Lost Cities of the Waejiran Desert

Apeigadun

“Apeigadun, the ‘City of Tears’, the eyes of its few wary denizens watching as you walk alongside the wagons. People with almost nothing stare as a lifetime of wealth rolls past in wagons drawn by hardy rabbox”. – Trisios, Waejiran Teamster

Apeigadun was once one of the seven great cities which later formed the Empire of Waejir. It graced a wide verdant river which wound through the southern portion of the Waejiran desert.

A terrible earthquake in the western mountains caused the headwaters of this river to be rerouted, and eventually the sand swallowed the drying riverbed, the orchards, and fields. The loss of regular water destroyed the local agriculture and the population sufferred a great famine. Those who survived emigrated to other cities and towns in more hospitable locales. The abandoned city was nicknamed the “City of Tears”.

The ruins are located at the midpoint of the great caravan route in the centre of the Waejiran desert, and are a sand scoured shadow of their former glory. Many of the original city structures still remain, providing meager shelter for those who travel the caravan route which still passes through the site.

There is a small population of outcasts, refugees, and free folk that claim the city as their home. Life is often harsh and short for those who call the city their home, as it is a lawless city. The city adds to its population from the lost and travel weary whom find themselves too tired, or lacking sufficient resources, to finish the desert crossing.

Siladun

Your boots crunch the scaled earth of the vast salt flats stretching beyond the horizon; somewhere within this wasteland lays the ruin of Siladun, fabled home of the Goddess Silat herself. The words of warning from the old woman in the village still echo through your memory: “Beyond the endless thirst dwells eternal hunger.”

Siladun is a timeless fortress surrounded by the vast salt flats in the Northwern Waejiran Desert. Few have braved to cross the endless salt in an attempt to discover the secrets of the ruins. Fewer still are those who have come back; always and forever changed.

The mythic home of the Goddess Silat has been described as a crumbling edifice of concentric rings above a vast network of subterranean tunnels. This structure is surrounded by vast sun-baked salt flats, and is purported to be haunted by her monstrous multi-formed spawn.

Some say the great faceted dome of indestructible glass which caps the central chamber of the Silat’s temple in Waejiradur was brought forth from her fabled home at the conclusion of the God Wars millenia ago.

Vocandun

“It was a beautiful verdant garden, but also haunted… by what, I do not know. Something still lingers in that place watching from the shadows and amongst the leaves. Once I had recovered enough of my strength, I felt compelled to leave… to be amongst the living again.” – Lepia Thielau, Temple Sister of Thiela

Vocadun is the fabled city where the gods first gifted the Treahni with the Vocanei to serve them as slaves. The exact location and truth of this place is lost to myth, covered by the sands of the desert, and eroded by time.

Every once in a while some traveler claims to have stumbled upon a ruined city after being lost in the desert for weeks. They all consistently describe an urban oasis, with lush vines, and date palms. So beautiful they did not wish to leave it. However the loneliness of the empty streets and buildings kindled such desire to be with friends and family, that it drove them to return to the lands where people dwell.

The Tree of Faces

The Tree of Faces

There is a network of sacred groves in the Sildaryn forest; central to each grove is a great many branched tree from which are hung masks constructed from a variety of materials. When a hinta of Sildaryn passes through the grove during their annual migrations they add additional masks. These represent the Sildaryn from that hinta whom were lost during the previous year. Damaging the masks, or injuring the tree is a terrible crime to the Sildaryn.

With the annual pattern of migration there are always a few Sildaryn who are unable to travel. Such individuals will be left at this grove in the care of a few permenant resident dalfyn, whom tend to the grove year round. They provide palliative care for ailing Sildaryn whom remain in the grove in addition to their regular duties.

“I am old for any Sildaryn. Many do not see more than seventy summers. Most Dalfyn that are unable to continue the cycles will chose to remain at the groves to pass on their wisdom in their final years. The primary reason for my considering remaining at the grove at all is my health. I am getting old, and may not do well for another circuit of migration. Better to stay at the grove where I may be of service, and less of a burden. It is not retirement, I will remain a Dalfyn.” – Talir Sinto, Dalfyn of the Sun Piper Hinta.


