>This book was written by a wizard who first caused their name to be stricken from the memories of all who knew it, then spent twenty years in the desert, listening for wisdom on the wind. The name ‘Azaf’ is said to resemble the voice of that desert, the night-sounds of insects and demons. The book is said to contain wickedness too terrible to be contained, and to bring madness and death to all who read it.

>Magical Artifacts

>There is no organised trade in magical artifacts. What shopkeeper would be foolish or powerful enough to keep more than a few such artifacts in the one place? It would be like a signal-fire, lit to attract wicked sorcerers, demons and worse things from all over the universe, if not beyond.

It is said that one does not look for magic items; rather, they look for owners. Whether this is mere superstition, certainly such objects are rare. One who goes forth expecting to purchase, for example, the Remarkable Mittens Puissant Against the Unquiet Dead, is like one who goes forth saying to oneself
“I hope I meet my true love today; but if she be named Annie or Alice I shall reject her, for I rather hoped for a Mary.” Yet the meanest bazaars have a way of selling remarkable items; just as one may find love in the least expected places, and if it be fate or mere chance who can say?

>Witches’ Grass

>It is said that an ancient king had a garden, wherein his sorcerer had created plants, carnivorous like the Venus Flytrap of our world, but able to devour humans, a use to which the king would frequently put them.

The plants could preserve, and make use of, the body parts of their victims, and so the king could amuse himself by contemplating the face of a dead rival, or the choicest body parts of a discarded lover.

On the fall of the city the plants spread, and they are now the menace of the countryside in many areas. They seem to display a hateful intelligence in their use of the body parts of their victims, so that a bereaved mother may see the face of her child, its mouth spread to tear flesh, or a widower the hands of his beloved outstretched to strangle him.

>The Waste of the Iron Ones

>This snowy waste is named for a group of talking bears, who mine iron and forge it into armour, which they believe contains their souls.

Every adult bear wears armour except for the priests, or Yogis, who go naked (‘bear-arsed’). Only those who are more intelligent than the average bear are chosen to be Yogis.

The Waste is infested with ghouls. During the summer they awaken, ambushing travellers and turning them into ghouls. Towards the end of the summer they make their way to a lake if they can, or if not are covered by the snow. In either case they lie frozen for most of the year, until the lakes and snows melt again. The royal court of the ghouls is said to be at the bottom of a great lake.

Since ghouls are never seen with armour, the Iron Ones believe that they can only be turned into ghouls if it is stripped from them.