Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Pits of Foreign Daring

In the Foreign Quarter of Jakalla, several streets east of the Armory of Bushetra, there is an entrance to a section of the city's famed tsuru'um. Located in the ruins of an abandoned tenement, this crumbling stone stairwell descends some one hundred feet below the earth, leading anyone bold enough to traverse it into a maze of winding corridors and dark chambers. This portion of the Jakallan underworld is called The Pits of Foreign Daring, though some refer to it instead as the Obsidian Skein That Strangles Fools. It has acquired these two names due to the large numbers of brave or desperate foreigners who, over the years, have challenged its dangers for a chance at winning great wealth or power.

The existence of the Pits are well-known, and Foreign Quarter guard patrols make a habit of checking the stairs regularly to make sure that no monstrosities emerge to bring horror to the surface. Guardsmen will not stop anyone from descending the stairs, but on occasion will stop returning adventuring parties and make an on-the-spot 'tax' collection, if they think such a group has had an successful expedition. Bands of thugs and bravos have also been known to waylay explorers exiting the Pits, taking advantage of their weakened condition to reap the rewards of their bloody labors.

On the lintel of the archway the stairs pass beneath, someone carved a warning to those entering the Pits. The graffiti (written in Tsoylani) reads as follows:

Oh ye desperate and foolish, know this to be true – in these noisome pits, an outlier of Hell, gold is scarce and of scant comfort, while death waits close at hand and wears a thousand forms.

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