The United States Space Ship Ticonderoga is the largest space vessel ever built. Constructed over 500 years ago, it now orbits earth, most systems shut down - It is a treasure ridden derelict juggernaught.
A leftover relic of the ancients.
Or so would seem.
There exists, within the interdimensional realm known as "Muir", a most holy city; a city of Gods, a city of Legends, a city with Dark Secrets.
The Province of Ardamoth, or Ardamien as is the modern name, was the first of the Old Continent settlements on the Dhargenaas Continent. Of course the Imperials from Aumethorion had already founded the Careshian Empire (The Southern Empire) and the Belemarians had founded the Empire of Belemar, but the Ardamians were the first from the Old Continent and arrived just 10 years after the landfall.
The Province of Silmar is the cold and windswept area from the tip of Cape Murder in the North, to the Imperial Border in the south. Silmar is a place of suspicions and of persecutions; a place where magic users are burnt at the stake and crusades are launched frequently. The reasons for the crusades may wary, but the basics remain the same; the lure of the dark arts has consumed someone and a Crusade must be launched to purge that which has succumbed to darkness.
Today a new village is located on the same spot and all that remains of Pinezano is a memorial raised by Duke Valefinazzio himself after he dethroned the black hearted Prince. The memorial is a large statue of a mother bravely holding her child which is crying fearfully
At this time an old man, one who told the Prince wondrous tales during his childhood, walked upon the bridge and witnessed the prince commit suicide, saw him fall into the water. “This is the Bridge of Fates. I foresee great sorrow and happiness. This bridge shall never remain neutral, shall know tears of joy and the blood of innocents”.
The city of Kaldarien is a bustling port on the Isle of Wildenmeer, often called the isle of the twin duchies, and is the capital of the southernmost duchy.
At the heart of the Dhargenaas continent lays Malcaresh the northernmost city of the Southern Empire of the Careshi. It started with trade, but become tactically important. It has become a place of two styles since then.
The Hostel of the Silent Brotherhood is a small hostel in the dock quarters of town. The Hostel is popular among scribes and scholars who value silence. In addition it is valued by those who are on the run, for the brotherhood consists mainly of skilled warriors adept at fighting with staves and maces.
On the intersection of Noble Avenue and First Street lies Kandorr’s Fine Perfumery. The shop occupies the entire building which is built in a classical style with majestic marble pillars and stylish stained glass windows.
Nine times out of ten, it’s the undead that do the running.
Not strictly animal or vegetable, the Corpse bud is a peculiar individual that shares characteristics from multiple kingdoms and species. In appearance, all corpse buds bear a shape of a large rounded top bud divided into four lateral segments, and a much longer, narrower bottom bud, also divided into four segments. Between the two halves are a set of four radial limbs, rounded on top and flat on the bottom, covered with tiny serrated hooks facing towards the body. In overall size, it’s limbs reach as wide as a spread hand, with the body being as thick as a fist. It is as long as a human hand from top to bottom.
Internally, the top bud of the corpse bud contains a bacteria filled membrane that produces the hydrogen that the corpse bud uses to stay aloft, and a series of fungal gills for the dispersal of spores for reproduction. The lower half of the bud contains a number of fine filaments, as well as a sharp barbed stinger containing a powerful local anaesthesia.
The Corpse Bud mobilizes by inflating its top bud, and steers by rotating its arms rapidly about its body. The corpse bud ordinarily drifts with the wind, orienting towards the scent of recent decay and death. It preys on the recently dead, burrowing the lower bud into the victim, using the anaesthesia in case the victim is dying, and not truly deceased. Once embedded, it releases its filaments into the body, replacing the current nervous system. This gives it full animation of the body, and allows the corpse bud to direct it.
Corpse buds are not a malevolent species, being primarily concerned with breaking down the host body for food, and infecting the reproductive cycle with spores in order to mate with other corpse-bud bodies. To preserve the corpse for this purpose, Corpse buds will seek out dry locations to prevent bacteria from destroying the corpses. This often causes a large number of corpse buds to gather in a single location.
In culture, Corpse buds are used to repair broken spines or degenerative diseases, as the sentient mind will easily overcome the mind of the non-sentient corpse bud. Once infected by a corpse bud, however, removal is usually fatal, and the infected individual cannot reproduce, or risk infecting another. Thus, it is a technique often reserved for the elderly, or a last resort.
Necromancers and other dark sorcerers will often preserve the corpses of their victims magically, and infect them with corpse buds, creating traditional undead as well, so as to seed their lairs with undead both offensive and non, in order to throw their enemies off balance. They will also enslave the rudimentary minds of the corpse buds, and transform the docile things into a plague. There have also been accounts of magically transformed corpse buds with stronger minds and a taste for living flesh, but thus far all accounts are unproven rumors.