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Under Kap
Region Number 105B
Realm Bluefire Principality
Population 906,000
Resources Pale Writhers, Silver
Imports Books and Cultural Items
Religion No organised religion
Under Kaps is an underground region in the Bluefire Principality.


GeographyEdit

The region comprises a group of tunnels through the hard rock, with bulbous caverns in which the population live. While the majority of the people seem to live in the caverns near the surface, the mountains here are high and the tunnels go deep: their full downward extent has not been explored.

The Glass Walls is the name colloquially given to many of the deeper eastern tunnels, which would otherwise lead out into the desert. At some point long-forgotten these have been sealed as if by some great fire, the stone melted together to prevent any passage. Although the majority of the tunnels are sealed, some remain open, especially higher in the mountains.

The Mudpool is a large cavern where the floor is largely comprised of a nutrient-rich sludge. This is the largest hatching-ground for the Pale Writhers, and they are capable of surviving here even without a host. Nevertheless the Writhers who live in the Mudpool and are never bonded seem to have severely curtailed lifespans.

PeopleEdit

There is no single dominant population in Under Kap, save for the Pale Writhers themselves. The humanoid population comprises a mixture of folk from surrounding regions, who have strayed into the region and bonded with the Writhers. Thus here are to be found humans, orcs, and some Monto, descendants of miners from the north, as well as small numbers of other humanoids from further afield. There are rumours of invertebrates living in the deeper caverns who have been bonded and are used as warriors, though little evidence of this has yet been seen.

It is rare for one of the hosts to be bonded with more than one Writher during their lifetime, unless the initial bonding goes badly and the Writher dies. If the Writher can be extracted in time after the death of a host, they are usually re-bonded, and this apparently imparts some memories and experiences of the former host into the new host. The lifespan of the hosts and the Writhers seems to be similar, however, and due to the sympathy of the bond, even if a host dies by violence and the Writher is otherwise relatively young, it usually survives no more than a few minutes at most.

ReligionEdit

The people of the region appeared to display no particular interest in religion, unless one counts their adherence to the will of the Pale Writhers themselves. Since its takeover by the Bluefire Principality, a minority of Tzetultep worshippers has appeared.

ResourcesEdit

The most noteworthy resource in the region is the Pale Writhers themselves. These are hairless and white grub-like creatures a few inches in length (when separated from their host), so named for their coloration and their wriggling. Despite their unwholesome appearance, they are intelligent and reportedly benign creatures.
Pale Writhers are reliant on a humanoid host to survive and after hatching can survive only a few days at most unless bonded. The process of bonding involves placing a (usually young) Writher in the ear of the host, from where it burrows to a position behind the ear and towards the base of the skull. Those bonded can be distinguished by a raised and slightly discoloured area of skin just below the hairline on one side of the back of the neck. Although the process of bonding may appear disgusting to outsiders, it apparently benefits both host and Writher: hosts appear to have greater mental acuity, improved facility for language, and the ability to go without sleep for much longer than the Unbonded.
Those sceptical of the bonding process claim that the hosts also suffer a loss of free will, and become slaves to the will of the Writhers, though the hosts themselves claim that it is in their interest to cooperate with the Writhers, as both parties gain from the arrangement. Nevertheless it is difficult to deny that the shape of society in the region is organised in such a way as to benefit the Writhers.
Apparently the Writhers are also delicious if lightly sautéed. It is best not to mention this within earshot of the local population.
The region is also posssessed of silver mines, which allows it to export quantities of that precious metal.
The people of the region desire books and other cultural items to fuel their minds.

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