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Offline Maggot

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The Brave People
« on: October 21, 2004, 06:31:28 AM »
Isolated from the known world by the seemingly endless watery wastes of the fabled Vaet Ocean,the Eshal rule the watery continent of Tarrod with an iron fist,ever ready to carry out plundering raids on the subject races at the slightest excuse. Proudly calling themselves the Brave People,the Eshal are a race of savage warriors and fanatics that are driven by the consuming need to find an ever larger number of victims to feed the monstrous thing known simply as the Matriarch ...
“I'm yet another resource-consuming kid in an overpopulated planet, raised to an alarming extent by Hollywood and Madison Avenue, poised with my cynical and alienated peers to take over the world when you're old and weak.” -Bill Watterson

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The Leadership of the Eshal:The Matriach and the Emperor
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2004, 06:33:48 AM »
The Eshal are led by a supreme ruler called the Emperor. He and his siblings are the children of the Matriarch. Seen as a Goddess by the Eshal,only her offspring can sit on the throne of the Eshal.
 
Deep beneath the vaults of the massive,submerged palace of the Emperor,lies the bloated thing known as the Matriarch. Measuring 500 feet from massive snout to gargantuan tail,she lies in an almost comatose state,slumbering in the massive cavern that she never leaves. It would not be an exaggeration to call her the life-giver of the Eshal. Without her,their glory would not exist. She is old beyond the reckoning of time,having outlived generations of her people and is seen as a gift from the gods to the Eshal.  
 
 When the current  emperor dies,a great sacrifice is held. Hundreds of  bound slaves are led by priests into the cavern of the Matriarch. There they are bled by the late Emperor's sibling. It is then that the Matriarch awakens,pulled out of her slumber by the rich,tantalizing scent  
of spilled blood.
 
 With her gaping maw,she devours the the sacrificial victims. During this,brothers of the dead emperor work themseves into a religious frenzy and then proceed to fling themselves into the jaws of the Matriarch,joyful that they will now join their late sibling in the land of the gods. When she has finally sated her appetite,she lays a clutch of eggs,after which she returns to her slumber. The eggs are then collected by the lesser priests and watched carefully. The first hatchling to emerge is declared the Emperor and the rest are selected to become the High Priests that  conduct the sacred sacrifices and help their lord govern his vast realm. It only takes a week for the hatchlings to mature and take over their duties.
“I'm yet another resource-consuming kid in an overpopulated planet, raised to an alarming extent by Hollywood and Madison Avenue, poised with my cynical and alienated peers to take over the world when you're old and weak.” -Bill Watterson

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Offline Maggot

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The siblings of the Emperor:The High Priests and their roles
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2004, 06:44:32 AM »
The High Priests are next only to the Emperor himself in importance. Spawn of the Matriach,just like him,they are seen as being of almost divine origin and are entrusted with the sacred task of appeasing the Gods of water. Once every 2 years,a great sacrifice is held,to thank the Gods for the divine favour they have blessed their daughter and her son,the Matriach and Emperor respectively,with. There is no fixed date and the priests rely on dreams and visions to tell them when the Gods wish the sacrifice to be held and what they wish to be done by the Emperor.  
 
These arcane and confusing dreams are interpreted by the mysterious Cuada mystics that train the Priests in the ways of the Gods. The sacrifice is held in the courtyard of the vast temple known as the Abode of The Divine Ones and is presided over by the Emperor himself. Produce and precious objects collected from every part of the empire is offered before the massive statues that represent the Gods of Water,by the Emperor and the High Priests. A line of wretched slaves are then led to a massive granite enclosure housing massive Red sharks,so named for their dark red hides. The High Priests believe them to be the holy messengers of the Gods of Water. Thus,feeding the unfortunate slaves to these ravenous carnivores acknowledges the gifts the Gods have shown the Brave people.Carrying out this ritual of gratitude without fail ensures that the Eshal continue to prosper. Crops and livestock will be healthy and abundant and the War Chiefs will continue to smite the savages.  
 
But their duty does not end there. In addition to their religious and ceremonious functions,they also head the massive bureaucracy that is responsible for governing and collecting tribute from the various lands of the empire. Each High Priest is in charge of his own domain.In ruling it,he is assisted by lesser priests that are the children of his many consorts and a War Chief,who with the aid of his warriors,puts down any native uprisings. The lesser priests in turn are responsible for overseeing the individual Eshal colonies and villages. In this they are helped by the scribes,whom they recruit from among the brighter peasants. Thus,the High Priest is the Eshal equivalent of a duke. In addition to his lesser priests and scribes,he also has a large army of retainers and servants who have the task of taking care of his own personal holdings and a Cuada advisor,who in a non-official position,offers him advice on how to deal with some of the more complicated problems he may face.  The presence of the Cuada appointment however,is resented by the warriors who see the Cuada as meddling salamanders. This has sometimes led to disagreements and differences of opinion between the High Priest and the War Chief.The only time the various High Priests congregate together is during the great sacrifices.
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Offline Maggot

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Eshal society:Utter and complete devotion
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2004, 08:41:21 AM »
Blind obedience is the fuel on which the power of the Eshal rests.With the greater good constantly put above individual concerns and welfare,every Eshal is content with his place in society and wishes for mo more than hie is entitled to.  
 
