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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Storehouse of All Knowledge (Works in Progress and such)
« on: November 25, 2004, 08:02:57 PM »
"A sword is a trusty friend... or Welcome to Ageratos

Where are the borders of the Earth?
I have often wondered.
Do they lie just beyond the sea, on the edges of the ice? Do they lie beyond Bohaaki after all, as some may say? Where thence come the Traders of Xoa Tan, and the Corsairs? Are the walls perhaps in the far-away Land of Yor, beyond the Poison Sea? Do they lie at the border of the sky? Are they beneath the Earth?
I think that there are no walls. There is nothing to keep back the dark, no protection against the drawing-in night. I know not whence come the Traders of Xoa Tan or the Corsairs, I know not what lies in far-away Yor, or at the border of the sky, but what I do know is this- the Outer World is not as far away as it seems.
But we cannot fence in the Earth. We mortals have not that power. The only defense we have against the powers of the Outer World is that great invention of ours: steel. When enemies surround, and the world is a corpse with a gilded surface, a sword is a trusty friend.

Ageratos is a massive land which lies between several seas and barrier wildernesses. There are large tracts of unexplored and unsettled land in this place, and many lands which are the homes of only barbarians.
The current Kingdoms of Ageratos are the product of two-thousand years of turmoil, begun by the migrations of the barbarian Agerai from out of the frozen north, led out of the icy Sea of Death by sun-haired Mysa and his tribe of iron-wielding warriors.

The most important thing that newcomers should know about this land is that magic is not some trifling thing to be toyed with by just anybody. Magic is the power of the Outer World, the ways of the gods and the demons. There are no petty mages, and wizards are no common thing. There is no sorceror on every street corner, no seer in every home. The way of heroes in the Kingdoms of Ageratos is the way of steel, the way of the sword. Heroes in Ageratos have either great strength or great cunning, and those who have neither survive not long in the dark places of the Earth.

Another thing to know is that Ageratos is not of an age with the Medieval times of most lands. They do not build castles, nor do they wear plate armor. Their temples are ziggurats, fanes, and shrines, and their gods are many. Many of their metals are bronze, and iron is the possession of rich men. The kings are autocratic and divinely-ordained; the priests are Magi, gazing upon the stars and casting horoscopes, and working great curses and blessings. You will find no gunpowder or printing presses. You will find no clockwork or steam power.

Ageratos is a huge place with thousands of miles of unexplored land. There is much to do, and so little lifetime to do it in. There are lost temples and cities to explore, warlords and barbarians and sorcerors to battle, demons to repel, wilderness to explore, adventure to be had.

You had best get to work, hero.

Prepare for the storm!

Master Index

Nations and races:
The Arachosians
The Carmanians
The Mysians
The Parakonians
The Three Kingdomers

Landscapes and Edifices:
The Black Crypt of Tsartis
The Sea of Esh-Eir
The Thousand-Day-Battle Plains

Organizations:
The Contract Clans
The Curalon Hestaris
The Herbmasters of Hibara
The Society of the Red Ones
The Sons of Wailu
The Witnesses of Chalaca

Religious Institutions and Gods:
The Thief God
The Uhamonian Order

Personalities:
Alcion, Master-Thief of Mysia
Dhaa Drangar the Sorceror

Animals and Plants:
Direwolf (Brachyurus)
Grandfather Spider
Marongghovec (ale-ox)
Water-falcon

Miscellaneous:
Demon items
Orichalchum
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Storehouse of All Knowledge (Works in Progress and such)
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2004, 08:09:24 PM »
Okay, people.
Armorican Kingdoms 2.0 has morphed into Ageratos. The decision has been made that Ageratos will not replace AK, but will be alongside it.
Still, don't be surprised if you see a few parallels between AK and Ageratos. You might even see a little of the Empire sneaking in there.

