Bataar--one of the few remaining city-states of note in Akara. This is important to note, that they are one of the few remaining. The Great Dying, or the Cataclysm, or whatever name your people have for it has led to much of the world crumbling into a place where survival slumps to impossibility.
Bataar remaining intact is important. It is here that two of the most important luxury goods can be bought: colored dyes and poisons. A thousand different poisons, a thousand different colored powders, and body paints, all of which can still be somewhat safely made as the ecosystem of the Barrow Marshes has yet to be obliterated by the Great Dying.
But such fortune will not last long. The dark-skinned fisherfolk of Bataar--henceforth referred to as the Bataash--are a people as pragmatic as they are sly. As they note the changes in their swamp water, the disappearance of important fish, the refugees trying to trek through hellish marches to reach the city proper, it becomes clear that something must be done to prevent this sweeping wave of annihilation.
And they know too that that answer lies in Tarnak's legendary Monolith and the shards pouring in from the alien dimension to which it connects. But there is no such gateway in Bataar, and the shards found there are found in deep cracks that lead into the marshes or plucked from the bodies of merchants and scavengers alike.
So then, what to do? Bataar's whole way of life is threatened and the magic they need to potentially protect it is a continent away. But there is still some trade--Tarnak's mercantile elite still need their colors and their poisons--and Bataash's assassins have honed their craft in the most dangerously valuable place they could.
And so it manifests. Bataash's upper class brings forth their best weapons--silver tongues, sly schemes, subtle poisons--and uses them to delve into the scavenger-infested Tarnak. Some will go and search the World Torn Apart, and others will try and pry shards and shard secrets from artificers and invokers, and hopefully, Bataar will learn well the way forward.
But there is conflict in this swamp-city too. The upper class wage their own shadow wars against one another. The city's leader, known as the Overseer, has a life forever in danger. The fish are dying, and the people restless. Refugees try and take over the Barrow Marshes and must be driven out or assimilated. Chaos has infested the city; festivals grow thin, and a ladder manifests in the horridity of it all that can be climbed to the top. But once you reach that peak what will you find? Corpses beautifully dyed in red and blue and yellow and orange. Frogs singing in the thrushes with songs doubling as quiet dirges. Paranoid fisherfolk confronted with the extermination of everything they've ever loved.
Anxious, the life of the Bataash. Uncertain.
This is life in Akara. Make the best of it, while she still exists at all, scavengers. Perhaps there is survival out there. Somewhere. Somehow. Perhaps.
- text by Scavenger’s writer & designer Marquis Hartis