t h e m o u n t a i n s o f j u l ' r i t a r z i
t h e f i r s t d a y
The sun - almost as if it was twice in the large in the wastes - rose over the pilgrims and started to dip into its descent. The various caravans making their way to the Jul'ritarzi Mountains were largely left to their own devices: bar a potential skirmish or two, the wastemen did little more but follow; it gave them the likeness of crude scavengers, waiting for a share yet too uncertain to attack themselves. It may come without surprise: only two parties this large have ever ventured beyond the mountains in their joint history, and now 4 parties were making the journey. A rare opportunity, but one too dangerous for many of the wastemen to take up.
The rangers at the gates were seemingly expecting the parties. The bridge across the two cliffs was lowered after only brief conversation, granting the caravans passage to the safety of their hold. It was certainly true what they said about the mountains: of all the hermit holds, the reaches of Jul'ritarzi was the most inhospitable, cruel and sheer cliffs and drops mostly traversed by rope ladders and gondola lifts. Many of the folk went about their business, some depraved and some starving, scrambling for their right to live against the odds. Yet, towards the summit, life just seemed to... disappear.
As the parties approached the summit, on route to the Hall of the Void, they were stopped a second time. This time many would be searched and scrutinized by watchmen, measures of security previously unheard of. Those who weren't blatantly necessary to the conclave were sent away, largely leaving the keepers, hands, and the would-be voidsmen. Yet, after time seemed to drag on, they were eventually let through.
The doors were opened for the envoys by watchmen as they arrived, where they would be sealed shut behind them. The lobby was largely barren, only a few passing souls moving onto greater things. Yet, as the second set of doors to the conference room opened, menace grew thick on the air. Torches lined the walls and tablefronts of the meeting room, casting dim light across the otherwise entirely black room; it lacked windows in its entirety, relying purely on torchlight. The tables and desks are arranged in a long and sharp-edged U, with three large chairs set at the end for the executives of the conclave. The roof is adorned with a great exhibit of sorts: a depiction of the major constellations, the stars marked by small grooves where vague cracks of sunlight peered through, not even making it as far as the floor.
A watchman would soon direct the party members to their locations. Keepers are to take seats on either side and the voidsmen are to take position in the center, behind a set of backpacks. The keepers heeded no direction: instead, they formed around the outside of the room, as if an honor guard of sorts. In the center of the room, the voidsmens objective seemed evident: sets of three backpacks were laid out in a row - some of the common variety, some more fit for stories of the void. Some were small rucksacks, some were almost as tall as a man. A set was laid out for every voidsman: seemingly, their mark. "The meeting will begin shortly,"
a watchman duly informed, "please take your places."