 Like with the royal clutch,the position and duty of an Eshal,is determined by the caste his or her mother hails from. This is due to the fact that the traits unique to each caste,are inherited almost completely from the mother. Females from different caste groups,spawn certain kinds of Eshal,explaining the physical differences that exist among them.Eg: Warrior Eshal are physically stronger than the peasants and have stronger jaws. Every Eshal is compelled by his genes to carry out his job to the best of his ability,for the well being of the Empire.Hence,blind obedience is the force that powers the empire of the Eshal,much the same way as it would an ant or termite colony. Unlike mindless ants however,the Eshal genuinely take pleasure in what they do,feeling that by carrying out the will of the Emperor,they keep the empire strong. They also enjoy pleasures of the senses and flesh,especially male Eshal who love having multiple mates,regardless of the caste they come from.  
 
Eshal society is made up of 3 castes or social orders,with the Emperor at the top,the warriors in the middle and the peasants at the bottom. The primary job of the Emperor and the priests is to honour the water sprites with rituals and sacrifices,spread the glory of Eshal and rule the empire effectively. The warriors spread the glory of the Emperor by invading new lands and guard peasant colonies and settlements from the more savage folk of Tarrod,such as the Anura and the Lurdi.. They are rewarded handsomely by the Emperor for their services with land and merfolk slaves. Senior war leaders even live in large,spacious, habitats that have a special system for the disposal of waste and refuse.  
 
This is in stark contrast to the lives led by the humble peasant caste,who are only allowed to keep the bare minimum of their produce that supports them and their mates and children. In most cases,3 families share one den,a cramped habitat,nothing at all like the dwelling of the warriors. The more fortunate ones are craftsmen and scribes that are not taxed as heavily as the farmers and herders.  
 
It is important to note however,that a peasant cannot be harmed or abused in any way by a priest or warrior. All Eshal are considered ''The Brave People'',thus making them all brothers and sisters. Any priest or warrior that forgets this and kills a peasant in a fit of rage,will be sacrificed. Moreover,in lean times the peasants will not go hungry,as produce from the private holdings of the High Priest will be used to feed them.  
 
Non- Eshal however,with humans and the mysterious Cauda as the only exceptions,are regarded as no more than animals and thus have no rights at all. This is especially true of enslaved mer folk that work in the sea weed plantations of the Emperor. As for the status of females,they have a surprising amount of respect for what seems to be a male dominated society.Females are revered for the role they play in creating new life.For without the Matriach would there be any Emperors to rule the Eshal?,goes a popular saying. It does not bother them that their mates consort with other females. They realize and accept that every male has to father as many children as possible,to keep the land strong and mighty. If their population was to drop,the savage people would devour their empire and people.
“I'm yet another resource-consuming kid in an overpopulated planet, raised to an alarming extent by Hollywood and Madison Avenue, poised with my cynical and alienated peers to take over the world when you're old and weak.” -Bill Watterson

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Offline Maggot

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The Prophecy Of the Brave People
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2004, 08:49:44 AM »
1. It is one of the Inner Mysteries that is reserved to the higher ranking echelons of the religious heirarchy, and is used as a guide for the Brave People as a whole, and not a canon book like the Quran or Bible. Knowledge is power, and power is not given away freely.

2. It is an oral record, not recorded on a physical surface. The higher ranking priests also serve as pseudo-jonglours, passing the prophecy on to the eshal who rise far enough in the ranks to become privvy to the Inner Mysteries. There could even be highly respected scholars who have dedicated their lives to memorizing the prophecy in whole and leading exploration and interpretation of the prophecy.

3. Question to ponder. Is the Prophecy really a thing given from the gods/oracles what not, or is it a really big piece of Cuada propagande to whack the eshal over the head with? Is it a real prophecy, and do the Cuada just have a better understanding of abstract concepts?

4. Most of the prophecy would be events that have already transpired to give the prophecy credibility. None of it has to be true as long as someone thinks it is true. A small portion would be the Commandments and sins of the Brave people as well as admonishments and threats of divine punishment, and the last part a suitably prophetic doom. We humans have been claiming the world is going to end since the fall of the Roman empire. For the Eshal however,such an end would not mean the end of their glory.It is merely a test they must pass,in order to rule the world as they are ultimately destined to.
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Offline Maggot

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The 6 Commandments
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2004, 08:55:34 AM »
The 6 Commandments form a small but tintergral part of the Prophecies.Followed religously by Eshal of every social stripe,they are a powerful force which has helped to strengthen the discipline and the obediance that the power of the Brave People rests on.

The first 3 Commandments of the Eshal
1. You shall do your best to make The Brave People strong,therefore you will not slacken in your tasks,therefore you will be content with your place among us.


2. You will uphold the superiority of our race,therefore you will in no way aid in empowering the savage infidels,therefore you will not treat them as equals,but with the contempt they richly deserve,therefore pity them not.

