Tuesday 16 May 2023

Hex Crawl 23 #136: Selishuwa on the Arhappa

 Nine hexes north of Alakran.


Separated from the rest of the province by a dense cedar forest, Selishuwa (pop. 500) and Arhippiru (pop. 200) are conglomerations of houses that seem to have coalesced from more widely scattered family steadings throughout the cultivated land on either side of the river-canal. With a few exceptions, the people of this district identify with Selishuwa if they are fun-loving and not overly honest, whereas the serious and upright folk cleave unto Arhippiru. Each town otherwise claims a mixture of specialists, barley farmers, and tenders of the ubiquitous pomegranate and pistachio trees.

The annual festival of Selishuwa, at the first rains of the season, celebrates running and other feats of athletics, but is marred (or enhanced, as the Selishu see it) by rampant cheating and sabotage. Passing outsiders are invited to the contest, no matter how far away it might be and assessed by rival families on their willingness and ability to cause trouble.

The festival of Arhippiru is a grave counterweight to the bull festival of Halki. It comes at the end of the second month, and depends on the transportation of the champion bull of Halki to this village, where it is wounded, enraged, and faces the bravest youth of the district who must kill it armed only with a bronze sword. The bull wins as many times as he loses. The Selishu wouldn't dare interfere in this solemn rite, sacred to Mitras, who is depicted as a bull ... would they?

Selishuwa's district has recently been preyed upon by raiders from the south -- hyena-headed reavers, led by bull-heads or dog-heads, denizens of the deeps of Nathrak. The damage so far has been minimal, but worrying, and patrols of the 3rd company's chariot squad have been summoned to guard the southern border.

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