The Night Caravan (more commonly called the Night Train or the Argan Argar Chain) is the Argan Argar insect caravans that travel across Genertela at night. They bring goods, insects, and trolls from one troll stronghold to another. They RARELY stop to trade with humans or other Elder Races.
Night Caravans are feared by most humans. They travel at night, and are hidden during the day. A flock of giant insects fly and crawl across the landscape, accompanied by dark trolls and trollkin. Livestock in the way are killed and people who wander into the Night Caravan at night might never return.
It is possible to have peaceful interaction with the Night Caravan, and even make secret trades with the trolls. This is an important part of the Argan Argan cult – teaching humans how to peacefully negotiate with the dangerous trolls.
The main routes of Night Caravans are:
- Shadow Plateau to Dagori Inkarth (via Troll Woods)
- Shadow Plateau to Halikiv
- Dagori Inkarth to Halikiv
- Dagori Inkarth to Old Pavis
- Dagori Inkarth to Elder Wilds
- Halikiv to Yolp Mountains
- Halikiv to Guhan (via Safelster)
- Elder Wilds to Blue Moon Plateau
Imagine how terrifying this must be to local farmers, herders, and villagers though. Dozens, maybe hundreds of giant flying, hopping, and crawling insects, eating fields, destroying trees, killing animals and even sometimes humans. Trollkin work the caravan and sometimes feral trollkin follow it.
And I suspect the Yelmalio cult often gets called to protect communities when a caravan gets spotted.
And as always, remember that the trolls are perfectly willing to put up (and even appreciate) survival practices that would be near impossible for mortal humans. They might hollow out dens out of earth or in old ruined buildings so that they can sleep together in a huddle during the day, with the insects devouring whatever they can.
There might even be a few trollish “safe houses” where caravans might safely rest and trade with the local trolls.
Do the Sazdorf in Battle Valley host the Nigh Caravan (Shadow Plateau to Dagori Inkarth)? Most likely!
Now if we turn back the clock a thousand years to the time of the Only Old One, the Shadowlands, and the troll domination of Dragon Pass, the Night Caravans were a key way by which tribute and information flowed to the troll rulers. The volume of trade is much smaller than the Issaries caravans, but it was likely an important foundation for the Shadowlands.
Argan Argar has a bigger cult among Uz than is commonly assumed. For example in Dagori Inkarth less than 800 dark trolls are initiated into his cult. But almost 8000 trollkin follow Argan Argar (admittedly many are only lay members). Pretty much all warrior trollkin are at least lay members of Argan Argar.
Compare that to Zorak Zoran which has some 2500 initiates in Dagori Inkarth (including almost 700 great trolls). Now maybe every dark troll can take on at least 3 warrior trollkin but it is enough raw brute force that even the Death Lords don’t needlessly antagonise the Shadow priests. And when you remember that Argan Argar maintains a network of temples in every troll stronghold, the influence of the cult becomes clear. Sure Zorak Zoran is more important among the mistress race trolls and more feared, but Argan Argan is a key part of troll survival in a hostile world.
Why is trading with humans important to the trolls? Humans are better sources of bronze goods, they have lots of food (which is often easier to trade for than to simply take), they often have things that are of special interest to trolls – musical instruments, obscure songs, magic crystals, etc.
But the need for trade is obviously much lower than between human goods.