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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Empire
« on: July 23, 2004, 01:27:32 AM »
Look down, young God. See you Creation? Now look there, direct thine eye by mine hand. See you that spreading? That swelling? That creeping? That stain of color? That encroaching, building, devouring creature of life and shape and shadows, a cyst of Men upon our favored Creation?
That is called the Empire.
For four-thousand years of Men, the Empire has ground on, blazing outward into the lands of other forms of Men and other beings, taking, stealing, fighting, tricking, living. The Men of the Empire have forged an fortress of humanity, an unstoppable force unlike any other form of Man, as normal mortals in individual, but together, a godlike power.
From their central Assor Sea, their capitol city of Assor-Hu, where sits their Emperor, one of our number, an outcast God, the Imperials have gone forth and conquered the largest kingdom on Creation, from the frozen tundras of Iceheart Province to the steaming jungles of Vasseme Prefecture, from the soaring mountains of Eagle's Wing Province to the verdant marshes of Blue Coast Prefecture.
Learn what you can, young god, for the time comes quickly when these Men will rival Gods, when they will build weapons of potency and terror, when they will build fortresses of impassable virtue, when they will build creatures of their own, when they will build towers of flame to the sky to battle us for supremacy over Creation, and in preparation for this day, we must observe. Learn well, young God, for Men are quick builders.
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The Empire is a setting that I would like the flesh out, and the basic theory is that there is an incredibly massive Empire (called the Empire), ruled by an outcast God, that is constantly expanding, and taking in new territory at its edges. The Gods, who dwell in the skies above Creation, see this civilization as a threat, because it is so potent that eventually it may rival them for rule over the Cosmos. Therefore, Gods (and their counterparts in Creation, the Spirits) take an active part in the world, preparing their strength for the day when the Empire comes to challenge them.

At the Empire's edges, there are constantly-running Border Wars, through which the Imperials battle against Barbarians (i.e., any Man who isn't an Imperial). A very large part of the Empire's fantastic resources and manpower are funneled to fighting these wars and expanding the Empire. Imperials are not sure quite why they want to expand, but in the mind of ever Imperial is the need to expand their nation. This is much due to the genetic tampering of the Emperor, a god outcast from Heaven, who has ingrained this into their culture.
The Empire's expansion has been halted only on two fronts: The Western Mountains, and the Eastern Sea. The Western Mountains are higher even than the Himalayas, and were a defensive rampart raised by Spirits (terrestrial Gods) in the ancient war against the Emperor. The Duerga, enigmatic metal beings, dwell in hidden holds within these peaks, holding an uneasy truce with the Empire. The Duerga know that it is only the Mountains that stop the Men of the Empire from attempting to destroy them.
In the East, there is a vast ocean, which the Imperials call the Sea, which is trackless, spanning all the way to the Edge of the World, where the Gods can descend from Heaven. There are many islands in the Sea, the stepping stones of the Gods, havens to pirates, Barbarian kingdoms, tribes of monsters and demons, and the homesof Spirits and other beings.
Also within and without the Empire dwell tribes and groups of Urwhor, created long ago by none know who, serving manifold masters.
 
COMING SOON, to this thread...
Descriptions of the Prefectures and Provinces
Descriptions of the various forms of Men
Magic and Faith in the Empire
Languages and Terms of the Empire
Lands beyond the Empire
....So stay tuned!
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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For Duerga and Urwhor info...
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2004, 01:38:47 AM »
For the Duerga and Urwhor mentioned above see these:

Duerga
Urwhor
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Provinces and Prefectures
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2004, 06:57:28 PM »
The Empire is split up into Provinces and Prefectures. Provinces are often what might be described as territories- annexed areas of wilderness or recent conquest over which the Empire maintains limited government and military control. Other Provinces are simply too small to be called Prefectures, though they are just as well-controlled. Prefectures are official, large states of the Empire. Prefectures are often defined by the differences in territory. For instance, Heart Forest Prefecture, a vast wood, ends at the edges of the forestation. Some regions which might otherwise be Provinces are called Prefectures due to the political machinations of their governors (for Prefectures get more votes in the Imperial Deliberative) or because they are particularly important to the Empire.

Provinces and Prefectures of the Heartlands
The Heartlands are the central portion of the Empire, the original Empire, with the inland Assor Sea in its middle. The Assor Sea, and the Heartlands' relative proximity to the Regions of Warmth, make the Heartland states places of pleasant climate for the most part. Generally, winter is short, cool but not cold, and rainy, summer is long and hot, and spring and autumn are not present.

The Imperial Prefecture
The Imperial Prefecture is the center of the Empire, and contains within it the Assor Sea. The capitol city of Assor-Hu lies on the Sea's northern shores, and many other rich towns and cities are stationed throughout the Prefecture. The climate of the Imperial Prefecture is cooler for the most part (60-75 F/15.6-23.8 C), with wet, but not too wet, weather, due to the Sea. The terrain is mostly low hills with forested vales between, with terrain rising towards the outer edges of the Prefecture.

This Prefecture is the center of Imperial government and trade, and is also the richest Prefecture. A citizen of the Imperial Prefecture has control of a much larger amount of resources than any other citizen could dream of, even in the relatively rich regions of P'angu and Riverland Prefectures. The cities and towns of the Imperial Prefecture are in good repair, well-furnished and supplied with goods and luxuries from across the Empire and beyond.

The highways and roads of the Imperial Prefecture are clean, well-maintained by crews of the Imperial Authority of Ways, and planned and paved by their engineers. All of the roads in the Imperial Prefecture radiate out from the city of Assor-Hu. Along important highways, there are Imperial checkpoints, small gate-houses manned by troops of the Authority of Ways, where traveler's identification papers and Letters of Travel are checked.

The Imperial Prefecture is not a lucrative place for sellswords or adventurers. The roads and wildernesses are well patrolled by the Imperial Authority, the cities are orderly and very free of crime (except for Assor-Hu's outer districts, due to the capitol's fantastic size). The occasional monster can be found to exterminate, but for the most part this is done by Imperial soldiers. Most citizens of this Prefecture regard adventurers as good-for-nothings and outlaws who bring trouble and disease.

The Imperial Prefecture has no governor. It is ruled directly from Assor-Hu, by edicts of the Imperial Authority.

Riverland Prefecture
Riverland Prefecture is the region of water-meadows, plains, and riverland on the south shore of the Assor Sea, extending slightly to the west and east along the coast. Riverland is just that, a very large riverland, where the great Rivers Shine, Swift, and Shadow, as well as countless lesser rivers, emerge from the Assor Sea and flow towards the Sea. There are a number of large towns in Riverland Prefecture, though only one true city to speak of, the famous Trade City Natte. The climate of Riverland is hotter than that of the Imperial Prefecture (65-85 F/18.3-29.4 C, the average for the Heartlands), with less rain, though there is often fog and mist that rises from the many rivers, streams, and channels in the mornings and evenings. The terrain of Riverland is mostly low plains, threaded by twisting rivers and channels. There are some large floodplains, and a few marshes where many rivers converge. Much of Riverland is covered in swaying waist-high grasses, including Golden Grass like that of the Golden Plains, green plain grass, and wild grains.

For the most part, Riverlanders are rich, living close to the Imperial Prefecture and along major highways between the port cities on Blue Coast and Red Coast and the cities of Imperial Prefecture. Riverlanders who do not make their livings by trade or government related activities are often farmers or fishermen, albeit wealthier ones than normal. The towns of Riverland are well-furnished, but local custom looks down on those who decorate their homes too lavishly.

Roads are not quite as good quality as those of the Imperial Prefecture, but they are comparably fantastic when one comes from a border state such as Vasseme or Iceheart. Riverland highways are generally not paved, except when one nears a town, but they are raised above the wetlands and made from layers of clay and earth. Of course, Riverlanders rarely, if ever, use the roads, since they could, with more ease and more speed, use the rivers. There are few checkpoints along roads in Riverland, but there are many riparian checkpoints, usually at fords or in the form of boats of the Imperial Authority of Ways.

Adventurers and sellswords can sometimes find work in Riverland suppressing bandits and outlaws, and the occasional river dragon or tribe of wild Urwhor are found to trouble the countryside. However, for the most part, Riverland is well-policed and peaceful. Adventurers are seen as distasteful but occasionally necessary.

The governor of Riverland is the Lady Minister Seeds of Wheat. Seeds of Wheat was born in the Imperial Prefecture to a rich merchant house, and is known to be somewhat callous when it comes to the less-fortunate of Riverland, however few those less-fortunate may be. She is also greatly dislikes adventurers. She is, however, thought to be strict but fair as governor, and her judgement is trusted by Riverlanders.

Rain Drum Prefecture
To the east of the Assor Sea and Riverland, Rain Drum Prefecture is a hilly region of dwindling jungle and spreading farmlands. The warm winds blowing out of the South bring clouds, pregnant with rain, from the Assor Sea to Rain Drum, where they release their storms upon the land. The soil is fertile and plants grow fast in Rain Drum. There are few large settlments to speak of in Rain Drum, though one frequently encounters small villages. The temperature of Rain Drum is the norm for the Heartlands (Fahrenheit 65-80), with almost constant cloud-cover and frequent rainfall, though the winter is generally colder than normal because of the nearly constant winter rainfall. The terrain of Rain Drum is much like that of the Imperial Prefecture- hilly, with forested vales between. However, the wilds of Rain Drum are not as tamed as those of Imperial Prefecture, and the tangled jungles of this Prefecture are truly wild in comparison to the woods of the Imperial Prefecture. In the southern portins of the Prefecture, on the borders with Riverland, the land becomes marshy, especially near the coast. Rain Drum has a short stretch of coastline between Blue Coast and Red Coast Prefectures, and it is mostly low, swampy bayous and marshy bays.

Rain Drummers are of sunny disposition, despite the clouds and rains of their state. A common Rain Drummer saying is that "it rains, but the rain is warm". This sort of sodden optimism is accompanied by an adventurousness, and Rain Drummers are often uncomfortable with sitting still for too long. Rain Drum, though large, has really very little to offer to the economy, and Rain Drummers are relatively poor in comparison to their neighbors in the Imperial Prefecture, Rice Grower's Prefecture, and Riverland. Villages are small, really sizable towns are rare, and there are no cities. The rich in Rain Drum usually differ very little from the poor, since Rain Drummers have a tendency to save away their resources rather than spending them. Rain Drummers say that this frugality comes from their ancestors' custom of keeping stores of food in preparation for floods, which are common in the lowlands of Rain Drum due to rainfall washing down the hills.

Roads in Rain Drum are not well-kept, because keeping them is a useless endeavour. The Authority of Ways long ago gave up on clearing mud and repairing flood highways in Rain Drum. There are few checkpoints, and these near to towns. Sodden travellers often depend on roadside shrines and temples rather than checkpoints for shelter.

Adventurers and sellswords are regarded warmly in Rain Drum. The jungles and swamps, however few and paltry when compared to more remote states, are wild and untamed, and wild beasts and monsters are common, as well as bandits and brigands. Though not as untamed and lawless as, say, Hu-Be Prefecture or East Coast Province, Rain Drum is comparatively less policed than other Heartland states.

The governor of Rain Drum is the Esteemed Governor of Rains Ruby Frog Climbs the Tree. Ruby Frog Climbs the Tree is a native Rain Drummer, and is widely regarded as the best governor that Rain Drum has ever had. Ruby Frog has of late succeeded in gathering much aid for the repair of roads and highways in Rain Drum, as well as persuading the Imperial Ministry of War to send a detachment of trained militiamen to serve as road police. Ruby Frog is a cheerful, pudgy man with a common air about him and a soft spot in his heart for adventurers (he used to be one). However, it is an open secret that he is quite prejudiced against the Caatjun, who dwell in the southern part of his Prefecture, and also in swampy Blue Coast. He is aware that his prejudice is not right, but relies on his aides and other government officials to help correct him when he goes astray.

Rice Grower's Prefecture
In the northern regions of the Heartlands, where the rich soil of the Heart Forest meets the rains of Rain Drum and the blazing sun of Thirst Fields Province, there is Rice Grower's Prefecture, the most fantastically fertile land in all the Empire. This Prefecture is the breadbasket of the Empire, from which comes the vast majority of the Empire's sustenance, be it spice-stuffed blood-yams at the Emperor's table, or a quick lunch of sticky rice for a dirt farmer in Far Sight Prefecture. Rice Grower's Prefecture is overspread with small farming towns, surrounded by the cropfields of their inhabitants, though only a few really sizable towns, and no cities. Rice Grower's Prefecture is mostly of average clime for Heartlands, but slightly cooler in the north, with more sun than clouds. The terrain is mostly flat, with some low, rolling hills. The land is blanketed with cropfields, maize and grains, potatoes and yams, tubers, and, of course, rice paddies. The only rivers to be seen are irrigation channels, diverted by Imperial artifice from their true courses. What forest there might have been was cleared away long ago to make room for croplands.

Citizens of Rice Grower's Prefecture, called Rice Growers or Ricers, are for the majority rather poor farmers who tend vast fields, selling their crops at market weeks in the large towns, or sending them to merchants, or to Imperial contractors. They mostly dwell in small villages, surrounded by fields as far as the eye can see, in small huts of little luxury. Ricers are usually neat and orderly, and keep their huts tidy.

Roads in Rice Grower's Prefecture are usually unpaved but clean and in good repair. The Authority of Ways provides much attention to the roads in Rice Grower's Prefecture, since they are relatively vital to the feeding of the Empire. Ricers use roads often, and always walk, though they transport crops on carts. Ricers regard chariots with disdain, thinking them transport for snotty nobles. Checkpoints are not seen in Rice Grower's Prefecture. Major highways in this Prefecture do not deviate like they do in other states. Due to the open land, the highways can run straight to Assor-Hu.

Adventurers and sellswords are regarded with suspicion and distaste, and are rarely necessary anyway. Endless fields of crops provide little room for monsters or outlaws, though sometimes an aberration strays from the stony wilds of Fallen Dragon Prefecture, or a beast emerges from Heart Forest Prefecture.

The Lord Great Minister Dragon's Beard is the governor of Rice Grower's Prefecture. Dragon's Beard is an elderly man with a very conservative bent, who believes that family values are the key to Imperial society. He vehemently opposes homosexuals, though homosexuality is an accepted portion of Imperial society. However, he loves children and animals, and is beloved by the citizens of his Prefecture.

Golden Plains Prefecture
East of Rain Drum, the land rises into low mounts, and then plummets to a floor, a vast rolling plain all the way through, covered in waving, whispering, undulating Golden Grass. There are many settlements in Golden Plains, though few of them are very large. There are a few cities, the foremost of which is the city of Banena. Golden Plains is also inhabited by the Holholitlath, a nomad Barbarian people who make their lives upon the Grass. The Golden Plains are of the average temperature for the Heartlands, with the weather being mostly sunny, with a few days of rain a month. There is an almost constant breeze, which prevents the sluggish air over the plains from becoming too oppressive. The terrain, as said before, is a vast plain of rolling ground, covered in many places by hip-high, swaying Golden Grass, which gives the Plains their name, and in other places by short, springy green grass. In the regions near the Thirsty Fields Province, the green grasses die out and the land is hard and flat, with scraggly bushes and gray, stiff grass.

Golden Plainers, or Imperials at least, make their livings as farmers or traders. The mostly empty terrain and good roads of Golden Plains make it a preferred route for traders heading north or west from the Coastal states. Other Golden Plainers sell their services as guides for caravans or travelers, or get Imperial jobs maintaining the famous roads of Golden Plains. Towns of Golden Plains are generally built in a circle around a communal bonfire, after the ways of the Holholitlath. Buildings are usually just frames made of white mud, sticks, and plaster, with walls and doors made from Grass-cloth mats. Decoration is usually sparse but colorful.

The Golden Plains are famous for roads. This Prefecture's roads are often called the best in the Empire. They are slightly raised on a base of packed earth, and covered with a coating of clay and then the black dirt of the plains. This is then tamped down by Authority of Ways crews to an extremely-level surface. The highways are made in the same fashion, and then paved with sandstone blocks. Travelers often can be heard exulting the pleasure of traveling along these roads. Checkpoints are few, but well-stocked for the pleasure of wayfarers.

Adventurers and sellswords can find much work on Golden Plains. They are often hired by Holholitlath tribes as extra muscle in the near-constant tribal infighting, which Imperial Authorities long ago ceased trying to stop. There are also many packs of noxious dinosaurs that dwell on the plains, as well as a few scattered tribes of Urwhor.

The Golden Prefect River Valley Shout governs Golden Plains Prefecture. River Valley Shout is a dignified older woman who is half-Holholitlath, and shows a slight bias towards those nomadic people. She is a kindly woman, who allocates many of the Prefecture's funds towards helping the poor and the Barbarians, which has led to a growing belief among the rich and elite of Imperials that she is too soft to rule. However, it does not look like she will be ousted for a very long time, because the Golden Plains Deliberative consists mostly of commoners, and commoners love River Valley Shout.

Thirsty Fields Province
This small territory lies sandwiched between the northern portion of Golden Plains and the southern part of Dragonglass Hills, and recieves none of the good of either of those states. Thirsty Fields is desolate and arid, a blasted wasteland that has been ruined by toxic gasses and dusts which blow south from the volcanoes of Firefall Province. Thirsty Fields has only one settlement, a mining settlement on the border with Dragonglass Fields, and is otherwise devoid of people. The temperature is generally hotter than the Golden Plains (80-85/26.7-29.4 C), for reasons that are not readily apparent, though it is probable that it has something to do with the cast-offs of Firefall Province. The terrain of Thirsty Fields is mostly empty fields of cracked, parched dust, punctuated by gray, dying thornbushes or tortured claws of black rock. The sky is either overcast, swirling with poisonous dust, or cloudless but hazy and white, with a sun that beats down like a hammer.

There are no true Thirsty Fielders. The miners who live in the colony on the Thirsty Fields-Dragonglass Hills border, called Rane, live in slate houses built by the Imperial Authority or by the mining company itself, which are mostly furnished with comfortable but functional furniture. They are mostly men, and the majority of them suffer from a variety of ailments, including but not limited to black lung, red lung, dust cough, and any manner of other ills brought on by bad air.

There is only one official road through Thirsty Fields, and it runs straight through Rane and out again into Dragonglass Hills Province.

Adventurers can find lucrative but unhealthy Imperial contracts or mining group pay-offs in Thirsty Fields for protecting the mines and Rane itself from the resilient monsters of the wastes. There are also known to be strange ruins that can sometimes be found in the midst of the desolation, but getting to them is a hazardous affair in a land bereft of water and nearly without food, filled with monstrous beasts and deadly poisons.

The governor of Thirsty Fields could really be considered the governor of Rane. The Lord Head Fieldsman Ice Crackling On the River is a glum, stiff man who has been quite without spirit since his husband left him. Ice Crackling is short, balding, and portly, and has a bad case of black lung from his previous tenure in the mines. The Lord Head Fieldsman is known to be an effective but passionless governor.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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Provinces and Prefectures Continued...
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2004, 10:36:06 PM »
Provinces and Prefectures of the Coast
The Coast is the easternmost regions of the Empire. Against the Sea, these states make their livings through trade and seacraft. It's temperatures are mild  and moderate due to the influence of the Sea. The Coast is a long, varied region stretching from the Regions of Warmth to the Regions of Cold, and the seasons vary accordingly.

Blue Coast Prefecture
East from the Heartlands, beyond the Golden Plains Prefecture and Thirsty Fields Province, the vast swamps and marsh-jungles of Blue Coast Prefecture lie gleaming against the Sea, home of fishermen, traders, and the Caatjun barbarians, and the site of the Empire's largest port. There are many settlements of varying size throughout Blue Coast, though the interior of the Prefecture lacks anything larger than a small town due to the dangers of the rainforest and mire. The greatest port of the Empire, Bemesut, lies in the coast of Blue Coast. The climate is swelteringly hot and muggy (85-105 F/29.4-40.6 C), commonly rainy, with brilliant sunshine when downpours do not come. The terrain is low and swampy, and switches evenly between oppressive marsh-forests and wild, verdant, dripping rainforest. The coastal regions are mostly mangrove forests.

Blue Coasters are either fabulously rich or crushingly poor. The rich are coastal merchants, trading with sailors and barbarian traders from far-away lands such as rich Dlan and the island kingdom of Uwon. The poor are fishermen and hired sailors, couriers, and generally anybody who is not of the Imperial Authority or associated with trade. Settlements in Blue Coast are vibrant, bustling, and the trade goes all night long. Of course, the streets are often almost as muddy as the outside marshes, and the jungle has a way of creeping in the empty spaces, but that doesn't bother Blue Coasters. The poor dwell in huts framed in wooden poles, with walls and roofs made from cord mats. The rich dwell in large houses with rice-paper walls and tile roofs, which are open and airy.

Roads in Blue Coast are considered some of the poorest in all the Empire. They are muddy, marshy, vague trails that disappear into the devouring rainforest as soon as the Authority of Ways clears them out, if it does at all. Even the main highways, which are raised and layered with clay and wax, have a way of going green and leafy. Of course, one could always travel by the waterways, but that, too, is chancy, with many streams foundering in diseased marshes, and strange rivers that spiral off into the jungle, where travelers may never be found again. There are no checkpoints in Blue Coast. It is an excercise in futility to try to police the tracks in this Prefecture.

Adventurers and sellswords are common and beloved in Blue Coast. The jungle seethes with beasts, monsters, Demons, outlaws of all manner, strange ruins, and for adventurers, all of that spells "money". Many famous adventurers are folk heroes in Blue Coast.

The governor of Blue Coast is the Lady Blue Governor Glory in Defeat. Glory in Defeat is a former adventurer who has nearly bankrupted the Prefecture's coffers with her vast excesses. She hardly ever can be persuaded to make any commandments or edicts, so most of the work of governing is passed on to the Prefecture Deliberative. However, for all her pretentions and excesses, the people love Glory in Decay, though this is mostly because of her reputation gained from adventuring.

