Nine hexes northwest, three north of Alakran.
Where does the province of Pnokath start, ask those who tread the northern forking of the road from Mehershal's Caravanserai, or slope across the lonely plain depicted here? Lore has it that you approach Pnokath when you see the great carved statues called the Petitioners of Fate, and you are there when each of them seems the size of a grain of barley againts the horizon -- which happens at the northern and eastern borders of this hex.
The land of Pnokath, in the northeast of Wahattu, was more prosperous and open-minded when the Salt Sea of Ghem was a thoroughfare and not a barrier. Now the mighty ports and sea fortresses along the shore are habited only by the mad and desperate. Commerce runs towards the road Nam'aa and thence to Mu-Asharru, the capital.
Fertile is the
watershed of Pnokath's curved and shallow river Kathithi, which rises
from the western slopes of the Scarp as the Nahlu-Galal, changes name in the vicinity of Eryptos, and voids into the Salt Sea. The
land about is naturally flat and grassy, but not without quirks --
stands of ancestral pine whose gnarled branches weld a veritable
architecture, sunken slime swamps where the water steams off too quickly
to form a proper lake.
By tradition, Pnokath is the domain
of the royal heir. His dwelling is in the ancient town Eryptos, a nexus
of trade famous for its congregations of entertainers who seek to
satisfy the jaded tastes of Wahattu's second court. The young Prince is
become a man of fifteen, known still by his pre-dynastic name Radiant
Gemsbok of Autumn. By all accounts a good-natured, righteous, but
impulsive ruler in training, his sport is the hunting of the antelope
that gave his name and abound in the northern reaches of the gentle
Dhuga Hills, south of Eryptos. Fearlessly gregarious, he and his
entourage are rarely absent from the night life of the town and its
abundance of jesters, tumblers, dancers, harlots, pipers, and dicing
tables. And yet he most scrupulously observes every rite of his station.
In particular, his revelries are a staunch tradition, demonstrating a
marked lack of sour feelings and ulterior designs toward the capital.
with ancient stones of its own ruins, clustered about the sprawling
maze of the Principal Palace, the historic buildings of Eryptos number
still only a fraction of those that once stood there, as bare
foundations in the outskirts attest. The town is without walls, a custom
dating from bygone eras in which royal heirs regularly schemed and
fomented parricidal rebellion. Dried figs, dates, and the wondrous honey
of Shuddud are some of the special produce of the Eryptum district. To
the east sprawls the dull backwater of the province of Kellu, and to the
west the more hopeful habitations of Tilillu, where ambitious men and
women are born.