Recovered: A Town Called January

The challenge this week on the GLOG Discord channel was to detail a city or village or quarter or similar. This is my attempt.

A large brick archway standing in some brick ruins, a huddle of figures in blue on the right.Arch of Caligula, Pompeii, by Isaac Harjo, edited by Mary Harrsch, CC BY-SA 4.0

Apollo speaks through his oracle at Delphi, Aphrodite through Dodona, and even the gods of the Celts and the Norsemen all have their own seers. So Janus, among the highest of the Roman pantheon, he too has prophets, established in a town called January. Once, upon the discovery of this gift from Janus, the town grew at an enormous rate. Surely, visions from the gatekeeper of the gods himself must be of a purer, stronger sort, it was reasoned. And they are, for his oracles are two, and both prophecy only the truth. But one will only see the past and one the future, and even they do not know which is which. So the city fell into disrepair and is now mostly a curiosity.


The core of January.

  • Joram runs an aging, but still upscale hotel, The Golden Fleece. He is also an expert on military defense and sieges.
  • Hiram is a mask maker who sells them from his cart every day. In the past, the locals would all wear masks on the backs of their heads, but these days it’s mostly for tourists.
  • Mayors Miriam and Beelzebub won the least and the most votes for mayor respectively (that’s how it works here). They get along together regardless.
  • Pam is the law and head priest around here. She will defer to the oracles on all matters, but they usually don’t interfere.
  • Elam is a sculptor of growing renown. He claims not to know where the Wandering Adonises come from, but this is obviously a lie. His main income is sculpting large marble body parts to be offered to the temple (e.g. a large marble foot for a foot problem).

The Temple

A short ways away up a small hill. Here there is a hot spring where people throw lead curse tablets, and then also drink the water for their health. You could probably get some good dirt on people from the accumulated curses, if you’re willing to risk a god’s disfavor.

  • Seppha and Piper are the two oracles, who all this fuss is about. They used to have more attendants and they’re not pleased about the change.
  • Gerontus is the historian. For a not insubstantial fee, he can offer you some insight into which of the prophecies applies to the past, and by extension, which applies to your future.

The Old Town

The ruins of a massive city surrounding the core downtown. Unsavory sorts lurk here, but also just people trying to get by. There’s a 50% chance that anything can be found here, albeit in rough shape (blacksmith, horse stable, observatory, water park, etc.).

The Quarry

An uncommon bright spot in January’s future, Januarian marble is becoming trendy in some circles. The impurities give it distinctive purple veins.

The Orchards

Januarian farmers graft their trees relentlessly, such that something is always in season, and they can practically tell what day of the year it is by what’s in bloom. Empty door frames dot the landscape, but they are not magical and the locals will think it’s very funny if people walk through them to check.


  • Boram, a political up-start. He’s spreading positive propaganda about Miriam, hoping to snag last place in next year’s election.
  • Hephelot, a general of little renown. He can’t afford the pricier oracles, but still wants to know about upcoming battles.
  • A wandering marble Adonis. They don’t speak. There’s a few of them around.
  • A caravan of pilgrims with various ailments, thirsty for the healing waters of the temple.
  • Filiam, a disaffected local teen attempting to run away to a real” city. Keeps getting lost in the ruins, but won’t admit it. Claims instead that he’s looking for something important.
  • Poram, a massive quarryman. Wears the Janus mask on the back of his head, so looks quite frightening from behind. Needs people to check out a scary cave for him, but won’t phrase it like that.

Other Cities

This is only my entry in a second GLOG challenge, these are some others:

This post was first shared on 12 August 2019.

January 26, 2024