Red Coast Prefecture
South along the coast from Blue Coast, beyond the mouths of Riverland's streams, the land drys. This is the beginning of the South, the Region of Warmth, and the coast of the South is the Red Coast. Red Coast is hot, dry badlands, with few settlements. There are no real towns, nor even villages, in the interior, which is open, arid plains, but there is a string of small but extremely populous cities along the coast. The climate is burning hot and bone dry (90-115 F/32.2-46.1 C), with the sun shining for 90% of the year. The rainy season comes once a year and lasts two weeks, and during this time the desert becomes a plain of short, tough grass and blooming flowers. The terrain is mostly vast, empty high desert, hard baked plains of red-orange dirt pocked with scrub-bush and spiny, blade-leafed desert plants. There are large mesas, cliffs, walls, pillars, and other outcroppings of the red local rock that stand in the desert, and the city of Le'yak is surrounded by soaring pillars of crimson stone. The coasts are almost always high cliffs, with a few bays in between. Settlements usually lie on these bays.

Red Coasters are for the most part poor. The Red Coast does have some sizable trading cities, but this wealth finds it's way only to the hands of the Imperial Authority and a small plutocracy of merchants. Cities in Red Coast are incredibly populous, bursting with people, though they are relatively small in size. The towns are closely-packed piles made from stucco and white plaster, surrounded by walls of red local stone. The streets of most cities are crammed with people going about their business, including water-sellers, distinctive by their cry of "Keya! Keya!"

Roads in Red Coast are difficult to distinguish from the rest of the terrain. They are not well-maintained, because maintenance is really not necessary. The chances of the road being damaged or disappearing is small, because of the very static weather. Some helpful travelers or Authority of Ways crews line the roads with stones so that the path is easier to pick out from the flat, desert terrain. Highways are slightly raised so that they can be seen. Checkpoints are common along Red Coast highways, though they are really unecessary, since one can simply run off into the emptiness to get around the checkpoint.

Adventurers are welcomed in Red Coast, but settlements are so remote and distant from everywhere else that they are liable to travel for weeks without finding work. Bandits are not common in Red Coast, since it is likely that they will starve or die of thirst before they find anyone out on the roads, but there are numerous monsters that are able to dwell in the aridity without consequences, and when adventurers come around they can frequently get good payment for exterminating tribes of raiding Urwhor and sand-leapers.

The Lord Red Governor Thunder Roars Twice is governor of Red Coast Prefecture. Thunder Roars Twice is an aggressive military man, who spends much of the Prefecture's funds on strengthening Imperial Legion garrisons in his cities. He believes that there is nothing that a good term in the Legions can't solve, and has many friends in the Ministry of War from his stint as a general in the Border Wars.

East Coast Province
Where the Sea comes inward in the northeast of the Empire lies the East Coast Province, the easternmost state of the Empire. East Coast is a stony region of high cliffs and deep, forested valleys, where snow lies on the mountains year around and the sea is icy cold. The climate is temperate, with a wet, chilly spring, a warm, muddy summer (55-65 F/12.8-18.3 C), a chill autumn, and a vicious winter which frequently sees the bays full of ice. The weather is cloudy and cool, though there is rarely precipitation, and the dank, gloomy weather tends to weigh no the spirits of Imperials, who are used to warmer, sunnier climes. The land is sparsely populated, with only the seaside town of L'e'e being of any size, and only L'e'e has any more than a handful of Imperials. The rest of the Province is the home of the Corusta, a Barbarian people, who were never numerous even in the times before the coming of the Empire. The terrain is highly mountainous, with high peaks and cliffs, with small, forested canyons, valleys, and fjords in between, where most of the population is centered.

The East Coasters, including the Corusta, are mostly in poverty, living in small earth-houses (underground homes) or cone-shaped lodges of sticks and mud. There is little money going around, except for L'e'e, where the goods and trade of the North are sent out onto the Sea. East Coasters are mostly occupied as fishermen or hunters, using the bounty of the Sea and the forested valleys. The soil and the climate are both poor for farming, but many Corusta are herdsman, leading flocks of sheep, goats, bo'te, or sometimes even cattle, through mountain pastures and deserted valleys in search of good grass. The villages, few as they are, are generally small circles of homes (earth-houses or lodges) in the midst of wooded vales. L'e'e is a town of low stone houses with roofs of tile or straw, crouching within wooden walls along the chilly gray surf. The only rich folk in East Coast are the leaders of the northern mines, which are rich in sapphires and diamonds.

There are no roads in East Coast, or at least, no official roads, except for the highway that runs to L'e'e, which is in dismal disrepair. What ways there are consist of goat paths, small mountain trails, and Corusta ways, which are usually hidden to all except Corusta, who know where to look. And of course, where there is only one Imperial highway, there are no checkpoints.

Adventurers are not welcomed here, though they are certainly needed. There are beasts in the mountains, monsters of all manner and Urwhor tribes, though there are no bandits, since nobody has any money to steal. East Coast is also the center of Cult of Ennui, a strange faith that predicts the world's end at the hands of their shadowy god, that the Priesthood has denounced as heretical and a danger to the Empire. This Cult thrives on the hopelessness and destitude that is common in East Coast, and the gloomy weather doesn't hurt either.

East Coast Province is governed by the Lord Headman Blue Slate. Blue Slate is a young, formerly idealistic man who bitterly resents being sent to the backwater of East Coast Province, and utterly hates it there. The Province's chilly weather, empty mountains, and stubborn Barbarian populace, along with hideous boredom, have driven him into a deep depression. He rules East Coast without feeling or passion, and the Corusta call him Headman Stone Face for his stoic misery.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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Chat Room Discussion with Michael
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2004, 01:06:20 AM »
01:54:54 [CaptainPenguin] Sure.

01:58:20 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] good intro, this way of storytelling involves the reader since he is the god listening! i would like to read more about dangoures/challenges within the prefectures.. there is nothing to comment on about the descriptions about the Prefects themselves(they are wery good). Is there any earthly threat that could endanger the empire? Or are the only ones strong enough to challenge the emperor the gods? to

01:58:28 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] more to come.. a sec

01:59:37 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] Sre there any of the wars the emperor has fought that would be worth telling about? ...Or is it merely victory after victory?

02:00:32 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] Are there any problems within the empire? Secret rebels? Cults oposing the emperor?

02:00:54 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] Beasts and such in the lands, though Duerga and urwohr are a good start indeed

02:02:03 [CaptainPenguin] Mmm-hmmm...

02:02:22 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] The lands beyond the empire,... more material about those, are there any kingdoms strong anough to withstand him? Are the duerga simply going to wait for the emperors first move or will they strike first?

02:02:26 [CaptainPenguin] Anything else?

02:03:08 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] If the emperor is the strongest mightiest most powerfull guy around, why doesnt all the Urwohr serve him?

02:03:22 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] since they go for the strongest masters??

02:03:37 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] Thats all I can think of for now...

02:04:26 [CaptainPenguin] Not necessarily the strongest. The Emperor has shown mercy to his enemies, and done a few other things that conflict wth the Urwhor code of honor, and so they don't consider him a suitable master.

02:05:09 [CaptainPenguin] If he were an Urwhor, the Emperor would have had his Legions destroy the Barbarians which he conquers instead of just integrating them into the Empire.

I shall try to answer these questions as I go. 'Cept for the last one, which has already been answered.
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Quick Pronunciation and Language Guide
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2004, 01:40:14 AM »
Imperial Language Words

Assor-Hu - Ah-sore-hoo (capitol of the Empire, "Invincible Throne")
Natte- Nah-tay (trade city in Riverland, roughly means "Spiderweb" )
Bemesut- Bay-may-soot (Empire's greatest port, "Beautiful Beach")
Le'yak- Lay-yahk (largest settlement in Red Coast, "Red Place")
L'e'e- Luh-ay-ay (largest settlement of East Coast, roughly, "First Landing")
Banena- Bah-nay-nah (largest town of Golden Plains, "Bright Hill". Yes, it does sound a bit like "banana".  :) )
Rane- Rah-nay (only settlement in Thirsty Fields, roughly means "Stony")
Bo'te- Boh-tay (an animal like a dog-sized guinea pig, used for food and clothing, "Hairy and little")
Kaye- Kah-yay (a call of water-sellers, "water! water!")
P'angu- Puh-ahn-goo (a prefecture, meaning untranslatable)
Hu-Be- Hoo-bay (a prefecture, possibly means "Good Seat")
Eba- Ay-bah (a settlement in Vasseme, "Shining")
Issiru- Ee-see-roo (a settlement in Estissuru, "Green Home")
Vasseme- Vah-say-may (a prefecture, possibly means "Beautiful Sight")
Estissuru- Ay-stee-soo-roo (a prefecture, meaning untranslatable)
Ley'ko- Lay-koh (a settlement in Rain Drum, meaning untranslatable, though "ko" means "settlement/city")
Gla'gla- Glah-glah (a settlement in Blue Coast, "Many Waves")
Te'bo'a- Tay-boh-ah (a settlement in Shield Hills, possibly means "Very Small Cloak" )
Han'ko- Hahn-koh (a settlement in Shever Hills, possibly meaning "White City")
Hane- Hah-nay (a settlement in Wind's Edge, "White Wind")
Esse- Ay-say (a prefecture, meaning untranslatable)
Tenang- Tay-nahng (lizard-cattle, used for food and their leather, "Slow Lizard")
Ne'nang- Ray-koo-nahng (a species of small, scaled bird, trained as pets, "Wind-lizard")
Ko'rag Han- Koh-rahg Hahn (Imperial rendering of the name Korag-Herne. If translated, this rendering would be a nonsense phrase something like "City Blade White", though this is definitely not what Korag-Herne means.)
Ato'kutu'ra'neng- Ah-toh-koo-too-rah-nehng (the traditional naming ceremony, "the Naming of the Beloved Child".)
Anemu-ko- Ah-nay-moo-koh (name for settlements in Hu-Be, "mud-town" or "mud-settlement")

Barbarian Words (from many languages)

Holholitlath- Hole-holit-lahth
Corusta- Kohrrr-oos-tah (triple R denotes a rolled R)
Shever- Sheh-vuhr
Caatjun- Kay-*yoon (The asterisk denotes a slippery sound somewhat like a mixture of "th" and "sh", with a good deal of lisp to it. It could be approximated by either of those sounds {"th" or "sh"})
Uwon- Oo-wohn
Dlan- Dlahn
Truki- Troo-kee
Ta- Tah
Krish- Kreesh
Lturaka- Uhl-tuhr-ah-kah
Bhad- Bahd
Bhamilu- Bahm-ee-loo
Libosh be-Bhamilu- Lee-bohsh bay-Bahm-ee-loo
Dlanni- Dlahn-ee
Raukko- Rau-koh
Joshi- Joh-shee
Spestil- Speh-stuhl
Therouna- Theh-roo-nah
Korag-Herne- Kohr-ag Huhrn
Warg- Wahrg
Duerga- Dwehr-gah
Urwhor- Uhr-hwohr
Uti- Oo-tee
File- Fee-lay
Imile- Ee-mee-lay (A File word, "enclosure")
Mile-Ileme- Mee-lay-Ee-leh-may (A File name)
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« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2004, 07:23:40 PM »
Some updates, so check it out.
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« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2004, 07:40:57 PM »
Provinces and Prefectures of the South
The South lies in the Region of Warmth, the portion of the world where the sun releases much of its heat. The Southern states are places of environmental extreme, with verdant, tangled, seething jungle alongside burning desert and vast plains. Weather in the South is blazing hot, and either incredibly dry or incredibly humid. There are two seasons- summer, and the rainy season. The South is the most likely place in the Empire to see Barbarians, due to its proximity to the Barbarian kingdoms beyond the Empire's borders.

Esse Prefecture
Flowing south from Riverland, the Rivers Shine and Shadow flow rapidly down into the heavily-populated hill-lands of Esse. Esse is a semi-tropical region with many large settlements, that has been populated since the early days of Imperial expansion. It, along with the Imperial Prefecture and P'angu Prefecture, have always contained the bulk of population in the Empire. The climate of Esse is somewhat between that of the Heartlands and the South (80-100 F/26.7-37.8 C), and the weather is generally sunny, though most weeks see at least one day of fine, misty rain. The terrain is mostly rocky hills laced between forested lowlands, rising towards a plateau at the eastern border. The plateau is the separation between Esse and Red Coast, and is a massive single stone that protrudes from the ground (OOC: much like a vast Ayer's Rock), forming a mesa-like wall between the wet, wooded Esse and the arid, desert Red Coast.

Esse is the a region of great Imperial Authority presence, and is densely populated, even in it's relatively wild plateau region. The people are fairly rich, since the vast majority of land trade routes out of the South come through Esse rather than chancing the vast desolation of Far Sight Prefecture and the dangerous Barbarians of Sea of Grass Prefecture.  Esse citizens make their livings as trade brokers, graspers (moneylenders), traders, or as lumbermen, utilizing the vast timber resources of this Prefecture's wilds. The poor are usually herders, running herds of cattle, bo'te, and tenang, or work as foresters and guides. Esse homes are usually made in similar fashion to those of Blue Coast- timber frames with tile roofs and walls of rice paper.

The roads of Esse are usually well made of packed earth, and frequently repaired by Authority of Ways crews to remove errant tree roots and fix water damage. Highways are many and good, brick-lined and raised, and with frequent checkpoints, though these are mostly unmanned and really only for traveler's rest.

Adventurers can find a modicum of work in Esse, due to the presence of the Ta, a race of man-wolves who dwell in the jungle and periodically launch attacks on settlements, lumber camps, and checkpoints. There are also many Demons that dwell in the plateau region, and their hauntings center around a mysterious cavern that locals call the Mouth of the Demon.

The Lady Prefect Wise Comment governs Esse Prefecture. There is not much to be said about Wise Comment; she is a middle-aged woman of middling appearance, with a perfectly bland personality and personal life, and a track record of moderation and neutrality.

Sea of Grass Prefecture
West of the Assor Sea, the terrain rises into a high plateau, where warm winds from Estissuru sweep across, destined to gather and carry rain to the far-away Rain Drum Prefecture. This wind stirs a great tide, waves and waves flowing all the way from the mountains to the edge of the plateau. But these are not waves of water, but waves of grass. Not even Golden Plains Prefecture can match the Sea of Grass, where the entirety of the Prefecture, save a very small portion on the border with Flint Hills Province, is covered in waist-high, rippling green grass. Sea of Grass is hot, like the rest of the South (90-115 F/32.2-46.1 C), but the air is not sluggish or humid, like that of further states, for there is an unceasing wind, or, at the very least, a breeze, which soars across the grass from the Gap of Estissuru. The weather is generally sunny, save for a short, month-long rainy season, during which there is almost constant downpour. The terrain is one great, flat plateau, covered in the above-mentioned grass.

There are no permanent settlements in Sea of Grass, except for the Imperial town of Checkpoint, a town that sprang up around the only checkpoint in all the plains. This settlement is a small village, unwalled, composed of a small house, that of the governor, a storehouse/staging point for road crews and other officials, and a small barracks for the 20-man garrison. In addition, there are three shacks that belong to citizens who have decided, for whatever reason, to dwell on the plains. The other inhabitants of the Sea of Grass are all of a Barbarian people called the Truki, a warlike people, hostile to outsiders, who might be successful rebels against the Empire, if they did not constantly war against each other and against the beasts of the Sea of Grass.

There are many roads through Sea of Grass, mostly made during the first years of Imperial occupation, that are little more than dirt tracks. The Truki tribes keep these paths maintained simply because they are useful. There are only two highways through Sea of Grass, and both lead through Checkpoint. One curves up towards Flint Hills Province, the other going south to Rising Smoke Province.

Adventurers can find lots of work in the Sea of Grass, battling among the Truki, defeating vicious plains dinosaurs and Krish (dino-men) and Urwhor, and defending caravans, but little actual money. Checkpoint hands out Authority contracts and pays in vouchers, while the Truki pay in women, wine, and other such goods. The plains are also home to the Grass-Spiders, a bizarre sect of assassins who kill seemingly at random, and leave their marks all across the Empire.

The governor of the Sea of Grass is the Governor of Grass Void Dance, a man deeply troubled by what he sees as the oppression of the common people by the strict laws and codes of the Empire. He often can be found brooding in his office in Checkpoint, wishing he could do more to ease the burden on the peasantry. Void Dance has tried to have talks with the Truki many times, but he simply does not understand their way of thought or their honor system, and has thus been unsuccesful.

Rising Smoke Province
As one goes south through the Sea of Grass, the plateau on which that Prefecture lies slowly rises and dries, shifting into the Rising Smoke Province, a small province with a rebellious Barbarian populace, important only for its crucial North-South Highway. Lying on the flank of Western Mountains, Rising Smoke is a rocky, mountainous state, with much geothermal activity. The land is overspread by geysers, boiling mud pools, and hot springs. The rivers that flow out of Rising Smoke are yellow and stink of sulfur, and much of the land is split with fissures that release steam and smoke. The air is sluggish and the temperature is the usual Southern heat, and the terrain rises into the foothills of the Mountains on the west. On the south, the land slopes down into the verdant jungles of Estissuru, and on the east, it merges smoothly with the mind-boggling emptiness of Far Sight Prefecture.

There are a few small settlements in Rising Smoke, road villages centered along the North-South Highway. Most of these villages survive on what slight trade may come from caravans and traders, as well as jobs in copper mines and quarries throughout Rising Smoke. There are no cities, but there is one somewhat-large town, where the governor's house lies, on the border with Estissuru. The people of Rising Smoke are mostly poor, especially the Barbarian tribes, who are known as the Lturaka. The Imperials of the Province work mostly as miners, digging up lodes of copper, sandstone, marble, and a small quantity of emeralds in a southerly mine. The Lturaka, those who have not adopted Imperial ways, are rebellious and belligerent, and frequently raid the road towns of Rising Smoke. The Lturaka are warlike and proud, and not a week passes without another Imperial being sacraficed to a boiling mud-pool or a blasting geyser.

The roads of Rising Smoke are usually in ill-repair, fissured and cracked, pocked by falling stones and left to crumble by the Lturaka. There is one highway, the North-South Highway, which is the route that runs from the rich jungle states of Estissuru and Vasseme, through Rising Smoke, and into Esse Prefecture. This important highway has many checkpoints (more as rest stops than as places for checking passes) and is kept in top condition, with a planed surface of packed earth, ash, and clay. Periodically, crews of the Authority of Ways come through and reflatten, fix any fissures or potholes, and repair damage that the Lturaka may wage. There is a finger of the highway that heads northward into Sea of Grass.

Adventurers in Rising Smoke are usually hired by the Imperial Authority to battle Lturaka rebels. These rebellious and belligerent folk are frequent aggressors, and strong. In addition, the mountains are home to many strange beasts, who dwell by the boiling, sulphur-laden waters and survive by eating the flesh of man and other beasts. A number of Demons dwell in this relatively low-population area, and war against the Spirits worshipped by the Lturaka. In the mountains above this Province, the most southerly of the holds of the Duerga is hidden. This strange place, called Steamfont by Imperials and Iron Demon Cave by Lturaka, is in a deep defile, surrounded by clouds of strange smoke and steam, and harnesses the power of the nearby geysers and mud-pits for its mysterious engines.

The governor of Rising Smoke Province is the Lady Governor Feathered Wolf. Feathered Wolf has spent her life in constant planning, preparing for all possible outcomes. She is near-paranoid, and both hates and fears the Lturaka. The Lady Governor knows that the Provincial Deliberative is planning to take her out of office and put a young challenger, Mirror of Mirrors, in her place.

Far Sight Prefecture
The center of the South, to the west of Esse and the southeast of Rising Smoke, there is the vast, incomparable, mind-boggling emptiness of Far Sight Prefecture, utterly deserted and utterly desolate. There is nothing, visitors say, quite like the distance of Far Sight. The whole Prefecture is a blank field of orange dust, where one can look and look and look and see nothing but the vast empty field and the sky, arcing blue and huge and overwhelming over the entire plain. The largest part about Far Sight is the blue sky above, where the sun beats down with heat (95-120 F/35-48.8 C, on average) rivalled only by the Sand Sea Prefecture. There is never rain in Far Sight, and no wind ever stirs the sluggish orange-red dust. The short rainy seasons of surrounding states never occur in Far Sight, for reasons unknown. The state is shaped somewhat like a huge dish, rising slightly at its borders, though that is so gradual that one might never notice.

There is no way for a settlement to survive in Far Sight, desolation that it is, and thus, there are none.

Authority of Ways records state that several crews were sent into Far Sight at one time to construct highways, but none but a handful of men returned, speaking of madness brought on by the incredible emptiness, and of the huge dome of the sky and of the multitudes of the night stars pressing down upon them.

If there is anything in Far Sight for adventurers to do, they would surely not be paid for it, for there is nobody hiring. There are some who say that the strange madnesses brought on by the emptiness of Far Sight could not simply be the product of the desolation itself, but that is merely conjecture.

Far Sight does not have a governor. Why would it be necessary when there is nothing there to govern? For all intents and purposes, Far Sight can be considered merely open space between states, like a comma between words, with no votes in the Deliberative, no governor and no Authority, unpopulated and unnecessary.

Ascending Dust Province
At the edges of the great dust-dish of Far Sight Prefecture, the land rises, and the River Moon flows out of Vasseme Prefecture, irrigating the rocky border-marches of that empty state. This somewhat more populated region is the Ascending Dust Province, a stripe of struggling life between the twin desolations of Far Sight Prefecture and Sand Sea Prefecture. The temperature, though moderated by the River Moon, is still hot, and slightly above the average (95-118 F/35-47.8 C). The air is sweltering and dry, with slight breezes that blow in from the sea, and touches of the hot sand-winds of Sand Sea to the south. The terrain is a line of rocky hills rising about 2,000 feet (about 610 meters) between the Far Sight and Sand Sea, alternating between scrub-forest and dust fields.

There are a number of small, walled towns along the line of Ascending Dust, along the highways and roads leading west from Red Coast. These towns are surprisingly populous for such a hot, arid reason, full of Raseri, a Barbarian people who long ago assimilated into Imperial rule, and numerous Imperials as well. The people are usually either very rich or very poor, living either as herders, or as merchants, or as overseers to both. The lowlands on the southern side of Ascending Dust, where the dunes of Sand Sea creep up onto the rocks, is also home to a great many dune-miners, who search the sands for sand glass, salt crops, and other treasures of the desert. Homes are usually low, rectangular structures of plaster that are even stuffier than the outside, and so people have a tendency to get outdoors as soon as possible.

