, they take on the nearly transparent look again.
At this time of the year one could imagine - if gifted with a good imagination - that there, near the foot of the falls is something behind the veil of water. Old people of Nepris insist on saying that after very dry summers an entrance to a hidden cave appears. Along the sides where the air is misty all the time grow climbers, ferns and mosses with long offshoots. In autumn with less water coming from above, it seems as if the greenery tries to embrace the falls, growing through it and around it.
The Pond. Relatively calm at the rim, the water in the pond gets whiter near the place where the waterfall tosses into it. There you can clearly see the dangers ; the swirls near the rim are hiding under the surface. The only part where the water seems to be not as violent as elsewhere is the north-western edge, where the wet white curtain of the falling water thins out. On the other side the pond overflows into the creek. Rumour has it, that in this pond one or two dangerous fish are living, but so far descriptions tell us not much more than that they are silvery, 'huge' or 'long' with 'sharp white teeth'! - What speaks against these "dangerous fish" are the Watersprogs which enjoy here the sparkling water and the turbulences caused by the waterfall.
The Wild Meadow. The falls, miraculous as they are, lie in equally beautiful surrounding. They can be experienced best when coming out of the dim, cool, quiet baych tree grove nearby. Then one steps into a wild meadow with high grasses and lovely flower. The meadow surrounds the pond and allows a spectacular sight of the falls thundering into the small lake. The falls add a bass note to the higher humming tune of the insects. The mist produces different rainbows on sunny days. Behind them the Chalbern Peaks are towering. A few kingells might fly over and take a rest at the rim of the nearby creek. The meadow stretches in every direction, framed by forest or the ridge. It is truly a marvellous place.
The long, uncut grasses growing here are tall; the longest stalks of the alth'ho reach up to your elbows. In between you can find blue bell-like flowers and a taller version of the lotann flower, with a lot of smaller blooms. The umbels of the hemlock are swinging in the light breeze and the pink flower which children call 'toothbrush' grows in patches where it seems wetter. Numerous other smaller flowers are hidden in the grasses, visited by the busy malise and other insects.
Where the rim bends away from the falls to the north a big patch of a rarely-seen climbing vine can be found, the false heart. It covers the entire height of the rocky wall from bottom to top, and continues to grow even farther along the shelf until it reaches the bank of the creek.
The Bay with Baveras' Shrine. The water emerges from the pond to the south, but after a few peds it turns from south to west, guided by the curve of the ridge it forms a slight bow. Some mighty boulders, however, divide the waters so that part are directed to the north forming a peninsula and a lovely small bay.
Along the western shore of the bay, a sand bank has formed mostly consisting of pebbles and some sandy parts where the water current has transported the finer particles. But some bigger boulders can be found as well, reminding one that such a lovely little river can summon up enough force to transport them. But there is found much more than just sand and stones. Huge trunks testify that in the spring the lovely creek turns to a torrential stream which is capable of transporting whole trees - and what ever else happens to fall into it. Their voyage has ended on the shallow sand. Now they are weathering in the rain and sun of the following summer, scattered over the whole sand bank, sometimes piled up into strange 'castles', as the Nepris children call this driftwood. The wood's colour is of a silvery-grey to a bleached-out white, resembling the skulls and bones of dead animals. Though some plants try to settle here, it looks strangely like a dead landscape, especially compared to the vivid area around.
In contrast to the barren-looking sand bank the lovely little bay is full of life, though peaceful at the same time. It is framed by the styruine baych trees on the northern rim of the bay which stand in contrast to the wall of the dark green pinetrees on the other side covering the ridge.
When the water reflects the blue of a cloudless sky, it is dotted by the little blooms of the waterstar which grows here in vast quantities. Its little white star-like blooms are sitting just over the water surface; they seem to praise the Injčrá with their little white heads all turning in the sun's direction.
If you look closely you can see beneath the water surface shoals of little silvery fish swimming in the underwater green shaded by the waterstar's flat, floating leaves. The light is very bright then, as it is reflected by the water; you merely see the thousands of little insects humming over the water surface, food for the birds chasing them. The water seems calm here, as if Torin's Creek needs a rest before again rushing down to its destiny, the Adanian Sea.
Picture description: Sketch of the Baveras Shrine as found recently in the depths of the New-Santhalian library. Picture drawn by Talia Sturmwind.
