Tuesday 6 June 2023

Hex Crawl 23 #157: Judgments of Aish Mashuila: The Price of a Fledgling Fowl

Eleven hexes north, one northeast of Alakran.


Unlike the wilder, quirkier villages on the frontiers of Shasari, the placid farming settlements in the central parts can rightly be accused of being deadly dull, inheriting millennia of tradition, religious observance, and routine. Most adventurers, like the Band of Bronze, will pass speedily through on their way from one frontier to the other. 

And yet, there are some interesting tales going around about the villages, for it is the wont of these villagers to be baffled by unusual wrongs and to seek redress for these at the tribunal of the priestly Judges of Aish Mashuila: the Judge of Mercy, who serves Mitra and pleads for the defense; the Judge of Severity, who serves Set and pleads for the plaintiff; and the Judge of Balance, the chief judge and priest of the temple, who sits between two pillars of ivory and renders final judgment.

This case involving villagers of Minuziya happened in the last generation but is still talked about.

A penniless day-laborer, Alliwalwi, carrying a cedar beam through the village market, by accident dropped it on a cage and killed a poultry chick belonging to a landowner, Huzpa, whose greed had made him rich if not loved in Minuziya.

Huzpa hauled Alliwalwi before the Judges, claiming, not the copper piece the chick would usually fetch, but a whole gold piece, which the laborer did not possess and would have to enter into indenture to pay.

Huzpa argued thusly: "Although he has killed only a male chick, under my care the chick would have matured into a fine bantam pullet, and his lineage is of the noblest barnyard blood. As a stud, this cockerel would be worth at least a piece of gold, if not more, and the fowl he would sire are worth a sackful -- I am letting this churl off lightly!"

Severity agreed with this reasoning, while Mercy pleaded that the man could not pay and the logic was specious.

The Judge of Balance at the time, Mutarassi, thought and then said:

"I find for the complainant. The defendant is ordered to pay the sum of one gold piece to Huzpa."

The crowd had scarely started to murmur, and Alliwalwi to wail, when Mutarassi raised his voice and continued,

"But there is another matter. Huzpa, do your prize fowl scratch in the sand and peck for worms and beetles?"

Huzpa protested, "By no means! They dwell in a wooden run and eat their fill of the finest and freshest barley."

"And do they sicken and die early?"

"Your Honor, Set and Mitra have blessed me otherwise! My last stud rooster lived ten years and covered eighty hens."

Following this line of logic, the Judge calculated that Alliwalwi's accident had saved Huzpa grain and labor worth two gold pieces, and asked the laborer if he would bring suit right then and there for the amount owed. So Alliwalwi settled his liability and walked away in possession of a shiny gold piece of Dulsharna.

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