Gommoch

Goh-mahk

I stopped as soon as I saw it. A story I had almost forgotten— though I doubt those trapped within have been so lucky. I had intended to travel to Romm to tell my next story, yet here I was, at the feet of one I had left incomplete. I couldn't help but smile, perhaps my arriving here once again was this story's way of asking— or begging— me to complete it.   "I suppose I have time enough." I tugged at my prisoner's chains as I turned towards the town. "Come cup, we must return to Gommoch so that I may write its final chapter."

Extra Info

Type
Town
Population
4,234
Government
Romtol
Location
Romtol
Gommoch is a large town along the southern border of Romtol, and to most, it is of little note. This poor, run-down town hides a strange secret, however— hidden within a separate plane exists another version of Gommoch; an opulent, rich Gommoch that feeds off the work of those who live in the mortal plane.  

In Two

The Gommoch that lies within the mortal plane is a small forest of wilted edifices. Like most Tollouchi? settlements, its structures are towering things that resemble the jungle the bereaved people used to inhabit— replete with a tangled web of upper balconies, hanging platforms, and pathways. Much of the town's upper levels have fallen into disrepair, with many of its hanging pathways either left to rot, or as victims of poor maintenance— leading to myriad injuries and deaths.   The tallest of these edifices are those near the center, which house the town's ruling family— the Nonmoch?— and the rest of the local government. Those that wish to gain their favor tend to live close to the center, though over time this has meant that the central section of the town belongs to its wealthier denizens— while the poorer, working class residents of Gommoch mostly live in the outer sprawl of the town. Their homes, however, tend to be both smaller, and shorter.  
Everything was in a worse state than I'd left it. It was hard not to smile as I passed by the broken pieces of fallen balconies, and found myself having to carefully walk between the abandoned pieces of lumber. When I had arrived, Gommoch was well on its way to becoming a great city— but that doesn't make for a very interesting story, does it?   No, every city was once a promising town, every town was once a promising village— and they all rise in much the same fashion, we've heard this tale time and time again. What's more interesting, more varied— are the myriad ways in which a settlement can fall.
  A small fortress rests along the southern edge of the town, with military housing scattered in its vicinity. Much of this is recent construction, retrofitting dilapidated structures with resources taken from homes both abandoned and occupied within the town. This was built in response to the worrying development of Nipual?— a large Rektouzk? military fortress built across the border a short distance from Gommoch.  

A Hidden Visage

Hidden from the mortal plane, is another, minor plane isolated to the confines of Gommoch— here lies a truly magnificent settlement. A vision of the town that Gommoch could have been, but isn't— all due to those who lie within its alternate. Nothing within this version of Gommoch fails to catch one's eye— as if an artisan had graced every inch of its structures with a grand relief, filigree, carving, or painting. That is, because artisans have done exactly that— given full reign of the town to use as their canvas. The homes here are grand in scope, and, given the naturally smaller population— each resident has an entire towering edifice to themselves. As in the mortal plane, the tallest buildings— found at the center of the town— belong to the Nonmoch family.   All of this sits beneath a fractaline sky, a dark purple void littered with bright orange geometry that subtly transforms as one observes it. Whether or not this sky, or the forms within, change with the time and weather of the mortal plane— none are quite certain. If it does, it does so in a manner none of the plane's inhabitants have been able to discern. The edges of the plane are found shortly beyond the edges of Gommoch itself, at which point the ground beneath one's feet suddenly drops into an endless void.
 

Prosperity & Disparity

The mortal Gommoch is a struggling town kept afloat by traders stopping by along their way to and from other, more notable locales. While the town lies at the intersection between several major trade routes, it is only a minor stop along the way— as many believe the town to be either cursed, haunted, or a den of thieves. Few merchants that pass through Gommoch leave without mysteriously losing some of their wares. Often, denizens who happen to be nearby are given the blame— and punished accordingly. In reality, however— it is not the poor, but the rich who engage in rampant thievery.   While they may be trapped within their plane, unable to return to a mortal existence— the denizens of the hidden Gommoch can still influence the mortal town. They are unable to interact with living entities, but are fully capable of doing so with inanimate objects. With enough concentration, one can even pull objects between the planes— requiring multiple persons for larger objects. It is through this strange power that the opulent Gommoch thrives— stealing resources and luxuries from the mortal plane. This results in great loss for those unfortunate souls who reside within the mortal Gommoch; crops and well-cooked meals are taken from their mouths, hard-earned luxuries from fine clothes to precious gems are whisked away, and even simple things such as cloth or lumber disappear the moment one takes their eyes off them. As a result, many are found wanting for food to fill their empty stomachs, materials with which to repair their crumbling homes, clothes to put upon their backs, and just about everything between.  

Politics

Tensions within Gommoch are high, both from its own residents, and from those who pass through it. Some, even, have begun to travel around the cursed town, rather than through it. Many demand that the Nonmoch family and the local government do something to address it. Over the past thirty or so years, there have been numerous half-hearted measures taken to address the problem. These have included increasing military presence in the town, harsher punishments for thievery, and— very briefly— an attempted curfew. Of course, all of these measures have benefitted those responsible, rather than actually tackling the problem at hand.  
I passed by a group of disgruntled farmers protesting near the town's center— as close to it as they could get without having to engage the guards. It seemed that my previous work here had created the perfect conditions for an explosive end— all I needed to do was fan the flames, and the people would do the rest. I approached a woman who was watching the group from her home nearby.   "Would you mind telling me what they're protesting?"   The woman sighed. "There's some sort of monster, here— thing's been taking their crops for years now, but it's only gotten worse and worse. They think the family can do something about it."   I looked at the group thoughtfully for a moment, before turning back to the woman. "Do you think that they can't do anything, or that they won't?"
 