In the middle of the bay a little circular building stands in the
water, which flows calmly around it, a
Baveras' Shrine. Six light grey
stone walls, all of the same length and height of about three peds, are built
within a circle. They seem to grow directly out of the
water like a strange plant. Each wall has
in its middle an opening with a pointed arch, dividing the wall into three
equal parts. The outer walls have a fine, but not reflecting surface, more
rough than smooth. The inner, polished walls show filaments of silver and blue
as if an artist had shown his skill with inlays of mithril and others valuable
minerals. The underwater floor consists of the pebbles found in the little
river, but laid in a mosaic, using pebbles, of different colour and size,
mainly white and grey with a few black and very few red ones. If the
water is clear, you can see that they
form the bloom of a waterstar, a
symbol of the Goddess of the Sea, Baveras.
The biggest attraction of the bay however are the rivermaids who enjoy the fresh fast streaming water and the abundance of fish and waterstar in the bay. They often use the little Baveras shrine or the underwater steps outside the shrine to rest and do their grooming, but are seen jumping elegantly on the big bolders at the entrance of the creek in the bay as well. This is really a place were they can be easily observed!
The Baych Tree Grove. The falls are facing the sea in the west, but they can hardly be seen, because a magnificent forest of old baych trees are blocking the sight.
It is one of the oldest parts of the forest on this side of the Mithral Mountains which stretches along the creek where it forms the bay. In the memory of the villagers of Nepris, this grove of baych trees has always existed. The grey boles stand tall, mighty, but nevertheless slender. Only on the rim of this bosk have smaller trees enough light to grow. High above a canopy of pale styruine-green leaves allows a little sunlight to penetrate and to send single rays of light to the ground. The incessant breeze coming from the Adanian Sea however brings movement to the leaves and so the rays of light flicker and dance across the floor of these natural halls and flit over the moss-covered boulders. Some of these boulders have a height of two peds, but most are small enough to sit on. The whole ground is covered with a thick layer of silken moss, as are the stones, large and small. Its furry character gives you the impression that the ground is laid out with a carpet. Here and there patches of a luminescent moss are growing in darker areas under boulders and thick roots. This is the last detail to give you the feeling of being transferred into another world; it is silent in here, all noise and stress seem to vanish into the soft moss.
The most impressive part of the baych tree grove is however the natural ally leading from the main path to Baveras' Shrine. Though one is still under the same trees as on the main path, one has now the feeling of being in a sacred building. It is even quieter than before and all the senses are working more clearly than ever. The light, though dim, is of a brilliant quality, the air clean, give the impression of breathing in life itself.
The trees stand fairly wide apart to form a huge alley, but the path under the feet is very small now - there is just enough space to set a foot. Here a light silvery grey moss covers the ground, growing like a thick carpet. Its delicate finger-long strands reflect the light in a prismatic sparkle. It must be a marvellous view at night when the moss mirrors the light of the stars...
The grey tall boles of the baych trees seem to be the pillars of a cathedral. And in the near distance, the Baveras' Shrine can be seen in the midst of always-sparkling water.
Nepris. Soon after the bay has narrowed and the creek is a mere river again, a bridge leads over it, the path from Nepris to Norgerinth's Tomb crossing it.
After the bridge the little river tosses for about thirty peds over some boulders, then, leaving the trees behind, it calms down and flows through meadows till it reaches the fishing village Nepris. In Nepris it joins the Rocky Moss Creek, coming down from the Ravenwing Falls and soon after less than hundred peds later it pours its waters into the Adanian Sea.
Location. Torán's Creek originates high in the snow fields of the Chalbern Peak, a double summit of the Mithral Mountain range (province Manthria, Kingdom of Santharia on the Southern Sarvonian continent). It joins the Rocky Moss creek in the little fishing village of Nepris, its waters running after a path of about 2 strals into the Adanian Sea. The famous Ravenwing Falls are not far away, about 10 strals to the south. The falls itself are not too well seen from the sea due to the surrounding forests and frequent heavy mist; only the upper part is visible on clear days. The next major settlement is to the south - the village of Kolbruk.
|Picture description. The location of the fishing village of Nepris and Torán'S Creek close to the Adanian Sea at the east coast of the Santharian Kingdom. Nepris lies near the Mithral Mountains to the west, the domain of the Mitharim dwarves. Maps drawn by Artimidor.|
The best way to get to know the
river is following a path, which runs mainly along its northern side. Near the
eastern edge of the baych tree grove
the path forks, leading over the bridge up the ridge to
Norgerinth's Tomb; the other part
leads through the baych tree grove -
past Baveras' Shrine to the Falls. There
it continues, though it is hard to find in the grass, till the end of the
meadow, where it turns to a very steep climbing path. On top of the ridge it
joins the path running there not far from the bridge.