There are many roads through Ascending Dust, though they are often somewhat covered by migrating dust or sand. These trade routes carry goods between the jungle states of Estissuru and Vasseme and the Red Coast, whence they can go north into the Heartlands, though many traders opt for the easier, albeit longer, route through Rising Smoke Province and Esse Prefecture. The highways are brick-paved and usually have checkpoints at locations where there is water, such as a river crossing.

Adventurers in Ascending Dust can find work as bodyguards for caravans or important personages, protecting against this Province's numerous bandits and brigands. In addition, many treasure-seekers or studiers of ancient lore hire adventurers as extra help when launching expeditions to the mysterious ruins of Sand Sea. There are some few tribes of Urwhor in the regions nearer Vasseme Prefecture, as well.

The Lord Dust Adept Only Our Star governs Ascending Dust Province. As leader of the Dust Adepts, a special branch of the Priesthood who govern Ascending Dust Province, Only Our Star has been incredibly successful in crushing the last of the Raseri rebels in Ascending Dust with propaganda and "holy war". Only Our Star is a fanatic, devoted to the Emperor and the Stars, and believes totally and fully that the only way for the world to cast off the chains of Barbarism and heresy is for the light of the Empire to reach them. Many members of the higher Authority, including the Emperor himself, think that fanaticism is all well and good, but that Only Our Star is just a bit too dangerous to have in any more important state, wherefore the Dust Adept has been sent to this particular Province.

Sand Sea Prefecture
In the uttermost South, beyond the vast emptiness of Far Sight, and the narrow dust fields of Ascending Dust, the land drops into a great basin, filled with swirling sand, parched, dry, utterly without water, tossed by arid, withering winds. The Sand Sea is the hottest region in all the Empire (115-125 F/46.1-51.7 C, regularly), and hasn't seen rain for the last 2,000 years. The land is a vast, sandy desert, and the further one goes in, the greater the dunes are. There are many salt flats and dried-out soil pans around the edges of the Sand Sea, but beyond these borders, the land is all sand. Desert travelers say that there are a number of oasises within the desert, but these are extremely rare and hard to find.

There are no permanent settlements in Sand Sea, but, unlike Far Sight Prefecture, a similar desert, Sand Sea does have some inhabitants. In scattered enclaves throughout the outer sands, there dwell a friendly Barbarian people called the Bhad. The Bhad dwell on rock outcroppings in communal tents. A Bhad tribe may dwell in a location for several  months, until the sand-fishing and wells are dried, and then the tent is deconstructed and the tribe moves to a new outcropping. Most Bhad tribes are friendly, and welcome visitors of any stripe with open arms. These Barbarians have accepted Imperial rule with equanimity, since the Sand Sea isn't really controlled at all, and the Bhad are not made to follow Imperial ways. In addition to Bhad camps, some treasure-seekers, explorers, and loremasters set up camps around the mysterious ruins of the inner desert.

There are not roads in Sand Sea, since whatever is built tends to be swallowed by the shifting sands, and since roads are not needed anyway.

There are many things for adventurers to do in Sand Sea. Spread throughout the sands there are mysterious ruins of strange character, buried somewhat in the dunes, pyramids and collonaded temples and strange cities. Many people seek to unlock the secrets of these ruins, not the least of whom are Imperial investigators, treasure-seekers, and simple explorers, and these people often hire sellswords as extra muscle to battle of desert beasts and supernatural dangers of the sands. Though it is rare, caravans from the land of Therou sometimes come up through the Sand Sea, and these often hire adventurers as bodyguards for the return trip. The desert teems with strange animals, not the least of which are the Sandgorgons, great, multi-headed desert worms that attack all who come near, and Water-trappers, bizarre fungoid creatures who drain the moisture out of their prey. Demons are common in the inner sands and more unpleasant locations of the desert.

Libosh be-Bhamilu, the chieftan of the Bhamilu tribe of the Bhad, is the appointed governor of Sand Sea. Since there is no real Imperial Authority in Sand Sea, Libosh serves more as an emissary for the Bhad tribes than as a ruler over the desert.

Vasseme Prefecture
Vasseme Prefecture, west of the Sand Sea and south of Estissuru, is one of the two Jungle States. Vasseme is the extreme southwest corner of the Empire, and the closest to the rich Barbarian kingdoms of the farther South, Vasseme is a populous state, and many Barbarians dwell there. Vasseme is hot and humid, of the usual Southern temperature, and the weather is slightly rainier than it is sunny. The terrain is mostly thick jungle, especially in the western and southern parts. The eastern region, however, is parched and dry badlands on the edge of the Sand Sea. The northern portions of Vasseme rise into forested hills on the edges of Estissuru.

Vasseme has many large towns and cities, walled in against the jungle. The people of Vasseme have mostly mercantile occupations, working as merchants of goods from the South or from the North in a hundred market-towns across the Prefecture. Others work as jungle-guides, or as interpreters for Barbarians. There are hunters and pathblazers and many other workers related to the jungle. The cities of Vasseme are packed with people, Imperials and Barbarians of any kind, black-skinned Dlanni from beyond the Empire, the Joshi of this Prefecture and of Estissuru, Spestil and Therouna from the kingdoms beyond the Sand Sea, and even Bhad of the desert and Uwonath from the island-kingdom of Uwon. The greatest city in Vasseme is Eba, a metropolis by any standards, where Imperial Authority of the Jungle States is centered.

The roads of Vasseme are heavily-trafficked and generally of middling quality. The wet weather and constantly-growing jungle tends to have a detrimental affect on road quality. The highways are generally made from several layers of clay and wax to minimize water damage, and are higher in the center than at the edges so that rain slides off. Authority of Ways crews frequently go through on highways to repair root damage and damage caused by jungle monsters. Checkpoints are few, and mostly centered near cities. Much travel is also done along the great River Moon, which runs all the way from beyond the Empire's borders and down through Ascending Dust Province and into the Sea in Red Coast Prefecture. Roads in Vasseme are often crowded with traders and travelers, who jostle among the leafy paths and mob checkpoints between cities.

Adventurers and sellswords are well-recieved and well-payed in Vasseme. The wild, tangled jungle is filled with monstrous creatures and wild dinosaurs, as well as tribes of Krish lizard-beasts. The ruins of an ancient civilization, that of the ancestors of the native Joshi Barbarians, also litter the jungles. Many local warlords have taken control of tribes of Urwhor. These warlords are outlaws, and, along with bandits and rebel Joshi, are a large problem.

Waterfall Jump, the Lord Southern Jungle Prefect, is the governor of Vasseme. He is a jolly man of half-Bhad descent, and wears a grossly unfashionable (by Imperial standards) beard. Waterfall Jump is a friend to traders, and has cancelled many of the high tariffs of Vasseme Prefecture. He also has done a lot to better conditions in the Barbarian quarters of cities in Vasseme. Waterfall Jump is said by some to enjoy Joshi plum-beer a bit too much, but how can one criticize such a successful governor?

Estissuru Prefecture
The second of the Jungle States, Estissuru is the only state of the Empire that lies on the western side of the Western Mountains. The Estissuru Prefecture is much like a wilder version of Vasseme Prefecture, less controlled and less settled. The climate is similar to, if slightly rainier than, that of Vasseme Prefecture, the other Jungle State. The terrain is rising, forested hills and slopes against the foothills of the Western Mountains.

The people of Estissuru are mostly the Joshi, a Barbarian people native to both of the Jungle States. They dwell in raised tree-villages hidden in the jungle, away from Imperial settlements, which are few. Joshi often dwell near the ancient ruins of their ancestors, who ruled a large dominion of which the Jungle States were merely outer edges. The Imperials of the Prefecture dwell mostly in small, walled towns near to each other, and near to the great trade-city of Issiru. The buildings are mostly of wood and plaster, with paper screens for doors and windows, while Joshi structures are more like awnings of woven leaves. The people are mostly explorers, who are slowly subjugating this Prefecture, the newest of any state in the Empire. Joshi who are under Imperial Authority are mostly guides and interpreters, though some are hunters or fishermen.

The roads of Estissuru are in near-new condition. Only in the past few decades have they been blazed, and because of this they are among the best in the Empire. There are few checkpoints, but the highways are still patrolled by crews of the Authority of Ways and soldiers. The roads and highways are built in similar fashion to those of Vasseme, though with more layers of wax to help keep off the rain.

Adventurers can find a lot of Imperially-funded work as pathfinders, road-blazers, and for putting down Joshi rebellions. In addition, Imperial sages have taken an interest in the ruins of the Joshi's ancestors, and often fund expeditions into these. The jungles also teem with monsters, dinosaurs, Demons, and bandits, who are numerous in Estissuru. The Krish dwell deep in the jungle, as well, haunting the ruins of their own ancestors, who warred against the ancestors of the Joshi, according to Joshi myths.

The governor of Estissuru is the Lady Northern Jungle Prefect Sky Fire Dancing. Sky Fire Dancing is a young, beautiful woman, recently appointed to her post, who is excited to have been placed in charge of a new Prefecture. Sky Fire Dancing is idealistic and proud, and believes deeply in her Emperor and her Empire. She is intrigued by the Krish, and has funded many studies on these prehistoric beings.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2004, 01:53:29 AM »
Feel the power of MY UPDATES!
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Another day, another chat...
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2004, 03:43:48 AM »
04:08:45 [MoonHunter] I don't have a feel for the empire yet.

04:09:05 [MoonHunter] Is it Evil or Good, or just Big and malicious in that impersonal beuracracy sort of way

04:09:15 [MoonHunter] What is life like there...

04:09:20 [CaptainPenguin] Uh, well, those tips you gave me were pretty much what I was already doing, but thanks anyway.

04:09:59 [Feathers_Of_The_Raven] you have failed in life try again next time!

04:10:23 [CaptainPenguin] Depends on who you are. For the rich and the government officials, life is good, though busy. After you attend to your job, your Imperial Duty, which you MUST do, there are nice symposiums and parties, and you can go and hurl money at dancers or something...

04:10:31 [MoonHunter] brb

04:11:25 [Feathers_Of_The_Raven] Feathers hurled once at a party ugdar ate a monkey

04:11:42 [CaptainPenguin] The poor are mostly subsistence workers, and make very little money. The poor life is generally: Get up, do work (performing your Duty, which is a very important Imperial thing), eat, go to sleep, lather, rinse, repeat.

04:13:07 [Strolen] loosely based on the Roman Empire?

04:13:20 [CaptainPenguin] There is almost no middle-class at all, and what there is generally consists of lower Imperial workers (Ways crews, aides to governors, tax collectors), or are successful adventurers.

04:13:33 [Strolen] havent' got that far, but how do they keep all the new acquisitions in line as far as conquered territory?

04:13:41 [CaptainPenguin] Not so much the Roman Empire as Tokugawa Japan.

04:13:46 [Strolen] What is their major strategy?

04:14:26 [CaptainPenguin] The Legions. They keep a presence of soldiers in a new province until Barbarians are settled down, and when they deem that it is safe to pull out, they set up an Imperial-style government and go.

04:15:48 [CaptainPenguin] Well, the basic idea behind the Border Wars (constant expansion) is to "bring all the world under their wing", as it were. The propaganda that the Emperor and his Priesthood put forth basically says that the whole world is in an age of darkness, and that it is the Empire which will bring back the light.

04:17:05 [MoonHunter] bk

04:17:05 [CaptainPenguin] The Emperor's strategy is to gather his forces and bide his time, until he is strong enough to assault Heaven. He is waiting until he is sure he has the power, which is why he allows his people to worship the Gods of Heaven- because prayer is food, the Gods would be forced to attack him so as to survive if he cut off their prayers.

04:17:14 [Feathers_Of_The_Raven] By alah that was a good post

04:17:27 [MoonHunter] (It is this information (and ilk) that we need.....)

04:17:51 [CaptainPenguin] Moon: See above posts about lives of rich and lives of poor.

04:18:11 [Feathers_Of_The_Raven] and me party

04:18:22 [MoonHunter] read whole thing, thank you. I am slightly enlightened

04:19:58 [Strolen] will be intermittent, have to cook steaks...must.....not.....burn

04:20:43 [CaptainPenguin] The Emperor is a cast-out God of Heaven who tried to usurp control of Heaven. He was defeated, and was cast to Earth down the Stair at the Edge of the World. He prepared to make war on the Spirits (Gods of the Earth, as opposed to Heaven's Gods), and battled them, but they raised the Western Mountains as a defensive wall against him.
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« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2004, 01:26:41 AM »
Updates, check it.
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« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2004, 04:44:25 PM »
I know you guys are tired of hearing about Provinces and Prefectures, but I must say it:
Update!
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The Krish
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2004, 06:09:00 PM »
The Krish are a race of strange beings dwelling in the Southern parts of the Empire, and of the World. Few have studied them, and they are known to be hostile to Men, and thus, little is known about them.
The Krish are reptilian beings. They average about 9 feet long (about 2.7 meters), or 15 feet (about 4.6 meters) with tails included. They are four-limbed, with arm-like forelimbs and dog-like back legs. Their feet and hands are clawed; their feet have a small dewclaw, and their hands are like those of humans, but have an extra thumb on the opposite side of the palm. Their shoulder and hip bones have long flanges which show in a pronounced fashion through the skin, and their spines have many ridges which give their backs a humped appearance. Their skin is leathery as opposed to scaled. Along the tops of their necks, spines, tails, and arms, they have ruffs of multicolored feathers, and the ends of their tales have similar ruffs of feathers. Their leathery skin has a multicolored pattern, which is unique for each Krish; some have lines almost suggestive of runes or writing, while others are striped, and others have a smattering of spots that look much like freckles. The Krish have rather flat, diamond-shaped heads, with long mouths, human-like tongues, and speak in their own growling, barking language, and their teeth are large, sharp, and triangular, like those of sharks.
This is known about the Krish- they have dwelt in the Regions of Warmth since before the birth of Men, and they once were the masters over all of the World. The ruins of their former cities can still be found in wilder regions. The Krish, at least, those intelligent enough to speak to Men, tell of a time when their ancestors lived with the Gods, and wielded magical tools with power over all the forces of nature.
The Krish live in savage tribes in the wilderness, where status is determined by combat and strength, and the ruler is a single broodmother.
Many have pointed out similarities between the Krish and the Urwhor. Some have even suggested (blasphemously) that the Urwhor may be the children of pairings between Krish and Man.

(OOC: The "magical tools" spoken of in Krish legends are the ancestral memory of their extremely advanced, semi-magical technology. None of this remains, for it was destroyed in whatever cataclysm brought the Krish to their current low. Or was it? MUAHAHAHAHA!
Oh, and the Krish were inspired by the Dragon Kings from Exalted)
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« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2004, 12:13:21 AM »
Provinces and Prefectures of the Mountains
Against the soaring rampart of the Western Mountains, the air is thin and cold, and the snow lies all year round in the shadows. The Mountain states are dry places of cold, snowy winters and cool, sunny summers. There are four seasons in the Mountains, though it is rarely noticeable, because the slopes are carpeted with pine. The Mountain regions are the only place in the Empire, save Rising Smoke Province, that one can find the enigmatic Duerga.

Eagle's Wing Province
Eagle's Wing Province is the most populous of the Mountain states, a semi-temperate region of forested-foothills and jagged cliffs. Eagle's Wing is the site of the majority of the Empire's mines, and is also home to the mountain-dwelling Barbarians called the Raukko. The springs and summers of Eagle's Wing are cool (45-55 F/7.2-12.8 C), with springs being rainy and summers mostly clear, cold, windy autumns with frequent snow and freezing rain (20-40 F/negative 6.6-4.4 C), with much colder temperatures in the winter (regularly 10 to 20 below zero, F/negative 23.3-negative 28.9 C), frequent snow and ice storms, and near-constant winds. The terrain of Eagle's Wing is heavily forested foothills in the eastern borders, with higher and higher cliffs, valleys and hills as one goes west. There are many rivers that flow out of the mountains in Eagle's Wing, not the least of which is the beginnings of the Serpent River, the mightiest river in all of the Empire.

There are many middling-sized towns spread throughout Eagle's Wing, mostly in the beautiful eastern hills and around mines. The population of Eagle's Wing consists mostly of miners and stonequarriers, of both Imperial and Raukko stock. The many mines of Eagle's Wing supply the vast majority of mineral wealth for the Empire, and the population is accordingly composed of miners. The houses of Eagle's Wing are usually built from sandstone, with curtains of leather for doors and windows, after the Raukko fashion. The houses are usually full of warm furs and blankets, and have central hearths, all to ward of the chill.

The roads and highways of Eagle's Wing are usually well-maintained, important tracks used for carting mined ores and processed goods to and from the towns of Eagle's Wing. Checkpoints are usually set in canyons and valleys, where it is hard to get around them. Roadside shrines, erected to the Raukko, who are very excepting of Imperial ways, are also common.

Adventurers are necessary but disliked in Eagle's Wing. The bloody cult of Korag-Herne the Hunter (or, in Imperial rendering of the Barbarian word, Ko'rag Han) is a common danger throughout the Province, and stages frequent hunts to please their bloody god, chasing innocents through the forest and the mountains with wicked thorned spears and razor arrows, and the Hounds of Korag-Herne. This wicked cult of heretics has long been sought by the Priesthood for it's heresy and evil ways, and the Priesthood has even begun to hire sellswords to help in searching them out. There are also numerous beasts in the higher reaches of the Mountains, and the Duerga who dwell in the same regions are not always neutrally-inclined.

The governor of Eagle's Wing is the Eagle Governor Warm Sunshine. Warm Sunshine is not at all like her name; she is a cold, unyielding woman, who hates Barbarians and the peasantry of the Empire. She is a strictly conservative, tight-fisted governor, who has repealed many of the progressive edicts set out by her predecessor. Warm Sunshine's heart opens only to one thing- her pet re'ku'nang, Twice the Beauty, who she treats like a favored daughter.

Flint Hills Province
Above Sea of Grass Prefecture, there are a series of valleys, filled with flinty talus and shards of rock, known as the Flint Hills Province. The Flint Hills are regions of chilly badlands, where the snow lies year round in the deeply shadowed valleys, and strange, shadowy Barbarians known as the Shadow Men roam. The Flint Hills are dry and chilly through the spring and summer (40-45 F/4.4-7.2 C), and the autumns and winters are bone-chillingly cold  (15-25 below zero F/negative 26.1-negative 31.7 C) and have great amounts of precipitation, rain in the autumn and snow in the winter. The terrain is, as presumed, flinty hills and ravines, deeply shadowed, with many cliffs and rifts, sloping down into the Sea of Grass. The land is mostly barren, though there is some small forestation on the borders with Sea of Grass, and this forested region is the site of most Imperial presence.

Flint Hills serves as an Imperial prison-province. Convicts from all across the Empire are sent to Flint Hills and placed at the mercy of Krish and Truki Barbarians in the south, and the fearsome Shadow Men in the north, and dangerous climate all around. Though not all the Empire's criminals go to Flint Hills (most are sold as slaves to mining companies or given to the Authority of Ways; only the most dangerous are sent here), it is a feared location. Few convicts ever escape, since going south they become lost in the Sea of Grass, and the arm of the Mountains upon which this Province lies is too cold and too lofty to go over. Most convicts dwell in small villages of wattle-and-daub shacks, hot and stuff in the summer and icy cold in the winter. The other inhabitants of the Province are composed of Authority of Justice soldiers and guards, and the mysterious, mask-wearing Barbarians called the Shadow Men, who slay viciously, go nearly naked in the cold, and disappear as silently as they came. There is one Duerga outpost at the western extremity of the Province, but no word has come out of there for centuries.

Roads in Flint Hills are little more than paths, layed down from the period when the Province was a mining area. The Authority of Ways has allowed paths to decay, so that it makes it harder for convicts to get around the province. The southern regions on the Sea of Grass border are the sight of a highway that runs across the Province, serving as a way for Authority of Justice guards to get from outpost to outpost.

Adventurers are unlikely to find work in Flint Hills. The Authority of Justice has a tight grip on the Province, and the Shadow Men attack mostly single targets, never warring on the Province itself. There are some monsters in the mountains, but the Authority of Justice prefers these to stay intact to harrow convicts.

The governor of Flint Hills Province is the Lord Head Warden Red Sparrow, a Justiciar of the Authority of Justice. Red Sparrow is a narrow-minded man, a former soldier who wishes he were still following orders. He is dull as a leader, and not a quick or innovative thinker. Under Red Sparrow's care, nothing has really changed, but only three prisoners have escaped, so he will probably remain in power for a good deal of time.

Shield Hills Province
North of Eagle's Wing, the land rises, snow becomes more common, the cliffs higher, the valleys deeper. The pines form great black forests, carpeting the slopes in needles and standing like the heads of spears above the Man-high snows. It is said that the name of Shield Hills came from Recrimination and Apology, the Imperial General who conquered this province and many others. It is said that Recrimination and Apology looked up the snowy slopes and saw one of the many glaciers shining upon the mountains, and exclaimed "Look! There is a shield of white upon the hill!" The pine forests of Shield Hills are home to the Temmi, a race of shy Barbarians who are little seen. The summer is short and chilly in Shield Hills (40-45 F/4.4-7.2 C), and twilight comes early, while the other seasons are encompassed by a winter that seems to blot out the chances of spring and autumn, and carpets the land in cold and soft snowfall (20-30 below zero F/negative 28.9-negative 34.5 C), though extreme weather (such as blizzards) rarely comes. The terrain is a number of furrowed valleys between the mountains, carved by descending glaciers in a long ago time. These vales are coated in pine forest, while the upper slopes of the valleys meld into the mountains, where white and blue glaciers hang over the lands below.

The people of Shield Hills are few and hardy, a penurious folk who survive by hunting and trapping. There are also many logging camps in Shield Hills, logging pine, cottonwood, and aspen, as well as the iron-strong wood of the ironwood pines. Imperial homes in this Province are usually built from wood, and have leather curtains for doors and windows. After the Temmi custom, the inside of the hut is usually hung with furs to contain the heat of the fire. The Temmi Barbarians, who dwell in the forests, live much as their ancestors did thousands of years ago; they hunt, fish, and trap, and gather dead wood for a small fire, and always, always have dogs with them, for warmth and for companionship, as well as protection. The Temmi are so good at training dogs, in fact, that they are known across the Empire as the Dog People.

