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Shan-Zhess Keep

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Shan-Zhess Keep is a large structure - basically a walled city - in the Weyzhiss Mountains of Andor's North Zhevra continent, jointly held by clans Zhess and Shan. It emerges from the side of a mountain to overlook a glacier-carved valley below. The geography of the region is similar to Earth's Swiss Alps. Within a hundred miles across the mountains, is the beginning of the Northern Waste. It is the site of many terrible, lethal floods, and endures brutal winters during which the entire population of the Keep is essentially snowed in. (Eighth Fleet RPG)

Shan-Zhess Keep is home to a large underground farm which produces a great quantity of commercial fungus; the clans additionally practice farming (thanks to Andor's warming climate), and maintain sizable herds of teegh (a cattle-like beast).

The Keep itself is a huge, imposing and intimidating structure of black granite with about three stories underground and a huge, ancient fortress above ground. It can house about three thousand people, in addition to sizable herds of zabathu and teegh.

Above ground, the Keep hosts four watchtowers, and has a regular cadre of security personnel in traditional Andorian warrior's clothing, who stand watch with blades and bows (and more modern weapons) at the ready, although the region hasn't seen any kind of interclan conflict since the unification of the people at the hands of Empress Thalisar the Last.

The Keep houses about six special shelthreth chambers, a school for children and adolescents, stables, a festival hall, a large dining hall, and a large shrine (to the Keep's patron deity, Thirizaz the Fire Guardian) with a fire that is always kept burning.

There is a dueling ground somewhat higher up the mountain, up a ruined stone staircase. It hasn't been used in quite some time for its original purpose.

Despite the forbidding presence of gargoyle-like carvings, blood offerings at shrines and security personnel on patrol, the interior of the Keep is quite lively, with live music being audible at nearly all hours, and much art on display. Dancing follows the nightly dinner and most clansmen of all ages participate in this activity.

The Keep has a large meeting chamber with hot springs that provide warmth and energy for the entire Keep, as well as a pleasant place to dip one's toes. This chamber is also the site where Conclave is held every night. It is common to see full nudity here and in other parts of the Keep as the region is among the most traditional of Andorian regions.

Due to Andor's population decline, the Keep is far less bustling than it was in previous times; its present population is less than five hundred. Many rooms lay unused and there are plenty of places to go to have privacy, which is indeed very upsetting to the average Andorian psyche.

Shan-Zhess Keep is linked to the keeps of three other clans to the southeast and southwest, each about fifty miles apart, via a system of underground passages that serve as the main thoroughfare; the passages meet at a junction where there are about four large adjoining chambers. This place is commonly just referred to as Junction, and is a historic site of trade as well as a current location of major festivals and events, and location of several trading posts. Of the three keeps, Shan-Zhess is the closest to this location.

The region's relative isolation is responsible for the fact that the law is not as tightly enforced here as in other parts of Andor. The passages to Junction, and into the mountains toward the now-largely-depopulated Aenar lands, have in the past been the site of much unsavory activity.

Another result of the area's relative isolation, is that many traditions are clung to which have fallen out of favor in other parts of Andor; the region was among the last to cease the practice of the ushaan, and the quarterly seasonal festivals can get quite out of hand, occasionally requiring the authorities to become involved.

Both resident clans tend toward being bigoted toward their few remaining Aenar neighbors to the north, and both tend toward having reactionary political views; both clans have spawned a number of important members of the True Heirs of Andor, a reactionary political group whose aim is Andorian secession from the Federation and a return to Andor's martial ways.

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