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After the first occupation of Zamora, the monarchy determined that it would move the remnants of its culture, the Library of Zhem, out of harm’s way and keep it from being destroyed by uncaring interlopers. They built Yezud on an area of steep elevation, with five towers facing all directions to aid as both a lookout and for defense. Once completed, they moved the Library of Zhem there to keep it safe behind the high stone walls.

When the Hyrkanians took Zamora, they did considerable damage to the city. Shadizar saved itself by submitting unconditionally. Only Yezud stood in opposition, and the Hyrkanians were never able to take the outpost because of its excellent defensive position.

In the intervening years, the military outpost grew into a thriving refuge for political outcasts, religious zealots, and refugees seeking a temporary respite. Though Yezud is still connected directly to the Capital City, the Spider-God cult has virtually taken over the walled enclave, and they now send envoys and emissaries to Zamora the Accursed and Shadizar the Wicked in the hopes of spreading their foul teachings.

Notable Areas[]

The Pilgrim's Road[]

This road is the only way to get to the city, hugging the gentle elevation and curving around to the guard house, facing west. It is a well-trod path, and there are offerings to the gods, set up on makeshift altars, along the ascent. Wine and water skins are found hanging from poles at regular intervals. Initiates and acolytes refill these routinely. It is highly likely that anyone traveling the Pilgrim’s Road will encounter acolytes from the Spider-Cult god either coming from or going to Yezud. They are all polite and well mannered, but traveling with them will be an unnerving experience. They watch everything and everyone, constantly, and engage in conversation only when spoken to. No cultist attacks people traveling on the road without a specific order from the High Priest himself.

Bandits frequent the Pilgrim’s Road, and cultists rush to defend anyone attacked during their travels. Saving travelers is a great way to change people’s minds about the sinister motives of the Spider-God Cult, after all.

The Barbican[]

The only way into the city of Yezud is a gated barbican some three stories tall. A contingent of the city watch is always in and around the structure, asking questions of newcomers and making certain that the traveler’s intentions are mundane. Windows along the second story are usually filled with one or two archers. Stairs leading up to the top of the guardhouse reveal several casks of oil and a cache of lanterns, torches, and the like to set them on fire once dropped. These defenses have not been needed in decades, but they are still maintained.

The city guard is loyal to the governor, but suspect that the high priest of the Spider-God cult has compromised him. Speculation runs rampant among the ranks. Between the gate house and the barbican, there are no fewer than eight city guard on duty at all times — an ancient arrangement from the old wars, when lookouts were paramount to the city’s defense.

The Outer Walls[]

The city of Yezud cuts into a steep hill, overlooking the southern valley. Around this city are stone and mortar walls, twenty feet high and ten feet wide with parapets built up on the outer side some four feet high in places. The city guard routinely patrol the walls from both inside and out, treating Yezud like the outpost fort it has always been. Ramps inside the walls lead up to the parapets, allowing crossbowmen plenty of positions from which to rain death down on invaders. These walls cannot be climbed without specialized equipment, being smooth and offering no cracks for handholds.

The Spires of Yezud[]

Facing north, south, and west are three spires connected to the outer walls. They tower over the rest of the city, a hundred feet high, with domed roofs and intricate carvings on the exterior. These spires were once lookout perches, but are now rumored to be infested with spiders, and citizens and soldiers alike shun them.

The Keep[]

Located on the east wall, this nigh-impregnable edifice of veined rock and mortar is as imposing as it appears. From within the tower walls, Verham Shadan, governor of Yezud, runs his corrupt bureaucracy with a confusing multitude of toadies and scribes. His personal guard has taken up a permanent residence here, what the locals derisively call “The Governor’s Palace”.

There are rumors of hidden tunnels connecting to other buildings and institutions in Yezud — a spider web-like underground network originally intended for defense of the city and now used for far more nefarious purposes.

This well-built, impressive fort is nigh-impregnable, and that’s just the way the governor likes it. His personal guard, the High Yezudi, live and train in the keep and watch over the governor at all times. Between keeping Yezud on the take and avoiding the constant requests from the Spider-God cult for an audience, the governor is exceptionally busy and never leaves the keep. Instead, he brings people he needs to see to him. This includes at least one former relic hunter from the Church of Mitra to help him seek out the secret passages under the city.

The National Library Kauul[]

This hexagonal domed building is carved out of the same black veined rock as the keep. Its outer walls slope inward at a slight angle, and the upper corners are adorned with strange, squatting forms. This is the Library of Zhem, and it houses all of the dark secrets of the Zamorian people and culture.

Getting into the library is not easy. A scholar has to petition the king, though this is usually accomplished through bribing an underling or similar bureaucrat. Bribes speed up the process considerably. Otherwise, the wait takes from one to six months before the scholar receives an answer. This comes in the form of a letter bearing a color-coded wax seal which grants access to the library for a set number of days — usually three, but this can be negotiated up to a fortnight. These letters are valuable, and people have been executed for attempting to forge and use versions of these letters.

Yezud's Temple of the Spider God[]

The mysterious Spider-God cult is known more by rumor and reputation than actual fact. The members are extremely secretive about their arachnid deity, and converts are not allowed into the cult’s inner mysteries and rituals until they are well and truly indoctrinated. Followers of the Spider-God wear gray robes with silver adornments in a spider motif: rings, bracelets, and necklaces are common amongst the converted. Upper-class converts have small gemstones affixed to their heads, representing the all-seeing eyes of the Spider-God.

The cult completely subverted the local government in Yezud and currently attempts to make inroads in both Shadizar and Zamora . Acolytes carry messages back and forth in a never-ending stream of information, and the leader of the cult, a Zamorian named Kyus Garda, is busy relaying instructions to the faithful and constantly attempting to insert his followers into positions of power. The people of Yezud are resigned to this. Shadizar’s population is largely unaware, and Zamora’s population likewise has little interest in the backwater religion from the northern hills. Only Zamora’s king suspects anything, and he stays well out of sight, surrounded only by people he trusts implicitly.