People. The falls and the creek are often visited not only by the children of Nepris playing at its beach and sandbanks, by the women visiting Baveras' Shrine, or the young folks climbing the steep, dangerous path near the falls to prove themselves, but also by wanderers from farther away who come by and enjoy the lovely setting of the falls and the baych tree grove or take the path over the ridge up to Norgerinth's Tomb. More dubious figures are said to roam the region as well, but they prefer to hide in the adjacent dense pinewoods.
Climate. The climate in this region is that of the eastern slope of the Mithral Mountains, ranging from a gentle rain in spring to hot, windless days in summer, cold nights in autumn and some snow and ice in winter. The nearby Adanian Sea and the constant breeze coming from it makes the climate moderate compared to other parts of the Mithrals.
|Image description: View on the foggy eastern Mithral Mountains from the ridge up to Norgerinth's tomb. Picture by Talia Sturmwind.|
baych tree grove is the most
remarkable feature of the local flora, because it is not native to the
Mithral Mountains. The area is also famous
for its various mosses, like the silken
moss, the light moss and the moon moss.
The waterstar flowering in the little bay around Baveras' Shrine attracts many a visitor as does the wild meadow which is said (at least the Neprisians say so) to have the greatest variety of flowers along the eastern slopes of the Mithrals. Indeed, not only the easy-to-locate azure flower or the lovely cerubell can be found near the pond, but the mercoral flower which children call 'toothbrush' grows in patches where it seems wetter as well. The ivory umbels of the hemlock swing in the light breeze as do drooping injohue heads of the hanging horn. Especially in spring, before the grasses are too high, the Korwyn gold of the lotann competes with the Strata yellow of the sunsmile. A closer look reveals also the small Erissa's tears, the easescathe and other low-growing flowers.
A big patch of false heart is growing along the wall of the ridge next to the falls and plenty of redberry bushes can be found in the nearby forests.
Fauna. Apart from the common beasts and plants of the Mithral Mountains, there are a few others to be mentioned, which seem to be more abundant here than elsewhere.
High above in the stony walls of the Chalbern Peaks, where the creek has its origin, it is said the biggest and oldest pair of torán eagles ever seen nests regularly. But reports about them seem to belong more to the section of myth and lore, like those of a pack of highly intelligent wolves which is said to roam the ridge south of the creek and at the top of the falls. The kuatas (also known as squirrels), however, are very abundant as more than one traveller who lost his meal to some of the brash little rascals has reported. Often deer can be seen and in the creek itself a variety of fish have their home.
Resources. The plenitude of floral and animal life is what makes the region of the creek flourish. There are no known deposits of metals or precious stones, though dwarven activities before the arrival of the humans may point to it.
History. The history of the creek and the falls is that of the Mithral Mountains and that of the humans living nearby, so one might go and read the history entry about the Mountains itself, the fishing town of Nepris or the report about the brave Annils Norgerinth. However, there is plenty of lore and even a myth connected with this area.
Lore. Let's begin with what might have given the creek and the falls its name: Torán's Falls. People without imagination of course say, that because of a pair of torán's eagles always nested near the falls on one side where near the upper edge a small precipice of perhaps half a ped is protruding the main wall, the falls became "the falls where the eagle nests", and therefore Torán‘s Falls, and hence, Torán's Creek. However, they are not welcome in Nepris and nearby villages. In the Saltwillow Tavern inn in the centre of the village, one can hear basically following story - the Neprisians might be discordant about the details though.
