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ID: 1352


November 4, 2005, 6:43 pm

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Cheka Man

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An impressive citadel in the Askharnn mountains. Their prohibitive laws on travel during the Winter months can be a problem for pilgrims and wanderers.

Lazhkmazhon nestles like a bird between the jutting peaks of Caos and Zhua, except its thousand feathers are stone and its towers too angular to be natural. It is set amid a web of butresses which hold the citadel back from cascading brick by brick down the steep mountainside. Even in Summer, this terrain is perilous and hard to navigate for all but the most agile of chamois.

But in Winter, when the teeth of the wind gnaw at the butresses like rats on rope, bearing snow like an incurable disease, it becomes totally impassable. The screes are layered with sheets of ice and the world becomes an unending night of arctic fury. It is not until the Spring, when the snow rots in its clefts and the last rockfalls clatter their way to the ground, that it becomes safe to travel there again.

The Law of Lazhkmazhon forbids anyone to walk in the mountains during this time, for it is the duty of Law to protect Life at all costs.

Hence the custom of the Eternal Night.

A Curfew is sounded on the morning of the fifteenth day after the first frost.

While the horn is blown, the gates of the city are pulled shut, with a clang that is said to shatter the ice on the surface of the Amethyst Lake.

The Eternal Night lasts four months, during which no-one is allowed to leave the city of Lazhkmazhon, save the Khosthasorne on their flying beasts, that they might search for law-breakers wandering in the mountains, so they may be brought back into the citadel for the remainder of the Night.

The Psychology of the Night

Many different people can be found in the Citadel during the Night - not only its permanent citizens, but also pilgrims, merchants and nobles who were found travelling in the Askharnn range after the sounding of the Curfew. Thus the city becomes a melting pot of emotions: tension between locals, who believe the wanderers are foolish and would do best to remain in the city, and wanderers who are resentful at being confined within the walls of Lazhkmazhon; conflict between the temporary residents because they are from different cultures; a strange ambivalence of feeling for those who were saved by the Khosthasorne in the mountains but are now not the be released from the city.

As such it can be a very claustrophobic place, and many people do things they later regret: they indulge in brief liaisons, harsh words, even assault, suicide or attempted murder. It is certainly not a stable place to stay, and is kept in strict check by the city guard.

The Monastery

There is a place, an accessible plateau high above Lazhkmazhon, where many people go for quiet and reflection. Even at the height of the Night there are days of sunshine, when the dazzling light reflects off the frozen mountainland around and refracts rainbowlike through the sheets of ice. This plateau, which people call the Monastery, is an ideal place to watch this beautiful side of the Night, and an excellent location for the courageous to brave the storms and watch aurorae.

The Khosthasorne

Rangers of the sky, the Khosthasorne scout the mountains throughout the year from the backs of their trained gryphons. Clad in leather for warmth, these beasts can remain airborne in all but the worst arctic storms. The Khosthasorne of Lazhkmazhon have particularly terrifying facemasks with which they equip their gryphons.

They are good men, who value life above all else and have a deep respect for the devastating side of Nature. However, they have no patience with those who would risk their lives in blizzards or squalls, and rescue stranded travellers only to leave them safely contained in Lazhkmazhon.

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Comments ( 11 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Cheka Man
November 4, 2005, 21:11
I really like this, and it would be a great place to RP in *cues "Great Escape" Theme tune.
Voted MoonHunter
November 5, 2005, 11:51
A classic entry. :moon: :moon: two paws up
Voted manfred
November 7, 2005, 5:56
Very good, I can certainly imagine the place.

But there is a question: why is the city there? In the unaccessible, hardly passable terrain. How do they raise enough food to survive? If it is all imported (and likely has to be), it needs something else for exchange. There are pilgrims and merchants noted, so I guess there is a reason for the city to exist. Either it is a caravan route, or there is some important resource... or a holy site of a major religion?
Voted Murometz
May 14, 2006, 22:48
Only voted
Voted Priv8eye
May 16, 2006, 6:44
I like this and can see myself using it with a few minor adaptions
Cheka Man
July 8, 2006, 20:48
BUMP-one of my favourite entries.
Voted Iain
July 14, 2006, 11:12
I missed this one when it was posted. Very nice.
April 13, 2007, 15:40
A city like Lazhkmazhon would be likely to have a large seasonal population, the "Summer People", who would maintain two residences. In the warm months, they would live and work in the mountain city, then when the autumn winds called to them, they would travel to the lowlands to pass the winter.
Voted Ancient Gamer
July 14, 2007, 17:02
Quality writing and imagination!
Voted Moonlake
June 11, 2013, 23:08
Good write-up of the place and the Eternal Night although I too was wondering abt some of the things raised by Manfred
*Commented on for the Commenting Challenge
Voted valadaar
June 30, 2015, 13:02
I like the feel of this place - it even calls to mind some of the Game of Thrones locales, though the inhabitants are far more hospitable. I see this area being a critical pass between populous regions.

A good place to stage a murder mystery, plague, Alienseque monster invasion, etc.

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