Tuesday 10 October 2023

Hex Crawl 23 #268: Petitioners of Fate, North of the Kathithi

Eight hexes northwest, five north of Alakran.


North of the river that begins to be called the Kathithi, a line of ancient kings, priests, sorcerers and other notables is carved from the rock formations. Almost all of them are depicted on their knees, if not hands and feet, in reverence to the line of Gods that march from the south to meet them.

F. Facing the great Hurru and Sutekh is the first Ilu-Barag of Urighem, Hurzak, on one knee but even so 150 feet tall, almost the equal of Hurru were he to stand. Behind him, on both knees, are twelve of his early and long-lived heirs, the First Epoch for those who can reckon history. These are 100 feet tall, and the retainers, counselors, and queens accompanying them are only thirty feet high in their full prostration.

G: Here the queue faces westward, and four mighty heroes of the early days of Urighem -- Ishkur, Zabab, Yamanu, and Messha -- stand 120 feet high, confronting the great 200-foot red stone statue of five-headed Tiamat with swords drawn. The main maw of Tiamat, reached by a winding stair of carved scales, was a place where criminals of Wahattu and the earlier empire were thrown down, there to suffer in a labyrinthine inferno of torment, haunted by devils, the ghosts of previous victims, and other fell creatures and devices. So tortuous is that maze that only three damned men in all history have escaped from one of the other mouths, which hang open and can supposedly be reached from below with great endeavor. Kneeling generals and viziers of the empire, each only 40 foot high, stretch backward and forward from the four heroes.

H. Touching the ground with one hand and one knee are twenty great Ilu-Barag of the Second Epoch, varying in height from 60 to 120 feet according to their magnitude in life. Each is followed by a retinue of fully prostrated priests, sorcerers, queens, and advisors, these statues only 30 feet high.

I: The queue swings eastward, then back west again, to accommodate a similar retinue of six Ilu-Barag of the second epoch and twenty of the Third, with their followers. Of note near the end is the figure of the early Third epoch god-monarch, Menteptekar, who with puckish wit is sculpted holding chisel and hammer and liberating himself from the stone formations. It is he who ordained the Petitioner figures of Hurzak and Hurru to first be made, while his successors added to the collection a handful of statues at a time.

J: Here, with dwindling material as the stone formations grow shorter, the final thirty-eight monarchs belonging to the Third Epoch kneel and bow, none rising higher than forty feet. Time catches up with the project, so that the last god-king depicted, Tihatewe IX, could be sculpted from life. Unusually realistic and world-weary, he is shown sitting, thirty feet tall, head over his shoulder in a fond gaze at Eryptos, the city it is said he ordered his son to build when he was out of epic statues.

Additional note: The designation E, which appears in this hex but south of Kathithi, represents a group of six demon lords, 80-120 feet high, carved out of a single outcropping, who menace the lines of gods and mortals. They are carved to represent no known demons, out of prudence and respect, but somehow have landed on the appearance of the Goetic entities known to other worlds: Paimon, Asmoday, Bifrons, Eligos, Astaroth, and Haagenti. Surrounding them, carved ten to twenty feet high, are lesser demons of equally fanciful design.

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