3. You will honour your duty to the Brave people,therefore you will do what is do what is good for our nation rather than thyself,therefore you will remember that you will obey the commands given to those who rank above you and will not seek to disobey them.

4.You will see to it that The Brave People will continue to remain numerous,therefore you will you take as many consorts as you can afford,but you must see to it that all of them bear your heirs happily,therefore do not favour one over the rest,therefore forget not your older consorts when a younger one is brought into your house.

5.You must remember that The Brave People must not allow themselves to forget that for all their power, that they are only mere mortals who must not forget the source of their power,therefore fail not to respect and revere the Gods of Water for the bessings they have shown us,therefore always conduct the ritual sacrifices and on no account,harm one of their first born,the Cuada.

6.You will remember that the fire of strength and youth is but of the moment,therefore respect and trust only the wisdom of the ages,which is forever,therefore do as commanded by your elders and provide for their needs without complaint.
“I'm yet another resource-consuming kid in an overpopulated planet, raised to an alarming extent by Hollywood and Madison Avenue, poised with my cynical and alienated peers to take over the world when you're old and weak.” -Bill Watterson

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Offline Maggot

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Eshal Phyisology and homes
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2004, 08:57:09 AM »
Eshal Physiology
First and foremost, the eschal are tachnically going to be amphibians, because if they are contained solely to the water, they wont be much of a threat to the other amphibian races. They are amphibious soft fish, in that they do not have scales, or bony extrusions.

Locomation within the water is primarily driven by the large paddle like tail. The limbs, which are small in comparison to the limbs of the Anura are kept tucked up close to the body. Within the water, the Eshal are more than capable of breathing water indefinately. If changing from salt to fresh, or fresh to salt water they have to make a slow adjustment period or suffer a sort of chemical shock if they try to make the change too quickly.

Locomotion on land is dealt with through small fore and hind limbs. Each forelimb ends an a manipulative webbed hand that has seven digits, six 'fingers' and a grasping 'thumb'. Breathing air is possible, but only as long as the eshal is able to retain a high percantage of moisture. Drying out is lethal to tham as it is to the Cuada, and the Anura as well. As a rule of thumb, anything bad for a frog, will be bad for these three races.

The average Eshal is twelve to fifteen feet long, and carries itself two to three feet from the ground. On land they are quick, and efficient hunters, their wicked spiked teeth making short work of small mammals and other denizens of the wrack. In the water, they prey primarily on fish. The head is large and well developed with enlarged jaw muscles, and a larnyx that is sophisticated enough to work both above and below water.
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Eshal language and script
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2004, 10:15:18 PM »
The Eshal use a common language to communicate. When the tribes united to defeat the mer folk,they agreed to give up their tribal dialects in favour of a bastardized version of the Cuada language. This ensured that when the Eshal created their empire,people from the different provinces could understand one another. Pure Cuada is spoken only by the priests and some of the smarter warriors who can pick it up.  
 
The Eshal script is based on a series of pictographs that were also obtained from the Cuada. A few of these pictographs are simple and can be understood by peasants and craftsmen,but most of them are very complex and can only be read by the priests,their scribes and some of the more scholarly warriors. The pictographs are written on the large,leathery leaves of a certain plant with a bone pen. If more than one leaf has to be used,they are strung together with strong kelp twine.
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Offline Maggot

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Economic system used by the Eshal
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2004, 10:17:15 PM »
The Eshal do not use money.Instead they rely on the barter system,where goods and services are exchanged.There are no permanent markets or bazzars,with trading taking place at weekly fairs in every province,that see farmers and herders exchanging meat and agricultural produce for certain things that they cannot make themselves,such as skillfully crafted bone knives and cured Groll hides.At these fairs,come lesser priests,scribes agents from the barracks of the War Chief and the offices of the High Priest,who need to get food supplies and certain materials such as squid ink and groll bones.The peasants are paid with excellently made handicrafts and dried sea weed that only the High Priests are allowed to cultivate.Both are the work of the vast army of merfolk slaves that each High Priest has.The agents of the Emperor do not need to purchase the materials that his own scribes and Imperial Guard need,as the tribute he gets from every part of the Eshal lands are more than enough for his expenses.

There are also honor based credit systems where the one that makes a purchase,does not have to pay up immediately.This normaly happens among the lesser priest and officers,whom when purchasing certain things in bulk from one another,find that their merfolk slaves have not made enough of the things that the other wants.He swears upon his family honour that in due time,the owed goods will arrive.The one who dares to violate this promise,will find himself cursed by his ancestors and the Gods who find dishonesty in the Brave People an unforgivable crime.Thus,there is no fear of the debtor defaulting.

