Bien of the Crystalline Gardens

Bien is a small, attractive city of about 10,000 people, situated in the foothills of the mountain range. It is built of stone, boasting spired churches and government buildings, and tall, narrow houses which take advantage of the limited amount of available space. It is a human city, of human design, but it boasts a disproportionate population of elves, bards, and other lovers of beauty, who are drawn there to be inspired by Bienís fantastic gardens. Because of this, Bien has become known for fine art and music. It is also a center for natural scholars, and has a circle of druids who stay to protect the unique plant species that grow in the gardens.

The gardens themselves run riot throughout the city, growing not only in landscaped parks among the streets but also draped along the sides of the buildings in vines and hanging boxes. The crystalline gardens are a splendid display of botany from all over the continent (and sometimes further, thanks to gifts from travelers ó some plants are even said to be not of Oerth). However, they owe their name and fame to something even more unusual. The gardens are threaded with bizarre plants which seem to be made completely of crystal. Apparently found only in and near Bien, these plants are recognized as plants simply because they grow and appreciate sun and water. Although they donít seem to blossom, their colors are similar to those of normal plants and flowers, displaying green Ďleavesí and a riot of gem-like hues that glisten and sparkle in the sun. In rain or wind, these plants let off beautiful bell-like notes, making the entire city ring with delicate chimes. Despite their crystalline composition, most of these plants are not sharp unless someone breaks off a piece ó which creates razor-like edges just like broken glass. These disappear as the plant heals the wound.