The official roads of Shield Hills lead only as far into the mountains as Te'bo'a, the largest city in these parts. All other settlements in Shield Hills are, at best, small towns, and many of them are little more than two or three families. Farther than Te'bo'a, there are only the logger's roads, paths cut through the forest to reach timber within, which the loggers use to transport their cuttings to Te'bo'a for shipment. The highways in Shield Hills are usually buried in snow, and have no checkpoints.

Many logging companies hire adventurers for protection against the creatures of the forests. It is said that the Hunter God, Korag-Herne, is strong in Shield Hills, and indeed, there are many of his cultists. There are also the fearsome Wargs, supernatural monsters who take the forms of men but may also transform into wolves, much like the half-wolf Ta of Esse Prefecture. The Temmi are not aggressive; rather they are very shy and non-aggressive, but many sellswords have been given contracts to "remove" Temmi who become nuisances to logging companies. There are also tales from some explorers (and from Temmi) of ruins half-frozen in glaciers, and mysterious, empty cities upon the slopes of the mountains.

The Governor of Pines Green-and-Blue Monkey governs Shield Hills Province. She is an old hand at governing, and was transferred to Shield Hills as a sort of gift for long years of service in such unpleasant locales as Red Coast and Iceheart Province. Green-and-Blue Monkey is a pleasant old woman with a fatal shaking illness and a blind right eye. She is content to spend her twilight years in this relatively-peaceful province with her husband and wait for the long sleep. She has not changed much in her office, besides repealing some of the more heavy taxes set by her predecessor.

White Fields Province
In the extreme northwestern edge of the Empire, there is the largest and emptiest of the Mountain states, the great tundra of White Fields Province. A place of rolling snow hills and vales of strange, seemingly-impossible ice-flowers, White Fields is not dead, but it is frozen. Not a creature exists there but that is thickly furred, and no water is unfrozen. The winter is year-round (20-40 below zero F/negative 28.8-negative 40 C), and the skies always overcast. The drifting snow is not blown by any polar wind, but instead settles fluffy, white, and chill upon a million othe flakes in this frozen extremity. The terrain is a great, snow-covered tundra, with mounds of snow lying like hills on a plain, sloping upward into the mountains. Throughout White Fields, one can find vales where, impossibly, from the snow, there sprout fields of blossoms, made from glimmering ice, growing like a flower of any Heartland field. These ice-flowers are delicate and still, and when picked, melt into pure water.

The few people who dwell in the sub-zero waste of White Fields are strange folk, drawn to the cold wilds and the dark, snowy sky. There is little in White Fields in the way of timber, and if the mountains have any wealth, nobody has ever gone to investigate it. The only commodity here is the furs of the animals which dwell here, and such furs are also to be had in greater quantity from Provinces such as Wind's Edge, Stone Forest, and Silver Star.

There is only one road in White Fields, a highway that runs to it from Te'bo'a in Shield Hills. There are no checkpoints, and it is little more than a clay lined path that is frequently lost amid the snow.

Adventurers and sellswords in White Fields are not likely to find any money. The supernatural beings and Gods which dwell in the tundra are dangerous and wild things of frost and icy fury, and the people who dwell there are not apt to cross them. The tales of snow-blindness, ice-madness, and freezing death are not likely to be helpful, either. But the Empire might pay lucrative sums for the discovery of new resources, such as mines, and the Brotherhood of Wisdom has take an interest of late in the icy Spirits who dwell in White Fields.

The Lord White Fieldsman Sun Moon Cloak is technically the governor of White Fields. He has no government experience, and was never a member of the Imperial Authority, but said Authority decided that White Fields needed a governor, and they chose Sun Moon Cloak, a grizzled prospector. So far, Sun Moon Cloak has done nothing in any way to govern, and has gone about his business of searching the tundras for money-making opportunities.
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« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2004, 02:49:19 PM »
If I may say so myself, this latest update is... Fantastico!
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« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2004, 12:26:10 AM »
Provinces and Prefectures of the North
Though the Heartlands are the center of the Empire, and comprise the former Imperial homelands, the North is the site of the majority of the Empire's population. The temperate lands of the North, though colder than the Heartlands, seem, for Imperials, closer to home than the blazing jungles and deserts of the South. Many of the Northern states lie within the Region of Cold, where days are short and winters are long.

P'angu Prefecture
Often called the Center of the North, P'angu Prefecture is a wealthy region of many cities and many people. Here, one can find all manner of people, from Akorti to Zanfal. P'angu is temperate, with a cool, rainy spring (45-55 F/4.4-12.8 C), a warm summer (60-70 F/15.6-21.1 C) with sunny, breezy weather, a chilly autumn with frequent frosts and storms (40-50 F/4.4-10 C), and frozen, snowy winter (10-40 F/negative 12-4 C). The weather is usually somewhat windy, but not terribly extreme. The Prefecture's terrain is hilly, with many thinly forested valleys between the farmed land that surrounds the many towns and cities.

There are many, many people in P'angu, so many that its population dwarfs that of Rain Drum and Riverlands combined. The landscape is everywhere overspread by cities and towns, surrounded by farmed land. The people of P'angu have many occupations, most of them centered in the Prefecture's many urban areas, and are significantly richer than inhabitants of states such as Silver Star, Shever Hills, or Hu-Be. P'angu homes are usually constructed from timber frames with walls of plaster or brick, though the rich often have homes of stone and rice paper. P'angu is famous for tile roofs, and there is nary a home to be seen without one, save the poorest of huts.

The roads of P'angu are reasonable in condition, and are certainly the best in the North. They are usually packed earth with ditch margins, while highways are paved in granite flagstones. P'angu roads and highways also undergo a strange process known as 'smiting' which ensures their weatherproof-ness. There are often checkpoints along P'angu roads, and one must be sure to have ones traveling papers or Letters of Travel handy. The roads are often packed full of people, and bandits roam in full sight.

Adventurers and sellswords are unlikely to find the work they expect in P'angu. Rather, urban dangers are more prominent, due to the tamed countryside and profusance of cities. Crime is common in the cities, despite Imperial attempts to police them, and many things fester in the sewers beneath towns that were better not to have seen light. Hungry ghosts are a problem in towns where the dead are buried in catacombs rather than given the proper offerings, and Demons of disease and filth and other things that breed in cities are apparent. The most likely place to find work for sellswords is as mercenary muscle for powerful crime families.

The Lady Great Minister Loves Her Duty attempts to govern the unruly P'angu Prefecture. Loves Her Duty has previously done very well in smaller states, but the size and population of P'angu have left her in over her head. She is too soft to deal with the crime families, and too hard to deal with the masses. However, she has managed to prevent the crime from spreading overmuch outside the cities.

Heart Forest Prefecture
South of the cities of P'angu, and north of the hills of Imperial Prefecture, there is a great valley, surrounded by great high hills, or low mountains if you prefer, and from the tops of these hills, one can look down and see the vastness of Heart Forest, the greatest forest in the world, and the home of countless Spirits. The Heart Forest is age-old, the last remainder of a mighty wood that once spanned the whole of the North, and it's primeval silence is so still and so deep that it feels almost a sacrilige to disturb it. The air under the trees is not as cold as that of some of the North; spring is mild (50-55 F/10-13 C), summer warm (55-65 F/13-18 C), autumn is cool (45-55 F/4-13 C), and winter is chilly, but not overmuch (35-40 F/2-4 C). The weather is usually somewhat windy, due to air flowing through the gap in the hills in the West, and there is usually a week or more of precipitation each month. The terrain is swathed in dense, primeval forest, with great redwoods and oaks in the central zones, and pines, cottonwoods, and other such high-altitude trees on the upper slopes of the surrounding hills. The Serpent River flows through the center of Heart Forest and emerges out the other side to sweep downward into Rice Grower's Prefecture.

The people of Heart Forest are composed mostly of a few iron and copper miners in the hills, logging camps in the outer edges, and scattered villages of woodsmen, mostly from the local Uti Barbarian stock. There are no settlements in the deeper portions of the forest, where strange beasts and Spirits reign, and the shy Uti stay mostly to the middle regions. The forests yield up great harvests of wood, and this is the Prefecture's main income. There is also some small farmland in the gap between Heart Forest and Serpent River Province, though this is mostly subsistence farmers.

The roads of Heart Forest lead over the hills to the outer settlements, and are usually wide dirt tracks in middling condition. There are no highways, though the larger roads have a few checkpoints. The middle and inner forest has no roads.

Adventurers and sellswords are often hired by logging companies and mining interests in Heart Forest to protect from attacks by vengeful beasts and animal Spirits. Most of the trouble in Heart Forest springs from fractious and jealous Spirits, unwilling to allow Men to destroy the last remnant of the once-mighty forest, though the forest is still mighty. Spirits are very active and outspoken in Heart Forest, and the well-known Spirit known as White Wolf, who, as presumed, leads the wolves of Heart Forest, has spoken with Imperial Priests on numerous occasions, though these talks have only ever lead to more violence.

The governor of Heart Forest is the Forest Overseer Quickened Gaze. Quickened Gaze is a quiet old man who has dwelt in the forest with the Uti for many decades, and understands their ways, and the ways of the forest Spirits, better than anyone else in the Empire. He has helped in negotiations with the inhabitants of the Forest, and has proved a very successful governor since his inception five years ago. There are always grumblers, though, and the grumblers in Heart Forest say that Quickened Gaze is too soft on the forest-dwellers, and doesn't look enough to the needs of the miners and loggers, who, after all, must make money to support their families.

(OOC: For my inspiration for Heart Forest, look to Princess Mononoke. The Uti are As**taka's people, the Imperials are the miners, and the Spirits are almost the same. Remove firearms, and you've got a pretty good idea of the current Heart Forest situation.)

Silver Star Prefecture
Beneath the great cliff of Wind's Edge Province, there is a great flat plain, lying above the cities of P'angu, a plain marked with many lakes and streams, water meadows and stands of pine, a beautiful country of moss hills and squelching water-lily ponds. The water-table is high, and though there are a few bogs, it is mostly grassy water-meadows separated by groups of green pines. The spring and summer of Silver Star are much alike, cool and misty, with much precipitation (45-55 F/4-13 C), while autumn and winter are icy cold, snowy, and clear (negative 20-35 F/negative 23-2 C). The terrain is a high plain with many wetlands, water-meadows, ponds, lakes, and dotted with stands of pines.

Silver Star's beautiful countryside is dotted with small villages of farmers and fishermen, as well as artists and poets who are drawn to the open meadows and starry skies of Silver Star. The region is famous for having been the home of the famous poet and tapestry painter Meet Me Beneath the Star of Fire. Many of the Empire's most famous tapestry-painters and muralists come from Silver Star, and the Prefecture is also famous for the great saga-songs of the File, a Barbarian people who dwell there. The Silver Star populace has a pronounced middle class, something that is absent in most other states, and this middle class is mostly composed of the artists of the Prefecture. Silver Star homes are wooden structures with tile roofs that are raised over the wet ground on decks of wood. They have sliding doors and windows made of wooden racks of stretched leather. They are usually well-decorated, since inhabitants can get ornaments from the local painter or leatherworker.

The roads of Silver Star are in fairly good condition. They are usually raised over the wet ground to prevent water damage, though there is always the chance of sinking. In the swampier areas, dirt tracks are replaced by wooden walkways raised over the water on short wooden posts. The highways are usually paved in brick and raised on packed earth above the wetlands. There are sometimes checkpoints closer to towns. There are also frequent areas to the sides of roads called "imile", a File word meaning "enclosure", circles of packed earth where there are stones erected. On the stones are carved the phases of the Moon. These imile are the File equivalent of roadside shrines.

Adventurers and sellswords can find work in Silver Star, if they look hard enough. The deeper bogs of the place hide strange monsters, and the File often hire sellswords to help and reconsecrate (i.e., clean free of monsters) their holy sites. The File do not war among themselves, but they have a long running war against the Azzu of Wind's Edge, and sometimes send hired adventurers to battle Azzu raiders. The wilder interior regions of Silver Star are also home to strange Spirits, deep shadowy swamps where primeval things dwell, and watery caverns that the File say are entrances to the Underworld.

The governor of Silver Star is a contemplative young half-File woman named Silence Under the Water, who spends much of her time looking out the front entrance of her home at the water meadow and composing short poems. She is rather complacent, and does little actual work, but it really doesn't matter, since her half-sister and assistant, a File woman named Mile-Ileme.

Hu-Be Prefecture
The lakes and rivers of Silver Star drain from their plateau, mixing with the streams of P'angu and tributaries of the Serpent River, and create many channels, flowing down and west to a great basin, forming the great marshes and moors of Hu-Be Prefecture. Hu-Be is muggy and mosquito-ridden half the year (55-65 F/13-18 C), with much rain and constant moisture; the other half of the year it is a chill, frosted mix of frozen mud and icy pools (30-45 F/negative 1-4 C), with biting winds and frequent snow and icy rain. With such weather, and the addition of disease, bandits, monsters, and Demons, Hu-Be is a miserable state in which to live, held only because of the resources that can be gathered there. Hu-Be's terrain is a great basin rising at the edges and sinking towards the middle, where many streams and tributaries flow down into it, slowing into stagnancy in a labyrinth of fetid pools and festering marshes. The eastern part is the site of many squalid villages, but the west all the way to the border is open morass.

In the eastern part of Hu-Be, the populace of P'angu Prefecture spills over onto the flats, living in squalid villages and towns on stilts to rise above the channels, places of disease and crime where the scum of the Earth dwell and die. These horrible cysts of settlements are called "anemu-ko", which means "mud-town" or "mud-settlement". The people are either criminals or farmers and hunters. The latter go out into the marshes on stilts to harvest crops of wild swamp-grain, funguses, sweetgrass, mudfruit, and other marsh commodities. Most people in Hu-Be are poor, and the most common food is snake meat.

The roads of Hu-Be are usually ramshackle walkways of wood, raised above the ankle-deep, tea-brown water by wooden poles. These paths frequently collapse, and are in uniform disrepair. The highways of Hu-Be are not much better, being raised causeways of packed earth, clay, and a layer of wax, which frequently crumble and sink into the mire. There are checkpoints, but the assigned guards usually mutiny within a few weeks, and the gates become the homes of highwaymen, using them to rob hapless travelers.

Adventurers are welcomed in Hu-Be with a firm hand-grip, but the other hand conceals a dagger. Sellswords are often criminals like most Hu-Be residents, but nobody can be trusted. Work comes in the form of small crime or small anti-crime. In addition, there are a species of river dragon that dwell in Hu-Be that frequently attack mud-towns, and the mires are home to many monsters- huge snakes that sleep under the surface, mud-crawling beasts of all description, and a hundred other dangers. There are one or two tribes of wild Urwhor, a sub-species of the norm with a thicker fur coat.

The governor of Hu-Be is the enormously corrupt Great Swamp Prefect Fire Mongoose. Fire Mongoose is a taller-than-average, dusky-skinned man with long, tangled hair and beard, who can usually be found hob-knobbing with criminals rather than doing his Imperial duties. He is a great opportunist, as well as being in the pocket of several crime families.

Stone Forest Province
North of the peaceful wetlands of Silver Star and the festering swamps of Hu-Be, the land rises into a vast, thrust-up, slanted slope of mountains, descending into watery bogs and shadowy canyons at its base. Atop this great cliff, a foreshadowing of the endless cliff of Wind's Edge, there is a knife-blade ridge, and as one looks down from this ridge, one can look into the vast pine forest of Stone Forest, almost as large as that of Heart Forest, an army of black-furred spears in the snowy twilight, all the way into the distance, where the Thousand-Mile Cliffs of Wind's Edge can be seen like a rampart against the sky. This strange land is preternaturally silent, and the shadows in Stone Forest seem deeper and darker than other places. The temperature is cold, very cold (10-40 F/negative 12-4 C), in summer and in winter, though in the winter the ponds and streams freeze over. The wind blows most of the time, and though it is not the bitter tearing wind of the farthest north, it is chilly, and brings with it icy rains and muffling snows.

The silence of Stone Forest is little broken by Men. There are two camps of natives in Stone Forest: the nameless ones, and the Hautti. There are a few villages of the strange, nameless natives, who are hunched and masked and have deadly soft voices, and these are built atop hills of stone and around the bases of monumental pines. The natives' villages are pine piles where all the houses are constructed atop one another and as a part of one another, like a ramshackle tenement or mansion, though the best word is probably hive. The Hautti, a hunting nomad people, live in temporary shelters made of piles of pine branches. The eastern region, bordering on Silver Star, is the site of several relatively new logging camps where gruff woodsmen dwell, and in the swampy canyonlands at the bottom of the southern cliff, there are a number of Hu-Be mudtowns. The deeper one goes into Stone Forest, however, the deeper the silence is, and the darker the shadows, and the longer the night. Few Imperials can stand the strange darkness and weight of the Forest's atmosphere.

The roads of Stone Forest were slashed decades ago during the long (albeit bloodless) conquest of the Province. They are rocky lanes through the forest, made for the feet of soldiers, and generally lead only as far as the closest native village. There are three highways, and all go no further than the mining camps. They are paved, but little other work was done to them, and there are no checkpoints. The strange natives have been known to erect crazily-ramshackle arches of wood over the roads, and festoon these with the corpses of animals. Why they do this is not known.

The supernatural is very alive in the Stone Forest. Adventurers can find work battling alongside the Hautti against the dreaded Wargs, the man-wolves, and the Hautti themselves often battle amongst each other, with sellswords to aid them. The bizarre, furtive creepings and mad dancing of the nameless ones makes many a lumberman nervous, and adventurers are sometimes hired to drive them away. Deeper in the Forest there are massive artificial hills wherein are buried secrets that even the nameless ones will not touch. Occasionally, the western region, where the forest ends and the snows of White Fields begins, is host to strange, elemental beings of ice and winter. This Province is the home of many ancient and baleful spirits who turn an angry eye on intrusion into their realm.

The Lord Pine Minister Six-Fingered Hand is the governor of Stone Forest. His name springs from a quirk of his birth that left him with an extra, deformed finger on his left hand. He is a brilliant governor and an amazing orator, and his talents are wasted on this province, where relatively little happens. He has increased the authority of the loggers to expand their territories, while still maintaining peace with the Hautti, though, which is a feat that has set many minds in the capitol working to judge his enormous potential. Six-Fingered Hand is a handsome man, despite his sixth finger, and has charisma by the bucketload.

Serpent River Province
The mighty Serpent River is born as a trickle springing from a mountain lake in the snowy mountains of Eagle's Wing Province. Flowing down through the rocky highlands, the Serpent River begins to carve into the ground as it is swollen by other streams and by meltwater. The River flows down through pine forests and open meadows, and, flowing faster and faster, carves a massive canyon through the land, the Serpent Canyon, a many league chasm with the rushing Serpent River at its bottom, carving down into the Heart Forest. Serpent River Province comprises the Serpent Canyon and the surrounding land, pine-forested hills and swampy fens on the northern border with Hu-Be. This Province is said to be one of the most beautiful states, along with Silver Star. On the south, the trees give out, the soil turns grey and rocky, and the sky darkens, signaling the border-marches of Fallen Dragon Prefecture. The temperature in Serpent River Province is chilly in the spring (30-45 F/negative 1-4 C), the river swollen and white with meltwater, and the sky iron grey with chill rain. During the summer, the land is warm (warm, at least, for the North, 55-65 F/13-18 C), sunny, and the river's height drops, with stones that break the surface in roaring rapids. The autumn is similar to the spring in temperature, but the river's level rises with the frequent rain, and winter is icy cold (10-40 F/negative 12-4 C), with a shield of ice over the top of the river and snow blanketing the upland.

The people of Serpent River are of manifold professions- there are fishermen, woodsmen, loggers, prospectors and miners, and artists and poets in above-average number. Some are rich, some are poor, though most are on the lower end of the economic spectrum. The settlements of Serpent River are numerous, and most are middling-sized towns. Houses in Serpent River are square wooden affairs with plastered walls and mud-packed ceilings, or tile for the more upper-class dwellings. Decoration tends to be very colorful and very obvious, with neighbors stringing prayer flags between houses, and bright lanterns and banners strung from roofs and balconies. This art is often of quite high quality, due to the presence of the more-than-average number of artists.

The roads of Serpent River are well-maintained and staffed with many checkpoints. They are built from packed earth lined with river stones. Highways are built in similar fashion, but they are paved in smoothed river stones and slightly raised. The Authority of Ways often constructs roads along the edges of the Serpent Canyon, taking advantage of the beautiful views of the river and the opposite shore. Bridges across the canyon are few, but the Authority of Ways makes sure to take good care, for the task of restringing such bridges is a daunting one at best.

Adventurers are a necessary part of life in Serpent River. The wild pine forests are home to ravening monsters and supernatural beasts, and there are many Spirits disgruntled by mortal expansion in this beautiful area. In the southern region, the uneasy atmosphere of Fallen Dragon Prefecture prevails, and so habitation here is sparse. These southern badlands are often the refuge of horrible beasts from Fallen Dragon. The whole Province is also plagued with bandits, who find that the canyon and forests serve as good ground for ambush.

The governor of Serpent River Province is the Lady Minister Golden Root. Golden Root is a middle-aged woman who, with her wife, is a famed poet in addition to being governor. Golden Root is quite the environmentalist, and many of the logging interests and mining guildsmen have called for her replacement, but thus far she has managed to cling to her seat and prevent too much "progress" in Serpent River.

