Friday 23 June 2023

Hex Crawl 23 #174: The Wizard of Gagaz-Parku

 Fifteen hexes north, one northwest of Alakran.


The peak of Gagaz-Parku rises tall and forbidding in the north and west of Shasari. Its ruddy color and location are the subject of a local riddle:

What is gold in the morning, red at day, and black in the evening?

Great Gagaz; gold when the rising rays hit it, red under the high sun, black when the sun sets behind it.

The mountain is inaccessible from any side but the west, where a precarious path climbs the face and leads past a weird iron tower which suddenly appeared a couple of years ago, The structure, a tall block of the burnished, unrusted exotic metal, sits in an oddly gray patch on the face of the ruddy mountain where the tower and gate stood. It bears a grim decor of skeletons, half in the earth, half out,  molded on the facade.Its strong iron door cannot be opened by normal means, but can be knocked on.

Rumor has it that a wizard did it, and this is the case. The wizard is a man of ochre complexion, a lean wedge of a head, brown shabby layered robes, and a thin mustache. He is Azriel Siyal, an ex-necromancer of the land of Thuranom, a kingdom far away where the living are few and the walking dead many. He had heretically embraced the supremacy of the earth over the corpse it devours and entombs. So, he is an exile to these remote parts, where the local necromancers are so quaintly pathetic in his view. If friendly, he will tell of their ways, but he considers them too weak and petty to intervene directly. And if approached by a fellow wizard in a spirit of learning, with gifts appropriate to the sphere of earth, Siyal will teach deep secrets of the earth magic he has come to master.

Siyal's lair is a cave complex of no natural shaping, but formed out of the living stone by his magic. Like the outside of the mountain, it is built with many precipitous plunges and precarious pathways. The shafts and chasms lead deep, deep below. With Siyal's knowledge it is possible to reach not only the tunnels of the Darkness Beneath but the very deep and very weird Veins of the Earth.


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