Saga of Jaraah
Taft was the northernmost city of Yazd before the Claacos overran everything to its south. It remains the southernmost city of the Shomaal (this excludes Daryaachey which is in the Tapey Mountain Range, and Aval Kingdom which has a temperate climate despite its northern location due to favorable winds). Though it has glorious architecture from its long history, Taft is slowly falling into disrepair as the Kingdom of Yazd has become increasingly chaotic of late. For now, the walls are maintained well enough against the occasional determined Claacos attack.
Unlike most of the southern cities vulnerable to Claacos attack which have leaders appointed based nominally on merit, Taft is ruled by Rupert Morlock who holds the hereditary title ‘The Guardian of Yazd’. Fortunately, Morlock is an accomplished military leader. Unfortunately, he is sadistic and cruel. To counteract the departure of competent Claacos Hunters from Yazd due to the lack of order, Morlock has created Chain Gangs to make up the deficit. Staffed with ‘criminals’, these poor souls are chained together and then given weapons with which to face the Claacos. Soldiers prod them from behind with ranged weapons. If they survive, they earn the right to hunt another day.
The deterioration in the Taft area has sparked a refugee migration to other cities. Most head for Kahnul because there is a road and Aval Kingdom is better run than Yazd. Some head north to the capital New Zarch. A few head west through the wilderness in the hopes of reaching Aqda.
News from Taft, reported by Kalahn Al’fest, circa 4512.
I have indeed spent some time in Taft. During my journey through the area, I witnessed something strange that might be of import. I was traveling the road alone, having not yet joined with any traveling companions. Late in the day, I came upon a large, black mound on the side of the trail. When I drew closer the mound appeared to be moving pulsating.
I reached it and realized, much to my surprise, that it was not just a mound, but a swarm of tiny Claacos! They were all about as big as an acorn. The nasty creatures were swarming over the bodies of some unfortunate travelers. Upon my approach, the swarm turned and pursued me. I withdrew but was overtaken. Rashka smiled up on me as I drew one of only two vials of Holy Oil in my possession, broke it over them and ignited the swarm with a prayer to my goddess. They burst into flames and those not consumed quickly retreated.
I have never heard of such a breed of Claacos. I understand the larvae of the beast are quite large in comparison to those I encountered so they would not be young. None of the refugees I later encountered had ever seen them.
There are are also many disturbing tales of those in control in Taft. I traveled to Kahnul with a group of Yazd refugees. I’ve listened to many wives whose husbands and sons have been conscripted into those abhorrent chain gangs. Old men and young boys, barely able to lift a club are chained together with other supposed criminals to form a pitiful line of attack against the Claacos. Any success they garner is due to fear and survival instinct. It is despicable. These atrocities must be ended and I consider it my duty to assist in doing so.”