There was (and is) a custom in Nepris which pleases the young folks and annoys the elder: Young men climb the cliffs near the waterfall to impress the girls and young women of Nepris and the villages nearby. This is a very dangerous undertaking, because the path is steep and difficult anyway, near the waterfall it is nearly impossible, the stone is wet and slippery on top and the grips to hold on treacherous. Though this tasks seems impossible to fulfill anyway, a few managed to do it over the time as it is today. So an extra challenge was added: In spring, when the eagle nested near the falls and would not allow to pass, the task was to steal an egg out of his nest. Of course, this was only achieved very seldom and the stories of a successful end were traded as tales themselves. The story of the naming of the falls took place at a time, where Nepris still consisted out of two settlements, Phris and Nehlan:
The Fall of Torán. Once there was
a very pretty girl living in Phris, Naira, its beauty was so outstanding,
that she not only had admirers from Phris and Nehlan, from Starmiran,
Swanran, Hort and Tharman, but a noble looking man from far away Marcogg
showed interest in her as well. That angered Torán
Dalgren, a young man from Starmiran, who was deeply in love with Kaira. To
draw her attention to him, he decided to do something spectacular - to
steal a fledgling out of the eyrie of the eagle nesting near the falls at
this time of the year. He announced it some days before in the village and
the rumour about it spread fast, so that on the very day quite a lot of
people gathered at the wild meadow near the Veil Falls. Torán
started to climb the wall as soon as the morning dew was gone and made
good progress. However, at this time a pair of mighty eagles nested there,
for several years already; they had been famous before for their big size
and it was rumoured, that they might be the oldest living pair of eagles
in the region. Torán was not a silly young man,
so he waited a long time till the parents were out hunting and till he
dared to go near the nest. But luck left him in the last minute before he
reached the eyrie, the male eagle, the bigger of the two birds came back -
and it seized Torán's cloths in his back and
lifted him up in the air. The eagle was big, but Torán
wasn‘t a lightweight either, so both ascended for a while, hovering over
or near the falls. The crowd stared in horror and the time stood still for
a while - till the bird released its prey - and a voice was heard in the
tense silence: "Torán
falls!" and the crowd echoed:
"Torán is falling!"
And Toran fell, first along the falls, then he met it and vanished in the
water. Luckily he didn‘t hit the basin near the bottom, but dived straight
on into the deep pond.
The inhabitants of Nepris are quite confident about the derivation of the name of the falls and the creek, so this tale is mostly told when a stranger finds his way into the Saltwillow Tavern. There are however mysterious rumours and stories connected with the Falls, which are occupying the thoughts and minds of the native people much more and are discussed in great detail. Cause for this speculations is a strange sight, which occurs only in autumn, after a dry summer, when only little water tosses down into the pond, when the Veil Falls get thin and allow a look through and past the streaming water. Then one could imagine, that on the right side of the Falls, where one can approach them from the wild meadow, an opening appears. But it is not just a black hole, as one could assume, but white sparks appear within, floating up and down and behind them those with sharp eyes claim to see features in the dark.
|Image description. The cavern on the foot of the Torán's Falls. Picture drawn by Nalfaren.|
Rumours are most times far-fetched, but the following doesn‘t cease to persist,
the one about the dwarven treasure: Behind
the fall is a cavern, half filled with the
water of the creek, but the other half solid and totally covered with a kind
of luminescent moss. At one side, an ancient
Thergerim stone portal, beautiful carved, can be revealed; it is said that
it leads to a hall full of jewels and precious metals, full of mighty ancient
magical devices. However this place is well guarded. Those who dare to take
the risks upon them, have to battle not only the watermasses of Torán's Creek ,
the monster fish which is repeatedly reported to live in the pond, but an
unknown amount of the magical and awesome
willow'o'wisp as well, which are dancing
their deadly dance in the opening. Who dares to risk his life to be rewarded
with more than a king can offer?
Mythology. There is an old tale, which tells a story even older than the baychtree grove near Baveras‘ Shrine, which is said to have always existed. At the time when Caelereth was new and the Gods went frequently on its surface, Baveras was coming along the east coast of the then still unnamed Mithral Mountains. After having enjoyed herself with her godly friends in her feasting hall in the Ravenwing Falls' spring, she was tired from celebrating and looked for a quiet place. But the Adanian Sea was rough and didn‘t please her. Her view felt on a sparkling veil emerging from the mountains, and she had a closer look. She was so enchanted by the waterfall we know now as Torán's Falls or Veil Falls, that she decided to stay near while resting. She bent the bed of the small creek which was till then just flowing along the ridge and formed the little bay where her shrine is now standing. There she rested and enjoyed the sight on the Falls.
Often she returned to this lovely place. Jeyriall grew the baychtree grove before all other trees, to shelter this refuge. Now the pinetrees of the peninsula are taking the sight of theFfalls, but it is said, that Baveras loves the place now as it is, resting there, but sometimes... - sometimes she can be seen sitting in the basin near the foot of the Falls taking a refreshing shower when the days are hot.
Information provided by Talia Sturmwind