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Zhidovsk Environs Map

There's only one settlement of consequence in the shadows of the Crags of ShargunZhidovsk. Even though it is regarded as a major trade centre by folks living here, it is quite tiny by Empire standards, being home to about 50 souls. Under normal circumstances, Zhidovsk sees regular traffic from trappers and furriers, the occasional prospector, and rarely, travellers. But every decade, people in the area know to steer clear, for the villagers gather to throw a grand festival that always culminates in the gifting of one of their lucky daughters to the Black Witch of the Crags.[1a]

Overview

Zhidovsk is a small village within Kislev's Western Oblast, sitting at the end of the only road into the Crags of Shargun. Little more than a muddy path, it is just wide enough for two wagons to pass by one another. To the west looms a dense forest of pines, cedars, and firs, and the east ascends to a spur of dark rock the locals know as the Fist of Kurshod, named for an infamous giant said to be struck down by Tor himself in a titanic battle some thousand years ago. The Crags tower to the north, snow blanketing the peaks and harbouring who knows what.[1b]

As the road climbs toward the village, the rocks and occasional tree give way to small wooden houses with slate roofs. The smoke of burning pine issues from thin stone chimneys, shrouding the community with a blue haze. Further along, the houses are closer together, as if huddling together for warmth. At the end of the road are about a dozen buildings facing the road. There are a few paths between the structures, but they are choked with snow and ice.[1b]

Taal's Teat

Zhidovsk Map-0

Standing amidst the densest cluster of buildings at the centre of the village is Taal's Teat. It's irreverently named after a young priest of Taal who lost his way, got drunk, and was found in a compromising position best left unsaid at this very site. In honour of the kvas-swilling cleric, the locals erected a shrine.[1b]

Taal's Teat is a tavern of newer construction. Only a decade old, it scarcely shows any sign of age. Constructed from treated pine wood on a black stone foundation, it has a peaked roof covered in sod. A crooked chimney peeks over the roof from behind the structure. It smokes year round, sending up tendrils from the cook fires inside.[1b]

The main entrance to this place is through a single door over a stone slab that serves as a porch. A sign depicting a horned man with a wolf suckling on his breast hangs above the door. Around back is a small stable, one may come across a young Rencle (a decidedly uninteresting man), tending the rare traveller's steed.[1b]

Just inside the door, one finds a wide hall with a high ceiling that towers overhead, except for an area toward the back that serves as Janz's abode—the owner. Tables and benches are arranged in rows, and the floor is a muddy mess of old hay, spilt fluid, and unidentifiable lumps. A hearth with a spit sits against the back wall, and a spit-boy can be found turning a pig, goat, or some other animal over the fire. Janz tends the bar, which is a pile of stones in front a stack of bunged casks tipped onto their sides.[1c]

Old Cat Yevid

Across the street from the comparatively pleasant Taal's Teat is a sagging wooden building with a rotting roof. It squats on its crumbling foundation like an obese hag, all warts and brooding secrets. It is operated by Helga Yevid. Before the recent influx, the last customer that spent the night in this boarding house was Helga's ninth husband, Ferisu Shenk, and indeed, it was his last night ever. Local legend holds he passed on from fat Helga's cooking, though some speculate the crone's appetites are quite fierce and costly. In any event, most folk here know to cross the street rather than pass in the shadow of this gloomy place, and perhaps, any newcomers would follow suit if it weren't for the abominable cold.[1d]

In truth, Old Cat Yevid (the meaning of this name has long been forgotten) is as safe as any place in town. It is true that Shenk died here—he still haunts the attic where he hanged himself—though it wasn't from foul play, just good old fashioned suicide.[1d]

The building is in bad shape. The front door, which never closed too well, latches with a leather cord that Helga ties to a post. There's a short corridor that opens onto a tiny dining room and adjoining kitchen. A narrow staircase leads up to the rooms above, all of which face a central corridor where crude paintings by Helga recount the lives of her beloved husbands.[1d]

Helga lets 10 rooms, each for a reasonable rate (7p) that also includes breakfast. Those who pay for a week's lodging get a change of sheets (often one filthy set for another filthy set) and a bucket of hot water on holidays to honour the Gods.[1d]

The rooms would be cosy if it weren't for the stink of rot and old cheese. The corners of the rooms are all blackened with mould. An enterprising fool who decides to scratch the surface awakens such a ghastly odour that food will never taste the same again. Helga warns all guests not to look under the beds since now, in her 45th year, she is far too old to go snooping under there to fish out old filth. What treasure lays beneath the moist mattresses are up to the disturbed imagination, though there's most likely liberal amount of scatology with a touch of rotting bones, old rags, and a sinister-looking potato that has laid claim to the soft floor boards beneath it.[1d]