Leadership

Gommoch is ruled by the Nonmoch family, with each of the family's five members acting as part of its presiding council. A few people outside the family have also been appointed to handle the minutiae. The family takes a disinterested approach to governance, more preoccupied with their personal artistic pursuits— making many wonder why they wished to govern at all. This is especially confusing given the family's position as one of the Four— which means they have a significant amount of power within Romtol as a whole, power which they rarely utilize except when it comes to keeping others out of Gommoch.   Many power-hungry families have made attempts on the lives of the Nonmochs, hoping to steal their position in the Four— and failed each and every time. Unbeknownst to their would-be assassins, the Nonmoch reside simultaneously within the mortal and hidden plane of Gommoch. As a result, they are functionally immortal— if one were to die within one plane, their death would be undone by their healthy state within the other. If one were to truly kill the Nonmoch family, they would need to kill them within both planes at the same time. This unique existence makes them the only denizens of the opulent Gommoch that are able to truly communicate between both planes— and they often take requests from those trapped within to send messages and goods to those within the mortal plane. For a price, of course.  
As the crowd grew, the Nonmoch patriarch stepped out onto a nearby balcony to address them. I drew the hood of my cloak further over my head, I couldn't be sure if the man would recognize the one who told him of the forbidden magic that enabled him to transform this town. If he did, I couldn't be sure if he'd respond to my arrival favorably, or with fear. Men of his sort often tend to see others with power as threats, after all— even if they did help him reach his current status. As he talked, the crowd around me seemed to only get angrier— the man seemed to have gained a prodigous ego over the years, one which was painfully apparent every time he opened his mouth.
 

Notable Landmarks

Cursed Circle

Near the center of Gommoch, lies a strange wooden ring large enough to be the base of a large home— but no such structure sits upon it. Instead, the ring is filled with blackened dirt, and an unsettling humanoid statue at its center.   This was the site of a ritual the Nonmoch performed years ago in order to create the opulent Gommoch— and gain immortality. Today, it stands as an uncomfortable oddity, and the source of many equally uncomfortable rumors.

Beloved Bakery

Beloved by all, be they denizens of the poor Gommoch, opulent Gommoch, or even visitors to the cursed town— is a bakery run by the Nodolozz family. This bakery is most famous for its sweet cornbread, the recipe of which none have been able to replicate.   In recent years, however, the bakery has struggled— much like many within Gommoch, as trade has dwindled. As a result, it is now only open sporadically, as its owners have taken on other jobs around town to make ends meet.
 

The Collection

One of the opulent Gommoch's residents has a great appreciation for the arts, and as such, has taken to collecting as much as they can. Be it by commissioning the artisans within Gommoch, or by stealing artwork from the mortal plane.   Some of the world's greatest works have found their way here, after mysteriously vanishing years ago. All of these works are collected and displayed proudly in the lower floors of their home, which are open for all to see— for a price.

The Cornucopia

A grand, golden bowl near the center of the opulent Gommoch overflows with food, and myriad objects— free for any to take for themselves. Several of the plane's residents have grown fond of thievery, and without a need for most of their spoils— began to pool their stolen resources here.   To them, it's not about what they need, but the rush that comes from stealing. For some, it's become a game— a specific item will be announced, and the first to steal it will be declared the winner.
 
After a few days of my persuasion, tensions within the town have gotten much worse. The Nonmoch have locked their doors, and seldom venture beyond their homes, while military patrols carefully watch their perimeters— taking precious manpower from the fort in the south, should Rektouzk mount their offensive. All I must do, now, is leave the final piece for someone to find. With all the commotion elsewhere, it was fairly easy to reach that cursed statue on my own.   A wooden mask, carved by a local artisan, rested in my hands. I'd prepared it the night before, and now its surface was coated in candlewax into which were carved various unspeakable phrases.   Whoever was lucky— or unlucky— enough to stumble upon this final piece, and don it— would find themselves within the hidden plane that resides over Gommoch. Regardless of who obtained it, things would change drastically after the mask's discovery— and Gommoch's final chapter would finally close.   I whispered as I gently placed the mask over the statue's head. "Wear this, and you will see the truth."
 

Comments

Author's Notes

Feedback is very much welcome! Whether on the content, or the formatting! Please, point out typos if you spot any!


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16 Jun, 2022 05:01

Ooooh. And the storyteller at the center of it all. What an intriguing villain.

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
Sage Timepool
Garrett Grace Lewis
16 Jun, 2022 23:08

Thank you! I hope to have her pop up every now and again, weave her more thoroughly into the world.

Master PrincessESH
Aster Blackwell
16 Jun, 2022 19:32

Fascinating!

Sage Timepool
Garrett Grace Lewis
16 Jun, 2022 23:09
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