Goods are also used to pay the required dowry,when an Eshal male whishes to take as a consort,a female from a more respected caste.For example,an officer wanting wed the daughter of a lesser priest,must give her father a small herd of prized Ranchowen or a set of well crafted jewelry.
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Eshal tools and weapons
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2004, 10:18:46 PM »
The only metal that the Eshal work with,is gold,a non- rusting metal that is soft enough to be hammered out into ornate jewelry peices.But Eshal tools and weapons are made out of bone and wood,carefully carved by skilled craftsmen that display their wares during the village fairs.Some craftsmen work for the War Chiefs alone and specalise in making weapons and armor.Below is a list of the weapons and protection gear that these craftsmen make for the warriors.
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Weapons used by Eshal warriors
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2004, 10:27:22 PM »
Poth-A slender,six foot long,spear carried by a mounted Eshal warrior.The haft is made of cypress and the spear head is carved from bone.When used in a large cavalry charge,they cut a vast swath through opposing forces.

Daq-A stout,thick club made of cypress wood and studded with thick,stone knobs. If an enemy needs to be captured alive for a sacrifice,he can be disabled with a blow to the ankle. Is the main weapon carried by Eshal foot warriors.

Routh-Small throwing spears that are no more than 3 feet long.Have a willow haft and a spear head carved from a Ranchowen's spike.Are able to hit an enemy at a great distance,if used with a spear thrower. Not normally used for warfare that takes place in water.

Lorhal - The traditional weapon of the Merfolk, a barbed trident made of carved bone, usually a pelvic bone or very large shoulder blade attached to a cypress haft. The eshal adopted the weapon when they discovered that the barbs were effective in hunting the more agile Anura.

Tak - akin to the Aztec Macana, it is a large cypress plank with lurdi teeth set into a central groove. The weapon vaguely resembles the bar of a chainsaw, but instead of a steel chain, there is a row of razor sharp, flesh shredding lurdi teeth. These weapons are only carried by eshal who have fought the lurdi and are ideally made from the teeth of a lurdi slain in battle

Drah - a large dagger made from a single heavy bone, generally the ribs of Uuluun, or some other great beast. It is a single edged blade meant to punch deep into the flesh of an enemy.

Gat - a long stick with a pad of leather on the end. The leather pad will be worn for a long time by a cuada before being affixed to the end of the gat. The leather, impregnated with the Cuadas natural toxin allows them to strike foes at a distance and hopefully escape their dying throws as their nervous system suffers catastrophic failure

 Teq-Two large stones bound together with strong twine and swung around to brain an enemy.Very much like a bola,a traditional South American weapon.

Fowt-A carefully crafted weapon,it is a stone disc that is ringed with the shredding teeth of a slain Lurdi.A swinging weapon like the Teq,it has a hole bored in the centre,through which a cured strip of Groll hide is strung.When swung at tightly packed masses of enemies from a distance it can blind and stun many.As with the Tak,only warriors who have slain a Lurdi carry it.

Lah-Large stone knob with a hollow centre,that can be slipped over the tip of a warrior's tail.Using his strong tail,he can lash out at the faces of foes.A side arm that is used by a foot warrior when he has lost his Daq or Tak.
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Eshal armor and helms
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2004, 10:31:37 PM »
All Eshal warriors wear armor of the same kind.Nevertheless,higher ranking warriors are distinguished by their ivory helms that are decorated with the rich plumage of rare birds and their heavy,snake skin cloaks.

Eshal protective equipment
Armour-To protect their soft bodies,the Eshal wear armour that is created out of Groll or Great Serpent hide and the carpace of a Great Crab or some of the smaller bones found in an Uuluuln.The hide is used to make a vest,which then has bits of Great Crab or preserved Groll bones.Although seemingly frail when compared with steel armour,the interlocking bits of bone or carpace can turn aside the hacking blow of a Lurdi flint hatchet or the thrust of an Anura spear,saving the wearer's life in the process.

Helm-The helm worn by an Eshal warrior to protect his sensitive eyes,is carved out of the carpace of a Great Crab.To make themselves look mighty and terrifying,Eshal warriors often adorn their helms with various bones taken from foes and dangerous beasts they have slain.
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Eshal Dress
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2004, 10:33:17 PM »
The clothing an Eshal wears,is determined by the caste he belongs to.Any Eshal who wears clothes that someone of his caste should not,is severely punished.The wealth or influeunce of that indidvidual will not make a difference.For example,any peasant or warrior who wears the purple robes of the priests will be flogged,but the same also goes for a priest who wears the armor of a warrior or rough garb of a peasant.This absurdly severe offence for so minor a crime,probally stems from an irrational Eshal urge to remind each indidvidual of his place and duties in society.


Priests-The priests wear ceremonial robes of purple silk,that have stripes stitched on them in gold embroidery.The silk in question,comes from a certain aquatic grub that is specially reared by the preisthood.They also adorn their wrists and necks with gem-studded gold bracelets and necklaces,asnd wear special feather head dresses too.The daughters and wives of priests wear silk robes too,but their robes come in a range of other colors,such as green and orange.The intricate designs stitched onto their robes are stylised images of aquatic animals and are truly remarkable.

