Midnight at the Oasis
Gulg is less a city than a compound. A dense, multistory forest city, Gulg is divided into several smaller communities called dagadas, each of which consists of about 10 to 50 huts and which are organized by families. The buildings are thatch or mud, the roads little more than trampled earth.
Still, the sorceror-queen, Lalali-puy, has accomplished what few of her peers have: Her people legitimately love her. She is the bringer of plenty, the herald of rain and harvest, and none under her protection starve or thirst. All property is hers, and she holds power of life and death over every soul in Gulg.
Gulg does not have a traditional nobility; instead, they have the judagas, a meritocracy of hunters who serve as the heart of Gulg’s army. Judaga means “headhunter,” and they fight amongst themselves for position, wives, slaves, livestock, and luxuries.
Lalali-puy’s templars are called ngangas, and they are not judges, priests, or mere guards, as they are in other cities; instead, they are secretive witch doctors who work on the edges of society to protect Gulg. They never act openly; the only clue to a nganga’s presence might be bloody footprints going into the forest. Those who become ngangas must “die,” losing all ties to their family and dagada. They cover their faces with masks or war paint in the appearance of a fierce monster.
The city has a bitter rivalry with nearby Nibenay, as both fight for control of the same forest; Gulg grows new trees and plants, while Nibenay benefits from logging and harvest.
Visitors are rarely allowed inside the city, often forced to stay in an inn outside the city while residents leave Gulg to deal with them. As such, few have seen the interior of the city.