Between the hellish Other Worlds and the Real World of Zarth is the grey netherworld of The Shroud. While most of the Shroud is comprised of featureless bleak hills, endless corridors, and dreary mist filled forests there are the occasional landmark. Strange castles filled with dead warriors, aquariums filled with dark fish or ruins of cities infested with ravenous Others are chilling examples.
Travel between these locations and Zarth is hazardous and random. While being distinct and logical in themselves they often have no fixed location in the Shroud, so travelling there in any predictable way from the Zarth is next to impossible. Only long forgotten rituals of the Ancients, themselves locked in deep dangerous dungeons, can with any certainly facilitate travel. There is also the worry to even the most insane Sorcerer that such rituals in the past have caused cataclysms as such as the opening of the Locust Star, where plagues of Others have taken advantage of the breach between Zarth and the Shroud and have come over to feed. The only known ‘safe’ way is the following Magic Item.
Magic Item: The Skin of Oskmas the Traveller
“Old Oskmas he travelled far and wide in a place not a place between the worlds. Until the Sorcerers of Magragore caught him and skinned him alive. Fleshless he crawls the buried underhalls of Magragore “
While alive Oskmas was a frequent traveller in the Shroud. It is unknown if it was necessity or mere curiosity that drove him to find out more and more forbidden knowledge about this shaded realm. During his life he had every location he visited symbolically represented as tattoos on his skin. By all accounts by the time of his death his body was black with inked markers. Death found him in the form of the Sorcerers of the buried city of Magragore, who slew him on behalf of the Sultan of the Shade City. The Sorcerers then had his skin cured, folded and held in a golden chest in the deepest vault in Magragore. It is rumoured that Sorcerers also preserved Oskmas’s essential salts in an a sapphire jar. Some versions of the tale say that the salts were used, and the fleshless screaming thing that guards the chest is Oskmas. Who ever possesses the skin can use the map to instantly travel within the Shroud to the location pointed at with a special enchanted bone wand, found in the chest with the skin.