Redditor /u/jsgunn shared this inspired comment (which still gives me shivers to read):

I can imagine a family traveling though, perhaps hanging a new mask and the father taking one of the older children to see the masks of the ancestors. “This is your great grandfather, who watches from the trees. He was a Bowyer, and loved the ash trees. This is his father, who watches from the trees. He was a proud warrior and fell in battle against a mighty foe. This is his father, who watches from the trees. He picked flowers for his wife every day and was known to be fiercely loyal. This is his mother, who watches from the trees. She was a medicine woman and loved peace, it was her words that stilled the anger between our tribe and the Thanna. There are others for you to meet, my son, but their faces are at another tree.”

“Bet Onei Stib Aiko Onei” – Grapes and Cheese

400-05670127

Aralian Sun Wine – a honey coloured wine which has unique refractory properties that amplify incident light causing the liquid to floresce. Specifically shaped glassware is used to further boost the visual. This wine is otherwise typical of white wines with a fruity bouquet pairing well with light meats and soft textured cheeses.

“Artolian? You mean Aralian… of course you do. How could you not? The famous amber liquid is renowned throughout the lands, not just for the sweet notes reminiscent of frost peach, or the euphoric rhapsody of flavours which tickle ones palette just so. No… you probably know it by its more common moniker, ‘Sun Wine’. The wine is renowned for the florescent glow when held in the bright light of a candle or the rays of the sun. It glows as if the sun itself dipped down and left some of its essence behind for you to enjoy in liquid form, all the golden flavour with none of the flame.” – Ca’nep Ronth, Aralian wine merchant


Nevtek – Mead fermeted from a jungle growing fruit similar to a papaya in size and flavour. Both the juice pressed from the fleshy fruit and nectar directly from the tree’s flowers are collected and blended with speciefic spices to give the drink a unique musky warm note. Nevtek keeps well, and it is generally considered better after five or more years of age.

“I am offended that you would accuse me of selling substandard goods my friend. We both know that the guild would have my thumbs and close my shop for such unfair practice. That jar contains nothing but the best nevtak nectar, hand squeezed, and fermented with only the finest kel spice. I dare say if you claim it to be inferior, that it is your palette that lacks substance, and certainly not my product. You will not find a purer produce than Raeos sells, anywhere in all of Waejiradur.” – Raeos, Waejiran wine merchant


Zei-pah – The Ru-Pani sea nomads ferment a drink called zei-pah. Every vu s’vin has a unique recipe or take on the beverage, but the common ingredient is sea water, fermented sea-plants, and plums/peaches, combined with special herbs known only to the Ru-Pani brewmasters. Most report it to have a bitter salty flavour with hints of honey and cherry. The turquoise liquid has fairly high alcohol content, and does seem to improve one’s night vision capabilities. The Ru-Pani purport that the drink grants good luck to the consumer, and as such is often used to toast new ventures, partnerships, and marriages.

“It’s not a trade, it is a cultural practice which all Ru-Pani participate in; either the brewing, or consuption thereof. As to pointers, I recommend getting a decent brewer, like myself, to guide you through your first few batches to ensure you are making it right, and understand the subtle cues given by the batch during the fermenting process. I don’t claim to be best, but I certainly am better than most. Experience and quality ingredients make a big difference. Even so, something as seemingly unrelated as the weather can affect the finished product.” – Z’al Kylee, a brewer of the Ru-Pani


Cheese – Throughout the nations of Entorais there are some many varieties of cheese that it is hard to categorize them fully. They vary in firmness, from spreadable soft curds to hard nearly moistureless bricks. The source, production methods, added ingredients, and methods of preservation further compound the efforts to catologue all cheeses.