 Warriors-Senior warriors,when not in combat,wear leather kilts and black tunics or grey tunics that are decorated with silver embroidery and the rich plumage of rare birds.The feathers are sacred to warriors,who believe the birds that shed them to be re-incarnations of dead comrades.Thus,collecting them and wearing them into battle,means that the souls of the fallen will watch the warrior to ensure that no harm comes to him.A warrior has to earn the right to wear those feathers,with each act of bravery and climb in rank,being rewarded by a feather. Warriors also wear sharkskin belts.Daughters and wives of wealthy and high-ranking warriors,wear the same kind of garb as those of priests.The adornments they wear are very much like those of females belonging to the priestly cast,but are made of silver instead.

 Peasants-The humble male peasant wears jerkins and kilts of boiled Groll Hide.Wealthier ones such as craftsmen or herders,can opt for Great Serpent hide instead.Their daughters and wives wear long skirts and blouses made of ghora fibre and decorate themselves with ornaments made of well-crafted bits  of bone and wood.
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Eshal Home enviroment
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2004, 09:46:10 PM »
Most eshal habitats are underwater, being contructions of deadwood, and mud always located in deep calm places.Several eshal can live in a den, while a few will maintain a storehouse of dried mud on dry land for preserving things that water corrodes. Most adventurers would find these surface colonies, and the attendant warriors who guard them.


 Most Eshal live in extended families,which means that you have 2 or 3 related families sharing the same dwelling.Though this occasionally leads to some friction,Eshal value family ties and know that a larger family means that they will be more hands to help out with work and household chores.

 The den is partioned by circular mud walls into several places,with each room having a specific purpose.For example,the largest rooms are used as creches for the young ones,while the smallest ones are used for the preparation of food.No private bedrooms exist.Male adults sleep in the same room,as do their wives and female relatives.If any Eshal male is overtaken by the carnal urges of his body,he will have to enjoy the company of his wives in special ''pleasure rooms'',that are located at the back of the den.Located at the back of the den too,is the room where the idols of the ancestral gods are kept.This crowded housing situation is somewhat eased by the fact that that the family members mantaining the surface storehouses,have living quaters of their own over there.Privies are also located on the surafce,so as not to foul the water.

 The homes of warriors and priests are built along simmiliar lines,but on a  much larger and lavish scale.The mud walls of their homes are are  covered with a layer of water proof plaster that is decorated with intricate paintwork,depicting the ancestors of the family and the ancestral gods that watch over them.There are also a row of shacks at the back,where the slaves of the family stays and the surface privie is replaced with a special tank in a partioned off area of every room that is emptied by the slaves.To prevent any foul odours form lingering,the partioned are is always sourounded by sweet smelling herbs that have anti-bacterial propeties.  
 
 At the centre of the den,lies the main hall,where everyone has their meals.Most fo the space is taken up by a long,rectangular stone surface that is used as a table.Along it's length,are arranged ghora fibre mats.To prevent sitting on their own tails,the Eshal slide them into wooden tail holders that are basically hollowed out cypress logs which have been sawn in half.

 The meal is simple and consists of fish that is either served in small cubes or large slabs.Though the flesh is raw,it is soaked in a certain spicy sauce that the Eshal love.Long,wooden skewers are used to spear the chunks of fish for the coveniance of the diners.In addition to this main course,there are also many side soup and broth dishes  are prepared with aquatic vegetables and shellfish.

 The main course of fish is served first,on a large wooden platter.Everyone helps themselves,using their skewers and transfer the chunks of fish to their bowls,after dipping them in the sauce bowl.Only after all the fiah has been cleared off the platter,do they start on the broth and soup dishes.These are served in indidvidual bowls to each person and are eaten with the aid of large shells.Sitor,brewed in clay vats located on the surface, is served after everyone has finished eating.A thick,creamy drink,it packs quite a punch and appeals to Eshal palates that dislike anything dilute and weak.

Once everyone is done with the meal,the adults chew the leaves of the ghora,an aquatic pant that has quite a few uses.The leaves aid digestion and serve as mild stimulants that help to lessen fatiuge and exhaustion.
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Offline Maggot

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Eshal Art
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2004, 03:22:39 AM »
Despite the fact that for such a seemingly savge race,the Eshal have produced intricate and ornate crafts,it is important to remember that the Eshal do not understand art for art's sake.

Eshal artists,like scribes,are of those of the peasant caste that have accquired skills which allow them to live in relative luxury and respect,being ranked only below the priests. They are not expected to be creative,but instead focus their talent on glorifying the gods and the rulers and in helping a largely illitrate population bond with their religon. Like almost every other thing associated with the Eshal,art for the Eshal is governed by religon and is even seen as a sacred gift from the Gods of Water.

 Eshal art includes jewelry,textiles,gold shaping,featherwork and of course, the magnificent staues and paintings adorning the temple-palace complexes of the High Priests.

