As the World Burns
Many of the sorcerer-kings claim (or have claimed in the past) to be gods upon Athas. In Guig, that assertion is made not by the sorcerer-queen of the city-state but by its residents. Ask any Gulgan, and he or she will tell you: Lalali-Puy, Queen of Gulg, is the Oba, the Forest Goddess, the Mother of Trees and Beasts, and a dozen more epithets besides. This declaration is no empty platitude mouthed to avert the baleful eye of the templars – the people of Gulg sincerely believe that their ruler is divine.
Guig is a city only in the loosest definition of the term; it consists of a cluster of forest villages enclosed by a single wall. Most buildings are made of thatch or mud, and roads are little more than trampled earth, worn down by the feet of generations. Guig is roughly divided into small communities called dagadas, each of which comprises ten to fifty huts. A dagada is enclosed by a mud wall or wooden fence and is built around one or more wells shared by the residents.
Lalali-Puy is an absolute monarch in the purest sense: All property in Gulg is hers, and she holds the ultimate power of life and death over all citizens, from the lowest slave to the greatest judaga warrior.
Travelers bound for Gulg follow a wide stone tradeway from Altaruk along the north arm of the Estuary of the Forked Tongue. At the eaves of the Crescent Forest, the stone road gives way to a hard-packed dirt causeway called the Peoples Road. The city-state of Guig stands in a large clearing inside the borders of the forest.
Rather than earth, stone, or wooden fencing, Guig is walled by a tightly woven hedge of razor-sharp brambles 20 feet high, known as the Mopti Wall. Guards in woven grass armor and fearsome animal masks patrol the wall and monitor the gates that provide ingress into the city. By decree of the Oba, all outsiders must enter the city through the Queens Gate, to which the Peoples Road leads. The Hunters Gate is reserved for the use of the judagas and any warriors in arms (in the rare event that Gulg goes to war). Common citizens and slaves use the Peoples Gate.
The fourth gate, called the Exiles Gate, is used for the banishing of criminals. This gate is opened in the north wall when a templar performs a ritual to create a temporary opening in the Mopti Wall. In addition, those who wish to leave Gulg can exit through this gate when it is opened and no templar will raise a hand to stop them, but no one can enter the city through the Exiles Gate.