Fallen Dragon Prefecture
South of Serpent River Province, in a vague wedge between Heart Forest, and the Imperial Prefecture, there is a region known as Fallen Dragon, where in time immemorial, before any mortal yet lived, an ancient
something died, or was slain, and its corpse fell to the Earth, and like a corrupted scar or a suppurating wound, festered with darkness, and to this spreading darkness flocked the things of ancient shadows, shades born with the first flashing of the sun, horrible creatures who could not withstand the light of stars or of day, secrets better hidden, Demons of rage and pain. From the ominously baleful forests of the southeast, to the canyons of hissing rivers and black, glimmering sand in the northwest, the whole of Fallen Dragon is wrong, a place better placed in the scrawlings of a madman or the heretical tomes of a sorceror than upon the true Earth. It is unnaturally dark in Fallen Dragon, for there is a dense, black cloud cover that hovers over the Prefecture like a smoke, and holds in the heat, making it a muggy, sticky place (55-65 F/13-18 C) in the summer, while the winter is chill and dank (30-45 F/negative 1-4 C), with many stinking fogs and whispering mists. In the southeast portion of the Prefecture's lopsided wedge, the land is covered in an ominously-thick, watching forest of black-leafed trees and steel-grey bark, where the loam underfoot is thick and tarry, and the air smells of corruption and constant rot. The northwest is a strange region of unnaturally steep and sheer canyons in islands of black, grey, and red stone, with strange smoking rivers of foul water that rushes across beds of iridescent black sand. The tributaries of the Serpent River that flow into this region come out black and foul, and thick with unidentifiable bits of strangeness. The southeast is a region of rising slopes of black talus, where the hissing rivers culminate in pools of still venom where strange things swim. The slopes are carpeted in some places with abominably-itchy gray grass and thorny shrubs, glowing faintly in the semi-darkness. The land drops down into the hills of Imperial Prefecture, where, along a straight line like wall, the corruption ends. Across the center of the Prefecture, like the spine of some great monster, there is a knobbly range of bare, black-stone hills that some call the Dragon's Spine.

There are no people in Fallen Dragon Prefecture, or at least, none that can be identified, truly and totally, as Men. From time to time, foolish adventurers or hapless wanderers who have stumbled into this land of darkness encounter Man-like beings, but descriptions are never sure, and these beings always seem to arrive and depart mysteriously. There is one small village on the border with Flint Hills, a village of convicts, but they are scarcely worth mentioning.

The only road of Fallen Dragon is highways, built from slabs of imported sandstone (local stone is bad luck), quickly laid during the conquest of the North so that troops could pass through Fallen Dragon without having to actually brave its wrongness. The road is in ill-repair, and the evil forest seems to actively destroy it. There is scarcely a place where the highway is not buckled or smashed by gnarled black roots.

Adventurers and sellswords enter Fallen Dragon Prefecture of their own accord or not at all. Few ever go, but for those who wish to make a name for themselves, usually as brave, but most often ending as foolish and ill-fated. The Priesthood periodically sends divisions of its own sohi, along with payed sellswords, to try to destroy the evils of that black land, but, of course, it is to no avail.

The governor of the Fallen Dragon Prefecture is quite obviously Evil itself. There can be no controlling of this land of darkness, even if controlling it was necessary. It is really only an arbitrary portion of the Empire, and serves to some point as a boast and a challenge to other nations; the Emperor once was asked by a Dlanni Ambassador why he kept the foul land as part of his Empire, and replied:  "We have the strength to contain this evil. Where does your strength lie?"

Shever Hills Prefecture
Named for the Shever, its Barbarian natives, Shever Hills Prefecture is a rocky highland state on the west of P'angu Prefecture. The deep ravines and rocky cliffs and hills of Shever Hills have never really been tamed by the Empire, and the Shever are fierce and rebellious. The land is cool and very windy but very sunny year round (45-55 F/4-13 C), save during the winter, when the winds bring clouds laden with frost and snow, and the temperature plummets to icy lows. The terrain is rocky, sparsely-forested hills and cliffs, separated by deep canyons and ravines, rising towards a high, twin-peaked mountain in the center called Two Fangs.

The settlements in Shever Hills are generally walled fort-towns, built for protection against the Shever. The people are mostly miners who dig for lead, silver, iron, and platinum. In addition, the forges of Shever Hills are renowned for their weapons, made with ancient Shever forging techniques, and Shever steel is the highest quality in the Empire. There is also a large Imperial Legion presence here, for, in many ways, the Border Wars in Shever Hills never ended. However, deep in the middle of the hills, where the Shever do not go, and where only the most ancient and lost of paths goes, in a small vale beneath the great peak Two Fangs, there is a city, the City of Dreams, it is called, hidden from all save the Gods. This city is a refuge for people from across the Empire who seek to live without the constant eye of the Emperor upon them, to live without the Authority and the Priesthood regulating them, mortals who wish to escape the grit and shadow of Reality and immerse themselves in the Dream World. The City of Dreams is a whimsical, medium-sized town, built in a mishmash of different architectural styles and cultural mediums, centered around a small lake, with it's own gardens, orchards, and crops. People of all races and cultures dwell in the City of Dreams, which is positioned directly under the Star of Dreamer Second in the Dream World. Here, underneath the direct sight of Dreamer Second, the double-image echo of the Dream World is closer in alignment to the Earth than any other place in Creation. Due to this spiritual closeness, and because Dreamer Second has decreed it so, the people of the City of Dreams may send their Higher Souls to the Dream World at will, sinking themselves in fancy and wonder. Dreamer Second does not allow just anyone to come to this hidden city, though. Only those who have forsworn the Empire and the Emperor himself recieve the call of Dreamer Second, beckoning them to the City of Dreams. Before these chosen individuals, the mazy web of dreams that surround the City part like a curtain, allowing them in. Not all denouncers recieve the call of Dreamer Second; he is, after all, the God of whimsy and change. The Emperor seeks to find the City of Dreams, for he fears that the people of this place are a danger to his Empire, but Dreamer Second's dream-maze has thus far thwarted his efforts, and its strands of memory and emotion lead the Emperor on false paths to empty locations.

The roads and highways of Shever Hills are usually high, cliff-side tracks that spiral against the hills, and never enter the lower lands, where the Shever lurk. Authority of Ways crews try to repair whatever damage may be caused by Shever, snow, and rockfall at the beginning of each year, and then, throughout the year, the conditions deteriorate. The most remote tracks of Shever Hills are often totally impassable by the autumn. Checkpoints are not necessary in Shever Hills. The roads nearer to Two Fangs are ancient tracks that are impassable and mystifying, sending travelers in impossible directions due to the dream-maze of Dreamer Second.

Ministry of War and Legion Authorities are often hiring adventurers and sellswords to aid in operations against the Shever. In addition, the Shever, though distrustful of non-Shever, have been known to hire sellswords as extra warriors and pay in silver and platinum jewelry. Deeper in the hills, there are many Spirits and Demons, but they cannot cross Dreamer Second's dream-maze.

The governor of Shever Hills is the Shever Authority Legion General Prize of Wisdom. Prize of Wisdom is a man of the Ministry of War who, as payment for a certain indiscretion in his earlier life, was placed as general of the Shever Hills. He is a hard man who has been steeled by a lifetime of hardship, and he bitterly regrets his certain indiscretion. He has done much to strengthen Imperial security in Shever Hills, and has faithfully done his duty, but to no avail; he will never leave this Prefecture again.

Dragonglass Hills Province
South of the rocky highlands of Shever Hills, and north of the wastes of Thirst Fields, there is a region of great, glittering black hills that slice the sky like talons. These hills, upon closer examination, are great piles of shattered obsidian, called also dragonglass, lying spread across the volcanic landscape. The dangerous, shard-filled fields of Dragonglass Hills are inimical to anything that is not leathery or scaled, and the poisonous gasses and waters of Firefall Province leak their way south into this Province as well. The temperature is much like that of Shever Hills, cool most of the year (45-55 F/4-13 C), with windy, sunny weather, and cold and snowy in the winter (10-40 F/negative 12-4 C). The baked landscape is cool now, the volcanism is gone, but the land is laced with razor-sharp ridges of lava and obsidian, and the ground is littered with sharp chunks of the Earth's spittings. On the eastern border with Rice Grower's Prefecture, there are large lakes and marshes.

The Dragonglass Hills are unique in that they are the site of eight or nine semi-independent city-states called the Dragonglass Cities. The people of these cities offer tribute of obsidian, stone, iron, bronze, rubies, diamonds, emeralds, and Green Glass to the Empire in exchange for a degree of independence. The people of the Dragonglass Cities are of Imperial race, but hold themselves separate. They are a prosperous people, enriched by trade in lucrative metals and mined goods with the Empire, and many of them are merchants. Somewhere in the center of this Province there is a mountain of the famous Green Glass, a translucent, emerald green, razor-sharp material that is formed by volcanic activity and forms feather-like blades and masses like great manes of green. This Green Glass is rare and extremely valuable, and the most adventurous of Dragonglass Hillers sometimes brave the wilderness and the beasts to find it.

The roads of Dragonglass Hills are dirt tracks lined with stones that lead between the mining settlements. The highway that runs through Dragonglass Hills and up into Shever Hills is nothing to write home about; it is merely a path lined with volcanic stones. There are no checkpoints.

Adventurers and sellswords willing to brave the sharp-edged wilderness are likely to find quite lucrative jobs in the form of missions in search of Green Glass, ebony, or the killing of the strange beasts that dwell in the interior. The very deepest regions of the Hills have strange ruins built of the local rock and obsidian, temples with windows of green glass and bizarre idols of sharp blades of stone.

The governor of Dragonglass Hills is the Dragonglass Minister Iron Moon Flight. Iron Moon Flight is a warm and happy man, who is slightly irritated by his post at the dangerous Dragonglass Hills, but on the overall not too miffed. Anything is better, after all, than his upbringing in a shanty-town in Hu-Be. Iron Moon Flight does well overseeing the needs of his people and his miners, and has made great strides towards bettering the treatment of slaves in Dragonglass Hills. Iron Moon Flight has one thing that angers him-the insistence of Dragonglass Hillers that they are not Imperials, though they clearly are.

Firefall Province
North of Shever Hills and East Coast, east of Silver Star, the great Letu'rano, the Mountain of Fire, a massive, flat-topped peak that, in the past, vomited forth flame and ashes and liquid rock. Because of the Mountain of Fire, the surrounding state came to be known as Firefall, hence Firefall Province. The Mountain of Fire ceased to belch forth the Earth's flame long ago, and the Province has since become a pastoral land, where herds of goats, sheep, and bo'te graze on fertile slopes of grass among scarred, stone remnants of the volcano's fury. Firefall is cool and sunny through most of the year (45-55 F/4-13 C), with a period of chill, windy weather (10-30 F/negative 12-negative 3 C). The slopes and surrounding hills of Firefall and the Mountain of Fire are known as a beautiful, peaceful country, with a few, newly-growing woods and long open fields. However, there are two rivers that flow off of Firefall, and in them are boiling vents that blast forth poisons of the Earth and unhealthy gasses; these rivers flow from Firefall into the Dragonglass Hills and also into Thirsty Fields, and are the reason for those unlucky provinces' barrenness.

The people of Firefall Province are mostly simple farmers and herdsmen who have forgotten the dangers of Letu'rano above them. They are quite content, and they are somewhat better off than most of the surrounding people, for their crops grow fast in the ashy soil and the grass is good for the herds. It is common knowledge among them that the rivers that flow of Letu'rano are poisonous, and that there is a great fire in the peak, but periodically they make offerings to the Fire Gods and to the Stars, and the old stories about the Mountain vomiting flame are just wives tales, aren't they? Firefall is scattered with small towns of square plaster structures. These houses have roofs of sealed wooden planks and leather curtains over windows and doors. The people of Firefall Province, now quite Imperial, were once a Barbarian people, and the colorful, tentacular patterns with which they paint their plaster homes speaks of this.

The roads of Firefall are well-tended, rocky paths, lined with margins of brick. The Authority of Ways issues special Licenses to herdsmen to widen the paths that their herds trample into proper roads. The highways of Firefall are narrower than most others, but they are paved in flat bricks, and frequently repaired. Checkpoints are common throughout the countryside, and so are roadside shrines.

Adventurers and sellswords will probably find calm and boredom in Firefall. The land is pastoral and tamed, and the Letu'rano seems to have erased whatever ancient evils may have lurked upon its slopes before the eruptions. However, every once in a while, a shepherd's boy will uncover the entrance to a dark temple that has withstood the Mountain's ancient fury, or a farmer will be attacked by monsters that emerge from the crater of the Mountain of Fire.

The Lady Minister Cries In Happiness governs Firefall Province. She is a matronly woman of late-middle-age, who juggles the tasks of her Authority with that of raising her children. Periodically, she will switch with ther husband, a File man from Silver Star named Lian, who will rule in her stead while she takes care of the children. If this situation were ever revealed to Authorities in the capitol, she would be immediately reprimanded and justice would be done, but those who know of this see nothing wrong with it; Lian is just as proficient as Cries In Happiness, if slightly less knowledgeable when it comes to Imperial law.

Iceheart Province
In the uttermost north of the Empire, where the Sun is cool and pale over the land, and the sea filled with ice and rime, there is a land of high, jagged peaks and massive glaciers, where foggy fjords slash through the coast and a fierce Barbarian people called the Ffolkki roam the land, there is Iceheart Province, one of the most recent acquisitions of the Empire, and a land of frost and snow. The land is bone-chillingly cold (15-25 below zero F/negative 26-negative 32 C) and snowy year-round, with a few days of pale, warmth-less sunlight. The terrain is divided between the inland mountians, deeply furrowed razor peaks, sparsely coated in pine, where glaciers creep through the snow, and the lowland tundra, where herds of bison, mammoth, and packs of wolves and snow lions, roam the landscape.

The people of Iceheart Province are mostly the Ffolkki, who Imperials call Blue Eyes, the Barbarian people who have dwelt there for thousands of years. The Ffolkki dwell in villages of hide tents on the tundra and lower slopes of the mountains, hunting mammoth and bison. They are a fractious, warlike people, who chafe at Imperial intrusion in their domain. The majority of Imperials in Iceheart live in the walled town of Se-Ne, which is also the provincial capitol. There are several other settlements, but these serve the function of mining or logging camps. The people of Iceheart are, for the majority, soldiers, protecting the workers who log and mine. There are few middle-class folk here, for they get in the way of the important operations and province-building of Iceheart. There is a small majority of huntsmen, who dwell on the tundra in the Ffolkki manner, and hunt mammoth and snow lion for their valuable pelts (and in the case of the mammoth, meat.).

The roads of Iceheart Province, all three of them, are brick-lined roads that run across the tundra to Se-Ne, carrying goods to and from, and allowing the Legions to send troops north. There are no checkpoints. In the mountains, there are many game trails and paths blazed by Ffolkki, narrow, winding tracks that often lead to Ffolkki holy sites.

Adventurers and sellswords can find work in Iceheart battling with Imperial soldiers against the wild and warlike Ffolkki, or vice versa. The mountains are home to strange monsters of Ffolkki legend, as well as Gods of frost and winter, and a sizable cult of Korag-Herne, with all the additional Hounds and Wargs. In some of the higher portions of the mountains, there are mysterious ruins, similar to those which can be found throughout the North, and the Ffolkki consider these sites the homes of Demons and Gods.

The governor of Iceheart is the Lady Ice Minister Broken-Glass Sparrow. Broken-Glass Sparrow is half-Imperial, one-fourth Ffolkki, and one-fourth Caatjun. A small woman in her late 20s, with long brown hair, Broken-Glass Sparrow has the long nostrils and brown eyes of her Caatjun parent, and the pale skin of her Ffolkki parent, and little Imperial look at all. She has many languages (Ffolkki, Caatjun, Imperial, Uwonath), and is considered by many to be one of the best governors in the Empire. She has done much to help the civilization-process of Iceheart, increased the economic output of Iceheart by triples, and has recently performed successful diplomatic talks with the Ffolkki. Regardless, she is very unhappy, and very lonely, her Barbarian looks being a barrier between social contact with many Imperials, and the cold weather is increasingly glooming upon her mind.

Wind's Edge Province
At the northern edge of the Empire, stretching between the mountains of Iceheart and the granite escarpments of Stone Forest, across the fields of Silver Star and the rocks of Shever Hills, there is a mighty wall, a hundreds-of-miles-long cliff, towering above the surrounding land, called the Thousand-Mile Cliffs. The top of the Thousand-Mile Cliffs is the land known as Wind's Edge Province, a wind-lashed scrub-steppe, populated by a few garissons of Imperial conquerors and by the fierce, hardy Azzu tribes, warlike rebels only recently bypassed by the Border Wars (which are raging even now on the north of Wind's Edge), and the tranquil, peace-loving Qi, who dwell in cities in the mountains of the farthest Wind's Edge north. The temperature is usually cool, but the constant wailing wind, and the chill it bestows, guarantees that Wind's Edge is bitterly chill in the summer (10-30 F/negative 12-negative 3 C) and marrow-freezing cold in the winter (15-25 below zero F/negative 26-negative 32 C), with dry weather. There is rarely snow, though what there is is crusty and frozen, blown into crackling mounds of ice by the wind, which never ceases its blowing from the North. The terrain is a long, frozen steppe, punctuated with rocky hills and small rivers and lakes. Most of the step is carpeted in scrubby, dry grass, and herds of yak and ku'we roam.

The majority of the population of Wind's Edge is Barbarian. The Imperial presence dwells mostly in small fort cities near the edge of the Thousand-Mile Cliffs, especially near the Northland Stair, the only entrance onto the cliffs save climbing them. These Imperials, who are mostly soldiers or mercenaries waiting for their shifts at the Border Wars in the far North, have a tendency to live life while they can, for every day might be their last; only metropolitan states have more brothels and taverns than Wind's Edge. Homes are built from stone and plaster, and there are usually tarps and curtains of oiled leather throughout towns to shield from the wind. The Azzu are on of two Barbarian races on the Cliffs. These fierce nomadic tribes war constantly with each other and with the Imperials, though recent rumors of a unifying chief have been worrying. The Azzu dwell outside and each tribe has it's own herd of yak to follow. Yurts made from yak-skin and fur are their dwellings. In sharp contrast are the "Barbarian" Qi, a reclusive, spiritual folk, little encountered by the Imperials, who dwell in monastic cities in the mountains.

The roads of Wind's Edge are dirt tracks stamped across the steppes by marching Legions, and all generally lead between towns or north to the Border Wars. They usually stay in good repair, though they hav a tendency to disappear into the bland, empty landscape. There are no checkpoints.

Adventurers and sellswords are common in Wind's Edge. The Legions are always in need of more swords for the Border Wars, and they pay in jade, not copper. Many a sellsword has made a great reputation fighting in Border Wars. Also, adventurers are often hired to put down Azzu tribes, or as emmisaries to the mysterious Qi. The monsters that dwell on the steppe are well-known beasts, and adventurers are often hired as part of monster-hunting parties to clear the way for marching Legions.

The Wind Minister Violet Dawn Leaping governs Wind's Edge. He is a soldier by trade, a strategist of the Legions who was picked out of service to be the governor, by order of the Emperor himself. Violet Dawn Leaping does not at all understand why a humble strategos such as himself should be given so important a station, but he has faith in the Emperor. So far, he hasn't had much chance to do much, but he hopes to be a good governor to please his superiors, and has managed to secure peace talks with Chizzu, the leader of an Azzu tribe.
Currently Reading: "Kafka On The Shore" by Haruki Murakami

Currently Listening To: "Piece Of Time" by Atheist

Offline Shadow1973

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« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2004, 10:30:49 AM »
Out of courosity do you have any maps of this place, or some basic drawing of it? I  was reading the top and got a general overview and I didnt have the  15 hours to read it all just yet. and was wanting a little better idea.

Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Empire
« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2004, 10:40:01 AM »
I do have a drawn map (a d**n good one, if I may say so myself), but I don't have a scanner, so as soon as I can get down to Kinko's you'll be able to see it.
Currently Reading: "Kafka On The Shore" by Haruki Murakami

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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Forms of Men
« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2004, 05:18:13 PM »
When the Gods created Men, they made many different Forms of Man, which you might term "races" or "cultures". The Forms of Men were all endowed with certain talents and virtues by the Gods, and when the Spirits descended the Stair at the Edge of the World, they, too, augmented the Forms. Everything Rests On Him, the Spirit of the World's Foundation, and the pre-eminent of the Earth Gods, even had the audacity to make his own Form, though these dwell deep in the caves and tunnels that twist through him.

The Imperials
When the Emperor was cast down the Stair at the Edge of the World, plummeting into the Sea, the Sea Spirits threw him forth upon the shores of a land, where he went for many days naked and afraid, for he knew not what dwelt there. He came then upon a great inland sea, and on the shores of this sea there dwelt a curious people, who, attracted by the paleness of his flesh and the shining of his eyes, came to him and asked him if was a Man. The Emperor said "No, little ones. I am a God." All the mortals were very afraid then, and cast themselves down to the ground, bowing before him.
The descendants of these people, whom the Emperor took under his wing, are the Imperials, the most advanced and most skilled, in many ways, of the Forms of Man.

Biology
Imperials are shorter than many other Forms of Men, with males standing 5'3"-5'7" (160-170 cm) and females 4'10"-5'4" (147-163 cm), with forms inclined to slenderness. They have smooth, golden-toned skin, giving them a Mediterranean look. Imperials have broad, brachycephalic heads with rather high foreheads and widely spaced, large eyes. Their noses are small, narrow, and pert, with small nostrils. Their faces have a definite narrowing toward the chin and most do not have high cheekbones. Imperials have dark brown or auburn hair that grows straight and somewhat stiffly; men trim their hair short so that it ends at the nape of the neck, and brush it forward, while women grow theirs long and wear it parted to either side of the face and flowing down the back.

Clothing
Imperial dress for men consists of a mantle-like garment (si'to) that drapes over the shoulders, back, and upper chest about to the top of the solarplexus, as well as "sleeves" that are slipped onto the arms and end at the wrist and above the elbow (these are called e'ga'te), and knee-length loose trousers (neo'to) that are tightened to close at the knee. Also included  is a belt (neo'to'pa) that must be drawn into a knot, and the hanging leftover cloth thrust again through the belt in a loop. Those in the Imperial service wear hip-capes attached to their belts. Footwear is sandals of cord and leather. Their clothes are usually brightly-colored, and, since Imperial religion frowns on iconic art, are usually decorated with abstract, flowing patterns.