STONE WORKING,SCULPTURE:The art of sculpture is supposed to have been imparted to the Brave People by Yuca,the God of Learning,thus making it a most sacred craft. The primary materials used are stone or clay,which are painted in bright colors with the aid of certain water-proof dyes obtained from a kind of slug. Colors have a very important role in Eshal art ;temples and palaces,as well as sculptures and bas-reliefs are painted in bright colors. This is due to the fact that each color has it's own siginificance.Dark brown,the color of most of the fish the Eshal eat,means life and bright pink,the color of tiny organisims that sometimes kill food fish,is associated with ruin. In fact,each deity represented in sculpture is identifiable by its chosen colors. For example,the Death Godess is often potrayed as a many armed,flesh eating sug that is a sickly pink in color. The only statues that aren't drenched in paint,are the unique ''living'' ones. These are figurines and idols that are actually shaped from living reef. The reef has to be carefully mantained and pruned to ensure that the statue does not loose it's shape,given the fact that the material it is hewn from is still living and growing. There is no need to paint the statues made of living reef,for to do so would be to insult the color given to every living thing by the Gods of Water.


Small carvings of basalt of aquatic beasts,best exemplify the sway the natural enviroment has on the Eshal imagination. The painstaking detail shown to these carvings,illustrate amply the Eshal belief that these animals are the messengers of the gods. The shark for example,is closely linked with the War God Wrota and is the shape he assumes,when appearing to gifted leaders and warriors. It is also the symbol of the most elite bands of warriors. The toxic stonefish by contrast,is the form taken by the Trickster Eacu,when he works his foul mischief among mortals during the month of Guha. Thus,the animal stone carvings represent the beasts sacred to each God and are often carried as charms. Another example of small but meaningful stonework,are the cuwaculs,or furnery boxes that are uesed to contain the dissected organs that are removed from the bodies of dead priests and warriors,as part of the mumification process that they undergoe when they die. Rectangular and measuring 4 feet by 5,their surface are covered with carved images that recount the life and death of the deceased and his journey to the land of the Gods.

 On a far larger scale are the huge basalt sculptures and bas-reliefs that craftsmen are employed by the state to erect. Such famous monuments are the massive stone discs that top the pyramids of Tawichi that are dedicated to the moon and the great plinth raised in the central square that honors Kuha,the goddes of the waves,a deity that relishes the sacrifce of infants. These works of art,display the genius that the Eshal have for carving in high relief.

FEATHER WORKING-As I have mentioned before,priests and warriors often wear ritual head dresses and capes made of scaless that have been shed by rare and exotic fish,out of the belief that these fish are the earthly re-incarnations of the souls of great warriors and leaders,come back to guide their comrades and descendents. The head-dress of the Emperor is made up of the feathers of 250 such fish.

Jewelry-Though Eshal of the priestly and warrior castes greatly appreciate and value jewelry,most of the splendid pieces worn are not created by their own craftsmen. The skill of gold working is actually an art preserved by the survivors of the destroyed mer-folk states. It is these slave craftsmen that produce the luxury items of jewelery and ornament for those of the upper castes,as well as the objects that are used to decorate the statues in the temples. Silver and gold,being plentiful in the Eshal domains are often used for trinkets. The most precious gem-stone is jade,while other greenstones such as conrelian and jadeite are also highly valued. In fact,one jade stone is worth two loads of gold.
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Eshal music
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2004, 03:27:57 AM »
Like Eshal art,Eshal music is deeply intertwined with religon.It forms an integral part of the rituals that are used to appease ancestral gods and spirits,and is often present during the ritualisitic sacrifices,where it accompanies the chanting of the priests.Here is a list of the instruments used.
 
Percussion Instruments

Powaaf-Gourd shaped rattles with beads,pebbels and seeds inside.

Hawaf-Turtle shell,pair of prongs on the belly side which are struck with a piece of bone.

Fida-Long rattle sticks,ending in jagged points that are only used in religious ceremonies.

Jufa-Copper gong that is struck with a bone mallet.

Tuca-A hollowed-out wooden cylinder laid sideways and hit by rubber tapped mallets,producing 2 different pitches.

Nouf-Cylinderical wooden drum that sits on 3 legs. Top is covered with Groll hide and the bottom is open. Played with fingers and is the most revered instrument,reserved only for the great sacrifices.

 Wind Instruments-Only played on land,for very obvious reasons.

Tuca-Long,elongated bone whistle that is used to create the spine-tingling, wailing war-sounds that the Eshal make to intitimidate their enemies.

Gowa-Conch-shell trumpet.

Yupa-Three holed flute made of bone or clay.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2006, 01:47:48 AM by Maggot »
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Eshal games
« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2004, 11:45:08 PM »
The Eshal play a wide variety of sports,all of them water-based and requiring great skill and determination.As you might have guessed by now,these games like every thing else,are deeply religious in nature and are played during the great sacrifices.

These game are believed to have been played by the Gods of Water  themselves,when Eacu the Trickster had created an army of demons to destroy the mortal realm. Realizing that the armies of the Trickster were to great to defeat in battle,the Gods decided to challenge him to a series of games. The Trickster would pit his mightiest demons and monsters against them. If the Trickster's champions won,they would allow the trickster to eat them and if they won,the Trickster would be banished to the land of the death Goddess,only allowed to leave during the month of Ghua,when the gates of the underworld are opened.Confident of the might of his his vile champions,the Trickster agreed,thinking that it would save him the trouble of fighting the Gods to get at the mortal realm. To his horror,the Gods won and he was banished from the plane of the Gods to the domain of the death Goddess.

