Sunday 22 October 2023

Hex Crawl 23: Eryptos 5, Low Life

 Lurking under the surface of life in Eryptos and indeed all of Wahattu are two secret societies. The Band of Bronze is more familiar with the Scarabs. This society started out epochs ago as a heresy who believed in a single deity and an afterlife beyond the official and somewhat gloomy one, in which the faithful would enjoy eternal joy in perfect remade bodies. This credo was spelled out in the frescoes of the chambers adjacent to the so-called River of the Dead in the lowest level of the Shroom's caverns.

Now the Scarabs have forgotten these beliefs and dedicate themselves to the clandestine struggle against Chaos' powers which already have engulfed Dulsharna. They will pay well for relics of the earlier sect, for it is thus that they validate themselves. However, they are most concerned with the doings of the Serpent, who are believed - rightly - to have infiltrated the court of the King of Wahattu.

The Scarabs seek out possible allies or threats through a number of low-level agents, like the short, stout and brusque young fellow, Shallilum, whom the Band of Bronze first met. If the contact warrants serious dealings, however, Nikanur himself will appear - the most active among the inner circle. A tall, bald man, skin darkened and seamed from long familiarity with the sun, in simple dusty-colored clothes and with hard hands, he is tough but measured and fair, and teaches a style of unarmed combat among other mysteries.

The Serpent agents are more shrouded in mystery, and may indeed include some of the shape-shifting serpent men of ancient lineage. What is clear, though is that Eryptos has no petty crime, for fear of the influence of these societies. If someone is killed or something is stolen in Eryptos, it is because someone wanted them killed or robbed. Even the Scarab are not above a little targeted crime to benefit their operations and thwart the schemes of the Serpent.

Of course, sin is not the same as crime, and all sorts of indulgent whims are catered to in the semi-respectable Lantern District and the no-at-all-respectable Furnace quarter on the other side of town. The custom among the aristocracy is to wear veils or masks when visiting these places, Now, while the upstart trade class proudly wish to be seen in the Lantern, in the Furnace they mimic their betters and hide their faces -- to the great chagrin of the latter, but who would want to make a scene in the Lantern, in a bawdy-house almost certainly run by the agents of the Scarab or the Serpent?

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