Imperial dress for woman consist of a calf-length, sleevless (lete'to) dress with straps that cross over the upper arm (as opposed to the shoulder), leaving the shoulders and throat
area bare. This is accompanied by a belt (lete'to'pa) of similar fashion to that of a man's. Footwear is the same as men. Like men, clothes are brightly colored and bear abstract, flowing designs.

Imperials love jewelry, especially when it is made from gold, jade, and silk. Chokers and bracelets are the most common, though some women wear elaborate ear-rings, and anklets are a sign that a young person is looking for a lover. Imperials do not wear rings. The taboo against iconic art does not extend to jewelry, and motifs of stars are common.

Religion
The Imperial religion will be discussed at length beyond.

Society
Imperial society is somewhat patriarchal- the father is the leader of the family. However, the father's Duty (explained below) is to be loving, caring, and firm but not tyrannous- the Emperor is the Father of the Empire. Women are not kept from high positions, but there is often a "glass ceiling" of sorts- there has only ever been one woman general in the Imperial Legions, and there are very few female merchants who have achieved any sort of success.

Sexuality is open- homosexuality is not looked down upon, but the Priesthood gently dissaproves of it among peasants, since it is the Duty of a peasant to reproduce and make more workers. Marriages are private affairs between the two people involved. They are loose bonds, and even loving partners take lovers and concubines.

Slavery is an accepted part of Imperial society, and one can treat one's slaves however one likes, at the risk of being a highly unpopular dinner partner. Slaves are generally treated well and sometimes are considered part of the family- they are fed, clothed, and cared for just like a child.

Food
Imperial food is mostly vegetables, given the vast amount of viable cropland, and the relatively small meat industry. An Imperial meal consists of sets of dishes with one food on each; one dish may have squash, another beans, another rice. Foods are lightly cooked (except for beef, which is preferred charred) and then sliced into thin sections and arranged in pleasing ways on their respective dishes. Eaters then take a section, handful, or dish-full of whatever they want to eat, though it is bad manners to eat all of the food on a food dish. Imperials drink from shallow bowls, usually drinking tea or wine (which they prefer to be very sweet and very heady- they would definitely not be into modern wines and champagnes.)

Music
Proper Imperial music is tranquil, slow, generally melancholy single notes, played at traditional intervals on various stringed instruments, including harps (du'tu-we), lutes (si'baiyo), and small guitars (u'ane-we), accompanied by a flute-like instrument (ne'mado). Most other Men find Proper Imperial music to be slow, boring, and somewhat saddening, though it has its own special austere beauty; Imperials, especially nobles, find it to be the mark of good breeding if one enjoys it.
A newer style of Imperial music, called Lesser Music by enthusiasts of Proper Music, is popular among commoners, and even among some nobles. It is more like the music of the Holholitlath or Dlanni, with rythmic beating of drums (bash'e) and tambourines (bo'bash'e).
Imperial singing is not rhymed or matched with the music- it takes the form of sung poetry.

Imperial Naming Conventions: Imperials do not take names until they are twelve years old. Before then they are known as "(mother's name)'s Daughter/Son" (For instance, the young daughter of a woman named Red Sparrow is Red Sparrow's Daughter). After the age of twelve, children are named in a long ceremony called Ato'kutu'ra'neng, "the Naming of the Beloved Child". Imperials do not celebrate birthdays before their Ato'kutu'ra'neng. Imperials are often given names reflecting the surroundings or circumstances of their childhood, such as Bright Sun Shines or Swift River's Bank. Others, often the children of parents in cities or members of the Imperial Authority, are given abstract names reflecting Imperial virtues, such as Tireless Duty, Recrimination and Apology, Heartfelt Greetings, or Counting Only Hap
y Days. The poor often give their children names that reflect their parent's occupations or things so related, such as Grey Minnow for a fisherman's daughter, Little Wolf for the son of a woodsman, or Sprouting Very Green for a farmer's child. In the North, names that reflect the child's behaviors are also common, such as Sleeps In the Shade for one sleepy or lazy, Chatter Forever for one who is talkative, Smile and Silence for a quiet child who smiles much, or Leaps Every Day for a very active one. Imperial names do not differentiate between men and women, and women are just as likely to be given "strong" names than men.

Words to Remember
Duty- Duty, duty, duty. This ideal[i is beat into Imperials from Day One. It is the Duty of peasants (Sepu) to grow food and do menial tasks. It is the Duty of goodmen (Esso) to create art, produce commerce and travel, and do other middle-to-high-level tasks. It is the Duty of nobles and members of the Imperial Authority (P'e'ku) to see to the stewardship of the people and the Empire. It is the Duty of the Priesthood (Do-pe) to be the servants and spouses of the Gods. So on, so on.
Respect- It is everyone's Duty to respect their elders and betters.
Loyalty- Loyalty is to the Empire first, then the Family. Soldiers are loyal to the Legions, who are their foster family

Dragonglass Hillsmen
Dragonglass Hillsmen are an offshoot of the Imperial race who dwell in eight city-states throughout the Dragonglass Hills. They are semi-independent from the Empire, but they subsist on the trade provided by it. Dragonglass Hillsmen are much like Imperials, but they are more independent and self-reliant, and have a tendency to be shockingly (at least to Imperials) disprespectful.

The Holholitlath
Walking barefoot through the morning of the world, a tall people roamed from Sea to Mountains, and back again, searching for their true home. They went to the Mountains, and suffered terribly in the cold, but the stern heights turned them back. They went to the Sea, and were wracked with disease and heat, but the wild waves turned them back. Then, as they went back towards the Mountains, they lay down to rest for the night. As they slept, they had a dream- a dream of wind and of grass, and of a brilliant golden land. The dream came to them each night, and drew them to the east, beside the jungle, onto the Golden Plains. Here the Holholitlath met Flitloholm and Olholitlim, the Winds, who taught them the Way to Live.
This is said to be the origin of the Holholitlath, a nomadic people who are fleet of foot and happy of heart.

Biology
The Holholitlath are tall and thin, men being 6'1"-6'6" (185-198 cm) and women 5'7"-6' (170-182 cm), with lithe, muscled builds; men are wide-shouldered, women wide-hipped, and both are long-legged. They have smooth, golden-toned skin like Imperials, though it has a tendency to be more oily. Holholitlath have long, narrow, dolicocephalic heads, with high cheekbones and V-shaped mouths that give them a constant smile, close eyebrows and closely-set, almond-shaped eyes. They have aquiline noses. The Holholitlath have soft, straight black hair; men wear theirs shaggy about their shoulders, with short goatees, while women wear theirs in a mass of braids that begin at the shoulders and are held together in clips of bone, bronze, or woven Grass-cloth.

Clothing
Holholitlath men and women both wear the same garb, a draping, poncho-like robe (called a yoliholtlith) that hangs just below the knees. This robe is held tight by a belt (holimoliti), a straight strap of Grass-cloth, rope, or leather. Draped over the shoulders is an intricately-patterned cape-blanket (doiholitmil) that hangs about to the waist around the shoulders like a long shawl. Robes are always a solid color, usually white, while cape-blankets are woven with geometric patterns and stylized beasts and animals of the Plains, usually done in blue, yellow, or red thread. The doiholitmil, cape-blanket, serves as a pallet to sleep on at the end of the days wanderings, as well as clothing. Virgin girls wear anklets of woven Grass-cloth, and virgin boys anklets of leather.

Holholitlath prefer simple, elegant jewelry, such as uncarved bracelets of bone and Grass-cloth. Leather is usually tooled in geometric patterns. Holholitlath enjoy the look of silver, and rich tribes often purchase silver ornaments from Imperial traders. Motifs of wind and clouds, and patterns suggesting the flowing of the grass and of the wind, are common, despite the geometric leanings of Holholitlath weavings.

Society
The Holholitlath are nomadic, and always walk or run of their power between their camping locations. The society is an equal one, but the elderly are to be offered respect and admiration. Holholitlath believe that it is not good to sleep under a roof, since the Winds cannot then carry away evil spirits and demons.

Sexuality and marriage is very strict- a Holholitlath child loses its virginity in a special ritual at the age of 13, to an older member of the tribe. After this, the individual is expected to find a suitable spouse of the same age within one year. After marriage, which is a tribe-wide celebration, the couple are exclusive lovers, and no other pairings are allowed, unless one is chosen to take a youngster's virginity.

Holholitlath do not infight- there is too little time in life for battle among the tribes. They are not an altogether warlike people, but Holholitlath tribes do have warriors, and these warriors are usually well-trained for battle on the plains, using bow, spear, and blowgun.

Holholitlath do not keep slaves. If they must, they will swear captured foes to tlotolotlo, the state of war-service, in which one serves the tribe as a member who may not marry or own property, but who is housed by a family.

Food
Holholitlath eat mostly grasses and the meat of wild bo'te and snakes. Animals are boned, skinned, and lightly cooked so that the meat is still bloody, while grasses are soaked in blood and then boiled. Meals are served in small bowls, with grass and meat, if there is meat, intermixed, sometimes with a sprinkling of pungent, spicy herbs and a broth of blood and drippings. Drink is taken from a communal tureen, and usually consists of simple rainwater from the day's waterskins or cooled blood from the day's catch of meat.

Music
Holholitlath music is generally fast, rythmic beats on various kinds of drums (poliholtli, variations bipoliholtli, hopoliholtli, sopoliholtli, and opoliholtli), and shaken maracas (that is, gourds full of sand; called shishiholtli). Flutes will be included (nyaiholitloholtli), especially during holy celebrations, and small tubes mounted on top of staffs, which are whirled around, making a whistling noise, called yopoloholtli. Singing is generally all the gathered crowd and musicians, though dancers remain silent, all chanting the verses, while a designated singer wails out certain important verses.

Religion
The Holholitlath worship the Winds, Flitloholm and Olholitlim, also called White Wing and Black Wing, two of the Five Winds. Flitloholm and Olholitlim taught the Holholitlath to run like the wind, and to go barefoot, and to love the plains. It is said that one day, the Winds will lead the Holholitlath over the mountains to a place of eternal golden plains, free of the Empire.

Holholitlath Naming Conventions: Male Holholitlath names end in -lim, -om, -oyilt, and -tlam. Female Holholitlath names end in -olm, -oit, -iti, -oho, and -tilt.
Example Male Names- Doiholilim, Oholitlom, Hlitloholoyilt, Folotlam, Ifofolim, Holidilidoyilt
Example Female Names- Yohilolm, Hodilohoit, Ofolololiti, Hoyifoho, Tlohifotilt, Ifoholitlolm, Yododifoit

Words to Remember
Family- family is important, especially the spouse, and all Holholitlath are expected to be loving parents and faithful partners. Those who abuse their children or fail to teach them the proper Way to Live are outcast from the tribe, and their children are fostered in another home. Holholitlath families are usually small, consisting of two to four children.
Tribe- the tribe is also important, and usually is like a very large extended family. It is expected of Holholitlath to treat other tribe-members with respect and care. Those who betray their tribe to another tribe can expect to be shouted at and chased away, sadly refused, or even simply ignored.
Way to Live- The Way to Live is the ancient Holholitlath tradition of survival on the plains, memorized by all Holholitlath. The Way to Live includes instructions on edible grasses and plants, ways to find the tribe if separated, and other such tips.

The Caatjun
In the eternal twilight of the End of the Previous World, the Caatjun slaved for the cruel Dragon-Men, building mighty cities of stone and metal and light, where the Dragon-Men flew about on stone discs and tubes of metal, and grew all that they needed on wondrous trees. The Caatjun were much despairing, and called out for the Celestials to aid them. The Celestials, seeing the plight of the Caatjun, cast thunders and lightnings upon the Dragon-Men, and with rage unseeing, destroyed the wondrous glass-and-metal-and-stone in great rising mushrooms of fire, the Knives of Light, fires so hot and so powerful that even the smoke caused all to sicken and die. The Caatjun were afraid, and trembled, but then, after ninety upon ninety years, the Celestials drew back their anger, and the curtain of poison rain and sickened wind disappeared, and the Sun shone. The Dragon-Men were all gone, and in their place had grown a great jungle-swamp. The Celestials brought the Caatjun out of the soil where they had hid, and said: "This now is your place."
That is the legend that the Caatjun tell of their earliest history.

Biology
The Caatjun are about the same height as Imperials, but instead of the slender shapes of those men, the Caatjun are more inclined to roundness and shape. Women tend to be muscular and strong, while men are usually thinner. They are pale-fleshed, like Northerners, and have the same tendency to freckle, but they do not burn under the sun like a Ffolkii or a File. Caatjun have dolicocephalic heads with low cheekbones and rounded chins. They have straight, narrow-bridged noses with long sinuses, and almost all have brown or hazel eyes. Caatjun have brown hair that tends to be somewhat wavy when it is long. Caatjun men and women both wear their hair long, slightly below the shoulder-blades, and weave small plaits and braids into their hair. Caatjun men over 30 years old wear closely-trimmed beards along their chins, with a braid at the chin.

Clothing
Caatjun men wear waist-length vests of bo'te fur (preekyal-mou), for bo'te are common in Blue Coast, and braid the fur of these vests into many small, colorful plaits wrapped in colored thread or fibers. They also wear knee-length kilts of leather, hides, or plant materials (straan'mjum). They belt these kilts with strips of silk (straan'mjum-rou), tied together to hold a totem-pouch (dreetjo'am) at the navel region. On their biceps and wrists, Caatjun men wear wraps of fire-hardened cord (trem'mjem-oyart). During periods of rain or (rarely) cool weather, they wear cloaks of bundled leaves from wide-leafed trees such as palms. Footwear usually consists of socks of mud-packed cord (nimoum-caylo). Caatjun men also tattoo their hands with symbols of protection and quickness. Colors are usually the browns and greens of the jungle, better to camouflage themselves while hunting or traveling.

Caatjun women bind the breasts and torso with shirts of cord (noumyal-mou) and a shawl of tanned bo'te fur over the shoulders and back (laatjon). They wear the same leather kilts or skirts worn by men, along with silk belts and totem-pouches. Under these kilts, however, they wear trousers of leather or hides that drape over the foot, tight around the hips and upper legs but loose at the ankle (straan'mjum-nomiman). They usually go barefoot, or with sandals of cord and woven plants. Caatjun women tattoo their lower backs and the area just under the navel with symbols of wisdom and grace. Clothing is usually dyed in bright colors, for Caatjun women have no need to hide.

Caatjun wear little jewelry, but they enjoy what they can get, and the brighter the better. Gold and silver jewelry is common among the leading women and wise women, but most others wear bracelets and necklaces made from woven hemp.

Society
The Caatjun are a matriarchal society, and women are the rulers. Men are in charge of gathering food, construction, the raising of children (after the age where breast-feeding is necessary), and other tasks such as these. Women are the decision makers, the warriors, and the leaders, and the tribe's spiritual life is governed by the Wise Woman.

There are no marriages in the Caatjun tribe. All men of the tribe are the property of all the women, to do with as they wish, and sexuality is not a taboo- sexual acts are often done out in the open, where anyone can see, so that other tribesfolk can witness, or even join in.

The Caatjun are very warlike, and there is frequent tribal warfare. No quarter is given or asked for in Caatjun battles, and enemy villages are usually depopulated to the smallest child, ransacked for food and goods, and then the remains are burned or tossed into the swamp. The Caatjun do not take prisoners, save that the Wise Woman may take one man from a defeated tribe into her harem.

Food
The basis of Caatjun cuisine is "treek", that is couscous (crushed and steamed semolina). Treek is the base on all meats and fruits; meats are raw, while fruits are charred on a fire. Fruits, the sexual parts of flowers and tasty foliage is also gathered and charred, and then chopped up and mixed into the couscous. The mixture is usually served on a large leaf, and eaten with a whittled stick, which is dipped into the mixture and then drawn out, and the mixture is eaten off of it. Larger pieces in the mixture are eaten with one's fingers. Other dishes are salads of fruit slices, leaves, and flowers, flavored with fruit juice, or broths of blood, drippings, and juice, heated over the fire. Drink is usually rainwater, captured in gourds, or fruit juice, though swamp-water can be used in an emergency, the Caatjun being able to drink with impunity, as they immune to many jungle diseases.

Music
Caatjun music is made with long, wooden staves called thraakartimeek, of various lengths, which the musicians thwack against the ground, trees, other staves, and such, to create a rythm. It is sometimes accompanied by huge drums made from animal skins (aarp'raamjo) stretched over wide racks, which are kicked by the drummer. Long wooden instruments much like an Australian aboriginal didgeridoo, called mjnaa'olee, are also played. Caatjun singing is considered pleasant; it is done by female children of the tribe, who warble fluting, quivering melodies sounding much like birdsong.

Religion
The Caatjun worship the Celestials, a collection of female gods who dwell in the sky. Each Celestial also has a "creenee", a second aspect, that governs a separate portion of life. The queen of the Celestials is Taamjum, Goddess of War, Death, and the Caatjun People; her creenee is Caa'rin, Goddess of Love, Sex, and Birth. Other Celestials include Neetjou'rimjum, the Goddess of Rain, Water, and the Marsh, and Culee, the Crocodile Goddess, Mother of Monsters and Creator of the Imperials. The Caatjun believe that there have been seventeen different worlds before the current one, and that Nayol destroyed each in a fit of fury, and that in the current one, Caa'rin brought the Caatjun forth from the soil of the earth.

Caatjun Naming Conventions: Female Caatjun names end in -rin, -ol, -mjum, -lee, and -tjis. Male Caatjun names end in -moum, -on, -art, -ram, and -aa.
Female Name Examples: Naamjum, Ritje'mjumee, Cramuumol, Noumlayotjis
Male Name Examples: Nirimoum, Meem'mjon, Loy'yart, Treetjim'maa

Words to Remember
Women: Women are the rulers, the masters, and the more intelligent and stronger sex. Women were the first to be born, and the leaders, and they have a Celestial-given right to rule over men.
War: Caatjun are very warlike and very intolerant, and frequent battle is a woman's dream. The destruction of one's enemies shows that one is favored by the Celestials, and that one is the strongest and most clever.
The Earth: The Caatjun legends tie them to the Earth. They are said to be born from it, made from packed soil by the goddess Caa'rin, and they must love it and know its ways and treat it well, lest the Celestials destroy this world and make a new one. The name Caatjun means the Earth People, but the Imperials often mockingly call them the Mud People.

The Corusta
Romdand and Fizoml, the First Man and First Woman, emerged from the Cave of the Earth Giant, Gohumdt, and they saw the Rabbit God, Zepi. Zepi shouted, for Ocdanta, the Fire Giant, had told Zepi that Romdand and Fizoml wished to string him up by
 his ears. Zepi ran and ran and ran, and as he ran, his long feet threw up the mud from the Earth Giant's Field, which landed on Fizoml, giving her new shape, different from Romdand's. When Romdand saw Fizoml's new form, he was inspired by her beauty and the allure of her new form, and they fell together in passion. Then, realizing that Gohumdt would soon return to find them, his prisoners, gone, they crawled into the sheltering branches of Tomdaler, the Willow Woman, and there, Tomdaler help Fizoml to bear one-hundred children, who were like Romdand and Fizoml in respective forms, and Tomdaler named these children Corusta.
And that, according to myth, is how the Corusta came to be.

Biology
The Corusta are taller than Imperials, and more stout and wide of body. Men average 5'5"-5'11" (165-180 cm), and women 5'2"-5'8" (157-173 cm). Corusta have a pale skin tone, quite unlike that of more southerly races (save the Caatjun), and a tendency to sunburn easily and quickly. They have dolicocephalic, narrow heads, with high cheekbones and square, solid jaws. Their noses are blunt, with round nostrils. Their hair is curly and black, with an oily tendency; men wear their hair shortened, in a curly mop, while women plait theirs into a long, single braid.

Clothing
Corusta men dress in a knee-length tunic of sheepskin or woven cotton (boltecundt) and a heavy fur pelt of wolf, bear, or mammoth across the shoulders (godandef). They wear a belt across the chest and waist, made from sheep sinew or leather (boltecundt lefodz). Footwear consists of wooden-soled sandals with leather straps (hintperzm). Colors are usually subdued, dark maroons and browns and slate colors that suit the climate. Their tunics are usually sewn with zig-zag and wave patterns in contrasting colors.

Corusta women wear ankle-length dresses lined with wool (themzihundt), and a belt of leather with strips of hanging leather (themzi godandef). After marriage, women wear a loosely-tied scarf with a pattern representing their clan affliation (cors palhust). They wear similar sandals to men. Colors, like men's clothing, are usually subdued, and woven with zig-zag and wave patterns.

Corusta men do not wear jewelry; they believe that it deprives them of their manliness. But women are expected to wear plenty of jewelry. Usually it is colorful bits, feathers, stones, and other bits strung on thongs of goat sinew or leather. Bracelets of beads are also common, and elaborate ear-rings that show devotion to the Gods are frequently seen. When Corusta can get them, they love silver, platinum, bronze, and glass.

Society
Corusta live in clans of 6-7 families, each family consisting of the husband, his wife and assorted consorts, and the children (who come only from the wife; consorts are made barren). The society is patriarchal, and judges worth on the basis of "reality"; the most "real" Corusta are warrior chiefs, followed by warriors, followed by any other man, followed by women, followed by slaves and consorts, and then children. Children are believe to become more real as they age. Outsiders are illusions, set forth by the wicked Earth Giant Gohumdt to trap the Corusta into his service once again.

A Corusta marriage involves the clans of both man and woman, and a marriage is usually a huge, celebratory affair. Men are expected to father many, many children, and women are expected to be ready to do whatever the man asks. Sexuality is a private thing between a man and his woman and his consorts; whatever he does in his own home is his business.

Corusta are not terribly warlike, but relations between clans are often cool at best. Corusta are masters in the business of keeping grudges, and many chiefs keep ancient, crumbling sheepskin scrolls with the names of all those who have wronged the clan in the past. Those who insult a member of a clan can expect him to hunt the insulter down and extract an apology in blood.

Food
Corusta eat a lot of protein, and much of their diet is meat. Food is large animals or pieces of animals, spitted and cooked over a fire, sometimes marinated in beer, making meals of good, hearty, meat. Usually, one's meat is served on a wooden platter, and one rips off hunks. There is also an accompaniment of mashed potatoes or other root vegetables, flavored with meat drippings and beer. Bread is a treat, seen only at celebrations, and is usually sweetened with sweet spices. Drinking is done from a wooden bowl, and is usually beer. The more beer, the better, say Corusta eaters.

