Thursday, 2 February 2023

Hex Crawl 23 #33: The Singing Palm

Two hexes southwest, one northwest of Alakran. 


Some time after the big trade caravans stopped rolling over the road to Dulsharna, when lonely Hasanayn of two camels (hex #1) was left to ply his trade through to Alakran, the tall landmark date palm ten paces north of the roadbed began to sing.

The song was sweet and thin, like a little girl singing, and it carried a compulsion: to look south, to that low gray sandstone hillock (hex #32), and to listen to a lower-pitched harmony coming from there. Once that other song was heard, well. Quite a few wayfarers disappeared before the word got out in Gesshed: take wax, and stop your ears, and skirt around the tree if you can, and under no circumstances eat of its fallen fruit. Observing these strictures allows Hasanayn, and the Notch fortress supply wagons, and anyone else coming and going, to pass without being lured south to the deadly hill.

So dread is the taboo that nobody has investigated what might be in the tree; just part of the general fatalism in east Wahattu these days, what with Dulsharna falling, harpies on the wing, rumored dragon activity in the south, and whatnot. It's a small crimson snake with the lips of a woman, killed easily once spotted. But in the cave are six more to take its place overnight.

Who fells the tree, suffers its curse. Whatever you wield made of wood, even handles, will splinter on a 1 or 20 skill or attack roll; shields of wood, likewise, break when they receive a foe's critical hit.

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