Village Square

Between the boarding house and the village's only pub stands the square. Whilst nothing like a square, having never had four right angles, it is simply the empty space between buildings that surrounds a large well. There have been a few half-hearted efforts to cobble this area, and the few remaining stones peek up through the mud as testimony to the villagers' good intentions.[1e]

Tomorov's Supplies

Just south of the village square is a squat wooden building with a slate tile roof. The name "Tomorov's Supplies" arcs over top of a miner's pick, a wheel of cheese, a candle, and a coil of rope on a sign out front of Piotr Tomorov's general store. He runs the shop to keep busy when not taking shipments of goose oil to Praag.[1f]

Inside, the smell and the noise cannot be ignored. The place reeks of rancid fat and goose droppings, while the squawks of geese echo sound from behind a curtain in the back. The place is a mishmash of goods and supplies. There are three main aisles with shelves on either side that are laden with a slew of miscellaneous items. Just about anything of shoddy quality or manufacture can be found here. Prices are quite reasonable (perhaps seventy-five percent the normal cost), having been subtly marked down by Tomorov, so he can liquidate most of his goods should he ever have a need to flee.[1f]

Behind the shop, and larger than it, is a barn that houses Tomorov's most prized possessions, his two hardy draught horses. It is kept locked and barred at all times, especially now, when so many might see the horses as a means to escape town or appease hunger.[1f]

Since Tomorov spends a great deal of time on the road, he employs his nephew, Gregor, to run the business while he is away.[1f]

Shrine of the Merciful Lady

A few doors down from Tomorov's is the Shrine of the Merciful Lady, a small mission dedicated to Shallya. Founded by Hanna Reinholt, a missionary priestess from Wolfenburg, she came to this forlorn community to spread the good will of the Merciful One and carry her message of peace and hope to the frontiers of Kislev. Hanna had no intention of proselytising to the masses; rather, she came with honest intentions and the hopes of truly helping these people. But isolation coupled with strange customs and a people with whom she has never had success at building a rapport have combined to weaken her resolve and make her question her faith. To make matters worse, she learned a few months ago her homeland was devastated by the Chaos Incursion, and her city was razed to the ground. Believing nothing was left for her, she has cloistered herself away in her shrine, where she now wallows in her grief, swills kvas, and grows fat with self-indulgence.[1g]

The shrine is constructed from local wood donated by a leering Tomorov. The merchant had set his sights on Hanna, but he could not abide by all her talk of mercy and suffering. Since she has become so disheartened, she's let the place, and herself, go. The once-white walls are now peeling and stained, and even the stained red hearts on the front doors are a pale pink.[1g]

Olav's Curiosities

Back a bit from the main road and buried beneath a jumble of small homes stands a rather unimpressive building. No sign announces the place's purpose, though a Khazalid rune of an "O" darkens the heavy wooden door. Like many places in Zhidovsk, this building has a peaked roof covered in slate tiles. Small, leering, Daemonic faces stare out from shadowy places where the roof hangs over the exterior walls, and if one stares at the wooden slats of the walls, odd faces and whorls appear in the grains.[1h]

This place is Olav's Curiosities. A private man with a mysterious past, Olav came to Zhidovsk twenty years ago. He built his shop in just three months, and shortly after, wagons from Praag, laden with crates, boxes, and barrels arrived. Mute workers unloaded the cargo, gently carrying the goods inside. Two weeks later, the workers took the empty wagons and left town.[1h]

Since coming to town, Olav has more or less kept to himself. Those locals who have braved a visit found his shop full of odd bits of rubbish, remnants from battlefields, books, old weapons, pieces of armour, and a variety of other curiosities. Most people have enough junk in their own homes, so Olav has never done brisk business, but he doesn't seem to care.[1h]

Olav was a decorated kossar, having earned his fame and fortune in the last Chaos Incursion. But when the forces of the Ruinous Powers were driven north, Olav lost his taste for battle. He sold his medals, his horse, and wandered the oblast in search of some meaning. He stumbled onto an old battlefield and found many strange treasures. Drawn to seek out more troves, he traded some of his findings for a cart and began his new life as a collector of junk. He stored many of his goods in Praag, where he had family, but people began to complain about weird happenings near his warehouse. So, Olav left his city, hired porters, and drifted west, where he began a new life in Zhidovsk. At least, that's the story. For travellers interested in junk, they can find their heart's fill of it here. Olav has all sorts of rubbish, mostly broken and worthless belongings.[1h]

Source

  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- The Thousand Thrones
    • 1a: pg. 199
    • 1b: pg. 200
    • 1c: pg. 201
    • 1d: pg. 202
    • 1e: pg. 203
    • 1f: pg. 204
    • 1g: pg. 205
    • 1h: pg. 206

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