Sacred 2:Book 5 - Bengaresh

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From Geography of Ancaria
Book 5

Bengaresh

Geography and climate:

Bengaresh is a surreal land. It is covered by huge sand and gravel deserts that seem endless in the oppressive, shimmering heat. The eye welcomes the rare sight of a small oasis in this monotonous landscape. At the coast one may find rock formations that the sand has shaped into smooth forms resembling animals or demons. The natives tend to avoid these formations. Upcountry it is silent. There is no wind, and the air burns like fire in one's throat. At night the heat turns into a bitter cold only familiar to those who have spent time in the land of the Orcs. Sometimes sandstorms strong enough to rip the flesh from one's bones sweep across the desert. At the coast the constant breeze causes an itching layer of salt and sand on the traveler's skin. It never rains.

Inhabitants:

Only a few beings are dumb enough or proud enough to challenge the desert. No one knows why the descendants of Elves are among them. They roam the land as nomads, traveling from one oasis to the next and live off goat meat, dates, cacti, and milk. With Elf merchants who come on ships they trade gems and salt from the mountains and get food, clothing and weapons in return. The desert tribes are no seamen and tend to remain near the coast when they go fishing in their longboats. They almost never stay at sea during the night. The tough desert life has changed the Elves' appearance over the long centuries. Most are thin, with dark leathery skin. Their eyes are slitted as if from staring too long at the sun. In contrast to their ancestors they only pray to one God: Testa, the God of science. Every tribe follows their own interpretation of the holy scriptures. During large gatherings this can lead to heated theological debates, but these rarely turn violent.

Strangers are welcome in Bengaresh and are usually greeted with calm friendliness. The desert tribes are always helpful, but never brash. Behind the black scarves that protect their faces from the sun and the sand hides a dry sense of humor that has surprised many travelers. Maybe this is the result of the constant struggle against a land that seems set on killing all life on it. Whatever the reason, a sense of humor is more than welcome around the camp fires of the tribes.

Places of interest:

Khorum, the capital of Bengaresh lies in the center of the land, at the hottest, driest, and most silent place in Ancaria. It lies on a hill and is surrounded by rocks and sand. The walls are made from yellow stones that blend in with the desert and seem to almost disappear in the shimmering heat. These walls have protected its inhabitants from sand people attacks for centuries.

Practices:

Most practices in Bengaresh are connected to water. Drinking from the well of another tribe is an offense punishable by death. Spitting is considered rude. Spilling water is considered bad luck, spotting a cloud brings happiness. Every meal is prepared with either milk or oil, only the strong tea made from cactus blossoms is cooked with water.

Recommendations:

Travelers who despite the climate wish to visit Bengaresh should do so during the Great Gathering when all the tribes meet in Khorum for the year's weddings. The festival only ends when the last couples have been wed by a priest. This can take days, sometimes even weeks. To pass the time more quickly many turn to chewing desert weed. Officially, this practice is forbidden, but during the Great Gathering no one cares.


Notes

  • Bengaresh, desert of Ancaria
  • One God, Testa, the God of Science
  • Khorum, capital of Bengaresh, lies in the center of the land
  • While this book describes the Desert Inhabitants as descendants of Elves, most of the the inhabitants the player encounters in Bengaresh are from a race of humans, although distinct from both the High Elves and the Humans of the North.

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