“There is much debate between members of the Cheesepressers guild on which is better: Teica cheese, or Rabbuc Cheese. It tends to revolve around one’s personal palette. The former has a softer texture, and creamy sweet note, accented by various herbs. It is a excellent pairing with light breads, fruits, and summer wines. The latter makes much firmer cheese, generally smoked, and waxed to make suitable for travel. This type ages nicely, travels well, and is more often exported. It sharper flavours are generally paired with roasted meats and ales.” – Tiso, Tabrani cheesemonger

Waejiran Festival of the Moons

Savannah Moons 2
Savannah Moons – © June Shepherd, 2017

As there are two moons in the sky of Entorais, they feature prominently in the folklore and the religions of the peoples.

The Red Moon

The red moon has a lunar month of 37 days. only a few calandars are based on its cycles, usually composed of an eleven month (407 day) year, which doesn’t match to the seasons.

Named Kodah, and associated with the goddess aspect Ryla in the Twin Goddess Religion. Mass is celebrated on the new moon (first of the month) and full moon (18th of the month). Every 3 months, the celebration on the new moon is considered a high mass (every 111 days).

Named after and associated with the mythological being Rae (one of Balfagor’s Stei) in Waejir. Rae is believed to deliver nightmares to sleepers, his power being strongest when Rae is full, and dreams had during these nights are deemed most prophetic.

The Silver Moon

The silver moon has a 30 day lunar month and most calandars are based on its twelve month (360 day) year which matches the seasons. This moon rotates once on it’s axis every ten days, which gives rise to the ten-day (week) timespan common throughout Entorais.

Named Say-noh and associated with the goddess aspect Peolu in the Twin Goddess Religion. A mass is celebrated on the new moon (first of the month) and full moon (15th of the month).

Named after and associated with the mythological being Nae (One of Balfagor’s Stei) in Waejir. Nae is believed to deliver pleasant dreams to sleepers. Her power being strongest when Nae is full, and dreams had during these nights are deemed most prophetic.

Festival of the Moons [Festival of Stei, Balfagor’s Night]

In Waejir, the nights when both Rae and Nae are full are considered unique times when the veil between the lands of the living, and the lands of the unclaimed dead are thinnest. Allowing ghosts of persons not given a proper funeral to visit people in the their dreams, or even possibly waking moments. During the three nights closest matching a double full moon festival, Waejirans will traipse about in elaborate masks depicting either Rae or Nae, sometimes a dual mask, or even full costumes are worn. A true conjuction of the full moons only occurs every 9 & 1/4 years (3330 days), and is cause for greater celebrations.

Devotees of Neithur, the Waejiran god of the dead, take these times to perform ceremonies intended to guide these wayward souls to the afterlife. It is considered a sacred duty to help all souls find redemption through Neithur and eventual rebirth through Silat. Their sombre bronze death masks and ashen robes provide a stark contrast finery of the other celebrants. Lesser Temple members may often dress ghosts, skeletons, and corpses following the preist about to encourage lost souls to join the parade and find salvation.

Sources of Inspiration

* Día de Muertos

* Samhain

* Carnevale di Venezia

* Walking the Dead


/u/Nevermore0714 Asks:

Q1: What if someone has not been given a proper funeral, will they only be able to partially have an influence on the world?

A1: This is a matter of debate amongst arcanists. Some believe that the manner of death, or the lack of resolved life issues can cause such a spirit to linger, and possibly impact the world more readily when circumstances mirror the time, or conditions of their death.

Q2: Is there any significance to the choice between ghost, skeleton, and corpse for how a Lesser Temple Member dresses?

A2: They are the three basic forms of undead believed to be lost in the world. And presumeably the three forms the dead can take; a person’s corpse, or bones, or ghostly spirit may be all that remains of their original body. So all three are depicted, to be inclusive, it wouldn’t do to round up the bones, and leave the fresher corpses to decay for longer.

Q3: Could I take out someone’s bones, leave the rest of their corpse somewhere else, and then have all three come from one person? A Ghost-Sally, a Skele-Sally, and a Corpse-Sally?

