Saturday, April 13, 2013

Readers' Requests - Hekellu, the City on the Lake

View of the city from Chirine's galley

Hekellu, where I was the acting Governor for a while, is off on the eastern side of the Seal Imperium and just about as far out as you're going to get from the center of things in Bey Sy. (I exclude the city of Fenul, which alternates between Tsolyani and Salarvyani control when it's not being burnt down by the Ssu.) There's the map of the city that Phil did for me and which is posted on-line on

and the web has lots of pictures of it's analogue in India - Udaipur, which was the scene of the Bond film "Octopussy" (Don't miss the scenes with the rowing barge, which is still afloat and available for hire!) and is a city of forts and palaces nested in a surrounding set of lakes.

Water traffic, both licit and illicit, plays a big part in Hekellu's social and commercial life; there's a large open waterfront, as well as the ruins of the Old Palace, and rumors of a shallow and very soggy - under the water table, sorry to say - Underworld that connects the Old and New Palaces, some of the city wall towers, and a few of the Temples in town. The home barracks of the 32nd Imperial Medium Infantry, the Legion of the Traslucent Emerald, is located just outside the south side of town and a number of Temples have monastary / fortresses within a day's march of the city - the Monastary of the Fallen Leaves, dedicated to Lord Ksarul and manned by the Horokaingai (who are fanatic worshippers of Lord Vimuhla, who they regard as a mere poseur in the warfare business; The Lord of Flame appointed them to be Lord Ksarul's standard-bearers at the Battle of Dormoron Plain, and they stood form when Lord Vimuhla defected to the lords of Stability.)

See? You can learn something new here, every time!

Anyway, Hekellu is very much a city on the frontier, with opportunities for adventure to match. When I was here, there were a  number of very interesting ruins that never got explored as we were having to repress the locals on a daily basis. (The Young Master, for example, was a real pest.) Likewise, the shallow Underworld had some very interesting old shrines to Lord Vimuhla, of all beings, and I managed to find the time to explore several of them. The local Temple of Vimuhla is about what you'd expect in a medium-sized town, and about like that in someplace like Hauma or Katalal. I had to deal with a really bad case of sticky-fingers on the part of the local Administrative High Priest when Lord Takodai and I got there, but things were much better run and organized after I cut the guy's throat and tossed him into the sacrificial flame pit. (I hear the priests are still finding bags of kaitars in the odd corners and closets of the temple to this day. Idiot.)

Out east, of course, is the rather run-down and minor Sakbe road that leads to Sirsum; this runs along the river that runs back east into the Chaigari Protectorate, and is nothing to write home to Mother about on the best of days. I fought the Battle of Anch'ke at the village of the same name, about a day's march east of Hekellu, where I caught Phil and his tribal horde flat-footed (one of the very few times I ever got the better of Phil in a miniatures game!) and we reminded them just which of the Gods were on the side of which Big Battalions. We've refought Anch'ke since - it's one of my 'prepackaged' battles for running at events - and I'll get the photos posted on the Photobucket page if they are not already there.

So, and short look at Hekellu; there's more in "To Serve The Petal Throne", and I'll keep updating that as much as I can.