The Eshal play these games during the sacrifices to honor the triumph of the Gods over the foul Trickster. As it was played by the merciless Gods,there are only two outcomes for any who enter. Victory on one hand and destruction on the other. Those who loose suffer the same fate as the Trickster and are sacrificed to the Death Goddess to atone for their failure,if they do not die during the game and those who win,can make any demand of the organizers. The games are held in the great courts clustered around the temple-complex of the High Priest and draw crowds of thousands.


1. The Gower - Its a game that takes place in a rectangular wooden ring where the athletes are required to swim after and grab a certain tiny fish that is released into the square,to win. But to make it more difficult for them to win,the fish is released among an entire shoal of identical looking fish. The only way to pick it out among the rest of the fish is to keep an eye out for it's fins that have been dyed gold.


2.The Hufa-It basically involves two Eshal standing on wooden platforms that fight each other with long staffs,hoping to knock their opponent of his perch. There are no rules and blows can be rained anywhere.In additon,no protective padding or armor is worn making broken limbs,smashed jaws and even cracked skull very common. Of course,when you're being led to the blood soaked altar of the death Goddess,injuries like that don't really matter much.


3.The Rsua-Its something out of a rodeo. That's right,he who stays on the pissed off horse without getting thrown off,is the winner. Of course,this being the water logged continent of Tarrod,there are no horses. Instead,an angry,pissed off,Great Serpent is used. Although used as the primary form of transport in the domains of the Eshal,Great Serpents are not used by those who can afford better,for the simple reason that some of them,especially males,have been known to suddenly go crazy and turn on their owners. Most of these rouge beasts are put down,but the fiercest of them of them are taken to Tawicha for the Rsua. This makes the Rsua a very dangerous game. The athlete trying to stay on the Great Serpent,has to remember that it is very simple for the beast to turn its head around and strike with it's deadly fangs. All it takes is a little nick,for it's virulent venom to kill the athlete. Thus,quick reflexes and persistence are necessary to win. And survive.

4.The Kaf-Anyone who is brave enough for this gruesome sport,is led into into a hastily constructed stone pen from which he must return alive,after defeating its monstrous occupant. Within lies an extremely nasty Kraken that has been starved for a very long time. Naturally,it's first instinct on seeing anyone enter it's enclosure,is to swallow that intruder. Armed with just a Lorhal,the athlete must hope to dispatch a beast. Usually they will try to blind the monster by stabbing it's eyes,before it can grab them with one of it's tentacles. A blind Kraken is much easier to slay than one which can see it's opponent clearly. If the athlete fails to slay the beast and is caught in it's deadly,many armed embrace,there will be no attempt to rescue him. This is in keeping with the victory or death code governing the way the games are played.


5.The Bina-It basically involves a fast swim from one end of a steeply walled pen to the other,something like an Eshal equivalent of a sprint but with a brutal twist. The long,roughly rectangular pen used,is actually divided into two sections,with the shorter one taking up one third of the total space. The stone barrier dividing the pen into the two portions, is lifted with the aid of a crude system of pulleys. A trapdoor placed over a very large hole dug into the soft soil can be seen. When a priest gives the signal,two warriors enter the smaller part of the pen through a small side entrance and lift the trapdoor up,before hurriedly darting out. Within moments,massive tiger sharks shoot out of the hole and soon the smaller part of the pen is seething with a school of ravenous,hungry sharks. As the sharks are released,the participants enter the longer part of pen through a small side entrance and wait for the barrier to be lifted. Then they're off!Their goal is to reach the opposite end of the pen before the sharks get them. There a small hole is carved into the wall,through which an Eshal but not a tiger shark can swim. All and any it out alive are declared winners.

6.The Fural-Each contestant is given just one shot to spear a giant sea slug that is kept in a box with a large round lid covering the top. When the box is set down and the lid raised,the sea slug will stay inside cautiously,slithering out only when he is sure that there is no danger outside. When this happens,the contestant who is standing 15 feet away,must chuck his Routh at it quickly to pin it down. If he misses,the next contestant in line moves in to try his luck.
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Eshal Religon
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2004, 02:17:44 AM »
Eshal religon can be divided into 2 chapters.Before the coming of the Cuada and after.The old animal gods that the Clans worshipped prior to the arrival of the salamander men,belong to the first chapter and the greedy,vicious water divinites that replaced them,belong to the second.During this transition from old gods to new,the ancestral divinites were reduced to the position of minor shrine spirits and guardian beings that served the new gods.The Cuada were shrewd enough to comprehend that the Eshal would be unable to completely forsake their Clan dieties= and convinced them that their gods were only the humble servants and messengers of the true Gods,the Gods of Water.These Gods Of Water were the children of Vaet,supreme godess of the universe who dwelt in the great Ocean, that had sent them,the First Born of the Gods to guide their younger siblings,the Brave People,in the ways of honoring them.The followers of those gods that refused to recognize the new deities,had their gods villified as demons,the most famous example being Larfu,the Shark God of the Hunt.