A3: Probably only Ghost-Sally would sally forth, as there is only one soul to gather. Actual walking corpses, or animated skeletons in this case are symbolic of the body states, but no one expects a real corpse to join the parade; at least that’s what they admit in public.

Q4: For the ghosts of those who have been properly buried, how do they interact with their families? How “earthly” are they during this time?

A4: Waejirans do not bury their dead, as they believe that leads to them being trapped in the material world. Those who have passed on are given a proper funeral pyre, so their spirit may make the journey back to Silat. As to the power of the properly mourned to interact with the living, they have moved on and have no concern for or with the living; it is only the dead who are stuck at some point on that journey that can interact.

Q5: What all could Ghost-Sally do?

A5: Well, assuming Ghost Sally is not too upset with you for the horrible manner in which you killed her, and defiled her remains, she might just move on. Assuming those who cared about her perform the appropriate funery rites in absentia she should pass from this realm into the next.

Now, if she wasn’t properly grieved, and/or bears a grudge towards her killer, there is no real way of knowing what she might do. Waejirans do believe that the restless dead can possess the living, or affect them in ways which bring about self-harm directly or indirectly.

Gods of the Waejiran Pantheon

AESAT
Waejiran goddess of true love, sexuality, and marriage. The lover and twin sister of Baithur, Aesat is a known shape-shifter, as true love can take any form. Aesat was born directly of Silat.

BAILEIA
Waejiran goddess of travelers, roads, and paths. She was born of Vorsha and fathered by Kaithur. It is Baileia who tricked Qeisar into stealing the secret of the wheel from Vorsha, which she then shared with the treahni.

BAITHUR
Waejiran god of true love, sexuality, and marriage, a role he shares with Aesat. He is the shape-shifting twin brother and lover of Aesat. Baithur was born directly of Silat.

BALFAGOR
Waejiran god called “the Master of Dreams”, Balfagor is the god of night, shadows and darkness. He is believed to send out his stei, Rae and Nae, to deliver dreams to sleepers. Balfagor was fathered by Qeinor and born of Silat.

COTHUR
Waejiran god of storms, precipitation, and weather. Cothur was fathered by Dailor, and born of Saedeia

DAILOR
Waejiran elemental god of air, wind, and flight. He is said to have sprung directly from Silat.

HAESUR
Waejiran god and collector of all treahni lore, also called “the Thief of Time”. Son of Dailor and Vorsha. Haesur is believed to steal the knowledge of the treahni, and bring these secrets to his mother’s library. When someone dies with secrets, it is Haesur who spirits these away.
Haesur is attributed with knowing every story ever told, as well as the truth behind these stories.

KAITHUR
Waejiran god of commerce and trade, the master of all caravans, merchants and shopkeepers. Kaithur is known to be a gambler, and is attributed with making wagers and undertaking risky endeavors; as such he is considered “the lucky god”.

LAINA
Waejiran goddess of platonic love, friendship, and courtesans. She was fathered by Baithur and born to Aesat.

NAE
Waejiran mythic figure believed to deliver benign dreams to sleeping people. One of Balfagor’s stei, Nae is associated with the silver moon.

NIETHUR
Waejiran god of death, the dead. Neithur is most often depicted as a figure robed in ash grey funeral shrouds wearing an expressionless full face mask of bronze. Neithur is said to escort the souls of the dead back to Silat. Born of Silat and fathered by Shaelar.

QAELA
Waejiran goddess, and the patroness of thieves and conspirators. Called the “Daughter of Dusk”, Qaela was fathered by Balfagor and born of Saedeia.

QEINOR
Waejiran elemental god of earth. Qeinor is said to have sprung directly from Silat. He is attributed with teaching agriculture, and farming to the treahni.

QEISAR
Waejiran god of the seasons. Called “The Slave at the Wheel”, Qeisar is responsible for advancing the seasons. He was tricked by Baileia into stealing the secret of the wheel from Vorsha, and in punishment is forced to turn the seasons for the rest of eternity.
Qeisar is born of Kaithur and Sidaelia.

