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The Dragon's Claw Canyon actually consists of three canyons formed by three rivers joining together as they flow through the arid waste of the Tablelands. The westernmost river, the Woodsedge, descends gently through a long, narrow canyon before entering the Dragon's Claw, making its valley the easiest way to reach the Tablelands. As the Dragon's Claw opens around the river, a lush forest springs up around it, called the Unicorn's Forest. The northern portion of the Unicorn's Forest is hilly terrain, and even before the coming of Night was a darker place than the rest of the forest. The forest is home to several clans of halflings, who move among the trees like faeries, quietly and without trace.

The central river, the Tellen, is the longest and strongest, plunging into the Dragon's Claw in a spectacular waterfall known as Temple Falls. The northern tip of the Tellen branch of the canyon is very rough terrain, with little vegetation and many large boulders and sharp outcroppings of rock. This region is now home to a great number of troglodytes, once held back by the might of the Knights of the Chalice but now reclaiming some of the land they once held. The Tellen winds past two small forests, Whitewater and Hedgewood, before meeting the Unicorn's Forest and the Absinthe.

The easternmost river, the Absinthe, has become foul-smelling and poisonous since the arrival of Night. Formerly called the Lavender, it once nourished the fertile plains of the eastern canyon. Now that branch of the Dragon's Claw is a barren wilderness, supporting only scrub plants and small communities of tieflings and other exiles. The Absinthe, like the Tellen, enters the Dragon's Claw in a waterfall, now called Night's Cascade.

The southern tip of the canyon is the point where the three rivers, now merged, plummet into the depths of the earth in a waterfall far greater than either Temple Falls or Night's Cascade, a natural wonder known simply as Water's Drop. At this point, the floor of the canyon is exactly a mile and a half below the level of the Tablelands.

The Absinthe joins the Tellen at a point about a hundred miles northwest of Water's Drop, polluting the water from that point onward. The ancient city of Avamere, once the High King's capital but now the domain of Night, was built where the Woodsedge joined the other two, about 25 miles upriver from Water's Drop. The Absinthe, then, has poisoned the city's water supply as well as the fields around it, combining with the influence of Night to make the entire region virtually uninhabitable.

Since the coming of Night, some have tried to escape the Dragon's Claw, fleeing to the Tablelands. Most never return, but a few have come, speaking of horrors worse than what they left behind. Heat and thirst may account for these tales, but one can never be sure.

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James Wyatt,
Dec 2, 2018, 4:05 PM
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