Well documented on the crude charts of the Snake Rider culture that has claimed a vast swath of the Southern Seas for its own, Oharshu is nevertheless a place of fearful mystery and superstition to both these ferocious race of sea-faring raiders and the more immeasurably more civilized and enlightened costal merchants of Caladin who seeking protection from the dangers of venturing into unknown waters, sometimes accompany the former on their great long-boat voyages to the distant and exotic ports that are inaccessible to the large but rather clumsy and wreck-prone galleys of the royal naval authorities of Calan.
Oharsu is not one of these ports. In fact, its very name is derived from a bastardized version of the Snake Rider word for ''Place Of Vanishing Ones''. Legends abound of the foolish ones that dissapear forever upon setting foot on the islands For this reason, no merchant or trader well accquantinced with these parts, will consent to set foot on it.
The appearance of the island itself would at first sight,seem to contradict this grim reputation that surrounds it. From a ship's crow-nest, a sailor will catch a glimpse of a serene and beautiful coast ringed all around with lush groves of coconut-groves and almost artistically sculptured mounds of golden sand-dunes. Peering closer, he will soon discover little stone huts dotting the cast-line. If the crew's interest is piqued sufficiently enough, they will decided to make a landing and investigate the little stone huts.
There to their amazement, they will find groups of beautiful women gathered on the shore expectantly, as if awaiting their arrival. Out of place in so sultry a climate, they are all either ravishing red-heads or brunnetes and are clad in absolutely nothing, save flimsy minisucle skirts of woven grass.
Casting come thither looks at the brawniest and most formidable looking voyagers, they will inform the visitors of the great riches and prizes that await the warriors brave enough to venture into the interior. Many captivated by the hypnotic beauty of the damsels will respond to their challenge, and none of them will ever return to be seen again.
For the island is home to a surviving thane of the ancient Kasmir. Fleeing the destruction of his people by the vengeful gods whoa had grown wrathful with their arrogance and decadence, he sought shelter in this refuge where he believed that their wrath would not reach. He was was wrong.
Sending their divine orders of warrior immortals to in ferocious pursuit, they soon surrounded his pyramidal fortress built in the lush heart of the island. Storming it, they bound him with chains so mighty that even his enchantments could not break them and had the one feared mage-lord sealed in a pit beneath his former stronghold.
There he would remain for eternity, given much time to reflect on the failings of his people, as well as his own past excesses.
But the gods were still not content. Intent on having their little jest, they promised that they would release him if he could find the one warrior capable of defeating him in single combat. An impossible demand for one who had been the mightiest warrior among the Kasmir. Once a source of arrogance for him, it would now be his undoing. An irony worthy of the gods indeed.
But the thane refuses to surrender hope. Always he casts his illusions to bring forth new warriors that descend into his dark hole to do battle with him, enticing sojourning sailors to land at his island with the aid of the damsels he has created. But his efforts extend beyond that alone.
His island is home to a menagerie of numerous savage and bestial warriors, all of them collected from the numerous lands by the minions he has recruited from among the ogres that inhabit the island. Venerating the thane as a god, they sail forth to other shores and bring with them the fighters that may be able to win their lord's freedom.
Ferocious eel-men from the submerged continent of Tarrod recruited from the elite armies of their cruel Empire, savage human loathing Shura plucked from the seas of Acqua that summon the ferocious strength of their shark deity when engaged in combat, and even water elementals and vicious demons summoned from other realms by the enchantments of the thane.. All come to do battle with him, greedily awaiting the prizes that will come to them should they defeat him.
First, they will fight and begin slaying one another in a blood-soaked battle royal that takes place in the jungle. Usually lasting for the course of an entire week, each participant will have to slay any living sentient thing he sees, until he is certain that of all the participants, only he remains alive. Then this formidable fighter will begin his trek into the island's interior, braving the numerous ambushes sprung on him by the silent venom tipped poison darts of the ogres and the atacks of the ferocious man-eating giant pythons reared by them, throughout the course of his journey, and halts only when he reaches the pyramid and enters the great pit that lies beneath it, via a a chamber through which the thane is barred from leaving his prison.
In those dark bowels, he will engage the imprisoned being in battle, a struggle that tragically for both parties, always inevitably ends with the brash challenger being slain. The rules of his jailors demands that the thane fight with his full strength and there are none who can face that and emerge alive.
