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Sakesh

The Village of Hyenas

The suns slipped below the horizon and twilight deepened to darkness. The people within the village were just finishing their offerings, left on their doorsteps as they hastily retreated inside. Within minutes of the fall of night, the streets were empty and quiet.

Then the hyenas came.

Demographics

100% lilthian, any other races are certainly merchants or visitors, and are primarily human. Many Sakeshi inhabitants consider themselves Khetzali, but some prefer to be identified specifically as Sakeshi.

Defences

The entire town is built on a raised foundation of sandstone, with an 8 foot wall rising around its borders. The wall has four watchtowers, but they are not always manned. Its primary use is not to defend against invaders, but against wild animals.
There is one notable exception, however. The wall possesses multiple small square holes at ground level, designed specifically to allow spotted hyenas access to the city.

Industry & Trade

Merchants in Sakesh buy products from merchants coming in from the sea, and in turn take those products deeper into Khetzala to sell. Sakesh also has abundant access to fish, crocodile skins, and water. Locals will not buy or sell hyena skins, and may kick out any merchants trying to do so.

History

Sakesh was founded as a trade town between Jahzir and Safeport and very quickly grew in size as more and more merchants chose to settle there rather than make the trek all the way across the country. The Council named Sakesh as an official trade town in [TIME] and funded improvements to its infrastructure and its border walls.

It isn't known for certain when the hyenas were introduced to the town. Some Sakeshi elders claim that the hyenas protected the merchants on their travels from the other wild animals, others insist that they were taken pity on during a famine and the tradition of feeding them continued on ever since. Whenever or whatever the cause, the hyenas are part of Sakesh now, and they don't intend to be leaving any time soon.

"Be careful not to stay out past dark, my love. The Guardians may mistake you for a Shadecreature and do you harm."
- Lilthish mother to young child

The Hyenas

The Sakeshi call the hyenas Guardians, Protectors, or even "The Champions of Sakesh." The wealthy within the city will place their abundance (usually raw meats) on special ceramic plates as offerings to the pack. They believe that as long as the hyenas are fed and taken care of, the city will be protected from other predators, Shadecreatures, famine, and pestilence. Consistently feeding the hyenas also keeps them away from the village livestock.

It is said that if one refuses or forgets to provide an offering of their abundance to the hyenas, they will forcibly take something from them instead. Therefore, if someone loses livestock to the hyenas, they must have neglected to provide a suitable offering. It is also a huge taboo to harm the village hyenas, and anyone who does so will be cursed forever. Anything made from hyena skins are also considered to be cursed.

While the Sakeshi revere the hyenas, they still fear them. At night, they completely surrender the city to the pack. Almost all homes within the city have lofted sleeping quarters that are only accessible by a ladder, and thus not accessible by hyenas. Sakeshi parents are very careful to keep their children from wandering after dark, to avoid them "being mistaken for a Shadecreature" and eaten alive.

Those whose children are killed by the hyenas are said to have done an unforgivable deed to deserve such a punishment, and as a result are often cast out from society.

Architecture

Buildings in Sakesh are built of primarily clay, wood, sandstone, or a mix of the three. Open, arched doorways are prevalent. Nearly all houses have a common area on floor level and a lofted sleeping area accessible only by a wooden or rope ladder.

Geography

Sakesh sits at a fork of the Green river, and enjoys abundant water even during the dry season. During the wet season, most of the area around the village floods, making entering and exiting difficult. To combat this, most families own small canoes.

Natural Resources

  • Wood (limited amounts)
  • Clay and mud
  • Ceramics
  • Water
Alternative Name(s)
Village of Hyenas
Type
Large town
Related Ethnicities
Inhabitant Demonym
Sakeshi
Location under
Owning Organization

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Cover image: SanZera world cover by Aster Blackwell

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