In the Shadow of Griffin Mountain
Popular legends hold that Balazar had three sons who founded the three tribes. According to the Dykeneans, popular legend is wrong. Balazar had two sons and a daughter, Dykene. Raised by her hunter-nymph mother, Dykene was just as aggressive as her older and younger brothers, if not more so. After the quarrel that separated the tribes forever, Trilus took as his inheritance the citadel which now bears his name, a fortress safely away from border of the Elder Wilds; leaving the east-most citadel for his younger brother Elkoi. Dykene, left out of the male dominated inheritance rights, took the eastern citadel by force before Elkoi could react, and refused to relinquish her control. A secretly relieved Elkoi then went west, eventually discovering a way to force several giants to construct a third citadel for him near the Morande River.
Then Elkoi made up a song, and not long after clever storytellers in Elkoi and Trilus contrived to reduce the embarassment of their heroic founders by changing popular legend. According to the new song’s version, Balazar had three sons, not two and a daughter. Additionally the choosing of the citadels was supposedly by lot. The tricky balladeers could not change the gender of the new brother’s name. The Dykeneans have taken this in stride and it is still a great joke to tell that Trilus and Elkoi no longer have a sister, but a female brother and then extend on the idea to make some vulgar comments about the sexual virility/preference of the other two sons of Balazar.
The descendants of Dykene weathered attacks by neighboring Trilus tribesmen, internal struggles, and a troll siege or two without suffering major harm to either the fortress or its inhabitants. However, around 1250 a trio of giants, seeking revenge for their former slavery when they had been forced to build Elkoi’s citadel, discovered Dykene and confused it with Elkoi (giants can be a little slow at times). The giants destroyed the fortress, turning it to rubble not worth living in.
Not until the dynasty established by King Skilfil’s great-grandfather was any attempt made to rebuild, for the Balazarings lacked the technology to construct massive fortifications. Through arrangements with the dwarves of the Rockwood Mountains, the fortress of Dykene was rebuilt in its present state. Still missing, however, is the great lower bailey that was once the pride of the citadel.
In spite of their small citadel, the Dykeneans possess items that their brethren in the other tribes do not—numerous bronze weapons and armor. In his early wanderings Skilfil Heartpiercer had made friends with a young dwarf named Rockheart Veinseeker. This friendship later smoothed the expansion of a Dykenean relationship with the dwarves of Greatway. Each season, one or more groups of Dykenean hunters are taken to the dwarf region of the Rockwood Mountains, where they hunt the various game that the dwarves cherish but do not pursue due to lack of skill and racial agoraphobia. In return, each hunter receives one or two bronze items of his choice. ‘One item” is usually a spear head, five arrowheads, a dagger, a short sword, or some minor piece of armor. The dwarves never reveal the secret of making and forging the weapons, being reluctant to give up their technological secrets.
A rough estimate of the population of Dykene is about 830 total people. 550 are adults, of which one half are men. This is 138 hearths in and about the citadel. About 20 percent of the Dykenean citadel warriors are women.
Places of Interest
The following information corresponds to locations marked on the city map, and would be well-known to residents of the city and tribesmen who live in the immediate vicinity of Dykene.
1. Balazar’s Gate
This is one of the few parts remaining from the original citadel, left standing miraculously by the giants.
2. The Ruins
The rocks here are from the original city walls. They are rumored to contain the ghosts of Dykene’s dead.
3. Kings Plaza
This is the central meeting ground of the village within the citadel. It is surrounded by low buildings, most of them homes to one or more pig tending heaths.
4. Stabbing Cat Lodge & Tavern
This is the only public house or inn in the citadel and is run by a former Esrolian mercenary named Ostakker Three-Scar. Traffic in these parts is rare but the proprietor seems to do all right. The lodging house has two floors and a cellar, both unusual commodities in Dykene. The cellar is Ostakker’s warehouse. It will contain goods he has for sale and which he holds for Joh Mith, the Issaries Rune Priest. Its contents vary.
5. Hero-Shrine to Dykene
This is a small alcove dedicated to the citadel’s heroic founder Dykene. In the shrine is a crude terracotta (ceramic) figurine of the heroine. and several smaller, obscure votive figures.
6. Warrior Enclave
This area is the residence of the citadel’s warrior detachment. The warriors do not tend pigs and only rarely hunt.
7. Yelmalio Temple Buildings
This is the public temple to Yelmalio where worship services are held on holy days.
8. The Palace of King Skilfil
This includes the entire area beyond the Inner wall, but in this case it refers to the quarters of the king and his family and the megaron or throne room. The megaron is the series of heavily walled rooms in the center of the palace area. The room of four pillars is the audience chamber. It is lit only by light filtering in from the square hole in the roof.
12. The Tower of The Hawks
In the Northwest is a door that leads up to Skilfil’s giant hawk eyrie, where he keeps seven giant hawks, all trained for riding and combat, along with a dozen or so small vrok-type hawks. The eyrie is large and extends over the roofs of many nearby rooms.