I have chosen the name Ageratos (Greek for "never old" or "never aging").
The official slogan for Ageratos, chosen on whim and because of the volatile nature of Ageratos (politically and enviromentally), is "Prepare for the storm!"
In any case, that's the current status.
PREPARE FOR THE STORM (of information)!
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The Mysians
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2004, 02:13:10 AM »
The Mysians
There was a great confusion then in the halls and homes of the people of Aggheron, and many rushed away in chaos from these places, and were overtaken by demons or by warrior gods; Aggheron was slain, and his son Agera became the lord of them.
Agera led them away from that place, and their hardship was great. Many of that band were overtaken, or fled, or were lost, and some took down their houses and made boats and sailed on the Sea of Death, and were not ever again seen.
Agera took his people to the shore, where dwelt the people of Calaton, and Caraton, and Allgghethon, and Boradatha, and Casitha, and many others; these the God Atron had called to the shore.
They dwelt on the shore for seven years, and in this time, Agera died, and his son, Mysa, lifted up and became lord among them. The God Atron put his mark upon Mysa, and all the people saw him as blessed.
But when the Sea of Death came nigh, and many demons were seen in the darkness, Mysa went unto them and said:
"People, the Sea of Death is nigh. Let us take down our houses and the trees upon the people's lands and make boats."
And it was done. But when they did make to disembark from the shore, with the God Atron as their guide, the people of the other lords faltered, and drew back, and were afraid.
But the people of Mysa followed him bravely, and without hesitation. That is why they are called the Mysathoi, Those Faithful to Mysa.
   -The Golden Book of Mysa

In Their Own Tongue:
Mysathoi (literally, "those faithful to Mysa" or "Mysa's faithful"; pronounced 'MEE-sah-thoh-ee')

Epithets:
Sons of Mysa (by many people), People of the Center (by many people), Quick Thinkers (by Massagetae), Golden Men (by Northerners), Devils of Mysa (by Three Kingdomers)

Homeland:
Mysia, Kingdom of the Phoenix, Center of Ageratos

Phenotype:
Mysians remain, for the most part, the race that they were when Mysa led the Agerai into Ageratos. They are tall, with men being 5'9"-6'5" (175-196 cm) and women slightly smaller at 5'2"-5'11" (157-180 cm), and their builds are slender and long-limbed. They have a medium-tan skin tone, with a tendency towards bronzing instead of burning. They have dolicocephalic heads with long, straight noses and expressive lips, and fine, diamond-shaped faces. Their hair can be anywhere from a brownish-blonde to a hot yellow-gold to a downy, whitish blonde. They have green or hazel eyes.
There are a smaller ethnic group of Mysians, in the northern areas, especially in the Sun's Path Mountains, known as Red Mysians. They have a similar stature, but they have a tendency towards more wide-hipped, wide-shouldered frames as opposed to slender ones, and their hair is typically bronze-red in color.
Both kinds of Mysians are known throughout Ageratos for their great beauty.

Dress and Fashion:
On normal days and times of usual business, Mysian men wear a cuton, a knee-length tunic which is folded elaborately to indicate social status or occupation. The cuton is belted with a hagghien, a knotted cord of silk. Footwear is sandals, erafoni. Weather-dress for men includes a heavy hooded cloak that is sometimes lined with fur, the velcuton, and thick socks called matensi. They may also wear a wide-brimmed hat which is generally made from straw, called an ieston.
Formal dress for men is a long, trailing robe, called a atrocuton, and a waist-length surcoat, or balaithisen, decorated with a family symbol, or simply the name in decorative script. It is traditional to go barefoot at formal occasions.

Mysian women normally dress in an ankle-length dress hyston belted with a similar hagghien to that of men. They wear a shawl over the shoulders, known as a velhyston. Women always go barefoot. Weather-dress for women is the same velcuton as a man, and in addition, they pin up the hems of their skirts to a slightly higher height to prevent them from dragging in mud.
Formal dress for women is a heavy gown, a atrohyston, similar to a man's atrocuton, but without the balaithisen. Most atrohysti are made to accentuate a woman's curves and breasts, and have elaborate trailing hip-capes that give them the appearance of women with rooster tails. As said before, Mysian women always go barefoot.

Mysian men shun jewelry, considering it a feminizing thing to wear, while Mysian women enjoy wearing jewels of tasteful nature; they should not be too large or too small, nor should they be set in gaudy settings. They wear necklaces, armlets, and ear-rings. Mysians do not exalt gold overmuch, as their own personal gold is quite enough. In fact, they much prefer ivory and ebony.

