Tuesday 19 September 2023

Hex Crawl 23 #247: Village of Ekkhusa

Five hexes southwest, seven northwest from Alakran.

This is a large and prosperous village. Its great herds of black and gray goats have the free grazing of the valley and into the many mazy ways of the badlands whose shade lets moisture linger and hosts the shrubs and thorns that the beasts prize most. Moist clay is also fetched from certain crevices in the badlands at the end of the rainy season, and this is the basis of a kind of gray-green pottery glazed and baked with a secret technique that is highly praised in the region.

Being out of the way and rich enough to afford eccentricities, Ekkhusa has its share, and more, of them. All decisions of families in the town, including who their sons and daughters marry, is decided by a meeting of all the men over forty and women over fifty in the hour around sunset. Straight majority vote prevails, and there must be a quorum of half the eligible people plus one. 

Everyone knows a meeting is in session when, for thirty breaths, the mantra "Let it be accomplished" is chanted in unison by the rough, cracked, eligible voices gathered under the acacia trees by the well. "So it was accomplished" marks the end. Despite the rigid formality, the headwoman, Yesel, a thin and bald-shaven grandmother, conducts the proceedings with a playful touch, listening to each point of view and guiding the votes subtly with her arguments and preferences.

Adventurers might become interested in this otherwise out-of-the-way village when a pot turns up with an apparent map, showing a mazy path among ridges and buttes, leading to a sinister pair of eyes. This is the record of what one of the village clay-gatherers found when digging too deep - shades of Moria! - and recounted to a fellow potter, whose scandalized wife ordered it sold on to the outside world without being shown to the village. Negotiating the village bureaucracy, such as it is, to get help in finding the undoubtedly populated cavern, and making a deal to share whatever is found, will undoubtedly be part of the adventure.

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