Bog's World

Altogether elsewhere

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The Shesh

The Shesh are the Mura tribe who live in the jungles of northern Alcant. Their range extends from Takalik Abaj northwards into the mountains and beyond, into the rain forest the other side.

This is the tribe of Shuufa and Riisv from NPC Adventuring party #2. They hunt with blowpipes, the darts of which are poisoned by wiping them on one of three particular types of tree frog. They war with locally manufactured shortbows (although ones from imperial Alcant are a status symbol) whose arrows are treated with the same poisons – their only way of bringing down hurgilin.

Fortunately for those who visit them, they’re also a friendly folk who open their villages and huts to gracious visitors who respect their spiritual beliefs and customs.

They are ruled by their king Obeah (the thirteenth of that name/line) and his queen Eklity. They are (quite frankly) obsessed with loud music and dance parties. They could not afford such things for many, many generations, as it would have brought the hurgilin down on them. Now, they feel it is their duty to their ancestors to party as often and as wildly as they can.

An approach to a Shesheyan settlement is likely to have been forewarned by the tribes hunters or Ch’sa (M Dia: Scouts on sentry duties) and therefore, according to Obeah’s rules, any guests should arrive just as the party gets into full swing.

As they break into the clearing, there will be a thumping bassline from the hollowed log end drums and carefully crafted gong/drum thingies (M: Malatran [like a 1.3 meter diameter tambourine, with a laminated hoop approximately two meters deep, mounted horizontally]). All of these are beaten with sticks, usually tipped with a leather sock, packed out tightly with sand. These are accompanied by the wind section who are equipped with a variety of horns. Some are traded for metal ones, some are the horns of large creatures and some are locally produced dyr wood digeridoos.

The effect, musically, is simple stanzas oft repeated to rising and falling durm beat. It can be quite hypnotic. This effect is further enhanced by the rest of tribe jumping around with their arms in the air. This they do with gusto, cavorting to the music for as long as they can before fatigue sets in and they have to rest.

Obeah himself can usually be identified by his large crown of leaves and feathers. This is made up of a semi circular fan at the rear, which is always the brightest colours, and a darker covering for the front of his head, held in place by a fur or snake skin band. Eklity also has a similar crown. Hers is smaller but no less colourful.

These dances are fuelled by coconut beer, coconut milk, fruit from the jungle and meats[1] cooked on hot stones in buried pits in the village centre. Their staple food is flour made from the sago palm, which sustains life quite nicely, but isn’t quite as tasty. Zipes (M Dia: beer) is a product of contact with the Dwarven enclaves of Zakpane and other locations in the Barrier Mountains. It is more likely that the Shesh contact the Dwarves there than the Dwarves travelled west to where the Shesh range. One surefire give away to this is the constant toasting and praising of ancestors and well wishing for children that goes on when Obeah or one of his Ch’sa gets a coconut shell of zipes in his hands. Like many things new to them, the Shesh have only the Dwarves as a reference to their toasting and drinking. This iniquitous benchmark means that they do both to excess, although the novelty is wearing off.

Both men and women rear a strip of rattan as a belt. Additionally men wear a penis gourd and women often wear a leather or woven leaf skirt over their crotch. Tattooing is something they have retained over the long years since they were the civilised and cosmopolitan Moche. Their existing patterns are based on the natural world around them. They use two pigments – one a very dark oche and the other a purple/black dye made from ground up ants. Tattooing is only performed by elders, on members of their own family. They are done with a sharp stick and the colouring is rubbed briskly into the wound.

The Shesh remain quasi nomadic. They have only one permanent village, close to the trailhead near Takalik Abaj. It’s only permanent residents are the king and queen, who oversee trade and other matters of treaty with Amarth Myya, who is Glordin’s Carnc in Galeb Nadum. It is Glordin’s policy that Alcant controls the ambitions of any merchants who wish to trade with the Mura, and for the Shesh, Amarth fulfils this function. This is achieved by his ilin watching the trail up to Takalik Abaj. Amarth will insist to any traveller that one of his ilin accompany them ‘for protection’. This seems nice, but is of course to protect the Shesh from avaricious traders and Takalik Abaj from destructive treasure seekers.

The Shesh range over an area which they call Bum (M dia: place where our parties happen [almost certainly a contraction and always pron Booom]). Their neighbours to the south are Amarth Myya and his small Edium population who enjoy good relationships with the Shesheyans. To the west is one of the few remaining Galadhrim enclaves in Teddin, who live in part much as the Shesh them selves do. Nonetheless, relations with their non-human neighbours are a little more distant. Otherwise the Galadhrim, under the leadership of Ravan Revanthas (Gal/M/Drd 11) practice a very discrete level of agriculture. To the east are the mines and enclaves of Zakopane. To the north is the rainforest, overlying the Karst like an unquiet blanket.

The southern portion of their range, which contains the village (eponymously also called Bum) is not rainforest, but is still jungle. The Shesh obviously have their own ways (doubtless more than one) through the barrier mountains and out onto the plateau beyond.

[1] Mostly birds and freshwater crayfish, which are fairly abundant in the very wet environment.

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