Mysian men wear their hair somewhat long, usually at shoulder length or slightly shorter. It is common for them to pull it back into a ponytail when working. Women arrange their hair in many styles, depending on fashion and preference; for the peasantry, it is common to wear a braid.

Food
Mysians eat a variety of mild dishes in warm broths. Generally, there is some sort of roasted meat, spiced, and mixed with green leafy vegetables and nuts of some sort, all of which are cooked. They are eaten out of shallow dishes which are half-filled with mild broths or stock.
On more festive occasions, skewers of meat, root vegetables, and/or fish may be eaten, and more exotic dishes, such as peacock, hummingbird, and snake.
The general impression of Mysian food is mild and a tinge bitter, and very soupy in character.

Music
Mysian music is generally pleasant and informal, played on flutes, lyres, harps, and other woodwind and stringed instruments. Drums are also popular among the poorer folk, and Red Mysians play the famous Mysian hill-fiddle. The tones are happy and lilting, with an upbeat, irregular fashion.
The general impression of Mysian music is happy, optimistic, irregular, and slow.

Society
Mysian society is male-dominated, patriarchal, and very intellectual. Mysians have a long tradition of philosophers and other deep thinkers. However, Mysian society is very conservative and tradition-bound. Mysian men are expected to follow in the footsteps of their fathers, and to pass on their occupation to their children. This tradition, along with the very conservative nature of the society, makes an informal hereditary caste system the norm in Mysia. Families which have traditionally been blacksmiths are generally always blacksmiths. Women are expected to marry a 'nice traditional' man, birth one or two children, and spend their lives running their husband's finances. Men do not have legal power over their families.
However, those who cannot follow their family traditions and go against the grain are known as hacallasoni, or "north-goers", from the ancient Agerai tradition of sending dissidents northward towards the Sea of Death. These hacallasoni are given a sort of special social status; as independents in a sea of alike people, they are the driving force of innovation and change in a hidebound and change-resistant land.
Beyond these informal "castes", Mysians are ruled by a landed aristocracy, the descendants of the warrior nobility of the ancient Mysathoi. They are ruled by an autocratic king.
Mysians keep slaves; it is an accepted part of life. Mysians treat their slaves, at best, as beloved pets, and at worst, as mindless pack-servants. A Mysian has power of life and death over any slave, though if one kills another's slave, one must pay the value of said slave.

Spirituality
The Mysians worship the Aeons (Aeoni, "endless ones"). The
greatest of the Aeons is the Phoenix, the symbol of death and rebirth, of life and death, and of endlessness, and is the most called upon by the Mysians. There are innumerable Aeons, including regional gods and demideities, but the Six Great Aeons are:

-The Phoenix, Life and Death, He Who Is Reborn, Lord of Light, Great Golden One, the One Without Ending
-Atron, Lord of Heaven, He Who Presides, Lord of Lords, Seer of All, Lord of the Sky
-Metatron, Lord of the Panoply of War, The Great Warrior, He Who Is Like Dread, Terrible Spear-Thrower, Bloody-Handed One, Lord of Fire
-Zoe, Green-Eyed One, She Who Is Most Beauteous, The Lover, All-Pleasuring
-Bythion, the Profound, the Unknowable, He Who Reclines, Lord of Dreams, Lord of Magic
-Atophaeon, the Deep One, Lord of the Sea, He Who Quakes the Earth, The Steed of Water
-Aegghorenda, Lord of the Dead, Master of Wealth, The Gray One, the Lord of Merchants

There is no established 'church' of all of the Aeons. Rather, each Aeon has a temple society of their own, with their own specially-trained Magi (usually with special titles) and own agendas. Temples of the Aeons generally cooperate with each other, though in areas where donations are necessary to keep the temples running, they compete for funding.
Typically, a Mysian takes one Aeon as his or her own patron deity. Many soldiers, for instance, take Metatron as their patron. Each individual has a shrine to their patron deity. But on any given day, a Mysian will probably swear by any Aeon which seems relevant to the situation- if one is hoping to please one's lover, one prays to Zoe, while if one wishes to make a lucrative sale, one prays to Aegghorenda.
Each Aeon's temple has it's own holy book, purportedly written by the Aeon itself, which contains the scriptures of the religion, tales, myths, mystic diagrams and magic for the use of Magi, and guides to special rituals. The greatest holy book in the land, however, is the Alciotari Aeoni, literally, the Teachings of Aeons, which contains the majority of the Mysian religion's central myths and legends. Another very important volume is the Golden Book of Mysa, the story of how Mysa led the Agera across the Sea of Death, and the adventures which they undertook along the way.

