The underground world of Fox Winterborn and his companions is a complex system that combines the mundane structures of Sevrin–cisterns, basements, root cellars, storm drains, and sewers–with the warren of ancient dwarf-built tunnels and chambers.
The Fox Den is a collection of underground chambers, the top “floor” of what was once a dwarf outpost. The most notable feature of the Den is the Feyglass, a large mirror with an ornately carved stone frame. This appears to be a window intp other times and places, for an ever-shifting vista of mountains, waterfalls, turquoise seas, and exotic cities emerge from the mists. Fox, who yearns for travel and adventure far from the islands of Sevrin, finds both torment and solace in the Feyglass.
Fox suspects that the mirror might also be a portal into other realms. He found Avidan lying on the floor in front of the mirror, with no memory of how he came to be in the tunnel. He tried to persuade his companions to move the den, but both Delgar and Vishni were adamant that they remain where they were. Fox suspects that both the dwarf and the fairy know more about the Feyglass than they’re willing or able to share.
Thanks to Delgar’s skill at stoneshifting, the path to the Den is an ever-shifting maze. Rhendish has tried for years to discover the secret of Fox’s ability to move through the city unseen and to disappear at will. The adept wishes to do more than apprehend the thief, more than recover the trove of weapons and magical items Fox has been stockpiling for nearly a decade. It is obvious to him that Fox has access to powerful allies, and he wants to know who they are and what their purposes might be.
Not all legends emerge from the mists of antiquity. A simple annecdote, something that happened “to a man my friend knows,” can sometimes become a groatin tale.
The term requires a bit of context. Groatin is a vine with a small, tasty purple berry. It’s seldom cultivated, however, because the vine is one of the most vigorous and invasive plants on the islands of Sevrin. Children are admonished not to eat wild groatin berries, since they are almost impossible to distinquish from a toxic look-alike. Since groatin spreads so enthusiastically and is so difficult to erradicate–and may not, in fact, be a true groatin vine–it provides a handy metaphor for swiftly-spreading tales of dubious origin.
Tales of the City Fox are becoming increasingly common on the main island of Sevrin, particularly in the city itself. Most stories deal with a cunning young thief who pilfers curiosities from the museums and private collectors. There is much speculation about the purpose of these thefts, which is not surprising when one considers that many of the items are ancient weapons and long-dead magical devices. There is also considerable debate as to whether or not these thefts actually occurred. City officials deny rumors, and none of the items reputedly stolen have been put up for sale, much to the chagrin of those who make a living on such transactions.
But whether or not he actually exists, the City Fox has become a folk hero, particularly among the younger set. Herb merchants do a brisk business in charil, a plant dye made from a bitter cherry-like fruit and guaranteed to turn a young blade’s hair a rich auburn shade that will last a moon or more. This is an act of defiance as well as a fashion statement, and like many such styles it draws the attention of those who enforce the law and keep order. When something goes missing, any would-be Foxes in the area are likely to be included in the order to “round up the reds.”
Some of the more daring girls have taken to clipping their tresses and dying them red. Most parents of these Vixen sigh and shrug and consider it a stage, but that attitude is changing due to an increasing number of groatin tales that suggest the City Fox might be female.