Locations within Kaer Samek:
Personalities of Kaer Samek: Indbyggere i Kaer Samek
On How Kaer Samek Works
The dwarven architect Ghandoz designed Kaer Samek,
making it large enough that there was enough space for coming
generations and mining work. The protective wards are shaped
like an orb incorporating the surrounding rock, with a tunnel
circling the kaer’s equator. This border tunnel also marks ground
zero of the kaer—there are levels above and below it. Four large
halls were carved out of existing natural caves, which were each
widened and expanded to have a domed ceiling. The three largest
halls—called Khar Rhûz, Shal’Minar, and Okoros—were
planned as living areas centered around the smallest one, Council
Hall, which served administrative purposes only. Today, the
kaer is home to about 3,200 Namegivers.
Each hall is illuminated by a large light crystal mounted in the
center of its dome. During the day, the crystals emanate a yellowish
glow reminiscent of sunlight. The ceilings are painted a light
blue and enhanced with illusion magic to create the image of a clear
sky. The crystal light slowly fades on and off twice a day to create
the illusion of dusk and dawn. Countless smaller light quartzes set
into the domes simulate stars during the night.
The underground levels serve various purposes. The levels
directly below the surface are mainly used for storage and cooling
food, sometimes even as living quarters. Chamber pots are
emptied in the lower halls and come back as fertilizer for the fields.
The deepest levels contain the death pits, where the bodies of the
deceased are disposed. A deep layer of mud covers these pits, which
are regularly skimmed for bones.
An underground river was diverted to supply Kaer Samek
with water. The river enters the kaer’s wards near the hall of Okoros
and descends deep under the lowest levels, where it exits the wards
again. A number of water elementals were bound to ensure the
purity of the water and the safety of the kaer. These spirits also
divert enough water to feed the lakes inside the halls.
Apart from naturally grown air sponges, several air elementals
clean the air and circulate it. As with the water elementals, the
spirits work in the background and are mostly invisible. When the
library was on fire many years back, the displeased spirits manifested
a great storm to clean out the smoke.
The Separation and the circumstances of living in a closed underground
environment had many lasting effects on Kaer Samek’s
society. Even though each hall has developed its own laws and customs,
everyone works hard to ensure the survival of the kaer. For
example, most materials need to be recycled. The death pits in the
lowest levels are not only used to get rid of dead bodies—the mud
filling the pits is highly acidic and decomposes organic matter in a
matter of days–but the bones skimmed from the mud are usually
returned to the families, who carve tools or jewelry from them. It
is not unusual to use an ancestor’s skull as a mug or sit on a stool
made from his bones.
Since water is a common resource, it is frowned upon to swim
in the lakes of the kaer. Some people don’t like to drink anything
others have swum in. Only Lake Vevenna in Shal’Minar is reserved
for this activity, but curiously enough, all people seem to ignore
what the t’skrang do in Lake Vross.
There was no trade in Samek until the Separation. According to
kaer law, only certified merchants are allowed to trade in Council Hall.
Not all merchants sell their wares for profit in their hall’s local market;
for example, Shal’Minar barters only for goods of equal value.
Minted coins are seldom used for trading; far more common is
the practice of accumulating a certain debt before filing a transfer
of money at Council Hall. Coins are used to pay smaller sums,
however. Most taverns only accept hard currency as some people
tend to forget paying when they’re drunk.
Being a neutral place, Council Hall is not open to everyone. Travelers
must check in with the kaer guard regarding their destination
and approximate duration of their stay, before passing through
Council Hall in a quick and orderly fashion. Travelers have to spend
at least one night at a local inn when visiting another hall.