Mysian Naming Customs:
The vast majority of names for male Mysians end in -on, however, on rare occasions one can see the more ancient ending -a. Female names end in -i, -e (pronounced "ay"), and -et. It should be noted that the letter "z" occurs very frequently in female names and almost not at all in male ones.
Examples-
Males- Varon, Sentron, Endoron, Mysa (though it is akin to being named "Jesus"), Mysathon (very popular; "he who is faithful to Mysa"), Atronaron, Cartaron, Hartaca, Bylalon, Iolyon, Asycron
Females- Alyrate, Saggharati, Mephazet, Valet, Icare, Thisare, Atronare, Phoereti, Arazane, Ioistet, Zaite, Zoethe ("she who is faithful to Zoe"; extremely unpopular, because it is similar to the word for prostitute), Cartari, Alcione, Faliet
Men carry on their father's name as a surname. Hagghara, the son of Alcion, would be known as Hagghara Alcion. Women carry on their mother's name (Zoethe, daughter of Bithynet, would be Zoethe Bithynet).

Customs:
The common title of respect for a stranger is aevoron for men and aevore for women, both meaning "honored one". When one is more familiar with a person, it is permissable to refer to them by their name or as zonaion or zonaie, "loved one". It is considered terribly disrespectful for anyone but a family member or a very close friend to call a woman by her name, whereas custom dictates that one must memorize the names of all men that one is acquainted with.
When Mysians meet, they embrace; this is equivalent to a handshake.

Mysia
Mysia is not a beautiful land, a land not of extremes, but of tranquil in-betweens. Mysia does not have the highest peaks, nor the deepest valleys, but it does have lovely forests, grassy plains, rolling hills, and verdant farmland. Being the centermost land in Ageratos, Mysia is known as the central land, and the center.
Regions
-Sun's Path Mountains: These mean old hills in the northwest of the land border on the higher, more jagged peaks of Arachosia. They are not very high or steep, but they are known as the wildest and most dangerous mounts in Mysia (not a difficult distinction, since they are the only true mounts). With gnarled old woods growing across their lower slopes, and twisting ancient paths and passes, the Sun's Path Mountains are a haven for brigands, bandits, and darker things still. There are relatively few settlements in these mountains, and most of them are hard little bandit-camps or lumber-towns.

-Heartland Plains: The Heartland Plains are the centermost part of all of Ageratos, and also the flattest. These grassy, rolling fields are the home of pastoral Mysian tribes known as the Tytoni, famous for their saddles and cattle-blankets. The plains have many settlements on them, subsiding on trade in their grain, horses, cattle, and Tytoni goods.

-Pamphyna: In an ancient dialect, Pamphyna means "the good land". Pamphyna is the center of Mysian population. It is a flattish, grassy land, studded with copses of forest and small lakes. The region is heavily crossed by roads, and farmland is everywhere. Pamphyna is considered the center of Mysian fashion and culture. The capitol, Hartacon, lies here.

-Ballia: Ballia is a rocky, dry hill-land on the border of Mysia and the Western Wilderness. It is often known by Mysians as the Desert Hills, but, as any Parsian or Gedrosi will tell you, Mysians don't know what a desert is. It is arid, but not so dry that nothing will grow- it is really more of a scrubland or savanna. Ballia has a large population of frontierists and independently-minded folk, as well as the Alocimi, a Mysian tribe known to be fierce warriors.