Music
Corusta music is played on a variety of flutes (comzendand), horns (fomeltl), and small hand drums (haldodel). Corusta music is droning and slow, accompanied by loud, barking lyrics.

Religion
Corusta worship Lagez, the Sky Father, and Gordentof, the Earth Mother, who coupled to make the First Man and First Woman, Romdand and Fizoml. They also produced four monsters, the Giants, who are Gohumdt the Earth Giant, Ocdanta the Fire Giant, Riz the Air Giant, and Polepp the Water Giant. Other Gods include the animal gods, Zepi the Rabbit, Tolendt the Fox and his sister Castedof the Wolf, Adotendi the Eagle, and Cemz the Snake. There are also the Underworld Gods, Pocsa and Postula, who are horrible beings named after diseases.

Corusta Naming Conventions: Male Corusta names end in -ez, -dt, -i, -a, -and, and -et. Female Corusta names end in -of, -ml, -iz, -mz, and -ect.
Male Name Examples: Capez, Rohunandt, Detemi, Orstinenda, Lotemand, Corimet.
Female Name Examples: Hestof, Firiml, Racoliz, Epelanect, Fiz, Tepomz, Rimz

Words to Remember
Clan: The clan is EVERYTHING. Slights to the clan are personal slights to a Corusta, and the Clanbook of Grudges is required reading for all children. The clan's needs are the individual's needs, its strengths and weaknesses are the individual's, and so on. The name of the clan is usually given before the name when greeting someone ("Red Feathers Stega I be!")
Happiness: The dour environment of the Corusta (East Coast) guarantees that the days weigh on Corusta spirits. But Corusta try to stay cheerful, and most have a sunny outlook on life. When one has so little to be joyous about, one is joyous about everything.
Strength/Reality: The Corusta judge all things based on their reality. The strongest men are the most real, while those who are weaker are illusionary. This contributes to their opitimism- how can one despair when the environment is merely an illusion? The stronger one becomes, the more real they become.

The Dlanni
Going North from the Land of Meum, the great warrior Dlan, who was three-fourths divine, came to the Hill of the Gods, Kaitak. Dlan, who had sworn a great and terrible oath of vengeance against the God Psuut, who had seduced his wife. Ascending to the peak of Kaitak, Dlan took his sword in hand and cried:
"God Psuut, stealer of women, betrayer of friends, come forth!"
Psuut first came in the shape of a great tiger, but Dlan brought forth a weighted net and cast it about the God, trapping him. Dlan took his sword and cut forth the tiger's fierceness.
Psuut took then the form of a serpent, and struck at Dlan. But Dlan took up a stone and struck the serpent down, cutting forth its cleverness.
Psuut was then a great soldier, and dueled Dlan with sword and fist. But Dlan bested Psuut, for there was never a more accomplished warrior or more skillful martial artist than Dlan, and Dlan tore forth Psuut's skillfulness.
Psuut cried: "I am bested! I am bested!" and threw up his hands in shame for being defeated.
Dlan went to the House of Psuut, and gathered his wife, and there discovered that she was with child. Dlan was angry, and raged at his wife, but Psuut came and said: "Nay, do not strike her, for it is your child she bears!"
And there Dlan's wife gave birth to a child, named also Dlan, who was the first of the Dlanni.

Biology
The Dlanni are the people of the rich kingdom of Dlan, a boisterous, enthusiastic people who idolize warriors and the skills of battle. They are a tall people, 6'4"-6'10" (193-208 cm), tall and lanky, with wide shoulders and wide hips. Dlanni have smooth, chocolate-brown skin, and mesocephalic heads that taper steeply towards the chin. Their cheekbones are high and their eyes narrow and almond-shaped. They have long, straight noses with a sharp look to them. Dlanni have black, woolly, hair that is difficult to tame; men wear theirs in many long braids, usually down to the waist, while women pull theirs back into a tight knot behind the head, or straighten it to a long, albeit curly, fall.

Clothing
Dlanni of both sexes wear the same costume, a loose robe (tlepu) that falls to slightly below the knee, with elbow-length sleeves, and a wide, open collar that bares the upper chest, and, for women, cleavage. They wear loose belts of beads or tooled leather (tlep'bekk) around their waists, and sandals of leather and woven reeds (adlesi). Dlanni wear bright colors with striped and barred patterns in many colors.

Dlanni are fond of gold, and, luckily for them, their country is rich in it. Most Dlanni can be seen wearing bracelets, anklets, and other jewelry of gold, with stones such as rubies and sapphires, as well as amber, which can be found in great abundance in the western regions of the kingdom. Stylized lions, bulls, dragons, and spiders are common motifs.

Society
Dlanni are a boisterous, enthusiastic people who, like their famous ancestor Dlan, from whom the nation derives its name, live each day like it is their last. They love, and hate, and war, and party, all with the same great happiness and optimism. Most Imperials regard Dlanni as a nation of drunken brawlers, with boundless irritating good spirits and a lack of devotion to duty. Dlanni idolize the warrior arts, and especially the martial arts, for those are the epitome of perfection of the body, and of martial skill. The Dlanni are famous martial artists, and Dlanni tutors are often brought to the Empire to teach their skills to the children of nobles and to the military.

Dlanni men are slightly higher than Dlanni women, in their beliefs. Dlanni men were created by Tlevak, the Sun God, to be smarter, and have the capacity to be more skilled, while women were created by Mumti, the Moon Goddess, to be the partners of men. However, Atzah, the Goddess of the Dead, created a weakness in men- love.

Dlanni marriages involve three partners, either a man and two women, or a woman and two men. These marriage triads are sexually exclusive with each other, but they may disband at any time. A Dlanni usually joins his or her first marriage triad at age 15, and stops entering them at age 50. If a woman in a marriage triad has children, the triad cannot disband until the child is cared for.

Food
Dlanni food is based on bread, and Dlanni bread is famous even in the Empire. Dlanni families keep a great pot of dough, usually flavored with grapes, salt and other spices, and whatever other foods that might be casually tossed into it, and this is lovingly referred to as the "vreumol", the &^%$@. The &^%$@ is used to spawn other, smaller batches of dough, which are baked as flat, triangular loaves of bread. These triangular loaves are used like plates for piles of noodles, intermixed with bits of cooked tomatoes, squash, maize, and meat (usually beef or mutton). Dlanni usually drink water mixed with cinnamon out of cups made from wood or metal.

Music
Dlanni music is made with many different flutes (vakar, uuvakar, shahlvakar, and rusavakar), played all in turn and overlapping, so that there is no real pause in the music. Also included are gongs (baardahsi) and clashing slats of metal (shekra). Singing is high and melodious, but with strange vocal yips when a baardahsi or shekra is sounded.

Religion
The Dlanni worship Tlevak, the Sun God, Father of All the World. Tlevak's wife is Mumti, the Moon Goddess, Mother of All the World. Their children are Shakuu, the Lion, God of Skill, Ahlat, the Bull, God of War and Cattle, Ahdleu, Goddess of Darkness and Mystery, and and his sister, Psuutsi, the Spider, God of Trickery and Magic. Other Gods include Psuut, God of Animals, a distant cousin of Shakuu and Ahlat, and Muem, God of Smiths, who was the first God, and forged Tlevak from gold. All the Gods dwell on Kaitak, the Hill of the Gods, save Atzah, Goddess of the Dead, who lives in the Land of the Dead over the Sea.

Dlanni Naming Conventions: Dlanni do not differentiate between male and female names. Dlanni also take a last name, the name of their mother, and this is said as "shu(name)". For example, Vehluuk shuBahsai
Example Names: Keuru, Ahshotsi, Psalka, Rutavak, Tlem, Muulep, Asi, Kaibesh, Shuulp

Words to Remember
Skill: Dlanni revere skill in battle- the Dlanni gods and heroes are all mighty warriors, skilled with sword, javelin, and martial arts. One can be skilled without being strong, but cleverness is necessary, and speed is usually also important.
Live Life to the Fullest: Dlanni follow the aphorism that one should live each day like it was your last, because it just might. The hot land and warrior tendencies of the Dlanni make death a distinct posibility with each sunrise, so this is not altogether untrue.
Honor: Honor is important to the Dlanni, in fact, almost as important as Skill. One's Honor must be maintained, and slights to one's Honor are usually repaid with a duel of swords, martial arts, or a bout of two-handed dancing (see Sports thread in Flesh It Out). It is best not to say anything about a Dlanni's family (especially the mother) or birthplace, or anything about them either, lest they construe it as an insult and give the insulter that deadly request of duel, which no Dlanni can refuse. Thus, Dlanni tend to be happy and gregarious, but still somewhat careful and choosy about words, giving the impression that they are holding something back.

The Ffolkki (Blue Eyes)
Mohellk's father, Guurrat, was a great drunkard, and when the day was done he draughted deeply of his tankard, which was full to brimming with Tullth, the ale of the Gods. One eve, while deep in the ale, Guurrat came to the wife of Mohellk, Ullraefenu, and raped her. When he was finished, Guurrat awoke from his stupor and saw what he had done, and with great fear fled from Sovnaesiikk, the Circle of the Gods. Mohellk, coming upon Ullraefenu, vowed terrible revenge, and took up his sword and battle-mask, and chased Guurrat his father for nine years and nine days, until they came to the Edge of the World. Mohellk grasped his weeping father by the arm, but as he made to strike of Guurrat's head, Ullraefenu came and begged Mohellk for mercy, and revealed five small, shivering beings, who trembled at Mohellk's angry gaze.
Said Ullraefenu: "Would you slay their father?"
Mohellk and Guurrat then took arms again, and Guurrat swore amends, and they took these five children out of the Land of the Gods to the Lower Land, which before there had not been any use for.
Said Guurrat: "This is all yours, and I, your father, shall aid you in its keeping."
Thus did the Ffolkki come to the Lower Land.

Biology
Ffolkki are the tallest known of all Men, males standing 6'5"-7' (196-213 cm), and females 5'9"-6'4" (175-193 cm), with muscular, wide builds. Ffollkki have pale white skin that burns and freckles in sunlight, and brachiocephalic heads having strong chins and brows, and a tendency towards aquiline noses. The great majority of Ffolkki have blue eyes, whence comes the Imperial nickname for their race, the Blue Eyes. Ffolkki have downy, rich brown, auburn, or red hair that tends to be wavy when grown long. Ffolkki men grow their into wild manes, which they braid into a mass of plaits, and they do likewise with their great beards. Ffolkki women who are unmarried wear their hair at shoulder length, while married women grow theirs to about the middle of their backs.

Clothing
Ffolkki men wear little clothing, despite the icy climate of their homeland. They wear a kilt (rraesk) of mammoth leather, lined with fur and a cloak (uudesk) made from a large pelt such as buffalo, snow lion, or even mammoth. Footwear is sandals or slippers of hide (orraeskkild). Decoration is usually bright, geometric patterns in red, green, and white, along with stylized depictions of animals.

Ffolkki women generally wear robes of hides lined with fur (braeffikk) and cloak and sandals or slippers like that of a man. Decoration is similar to mens'.

Taboos against nudity are not present in Ffolkki society, so in warmer Ffolkki locals, it is common to see the Northern giants striding about in the nude.

Ffolkki love jewelry, especially gold, bronze, and brass, and are generally laden with it. Men weave wires of gold or bronze into their braids and beard, and wear multiple ear-rings and bangles, torcs and arm-rings. Women wear masses of gold-bead necklaces, armlets and anklets. When in the nude, as Ffolkki usually are at home, one can see pierced nipples and nether regions. In the most formal or sacred of occasions, and at war, Ffolkki may paint their nipples with gold or dyes, and paint the symbol of their clan between their eyebrows.

Society
Ffolkki have a warlike, savage society, where the strong are the rulers, and honor and strength are high concepts. The chieftans of Ffolkki clans are often the mightiest warriors, though there has been more than one very clever ruler.

Ffolkki society is strongly patriarchal, with women often confined to the home. Men are warriors, hunters, builders, priests, while women are mothers and tribal sorceresses. Marriages are not through love; rather, they are alliances between families. Men are allowed to keep harems of women, and women are allowed to take lovers, if they wish. A wedding is a solemn ceremony performed before the eyes of the Sun God's priests.

Sexuality is very open, as one can see above, and public nudity is common.

Religion
The Ffolkki worship a multitudinous pantheon of wild warrior gods, but the highest god is the Sun God, Urrd, who created the whole Universe with a wave of his hand from the corpse of Urruu, Darkness. Other gods include Guurrat, the Father of Humanity, who taught the Ffolkki the ways of life, Mohellk, the fierce God of War and his wife, Ullraefenu, the Goddess of Beauty and Love. Also included are Urrd's Twelve Sons, gods of the twelve directions, and Twelve Daughters, goddesses of wind and weather.

Food
Ffolkki food is hearty, meat-and-potatoes style stews, usually composed of blood-broth and whatever happens to be cast into the pot. This stew is generally consumed from a bowl, with lots of honey (an easily-gotten sweet) and great quantities of ale in tankards.

Music
Ffolkki music is played on discs and plates of clashing copper (tuurku), hide drums of various sizes (kuurrai), slow, droning horns (fvoruum), and a bagpipe-like instrument called the vaemoldt. Singing is usually in the form of a long saga-chants, or in strange droning hums and buzzes produced deep in the throat. Ffolkki music is at times very gloomy and oppresive, and at other times wild and roaring.

Ffolkki Naming Conventions: Ffolkki men have names ending in -llk, -at, -ird, -arr, -iinand -faenr. Ffolkki women have names ending in -enu, -rro, -aem, -kiirt, and -em. The Clan name is given after the first name.
Male Name Examples: Kuurrmat, Aesellk, Fiimird, Vadiin, Lossafaener, Trinarr, Drimllk, Vaatrnarr, Kafaenr
Female Name Examples: Irkuumenu, Aestrro, Kuudaem, Taekiirt, Sem, Urro, Kasekkenu, Hunenanurro
Clan Name Examples: Sullen, Bronze, Firewing, Brighthair, Glimmerpool, Dragon, Flames, Blackhaired, Strongarm, Sword, Lionslayer, Mammothspear

Words to Remember
Clan, Honor, and Strength.
Pride: It is said among Imperials that the Blue Eyes have robes like savages but pride like eagles.  Ffolkki believe that if a man cannot take pride in what he has, however little it might be, then what he has is not worth anything. Ffolkki are very prideful and many a time, this has caused Imperial-Ffolkki relations to be strained, as an Imperial Ambassador is insulted by a Ffolkki chief's refusal to meet his eyes, or by a haughty insult at his stature.

The Qi
On the Roof of the World, where the Tentpole of the Sky rises from Mount Tseng-Hayang-Rinquenchompung-Langpah, there once lived a God named Su Den Xongpa, who was in charge of the snowfall. Su Den Xongpka, who was very strong, but very cowardly, liked to build little statues out of snow, which he would make to look like him, or sometimes to look like his sister, Shun Liyang Gungpo. Now, also upon the Roof of the World there dwelt the Brothers, Yuan Shi Tianchengompe Zun and Tong Tian Jiaongenche Zhu, the sons of Lo-Ukpa Wen, the God of the Farthest West Mountain. The Brothers were very mischievious, and enjoyed playin tricks, especially on Su Den Xongpka, who was so cowardly that he feared them, despite their small size. One day, the Brothers decided to ask their friend, Luongung Xu Hu, the Tiger Man, to help them scare poor Su Den Xongpka. Luongung Xu Hu was at first ambivalent, for he had been sternly warned by the Boddhisatva that he was not to leave the forest below the Roof of the World. However, the Brothers convinced him, and when night came he went onto the Roof of the World while the Mountains were sleeping. Luongung Xu Hu and the Brothers went to the house of Su Den Xongpka, and, using colorful lanterns, pretended to be ghosts, scaring Su Den Xongpka out of his house. Su Den Xongpka ran in fear from the "ghosts" and ran and ran and ran until he came to the cave where he kept his little snow-statues. But when he came in, he struck his head on the roof, and his scalp was cut. His blood dripped onto the stone statues, and low and behold, one by one, they awoke, and yawned, and opened small dark eyes at him.
And that is how the Qi were made, or so their legends say.

Biology
The Qi are a small, stout people, with males standing 5'3"-5'7" (160-170 cm) and females 4'10"-5'4" (147-163 cm). They are inclined to have a little more padding around the middle than most, though it is often a sign of wealth and status if one can eat enough to be fat in a Qi city. Qi have relatively flat, plane-less faces, with wide noses and v-shaped mouths that give an impression of a constant smile. Their eyes are slanted and almond-shaped, with epicanthic folds, and are usually brown. Qi have shiny, straight, heavy hair that is usually black or very dark brown, though in the east, where their territory bounds with that of the Ffolkki, there are some red-haired folk. Qi men grow their hair long, about to the middle of the back; they sometimes braid it, or wear it in a top-knot. Qi women do likewise, but pin their hair behind their heads in elaborate styles.

Clothing
Both men and women of the Qi wear the same complicated garment, called collectively, the dieng qai. The dieng qai starts with a knee-length tunic of light cloth (dieng su ko), belted (dieng su timpucho). Over this tunic goes a second, knee-length robe of similar make, the inside lined with wool (dieng su kampchi). This robe is then covered in an ankle-length, fur-lined jacket of leather and silk (dieng fuchuengomp). Feet are girded with socks (din de map) and leather slippers (rimpak pa sue). The coat is usually decorated in repeating, naturalistic patterns, such as leaves, dancing animals, or stars.

Qi wear little jewelry, for their religion stresses humility. What they do wear is usually religious in purpose- necklaces or anklets of prayer beads, a colorful belt of jade prayer-tabs, or ear-rings of jade in the shape of mythical animals.

Society
Qi society is very religion-dominated. Each Qi city-state is ruled by a Lama, a priest-king who has power of life and death over every Qi under his eye. All Qi make many prayers a day, and all their cities exist as massive temples. Other Qi cities are not theocracies, but autocracies, military war-cities ruled by warrior kings called Dawan.

Qi are a male-dominated society, but women are not as repressed as they are in other such places. Qi women, in fact, have a very important role- they are the keepers of finances, of knowledge, and all bureaucrats are women.

Qi, despite their theological leanings, are a happy people, who try not to let the icy climes and fierce Gods weigh down their souls. It is said that Sung Wa Gorthangpo, the first Lama of the city of Lakpa, laughed for seven years, and that was how he became a Saint.

Religion
The Qi primarily worship the Boddhisatva, a human being who ascended to enlightenment through a path of righteousness. The Boddhisatva, and the Saints, other enlightened beings, serve as a way for mankind to escape the whims of fate set out by the other Gods, who are fierce and demonic in their leanings. Gods of the Qi are numerous, with thousands of local gods for each city, road, and mountain, as well as general spirits, and various other beings not easily classified, and each is given its due worship, though only to stave off the Gods' anger while one seeks enlightenment. The Qi maintain that, originally, the Ancients, the elder Gods, climbed down the the Tentpole of the Sky and created the Gods that Men know. These lesser Gods were originally pure, like an enlightened being, but by dwelling upon the Earth, they became tainted, and thus, so are Men. But the Ancients, taking pity on Men, gave the Boddhisatva the means to enlightenment.

Food
Qi cuisine is similar to Imperial cuisine, but is much more comprised of proteins. Meat and beer are central, replacing grain, and fork-like utencils are used to eat.

Music
Qi music is played on a variety of chimes (shuengxi; these are also important in religious rituals), flutes (xiompak), gongs (dailon) and drums (gunpoche). The music has a tendency to be slow and loud, sounding somewhat pompous. Their singing is low and chant-like, accompanied by yodels and throat-buzzes.

Qi Naming Traditions: The Qi have up to four names, according to social rank. The Lama, and the Dawan all have four names, while priests, warriors, and merchants have three. Anyone less has two names.
Male Name Examples: Gorthangpo, Lakba, Anchang, Gwengdao, Xioadeng, Wa, Lee, Junfan, Gaoungpeng, Chukumpo, Fanchen, Ma, Thongdrol, Dzomang, Konchong
Female Name Examples: Jiy, Yanchangi, Lingche, Saobe, Ningenchoa, Thumpukiy, Yami, Omgonchendei, Wemfungden, Soe, Mei, Tsengdre, Tschenshan

Words to Remember
The Five Virtues- Good Thought, Good Action, Understanding, Peace, Concentration.
Gods- There's a lot of them, and you've gotta' pacify them all.
Happiness- We are all going to die and live again until we're enlightened, so we might as well be happy about it.
Obedience- Somewhat like the Imperial concept of Duty.

(More to come...)
Currently Reading: "Kafka On The Shore" by Haruki Murakami

Currently Listening To: "Piece Of Time" by Atheist

Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Gods and the Cosmology
« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2004, 02:28:38 AM »
Creation possesses many layers, and within these layers there dwell many Gods. The highest layer is Heaven, where the true Gods of Heaven dwell. There are many layers of the Sky below the Heavens. The Sun, Guardian of Heaven, patrols through the Sky every day, making sure that none challenge the might of Heaven. The Moon, First Trickster, wanders across the Sky every night, spreading wonder and whimsy. The last layer of the Sky is the Floor of Heaven, a spreading web of emotion, dreams, and clotted Fate that regulates the functions of Earth's elements in relation to Heavens. The elements of Earth (Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Wood, and Metal) cannot be brought through the Floor of Heaven without approval from the Gods of Heaven.
Below the Sky is the Earth, where mortals dwell. The Spirits, the Gods of Earth, were created by the Gods of Heaven on and of the Earth, and are made to order its elements and energies. They exist to obey the orders of the Gods of Heaven. Demons are Spirits who have disobeyed the commandments of the Gods of Heaven, and have thus been stripped of their divine aura. They exist upon the Earth, filled with hatred and rage, full of power but without the fundamental connection to the Earth provided by the Aura, and become dangers to the beings of Earth. Below the Earth's surface, the flesh of Everything Rests On Him, the Spirit of the World's Foundation, is full of tunnels, caverns, and vast emptinesses, in which dwell mortal beings of strange manner, and similarly strange Spirits and Demons. The lowest level of the Earth is the Cavern of Prototypes, a strange place in which are placed the leftovers and remnants from the making of Earth. Below the Cavern of Prototypes, there is the Floor of the Earth, a barrier of sorrow, darkness, and woven Fate that prevents the interchange of elements between the Earth and the Underworld.
The tunnels of the Earth bleed down into the Underworld, a shadowy cold reflection of the Earth where dwell the Dead. The Dead Gods live in the Underworld, shadow-gods who reign over the Underworld and the Dead in doleful, passionless silence or, sometimes, eternal, bitter, malevolence. The virtuous and blessed Dead do not go to the Underworld. Instead, they transcend the Earth, and their souls are washed clean of their former existence in Heaven, and then sent down to Earth to be reborn.
Dream World is the madcap, whimsical world of Dreamer Second, the God who regulates Dreams, Sleep, Hope, and Play. Dream World exists as an echo of Earth, slightly off-center and invisible. When mortals sleep, their Higher Souls go to the Dream World to play with the substance of that reality. Nightmares are Dream Demons, rebellious Dream Spirits who have refused Dreamer Second's orders.
Here we shall describe some of the Gods of the Empire. The Imperials worship the Stars, the auras of the Gods, and in this way their prayers reach Heaven. Every star in the sky is God to the Imperials, and the Priesthood keeps great registers and charts of the night sky, updated every month, constantly checked and re-checked for accuracy. It should be noted that such descriptions as "the North Star" and "the Milky Way" (those titles not bolded) are not known to Imperials or to any other mortals.

