Xowi’ Canyon (“Goh-WEE-ee” / trans. “Roaring” ), also known as Roaring Canyon, or colloquially as “Go-away Canyon”
Emerging from the vast desert of The Empty Quarter, Xowi’ Canyon is a massive and ancient earthenworks. Believed to be created by early Birdfolk civilizations, Xowi’ Canyon is one of the earliest examples of both Birdfolk directional writing and of the lost empowerments art of placed sigil stones.
By diverting part of the Left Fork River, the architects of Xowi’ Canyon took advantage of the plateau geography to create a “false” waterfall. In addition to being a water source for the high concentration of traditional medicinal flora located there, the waterfall also serves to hide the entrance to Xowi’ Canyon proper. However, directions to the entrance are found through the ancient petroglyphs carved on the canyon’s striped walls, and in sigil stones located at the boundaries of the canyon slot.
For the traveler who passes through the curtain of water, five sigils are placed immediately entering the Foray Cavern. In traditional Birdfolk wayfinding signage, the emblems face the original path of the viewer, their symbols pointing the way to five inner tunnels, each associated with a Birdfolk direction. (The sixth, of course, is for the desert Flat itself, and inside the caverns is unseen, identifying it as the direction of origin.)
Though the inner tunnels and caverns show some signs of erosion, the tunnels are still well-preserved, showing the skill of these ancient architects. Each of the five caverns contains additional sigils associated with the direction it represents: symbols that remain in contemporary use can be found used here, as well as older symbols whose usage has fallen out of favor or whose meaning has been lost.
Though the original purpose of this earthenworks is unknown, scholars among the Followers have different opinions, each bolstered by their own fragments of lore, as to the intended use of Xowi’ Canyon. Some suggest it may have been a charging house, using the activation of a sigil stone within specific caverns to unlock specific powers or temporary charms. Others claim it as a place of prayer, its purpose largely metaphorical in nature, while still other, more devout, Followers believe the passages to have literal purpose: that with the right activation, the caverns may have acted as a waystation, providing instantaneous doorways to lost counterparts at those corners of the earth.
Currently, Xowi’ Canyon is a protected site, jointly preserved by the Followers of Coyotl and the Ranger Corps, with additional funding and support provided by the Foxfolk Embassy. Located on protected land, tours of Xowi’ Canyon may be scheduled through the Ranger Station at The Sentinels; due to it’s historic importance and the dangerous terrain, access to Xowi’ Canyon without the appropriate guide is forbidden, and trespassing is punishable by Birdfolk and Foxen law.