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Dirt Sea

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A vast expanse of sand nestled between two spurs of the Kodar Mountains in the northwest of the Hold of Belkzen, the Dirt Sea is neither truly sea nor land. It is an area of very fine sand undercut by aquifers and natural springs, effectively creating a rolling, salty sea of quicksand dozens of miles across.[1]

Control of the Dirt Sea theoretically belongs to the orcs of Wyvernsting (currently the Murdered Child tribe),[2] but they have no practical control over it. Anyone brave enough can sail this unnerving sea, but beneath its calm, sandy surface scuttle and swim many unnatural creatures. Despite its dangers, the Dirt Sea can provide a quick way to reach the Brimstone Haruspex and Deepgate.[1][3]

Members of the Murdered Child tribe ply slave barges upon the Dirt Sea. The barges operate regularly during the Flood Truce and ferry anyone willing to pay the high tolls. During the Proving Time the barges operate much less frequently and are restricted to members of the Murdered Child tribe and its allies. The barges usually follow well-known routes around the edges of the sea through the shallowest areas of quicksand (which still can reach depths of 50 feet). Half-orc offspring and slaves of the tribe commonly operate the barges and hill giants use huge punting poles as the means of propulsion (the quicksand is too viscous for sail propulsion).[4]

The sandy depths of the Dirt Sea are home to bulettes, death worms, and even an occasional purple worm. Orc legends refer to a truly enormous creature that haunts the center of the Sea. They call it Old Hegrith but the beast hasn't been seen in over a century. The truth is that Old Hegrith is a Mother of Oblivion summoned by a priestess of Lamashtu during the Age of Darkness. The creature now spends most of her time in hibernation.[4]

Tribes of primitive ratfolk live on the western edge of the Dirt Sea, away from the main travel routes. They dwell in burrows in a number of small islands amid the quicksand. Orcs usually leave them alone. A Molthuni Pathfinder, named Andel Gesseran, lives among the ratfolk and studies their culture. He is especially interested in their myth of the Hollow Rat that lives deep in the earth.[4]

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