Written by Raddu, and first published on 2015-10-29
The Pitted Rock and its oasis is the center of life for the reptilian nikaal people of the Southern Wastes. The purple scaled people range far and wide, often coming into conflict with the human Tamwar tribes over resources and differing ideology. Nikaal cannot stay long in one place or they suffer the psychic visions of their ancestors, forever tormenting them for their pasts. However; the Nikaal of the Pitted Rock bands always return to the Pitted Rock, a holy place for those of the region. Where the Tamwar people worship personified embodiments of the elements, the Nikaal of the Pitted Rock worship the Pitted Rock as a manifestation of Athasian Earth . Many important moments in a local nikaal's life happen at the Pitted Rock, from naming, coming of age, marriage, and often war cries or peace treaties. The nikaal of the region are beholden to the great spirit within the rock and when they pray to it their prayers seem to be occasionally answered.
Life in the Southern Wastes is hard, but the nikaal survive through the raising of spitting drakes and surviving in small hunter/gatherer bands. The nikaal can raise and care for the drakes, because they are immune to the drake's acidic spittle. Each tribe generally has a large quiver or herd of the spitting reptiles, using them for protection, as well as a food and materials source. Much of the trading with outsiders the nikaal do, is to trade the goods they make from the drakes. Some of these goods include, leather, teeth and claw daggers, and some times the acid sacs. The nikaal will often psionically bond with some drakes of the quiver, allowing them to recall the quiver from its nightly wanderings.
Recently something has changed and the normally peaceful nikaal have become more aggressive (See the Pitted Rock). Coupled with the newly aggressive Tamwar lord of the Crystal Dunes much fighting has happened on the borders of the two peoples' lands.
Pitted Rock Nikaal, Modified Image, Original by Michael Drake
Tsaerres is the war-band leader who has been stirring up the fears of the Pitted Rock nikaal. Tsaerres, formerly Kilsaen was the last of his band after a group of Tamwar came upon them in the night. Fleeing to the Pitted Rock to pray for guidance the distraught nikaal was visited by a spirit of an ancient nikaal hero and imbued with it's essence (See the Pitted Rock). Since then he has gone by the name of Tsaerres and has sparked a fire in the normally peaceful people with words of dread and prophecy.
Kaelal is an elder of the nikaal. She carries an ancient and well used Tkaesali, a sacred polearm of the purple scaled people. Kaelal's band is large, numbering over a hundred even after losing some to Tsaerres' band. Kaelal worries the direction this newcomer, Tsaerres, is taking her people. Kaelal knows the history of her people and does not know the name of Tsaerres, the supposed ancient nikaal spirit, which concerns her.
Sali'ko is a well respected dune trader that has fallen under the sway of Tsaerres. He has contacts over much of the Southern Wastes and was instrumental in allying with the Salt Riders of the Alkalai Bed. Sali'ko trades regularly with the Villichi of the Villrathi Convent as well as the Aarakocra of the Airy Cliffs as well as the major merchant houses of the area, Maraneth, Wavir, and Tsalaxa.