Wednesday 24 May 2023

Hex Crawl 23 #144: Anani by the Lake of the Utzuri

Ten hexes north, one northwest of Alakran.

Here, where the Utzuri river bends and a wide lake has formed, the rich soil supports many fields of grain and produce, and the town Anani of no more than 4800 souls.

The fields right around Anani grow gardens of spice bushes and flowers from all corners of the Urig lands, hemmed in by strips of agave shrubs from which the harsh local liquor, pahhuwar, is brewed. The urban crafts are dominated by leatherwork, specifically the making of armor and shields from cattle hides. But all kinds of goods from the east feature in the bazaar, which due to hard times fills only half of its customary plaza.

While the kings of Dulsharna ruled, the palace of Anani was their western retreat, known for the attractive views of lake and the Scarp wall rising beyond. Troublesome and frivolous family members were often ordered there, and there is one such person now living in the palace, the self-styled musician and wit, Prince Pintuntuna. Nobody knows where he stands in the line of succession, but he has no serious intention to rule, as long as he "behaves like a prince" -- living high on the hog, sponsoring the arts in his own way, and summoning any visitors from afar to his court of sycophants, where he gives them quests that seem important but are actually pointless. "Investigate embezzlement in the lead mines of Kuzza", "Dredge the Lake of the Utzuri for the Diadem of Lalantiwassa", "Read me a prophecy written on the cast-off skin of a daughter of Illuyanka" and so forth.

While this foolishness goes on in the palace, the real business of Anani is handled by a council of elders, most of whom are loyal to Set in contrast to the majority of common folk who follow Mitra. The three temples of Anani treat the two gods equally and are studiously neutral as regards the innovations of Azeneth in Aish Mashuila. 

Other notable sights in Anani are an archway of volcanic stones built at the end of an alley, that seemingly leads nowhere, radiates magic, and has three slots in the front as if for keys; and a graveyard for nobles and wealthy folk, consisting of a hundred black obelisks into which layers of the ashes of the departed are poured, filling the monument from top to bottom. Names going back forty generations are carved into the sides of these stelae.

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