So the thane continues to lie despondent on a throne built from bones of his vanquished foes, awaiting the one that can finally defeat him and free him from his long bondage. For that shall also be the one whom he will enlist in his vengeance against the gods, seizing control of that warrior's mind in the moment of his liberation and utterly bending it to his will. Go to Comment
The code is quickly changed, the moment word reaches the Guild of a code being cracked by law-enforcement. An extra knot here and there, and the cops find themselves starting from scratch again. This is the beauty of the system, Go to Comment
Ahh, I see then. Well, I promise to have my entry ready by Friday. I think you'll enjoy it. By the way, sweet work on this criminal center of commercial. It has the potential to become one of the best threads here, in my humble opinion. Go to Comment
An uncommon name for a business that is by all accounts, run by a very unusual individual, even by the shady standards of the Market. Located on the more obscure outskirts of the Market out of his paranoid fear that some nosy parker might develop an inclination to thwart his ambitions, the Horatio lurks in his cone shaped mud-hut like a hungry spider, keeping a constant vigil at the entrance for customers genuinely interested in the products he has to offer for sale.
And what truly exotic products they are. Peek into Horatio's hut and you will see hundreds of reed cages covering almost every inch of his modest dwelling. Horatio as any visitor will soon come to discover, is an avid breeder of insects. Yes, insects. A most accomplished keeper of slimy, little repulsive things, Horatio has managed through years of zealously forcing distantly related species of bugs to mate with one another, resulting in a bewildering variety of insects that possess rather interesting attributes which a thief would find very useful indeed. Want a bug that can noiselessly disable sturdy locks for you? His unique Cront roaches can pull off this trick, when the lock in question is smeared with traces of their favorite snack, decaying pig brain material, their beloved food item. Just let them get a whiff of it and then release them from their cage, to watch with satisfaction as they slobber all over the lock with their destructive vomit, a highly corrosive substance the shade of thick, putrid yellow that utterly dissolves and melts the metal. Or need a bug that unleashes powerful fumes capable of causing an entire posse of guards to swoon, while you make off with the loot? Horatio's Bulg Spider can do this very nicely. Just remember to swallow an antidote, and then happily see your plan unfold as the fist sized critter is provoked into unleashing its deadly load when one of its legs is ripped off. Oh, and if any guard is strong enough to endure the stench and come after you, just chuck the severed leg at any part of his exposed skin that you see. The numerous toxin-laced hairs sprouting from it, immediately cause blood poisoning upon coming into contact with naked skin. Feel like poisoning anyone to death? Simply grab a pair of gloves, and give a bloated Shar slug a gentle squeeze. A few of the sickly green drops that ooze from its pores are enough to kill a hundred men.
Yes, old Horatio can be very useful at times, or rather his hideous little creations are. They certainly earn him a handsome profit, the little beasties.
And yet, Horatio continues to live in a state of wretched poverty. The clothes that clad his thick, grotesque body are rags, while the food he eats would make a pig gag. Unlike your common black market trader, Horatio isn't keen on accumulating money. Most of what he earns, is spent on procuring ever more rare types of bugs to breed with his existing stock.
Horatio, you see, lives only to inflict his vengeance on those who wrecked his dreams. Once a respected researcher of natural history for the Royal Archives and a devoted observer of the marvelous mini-beasts known as insects, he dreamt of the day that the miraculous abilities of these tiny invertebrates could be harnessed to aid man-kind in all his endeavors. Only to be sacked from the position he occupied when he proposed to cross-breed into existence, a species of fast breeding silk spinning insect that would make silk a widespread commodity. Powerful nobles owning large cotton growing plantations, became concerned for their future profits in a world where silk was readily available, and insisted that the king discharge from his service, this man who was audacious enough to incur the wrath of God by tampering with His creations.
Furious at their greed, Horatio vowed to punish them for it. And so he vanished from the sight of all academia, choosing to forge a new path for himself in the shadowy world of crime..
Twenty years have passed since then, and Horatio revels in the satisfaction that his creations bring him. That, and the knowledge that they now assist in emptying the vaults of the ones who halted his progress for their own narrow, selfish interests. However, a part of him lives in constant fear that his old oppressors are aware of what he is up to, and conspire to put an end to his research for once and all. Terrified of this prospect, Horatio avoids the other criminal traders of the Market as he is suspicious of their true identities, keeping to himself as much as possible. They in turn, think him a crazy, insect obsessed loon, and dismiss him as such. It's an arrangement that works for everyone, Horatio included. Go to Comment
Rustic serenity mingled with gentle maloveance and the wistful reminders of a time long gone by. Charming and sinister at the same time. Very interesting.I take it that Awan is not an innately sinister deity though? Go to Comment