Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Dwarves of Athas Part Five: Settlements 2 (Kled)

About forty miles northeast of Tyr is an interesting village of Dwarves who have dedicated themselves to worship of the sun and uncovering ruins. This village is called Kled and was founded about one hundred fifty years ago by a Dwarf named Barunus Lyanius. I had the pleasure of visiting the village of Kled just one time, when I traded a large amount of food for some iron they had found in the desert.
However, Armin, a human who trades more often with the village than I is able to give more information.

Kled is unlike any other village I've been to. The entire populace is fanatically dedicated to the worship of the sun. I say fanatic only because I've seen other element worshipers who do not feel the need to design their village around a plaza shaped and colored like the element of their reverence. This is accomplished with red sandstone.
In the center of the village is a cistern that draws up water from beneath the sandy wastes. This is accomplished by a wind powered water screw. It's quite ingenious, because the wind seems to blow constantly out here and keeps the village well watered year round.

Around the plaza, forming three rows, circle the huts that the Dwarves call home. These dwellings are five feet high and made entirely of red sandstone, even the furniture, and none have a roof. I found out when I had to stay to wait out a sandstorm that they have hide covers for their huts that only use during sandstorms. Their houses are circular is shape and nearly identical, with little ornamentation. Like many Dwarves I know, the Dwarves of Kled value function over adornment. Although, the plaza, huts, and village itself all are sun shaped. Perhaps the Dwarves of Kled believe that this brings them closer to the object of their reverence, thus serves a functional purpose.
Around the entire village is a low brick  wall. Where the Dwarves were able to find so much stone out in the sandy wastes is anyone's guess. Of course, if it was some Dwarves focus, I suppose there was no way to stop them from bringing the stone there.
The population is rather large for such a desolate landscape. Around three hundred Dwarves call Kled home, of course a good portion of those are children of various ages. Some women can be seen tending to large groups of children, while their parents go off to work the cactus fields or dig beneath the sands.
What are they digging for? I have no clue. There's a lot of ruins out in the desert, so maybe they're looking for a cache of metal items or long lost treasure. A little foolish if you ask me, but once these Dwarves set a course for their lives, it's impossible to talk them out of it.
The leader of Kled is the oldest Dwarf, whom they call the Uhrnomus, with the high sun priest as their main advisor.  Strangely, you would think with their veneration of the sun that the priest would be in charge, but they aren't. I asked about it and one of the Dwarves said that it simply wasn't the high priest's job to run the village, that they had other duties.
When arriving in Kled, visitors are greeted warmly, well, as long as the visitors look like merchants. If visitors looked like an invading force, they might receive less of a warm welcome. Even so, the village of Kled is home to a lot of hard working Dwarves, not soldiers. Mind your manners in Kled and you shouldn't have any problems with the locals.
Also, the Dwarves of Kled do not keep slaves and will not look kindly to slavers who stop near their village. This isn't do to a belief that all people should be free, or some nonsense, it's practical. The Dwarves know how valuable Dwarven slaves are and don't want their children snatched away by slavers in the night.
There are no inns, or taverns in Kled. Visitors will have to sleep outside or bargain with a local to stay inside their home for the night. From my experience, it is safe and the Dwarves can be trusted not to rob you.
Kled has fields of prickly pear cactus spread out in the sandy desert around their village. They eat the fruit and pads of the cactus and this makes up the bulk of their diet. They also raise lizards and erdlu for meat and eggs. Even with these modest means of food production, the Dwarves of Kled are always looking to trade for foodstuffs.
The villages laws are as simple as their government. No killing, no stealing, pull your weight, and that's about it. Of course there are a great deal of undeclared laws as well, but if as long as everyone treats everyone else with respect, they get along fine.

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