Gods of Heaven

Shining White, the Unchallenged and Highest, the North Star
Shining White is a brilliant white star that is always in the North. Shining White is the wisest and chief among the Gods of Heaven, and it was he who awakened the other Gods during the Time of Blinding Radiance. Shining White is a sad grandfather, who looks over the follies of his children and sighs. He is sentimental and noble, and often denies to believe that the Destiny of Men could outshine the Destiny of Stars. Shining White's purpose is to make Knowledge, History, and Time factors of Creation. Shining White is called Unchallenged and Highest, for he is the chief of all Gods, and has only been challenged once- by the rebellious God Dreaming Dark- the Emperor.

The Glorious, Empress of the Heavens, a Planet, and her Ten-Million Daughters, the Milky Way
The Glorious is a shining blue star who comes at the head of her Ten-Million Daughters, pale white stars so numerous and pearly that they look like a river of milk across the sky, and they are the only Stars that the Astronomer-Priests cannot count. The Glorious is the most beautiful of all the stars, and only the Ten-Million Daughters, the children of the Glorious and Sword Eagle, her lover, can challenge her in appearance. The Glorious is quick and bold, and her heart loves easily. She is vain and proud, and often looks into her mirror, the Sea. She will not submit to any man, save Sword EagleHer Ten-Million Daughters are alike in temperament but not in self-interest; they seek only to complement one another and to please others. The Glorious' purpose is to ordain Beauty, Art, Creativity, Female Sexuality, and Female Power, while her Ten-Million Daughters exist to create Sisterhood, Love, and Companionship.

Sword Eagle, the Unconquered and Mighty, the Star Arcturus
Sword Eagle is a brilliant star of orange in the North during the Spring. Sword Eagle is the God who is most skilled-at-arms. He is handsome to look upon, and takes the Glorious for his consort, on whom he fathered Ten-Million Daughters. Sword Eagle is proud and bold, and shines brightly so that all will look upon him. So skilled is he that he thinks he cannot be beaten, and this hubris is his folly. Sword Eagle's purpose is to oversee Pride, Skill-at-Arms, Combat, Self-Confidence, Male Sexuality and Male Power in Creation, as well as controlling the dispensing of Thunder and Lightning. He has a brother and a sister- Swooping Hawk and She-Goat.

Roarer Horribly, the Asteroid Belt, and his Arrows of Fire, the Asteroids
Roarer Horribly is only seen in the sky by his Arrows of Fire, which he holds before him, for his is sheathed in black armor that hides his light. Roarer Horribly is a great giant God who is fierce and warlike, and nothing, not even Sword Eagle is stronger than him. Roarer Horribly hurls his Arrows of Fire at those which anger him, blasting them forever to pieces. He slew the God Singer in a sudden rage, and it is from this that Sadness came to Creation. The Arrows of Fire are eager warriors, who launch themselves into battle to rend their enemies to pieces and die a glorious warrior's death. Roarer Horribly is the ordainer of Strength, Conflict, Violence, and Anger, but he also is partially responsible for Laughter, and he is the dispenser of Fire. The Arrows of Fire exist to oversee Soldiers, Single Combat, and Destruction.

Gatherer Silently, the Shadowed and Slain, the Not-Star, once called Singer, a Planet
Gatherer Silently is a not-star, a shadow among the Stars who was created when Roarer Horribly slew Singer, creating Sadness. The darkness left when Singer died was Gatherer Silently, a mute and melancholy God who all other Gods fear. Gatherer Silently is the dispenser of Death, Silence, Dust, and Sadness. Gatherer Silently is called the Shadowed, for he is a not-star, and is surrounded in emptiness.

Swooping Hawk and She-Goat, the Stars Vega and Capella
Swooping Hawk and She-Goat are a white and a yellow Star, respectively, and shine in the North with their brother Sword Eagle. While Sword Eagle is proud and warlike, Swooping Hawk and She-Goat are peaceful and content, and have born many children together. They are the overseers of Fatherhood and Motherhood, Children, Agriculture, and Family.

Forever Path, a Planet
Forever Path is a soft green star that crosses over Heaven after sunset, like a tiny emerald amid the other stars. Quick and joyful, Forever Path is a happy, cheerful fellow who has many friends and lovers. He never stays too long in one place, however, for he is always chasing  Empty Scroll, trying to win her love. Forever Path  once unwittingly interrupted the lovemaking of Sword Eagle and the Glorious, and Sword Eagle wounded him horribly, scarring Forever Path's face. When Roarer Horribly saw Foreer Path's scars, the raging God began to laugh, and Forever Path laughed as well, creating Laughter. Forever Path is the ordainer of Speed, Travel, Joy, and, with Roarer Horribly, Laughter.

Empty Scroll, the Hidden, a Planet
Empty Scroll is a faint, purple star that flees across Heaven from Forever Path after sunset, seeking to escape that God's hands. Quiet and untrusting, Empty Scroll is very beautiful but does not know it, and has not the self-confidence to see her beauty. She is always hiding from Forever Path, for though she secretly loves him, she thinks he is a fierce man, and is fears his scarred face. Empty Scroll is the Goddess who ordains Secrets (though the principle was created by Ancient Deep, the Water Goddess), Doubt, and Self-Denial, but also Truth.

Dreaming Dark, the Downfallen and Outcast, also called the Emperor
Dreaming Dark was a young and proud God, and he made war on the other Gods of Heaven, attempting to usurp the place of Shining White. Though he was one of the mightiest of the Gods of Heaven, Sword Eagle and Roarer Horribly defeated him, and he was cast down the Stair at the Edge of the World, never to return to Heaven again. Before his downfall, Dreaming Dark was the master of Dreams, Night, Sleep, Magic, and Darkness. After his downfall, Dreaming Dark's edicts were given used to create Dreamer Second and the Floor of Heaven. Dreaming Dark does not appear in Imperial myths, save as the Emperor, and his deeds as a God are attributed to Dreamer Second by the Priesthood, and the Downfall is not mentioned at all.

Dreamer Second, a Dream-Star.
Dreamer Second is the successor of Dreaming Dark, a whimsical somewhat-God who dwells in the Dream World. Dreamer Second's aura is invisible in the Skies of Earth, but in the Skies of the Dream World, he is the brightest star. Dreamer Second is powerful, but not powerful. He has no actual power within Heaven or Earth, but in Dream World he is unchallenged, even by Shining White. Dreamer Second and First Trickster are fast friends. The edicts of Dreamer Second are Dreams, Sleep, Hope, and Play.

Autochthon, the Tool-Maker and Machine God, an unseen Planet.
Autochthon is the Tool-Maker, who sleeps in one of the countless echoes of Earth, floating alongside First Trickster. Autochthon was awake and watching when Shining White awakened at the Time of Blinding Radiance. It was Autochthon who imagined the Earth, and drew a Great Plan of it, which the Gods used to create the basic Earth. It was Autochthon who gave the secrets of tools and machines to the Gods, and to mortals, before drifting into his sleep. Autochthon withdrew from Creation at the awakening of Dreaming Dark, and has slumbered ever since. Autochthon enacted the principles of Thought, Innovation, Creation, and Order. He is not mentioned in Imperial religion.

Guardian of Heaven, the Sun
Guardian of Heaven is the daughter of Shining White, and serves him as Guardian to Heaven. She is a young and martial God, loyal in a way that her brother, Dreaming Dark, never could have been. She patrols each day the Floor of Heaven, watching against intrusion into the realm of the Gods. She is strong, loyal, and dutiful, and was trained by Sword Eagle to fight. Guardian of Heaven introduced the concepts of Loyalty, Watchfulness, Duty, and Protection to Creation. She is a patron of soldiers and guardsmen.

First Trickster, the Moon
First Trickster is a mysterious God, unconnected in any way to the other Gods of Heaven. He/she is a mercurial being who drifts languidly across the night, wearing a thousand different skins, a hundred different phases, a supreme shapechanger, the supreme element of Change. He/she is both male and female, male aspect being a good-natured laughing joker, female aspect being a smiling seductress who baits with one hand and slays with the other. First Trickster is both malicious and good-natured, and his/her pranks can be seen in the mirror's reflection, the song-like quality of coyotes howling together, the birds' mockings of the voices of Men, the touch of deja-vu, the shivering of the spine in ominous places. First Trickster's aura does not have the blazing radiance of the other Gods; his/hers is a watery, translucent glow, falling like muted sunlight through water. If First Trickster is truly like any other God, it is Dreamer Second, and, indeed, the two are fast friends. First Trickster is the chaos principle; his/her hand curdles reality, and his passing ripples the fabric of Creation, littering the Earth with little incongruities and swirls of Destiny. He/she loves more than anything to set astray the plans of other Gods, subtly teasing them in ways that please his/her lunar tastes. First Trickster convinced the Glorious to agree with her Ten-Million Daughters and She-Goat, and through this was love forever connected to sex, and to the process of bringing forth children. First Trickster it was who passed the secrets of sorcery to mortals, to the infuriation of Dreaming Dark, who lobbied unceasingly for the withholding of those secrets from mortals. First Trickster was standing next to Autochthon at the Time of Blinding Light, and as such is one of the Interloper Gods, untangled in the mazy skeins of the Web of Fate, to which all other beings are tied. First Trickster is the propagator of the principles of Change, Trickery, Paradox, Incongruity, Confusion, Madness, and also Sanity.

In addition to these, the Greatest Gods of Heaven, there are a hundred-thousand different, lesser Gods who dwell also in Heaven, shining down upon Earth. Every star, every planet scudding across Heaven, every faintly-glimmering asteroid and meteor espied by Imperial telescope, every comet, streak, nova, is a God, enacting a billion principles and edicts, holding together reality as it seems to mortals, as their purposes are ordained by the Weaver of the Web of Fate.

Gods of Earth

Everything Rests On Him, the Supreme Earth Spirit, the Earth's Bedrock
Everything Rests On Him is the most ancient of the Gods of Earth, a Spirit who is among the most basic personalities of all Creation. Along with Ancient Deep and Void Between the Stars, Everything Rests on Him existed before the Time of Blinding Radiance, and no God knows whence they came, save themselves, and perhaps Autochthon and First Trickster. Everything Rests On Him is the Earth, in a literal sense, and all of the Earth rests upon his back. Within him, there are many cavities and tunnels, some delved by mortals, others primeval, and he stands upon the Floor of the Earth. Everything Rests On Him can be described in one word: patient. Some would say slow. He is deliberate and careful; why make a decision in a day when you can take a thousand years to mull it over and weigh all possibilities? His demeanor is eternally patient and eternally watchful. Occasionally, however, Everything Rests On Him trembles and shakes; this happens when his belly is snapped at by Death Eater, who he has trapped under one of his feet on the Floor of the Earth. Everything Rests On Him is the enacter of all Earth, Stone, and Stability. He is called upon by those who must carry heavy burderns of the body or the mind, and by stoneworkers, though often these prayers go also to his subordinate Earth Spirit children.

Ancient Deep, the Supreme Water Spirit, the Depths of the Sea
Ancient Deep is the companion of Everything Rests On Him and Void Between the Stars, one of the impossibly-ancient, tenebrous beings who embody fundamental principles of reality. Ancient Deep is the lightless depths of the Sea, the deepest trenches and most abyssal foundations of the watery caverns beneath everything. She is the crushing weight felt by the divers of Uwon as they shoot ever deeper, the slow dying of brightness as one slides farther and farther, the unfathomable intelligence in the most abyssal of all places. Ancient Deep's shifting outer shells and skins, the lighter places of the Sea, are more familiar to mortals, but her true body is the most alien of all possible places, where glowing beings swim in eternal night. Ancient Deep is the supreme keeper of secrets; everything ever lost in the history of the Earth has found its way to her at some time. Even Empty Scroll takes heed when Ancient Deep speaks hidden things. The Supreme Water Spirit is slow to action, like her brother the Supreme Earth, but when stirred, Ancient Deep is fearsome in wrath, a great boiling and upsurge of water and wave, the roaring of the most alien and ancient leviathans of the Sea, and the grinding of the water's bed. Ancient Deep's thought processes are less understandable, however, than those of Everything Rests On Him; and, likewise, the things of the Sea do not think in ways that Men can comprehend. Ancient Deep created the principles of Water, Depth, Stillness, and, like Empty Scroll, Secrets.

Void Between the Stars, the Eldest Of Them All and Lord of Darkness
Void Between the Stars was there before any other, and in his tenebrous emptiness were his brother and sister, Everything Rests On Him and Ancient Deep born. Void Between the Stars is the principle of simple, vast, uncaring Darkness, the impossible night of places where light has never shown, the shadows in the hearts of mortals where fear and doubt reside, the foundations of the Underworld. Void Between the Stars was wounded terribly by the Time of Blinding Radiance, which introduced light to his perfect void, and because of this, he has some aspects that are bitter, jealous, and hateful. His is the least understandable of all minds; in his times of rulership he coached Autochthon in the Art of Ceasing to Be, which he exemplifies, and to all others he has withheld this secret, save in small parts, where through sorcery, Gods and mortals might cloak themselves in dark power, or dissapear from sight. Void Between the Stars is stirred by completely alien emotions that are unlike any other being's, and his decisions are made upon conditions and beliefs that are similarly alien. Void Between the Stars is passionate about only one thing, Light, which he cannot and will not abide, and it is his ever-ancient desire to forever smother Creation once again in the zero world. Void Between the Stars created and embodies the concepts of Darkness, Emptiness, and That Which is Not Understood.

The Five Winds, Supreme Spirits of Air also called The Wings or The Great Bears
The Five Winds were born as a great turmoil in the dark seas of the Void during the Time of Blinding Radiance. That massive stirring set into motion the stagnant airs of the emptiness before the Gods, and from these turbulences were born the Five Winds. The Great Bears are extremely exacting and decisive in all their duties, holding councils each season to determine the precise movements of the five winds across the Earth. Wise and orderly (despite the chaotic nature of air), the Wings are nevertheless bitter opponents of each other, using all manner of diplomatic and rhetorical means to increase their power in the coming season. The Five Winds take three forms- the first is that of invisible winds, their usual forms. Another is that of a cloud of flapping wings. The third is that of titanic, shaggy bears.
Blue Skulking Bear, also called North Wind and Blue Wing, rules the North Wind. He is a spirit of freezing cold and emotional hardness, and he jealously guards his territory and his power. Blue Skulking Bear is tight-fisted and stingy, and gives nothing without usurious reimbursement.
Green Frowning Bear, also called West Wind and Green Wind, is the ruler of the wind that blows from the west, bringing fertile green and life and rain. Green Frowning Bear is kindly and caring, but he is also very vain. According to legend, Green Frowning Bear's woodland lodge has housed many heroes on their various quests.
Black Grinning Bear is East Wind and Black Wing. He is the warlike master of the East Wind, that blows from the sea. He is the most warlike and strong of the Five Winds, and he often makes war on the Earth with his armies, the Thunderbirds, led by Sky Battle, creating storms. Black Grinning Bear is prideful and arrogant, and decorates his island hall with the trophies of his many battles. However, Black Grinning Bear, for all his bravado and arrogance, is the most courageous of the Five Winds, and in the battle against Dreaming Dark, he led the armies of the Air against the attacking God of Heaven.
Red Stalking Bear, the South Wind and Red Wing, is the bringer of the South Wind, the wind of heat and sand and dessication. He is the strangest and most fickle of the Five Winds, and keeps no servants and no home. Red Stalking Bear is individualistic and proud, but in the end he loves the Earth, and especially the mortals. He is a master physician, and rarely declines to heal anyone, if they can find him.
White Venerable Bear is the Master Wind, the White Wing. The oldest of the Five Winds, White Venerable Bear is responsible for the Master Wind, who's purpose it is to be applied against those of the other Great Bears, thereby preventing, with utter exactitude, any miscalculations that might be made. White Venerable Bear is a studious, serious individual, who never acts without long (sometimes centuries-long) periods of consideration. However, he is also a creature of habit, and bears long and terrible grudges against those who bother him with needless disturbances in his invisible tower, flying at the center of all other winds.
The Five Winds are responsible for the principles of Weather, Wind, Turbulence, and the Sky.

Ever-Mindful Forest, Supreme Spirit of Wood
Ever-Mindful Forest was born when the Five Winds swept across the primordial landscape, lifting pieces of Everything Rests On Him to the surface of Ancient Deep. There, the Gods of Heaven, who were wandering about the new Creation, found little seeds which had fallen out of the fur of Green Frowning Bear, the East Wind, as he flew over. The Gods of Heaven, seeing the life in these, planted them, and from them sprung Ever-Mindful Forest. This God is a patient and steady one, and he believes that nothing should be done to hastily; this opinion of carefulness is reflected in the slow growth of plants. Ever-Mindful Forest is represented in the mightiest oaks, the most towering redwoods, the most ancient of trees. The sprouting of plants in the spring, and the slow growth of vines, the shadows among the trees, the deepest of forests, the glades where no mortal has ever trod, these represent Ever-Mindful Forest. The Supreme Spirit of Wood is a watchful, judgemental God, and those who trespass against him can expect the greatest rage from his arboreal realm. His eye is carefully trained on carriers of axes and fire, which he does not at all trust. To say the least, his relations with Phoenix are not all cordial. Ever-Mindful Forest is mistrustful of thinking mortals (Men, Duerga, Urwhor), for they often bring ruin to his domain. Ever-Mindful Forest's existence creates the principles of Nature, Plants, Growth, Forest, and Watchfulness.

Phoenix, the Supreme Spirit of Fire
Phoenix is the greatest God of fire, born from the great explosion of the Time of Blinding Radiance. As the youngest of the Great Elementals, Phoenix is a wild and excitable Spirit, with mercurial emotions, who shifts as easily from warm, smiling happiness to burning rage. Phoenix is the lover of Guardian of Heaven, and his presence can be felt in the heat cast off by the Sun. His hand can be seen most easily in flame, in its crackle and its burning, and its great glow. When first he took flight, Phoenix was new to his wings, and the Five Winds blew so wildly that the Supreme Fire Spirit fell to the Earth, onto the back of Everything Rests On Him. Everything Rests On Him found then that some of Phoenix's fire had crept down into him and heated his blood, wherefore there is the molten rock that emerges from the Earth. Phoenix is a warlike Spirit, and with his six swords and his burning wings, he battled Dreaming Dark and nearly won, but he was dealt a terrible blow by that God. Phoenix is responsible for the concepts of Fire, Heat, and shares in the domains of Conflict and Destruction.

Gods of the Underworld

Death Eater, the Gnawing Serpent, End of Knowing
Of all the mad, shadowy Gods of the Underworld, Death Eater is the one that is most familiar to mortals. Death Eater was born as the twin brother of Empty Scroll, but when he emerged alongside her, the brightness was too much, and he was slain. Fleeing, dead, from the Time of Blinding Brilliance, Death Eater forgot everything that he was and slithered down the Stair at the Edge of the World. Curling among the feet of the Gods of Earth, Death Eater was crushed beneath the heel of Everything Rests On Him. He fell into blind panic and rage, and to this day, he gnaws at the belly of Everything Rests On Him, causing the Supreme Earth to shudder and tremble. Death Eater devours knowledge which has been forgotten, and consumes memories that are lost; only the touch of Shining White's domains of learning and knowledge can make him vomit such things up again.

(More will come...)
Currently Reading: "Kafka On The Shore" by Haruki Murakami

Currently Listening To: "Piece Of Time" by Atheist

Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #20 on: July 30, 2004, 10:03:57 PM »
My updates are very tasty this evening.
Currently Reading: "Kafka On The Shore" by Haruki Murakami

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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #21 on: July 30, 2004, 11:01:40 PM »
Ah, two steaming hot updates for today! I'm feeling prolific!
Currently Reading: "Kafka On The Shore" by Haruki Murakami

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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #22 on: August 01, 2004, 11:50:05 PM »
*sings the Update song*
See Stone Forest and Fallen Dragon.
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Offline Strolen

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« Reply #23 on: August 01, 2004, 11:59:32 PM »
Quote from: "CaptainPenguin"
I do have a drawn map (a d**n good one, if I may say so myself), but I don't have a scanner, so as soon as I can get down to Kinko's you'll be able to see it.


Take some other stuff you have done with you. We have been waiting to see your art.

Loving this setting CP!!!

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Grothar Rockfury - Dwarvish Guild
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STR: 5 | END: 2 | CON: 3 | DEX: 2 | CHA: 2 | INT: 6
Authentic Strolenite™©® | Llama is as Llama does.


Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #24 on: August 02, 2004, 12:34:46 AM »
d**nable Kinko's! So hard to find and so expensive for a measly hour! :)
Currently Reading: "Kafka On The Shore" by Haruki Murakami

Currently Listening To: "Piece Of Time" by Atheist