RAE
Waejiran mythic figure believed to deliver nightmares to sleeping people. One of Balfagor’s stei, associated with the Red moon.

RAITHA
Waejiran goddess of the beasts, instinct, and the purity of wild nature. She was born of Silat and fathered by Qeinor. Raitha is attributed with teaching treahni how to domesticate animals by working with their natures.

SAEDEIA
Waejiran elemental goddess of water, the sea, and all things aquatic. She is said to have sprung directly from Silat.
She is attributed with teaching the treahni the arts of brewing, distilling, and winemaking.

SHAELAR
Waejiran elemental god of fire. He sprung forth from Silat directly.
Shaelar is responsible for war, strife, and general destruction.

SIDAELIA
Waejiran goddess of light, and daytime. Sidaelia was born of Silat and fathered by Shaelar.

SILAT
The Goddess Silat, is rumoured to exist on the earthly plane in a Siladun, a timeless fortress surrounded by the vast salt flats in the Northern Waejiran Desert. She is the all mother, birther of the world, the embodiment of chaos and creation. She is said to be both forever formless and capable of taking any form. From her all life was born, first as the principle elements, and later her incestuous coupling with her own children produced the lesser gods, and so on. She is the great creator spirit whom existed before all else. All things are born of her flesh, and return to her flesh after death. No one who has braved to cross the seemingly endless salt in an attempt to discover her home has ever returned. Some say the great faceted dome of indestructible glass which caps the central chamber of the her temple in Waejiradur was brought forth from her fabled home at the conclusion of the God Wars millenia ago.

SLEEPING GOD, The
Nameless Waejiran god/dess, whose name was removed from history, for a great offense. Some believe this nameless one to still have some powers, but exactly what is left unsaid.

THANOR
Waejiran god of forges, metal working, and smelting. The “Son of Dawn” was fathered by Shaelar and born of Sidaelia. Thanor is said to stoke the sun every morning, and the dawn’s glow is the heat of his forge.

THEILA
Waejiran goddess of female strength. She was fathered by Qeinor and born to Raitha. Theila is most often portrayed as the virginal huntress. She is attributed with giving names to the stars, and teaching the secrets of navigation and astrology to the treahni.

VORSHA
Waejiran goddess of knowledge, invention, puzzles, secrets, and mystery. Vorsha was fathered by Shaelar and born of Silat.

Kyŧusave Primer Preview

I plan to eventually have a whole series of lessons in the various languages spoken on Entorais. Here is a quick sample of the sort:


Kyŧan Phrases

I am Pëpecyko. => Mana zaty Pëpecyko.

My name is Pëpecyko. => Hymana plö zaty Pëpecyko.

He is Nöl. => Mazna zaty Nöl.

She is Tycöva. => Mazva zaty Tycöva.

They are Nöl and Tycöva. => Mözmü zaty Nöl ad Tycöva.

We are Pëpecyko, Nöl and Tycöva. => Mömü zaty Pëpecyko, Nöl ad Tycöva.

I am a person => Mana zaty kableŧ.

He is a person. => Mazna zaty kableŧ.

She is a person. => Mazva zaty kableŧ.

Nöl and Tycöva are people. => Nöl ad Tycöva zaty bleŧmü.

They are people. => Mözmü zaty bleŧmü.

We are people. => Mömü zaty bleŧmü.

I am a man. => Mana zaty kableŧna.

Nöl is a man. => Nöl zaty kableŧna.

We are men. => Mönä zaty bleŧnä.

Tycöva is a woman. => Tycöva zaty kableŧva.

Nöl and Tycöva are a man and a woman. => Nöl ad Tycöva zaty kableŧna ad kableŧva.

Nöl and Tycöva married. => Nöl ad Tycöva źupäsül.

Nöl is Tycöva’s husband. => Nöl zaty hyTycöva sülna.

Tycöva is Nöl’s wife. => Tycöva zaty hyNöl sülva.

