Thursday, 1 June 2023

Hex Crawl 23 #152: Small Zi'iri

 Seven hexes north, four northeast of Alakran.

Twenty-four generations of dwarves have dwelt in this underground town since the first clans arrived, cast out of their Yagan Mountains by civil strife. The mineral deposits they scented here have long since been dug out, but their skills endure as peerless crafters in metal and devious builders in stone. 

The dwarven folk of Zi'iri have the dark skin and wiry, elaborately braided hair of their Yagan forebears. There are four main clans in the town: the Alimazi, specialized in building tricks, traps and secrets in stone; the Anit-Irenya, ironworkers and miners; the Iniku, workers of precious metal and stones as well as moneylenders; and the Menifesi, priests and lorekeepers.

The place is known to its inhabitants as Rejimi Guzo Talak’i Shilimati, and to others (never dwarves) as Small Zi'iri, though its population is easily four times that of the human village down the valley. The clans are hospitable to those who have specific business with them, but have little time for those who want to trifle, ask favors without giving, or foment war.

The Band of Bronze was sent here by the ghost of Alimayehu, a dwarven engineer who died in the caverns of Nathrak. She was hired to design the plethora of secret doors and traps in that place, then coldly murdered by its ruler to keep the secrets. The ghost's wish was to return the money owed from the job to clan Alimazi, and she made the Band swear on the River of the Dead to carry this mission out, using the treasure looted in their adventure. 

The long-bearded elder of the Alimazi clan, one Medosh, who uses two hefty hammers as crutches, invited them to a meal in the communal hall with the clan council. But their impression of the architect, handed down through a few long dwarven generations, was not favorable. Alimayehu had been afflicted with giantism, standing taller than even the tallest human, and had been a genius and troublemaker, with whispers of parentage by an ogre or demon. Moreover, the interest on her project payment from nine hundred years ago, properly calculated, would make the required amount many times more than all the gold in Mittellus was worth.

But when the elders flung back the 1300 gp in gold and gems as an insult, they released the Band of Bronze from their oath, and brought on themselves the destructive haunting spirit of Alimayehu, who wrought havoc among all the clans, This situation, perhaps, can remain for other adventurers to unravel, but it will take great diplomacy for the clans to unravel their silence and tell the true story of the Alimazi's greed and stubbornness.

Wednesday, 31 May 2023

Hex Crawl 23 #151: The Gorge of Zi'iri

Eight hexes north, three northeast of Alakran.


The hills east of Shasari, dividing them from the valley province of Hana, are mainly desolate in these past years, the nomadic goatherds of those parts having been killed or driven off by Utik Bloody Tooth's band of ogres. Through these ridges with their sparse grass and thorny dells runs a gorge, 10-30 feet wide and 10-20 feet deep. And through this gorge runs a road, little grown-over but also seldom traveled, for it leads only to the upper reaches of the Hana river; the rest of the valley trades downstream. The canyon is known as the Gorge of Zi'iri by outsiders but as Haltara by the folk of Zi'iri itself.

At a turn midway through the gorge, low on a cliff face and easy to miss, is a curious set of scratchings. Locals and traders believe that once per lifetime, if a passer-by or group of them scratches a single word, sometimes continuing a sentence, then when the sentence is finished, it will metaphorically come true for all who contributed. Examples of completed sentences are:

Abundant bees to the humble, but wasps to the evildoer

When lions roar, surely in the village it is heard

The shoulders of the Happy bear no burden of the future

Overflowing Gold and Jewels To NIRNi

Lore has it that greedy wishes like the last one are granted especially metaphorically, so the "gold and jewels" might manifest as the "true gold and jewels of friendship" or worse yet, the "gold" of yellow discharge and "jewels" of red and black carbuncles.

The current unfinished sentence is

Multitudes of hanging

Add to it if you dare!