Ahuj, as she’s known by Captain Kwajr’s brave crew, is friend to Djafaiya, the East Wind of the Sea. At a word from her lips, city gates discharge their duty to her by opening. Fair winds vacate the sails of their quarry and swell their own to overtake their prey. The Mighty City of Po invites her with gritted teeth and will see her unharmed in its rough streets and halls of intrigue.
Two years have passed since Emakesh rounded the bend of Mother River to see the village of Adur Em burned to a smoldering cinder. He asked the boat — a simple canoe carven from the stout bowsprit of the warship whose stories you already know — to beach itself that he might look among the ashes for clue or treasure. What he found was much more than the fire-eaten remains of a village.
Nur Amegh is the champion of the City of Guruk, which can be found in the Three-River Mountains far the the west of the center of the world.
The Wandering Tower is spoken of around campfires and in the halls of the great cities, alike. It was seen by the traveler, Emish, as she crossed the Stone Sea. The army of Magish the Archer gave it wide berth when it marched toward the city of Ud.
Any traveller will recognize that the first sounds and smells of a town are those of the settlement’s ktesh. The birds stand only as tall as the knee, but, as the saying goes, “All cities are built of the bones of the ktesh.” They hunt as a flock, consuming the rats, mice, and toka of a settlement and, in return, the people of the settlement consume the flesh of the ktesh. The color of its feathers never fade and are used for spectacular artworks, and its bones are read by namedealers to read portents of the future.
The meat has a bolder flavor than that of any other bird, but is both more delicate and more abundant than that of sheep or goats. It bears well the spices that travel the Great Road and combines well with eggplant and garlic. In most cities, it can be purchased, heavily salted and spiced, grilled on sticks.
About a year ago, I posted a roleplaying game based on my story, Lover of Jet & Gold about the Namedealers of the setting: those who speak the secret Language of Names to all the phenomena of the demon-haunted world in which they live. For the most part, they’re the “sorcerers” of the Sword & Sorcery setting.
This game, now called The Bloody-Handed Name of Bronze, is now available to subscribers to the xenoglyph Patreon and is for sale in the xenoglyph store!
You might want to read Drash, before you play, too!
Namedealers are like Mosheh, Thetis, and Merlin. But they’re also not all that far from Bugs Bunny and Cugel, all of whose power comes from their ability to perceive and tell truths, but whose weakness in overestimating their importance to rather more direct individuals at the wrong moment. In a recent game, the inestimable Quinn Murphy equated his namedealer to Wile E. Coyote, fleeing the consequence of each overreach by putting himself in a slightly more desperate debt.
It was, and I quote a player at PAX East 2015 here, “The most fun I’ve ever had being eaten by a crocodile.”*
While preparing for PAX East this year, I decided that, instead of worrying about trivialities like the location of the cash box or repairing the banners that were damaged from travel, I’d finally write down this RPG that I’d been working on and publish it.
So I present to you here, thanks to my Patreon patrons, the roleplaying game that inspired the story, Lover of Jet & Gold.
I’m giving it away here, so If you like it, please back xenoglyph!