 And there were indeed quite a few who found it hard to accept the new gods that the Cuada foisted onto them.The old animal gods had been wise,guiding spirits that had never demanded much of their worshippers,in stark  contrast to their succsesors who had to be nourished by the blood and souls of sacrificial victims,or so the Cuada claimed.If deprived of their sacrifces,the true Gods would grow angry and abandon the world of mortals to the dark mercies of the Trickster Eacu,whose evil was only rivalled by the Dread Hunter Larfu.But sadly,most of the Brave People were willing to forget Clan notions of honor,so awed were they by the magic of the Cuada and the so-called true gods they served.

 The Eshal priesthood serves all the Gods impartially,trying to convince each Gods that they do not favour any of the others over him.This delicate balancing act ensure that none of the vindicitve and cruel gods they worship,become angry with them.This is done with careful supervision of the Cuada that are ever privy to the thoughts of the Gods.

     THE NEW GODS

 THE SUPREME GOD VAET:She is the great progenitor of the entire Universe.All beings,from the lowliest bug to the Gods themselves,are subordinate to her.This is something that everyone understands and know that just as mortals cringe in fear of the whims of the Gods,so do they cringe in fear of her whims.If the Gods decides on an insane whim to destroy the mortal relam,or even worse,abandon it to vile Eacu,she can be appealed to to save it.

 She has her home in the endless Ocean,from where she watches over the entire universe,seeing to it that the Gods do not get over cocky and forget that for all the power they posses,they ultimately answer to her.As ever changing and ruthless as the Ocean herself,she is nevertheless  unpredictable and moody as any God,making her an unreliable bulkwark against the wrath of the Gods.The Gods understand this and do their best to avoid treading on Vaet's toes,while still being their usual bloodthirsty and demanding selves.After all Vaet might not really care if they punish the ungrateful mortals as long as they grovel before her,no?

 Vaet is often represented as a vast multi-headed water serpent.In her coils can be seen the forms of Gods that have displeased her,most prominent of them being Larfu.The Cuada say that Larfu will only be released from the crushing prison of her coils when his followers recognize the Cuada as the First Born of the Gods.

THE OLD ONE: The Old One is the living core of Tarrod.Springing from the womb of Vaet when the being known as the Creator Serpent impregnated her,the Old One immediately begun ejecting a foam from her pelvis,out of which sprang all creation, and the various lakes and lagoons that cover most of Tarrod's surface and the Gods themselves.But this task so tired and weakened here,that she immediately fell into a deep slumber from which she never awoke.It was not death,but merely a state of stasis in which she wil always lie.The foam continues to pour from her still,nourishing the waters of Tarrod and the beings that depend on them for thier life.But this takes a terrible toll on the health of the Old One.As eons pass,the life giving foam seeping out of her continues to drain her of her health.Ultimately there comes a point of time when the Gods themselves must die to feed and replenish her strength.The blood they spill when they slay themselves to keep the life giving foam flowing,restores her to full energy.Though the Gods sacrifice themsleves,their death is but temporary.Out of the blood that remains,they emerge whole and new once again.

 TIOCHA,THE GODESS OF VEGEATION AND PLANT LIFE-One of the most important deities of the new phanteon,she is responsible for everything green and growing.Though the Eshal dies consist almost exclusively of fish,she is nevertheless important as most of the fish reared by the Eshal depend on algae and aquatic plants for food.Bad tempered and demanding,she is the bad tempered spouse of the War God Wrota.Jealous and vindictive the godess slew and devoured all the offspring of the other spouses that Worta had,so that her son would be the apple of his father's eyes.But ironically at the same time she is aslo the fierce guardian of  pregnant mothers and babies,protecting them from the vile minions of Eacu that yearn to do them harm.But those females that anger her,will have thier children devoured by her.She is not someone you would want to cross,especially if you were a mother to be.

 WROTA,GOD OF WAR-One of the original animal gods to survive the coming of the Cuada,his worship was preserved by the Cuada who realized that this bloodthirsty and violent god would serve them well.The twin borther of the outcast god Larfu,he remembers with hatred and anger the loss of his arm to his sibling and and longs for the day Larfu will be killed for good.More importantly,he is a powerful member of the Eshal phanteon and leads them to victory against their foes,reveling in the massive sacifices that follow a truimpant raid.He is also the slayer that hunts down the minions of Eacu and slays those water sucking demons every day,so that Tarrod will alway be submerged by the life giving water and the leader that guides blessed Emperors,helping them surmount the challenges facing them.Deeply arrogant and loud mouthed,the only person he is close to is his son,Hunal,Warden of the  Gates of the nether relam,the son born to him by his &^%$@ of a consort,Tiocha.
“I'm yet another resource-consuming kid in an overpopulated planet, raised to an alarming extent by Hollywood and Madison Avenue, poised with my cynical and alienated peers to take over the world when you're old and weak.” -Bill Watterson

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