Nöl and Tycöva are husband and wife. => Nöl ad Tycöva zaty sülna ad sülva.

Nöl and Tycöva are spouses. => Nöl ad Tycöva zaty sülmü.

Nöl is the husband of Tycöva. => Nöl zaty mazsülna hy Tycöva.

Tycöva is the wife of Nöl. => Tycöva zaty mazsülva hy Nöl.

I am Nöl’s brother. => Mana zaty hyNöl rasna.

We are siblings. => Mönä zaty rasmü.

Tycöva is my sister-in-law. => Tycöva zaty hymana rasnasülva.

I am Tycöva’s brother-in-law. => Mana zaty hyTycöva sülnarasna.

My brother’s wife is my sister-in-law. => Hymana hyrasna sülva zaty hymana rasnasülva.

The wife of my brother is my sister-in-law. => Mazsülva hy hymana rasna zaty hymana rasnasülva.

King’s Field

I'm glad we settled our conflict

A board game (similar to Terran “chess”), popular amongst nobles and the military, played on a board of 81 squares (9 by 9). Two opposing players attempt to capture each other’s King through use of their army of Men-at-Arms, Archers, and Horsemen. The victory conditions and ransom for captured pieces is agreed upon by the players before starting play.

Man-at-Arms

The Man-at-Arms is the most common piece. It representing a foot soldier. A relatively weak piece, it requires one other supporting attacker, even a second Man-at-Arms, in order to make a valid capture of an opposing piece. The large number of Men-at-Arms in the army makes up for this weakness.

Archer

Each army has four archers, representing bowmen. Their ability to attack over other pieces makes them useful tactically, as they can attack from behind friendly pieces which provide a defence from the opponents pieces. Like the skirmishers they represent, Archers can also retreat using their agile movement to escape threatened capture.

Horseman

Each army has four Horsemen, representing mounted cavalry. They are fast, and can cover a wide area. Their linear movement reflects the mounted charge of real combat.

The King

Ultimately the most important piece of the game, the King represents the army’s commander and if captured the fight is over. While capable the King can be a vulnerable piece, and protecting this piece from capture is critical to playing well.


Complete Rules in PDF Format

Random Plants

As a parallel to my random animal tables I decided to do a similar thing with plants. Some of the more exotic plants of Entorais were generated from the tables then adapted to fit the world better.

Here is a link to the shared pdf: Random Flora Tables (v.1.1) (updated).

I encourage my readers to have fun with these tables. If you do find these useful, please use the results in your own works. I only ask that you give credit where appropriate. Any feedback on the tables, weird results, or thoughts about the process of randomizing plants are welcome.

Random Animals

In order to explore fantastic creatures and invent unique lifeforms for the world of Entorais, I created random tables to generate fauna. Some of my extant critters, for example, the Shaloki, are adaptions from the results.

Here is a link to the shared pdf: Random Fauna Tables (v.1.1) (updated)

I encourage my readers to have fun with these tables. If you do find these useful, please use the results in your own works. I only ask that you give credit where appropriate. Any feedback on the tables, weird results, or thoughts about the process of randomizing creatures are welcome.

Related Material: Random Flora

Shaloki

Shaloki (600 x 400)
Shaloki – Commissioned Artist: Reddit User /u/MarkyBoy1313

Hunted by the Iskandean fishermen these aquatic reptiles are aggressive predators of schooling fish upon which the local economy depends. They are found in pods of 4-6 members (pair bonded adults with one or two year old young).

Adults average a length of 2-3 meters, and a mass upwards of 500 kg.Young are live-birthed, generally in pairs, measuring half a meter in length and massing about 5 kg. They grow quickly, reaching full adult size, and sexual maturity in three years.

They swim using their four fore-limb flippers, hind limbs ending in webbed feet, and powerful flat tail. They are capable of limited movement on land, using their ability to leap from the water to great effect if threatened. Their mottled appearance lends some camoflague while stalking prey fish, before attacking with a savage tearing bite.