-Southwood: In the southernmost regions of Mysia, where the River Tarizbon separates Mysia and Izada, the land is covered in a pleasant, green forest known as Southwood. Southwood is a region of plenty and earth-power, where life is well sustained. There are many communities and a large population in this region, but the Herbmasters of Hibara have made sure that there is not too much deforestation. However, in the eastern reaches of Southwood, a forest known as the Shadow Forest looms dark and eerie on the edges of the swamps of eastern Carmania.

-Rose Hills: The border between Mysia and Carmania is defined by the Rose Hills, a low region of low peaks and foothills, intermixed with light forest and, on the Carmanian (eastern) side, the famous swampy rose-lands. The Rose Hills have been an area of large contention between Carmanians, who see all lands containing their roses to be theirs, and Mysians, who say that all of that is religious poppycock and that the hills are theirs by right of conquest.

-Hills of the Ancients: In the northern plains, bordering on the Mountains, there is a long stretch of misty hills, known as the Hills of the Ancients. From time immemorial, these Hills have been regarded with superstition and fear by the populace of Mysia. Farmers who dwell on the edges of the Hills erect stone walls with iron rooster-effigies (the symbol of the Phoenix) in order to ward of the restless spirits of the place. Few enter the Hills, but on the edges one can encounter forgotten ruins of the Ancients.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Storehouse of All Knowledge (Works in Progress and such)
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2004, 01:34:41 PM »
Additions made of customs and last names.
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The Thief God
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2004, 10:29:59 PM »
The Thief God is a universal god among the Agera; in places where he is not worshipped, he is at least recognized as a god. The Thief God is a mysterious god who is, as might be assumed, the patron of thieves, bandits, those who creep in the night, spies, and other such people. He is the quintessential Trickster God, the manipulating joker diety. His hand is in every backroom deal, every prostitution, every trick and prank, every daring feat of roguery.
However, the Thief God is much more than the god of roguery. His Night-Priests, the most accomplished thieves in all of Ageratos (save, perhaps, Alcion, Master-Thief of Mysia, who is also called the King of Thieves), practice deep mysticism that relate the Thief God as principle of change and stability, decay and reconstruction. To those who penetrate this far into the rituals of the Thief God, he is, indeed, the supreme god, greater than the Phoenix of the Mysians, greater than Teshab of the Arachosians, greater than the Oxcollosi of the Three Kingdoms. He represents the eternal exchange of life and death, stealing life into death and replacing it with new life.
Theives and rogues of Ageratos are many and various, but one thing among them is sure- they worship the Thief God, and offer him their prayers at night.
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The Carmanians
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2004, 12:41:14 AM »
The Carmanians
They took the Golden Man, and bound him according to the prescribed methods of Shamas, and set him kneeling before the lake.
Then, Shamas took up the great curved sword of sacrafices, and raised it high above his head, to cleave in the back the Golden Man.
Shamas said:
"Oh great God Amalias, who is venerated on high and on low, I will give you this sacrafice, as you have commanded."
But then Amalias came to them on the shores of the lake, and in the form of a great white ram, with golden horns, and upon his head, a crown of fire, and that is the shape of Feroheras, Amalias the Thunderer.
Amalias said in a voice like thunder:
"I am Amalias, your God, who upon the Earth bore thee, and in great wisdom led thee away from the Dying Land, escaping the Sea of Death. I say to thee- do not slay the Golden Man, for thou hast proven to me, Shamas, son of Tamas, that thou art faithful in me, and that thou shalt not falter in doing my deeds. For this, I name you Shamas Carmasamal, Shamas the Rose Lord, and you shall be lord over all the lands where the roses grow."
And behold, for there upon the shores of the lake grew great fields of roses, twining amongst the forest and the grass, and overgoing the marsh.
And Shamas went forth among the roses with his people, and there was rejoicing, and feasting for many days, and they proclaimed that Shamas Carmasamal was their lord.
-'The Exaltation of Shamas', from the Second Discussion of Amalias

In Their Own Tongue:
Carmani ("the rose people"; "kahr-MAH-nee")

Epithets:
Rose People (by many people), Goat Worshippers (by Mysians), Rose Growers (by many people, but especially by Mysians), Sons of Shamas (by many people), Sons of Amalias (by many people)

Homeland:
Carmania, Kingdom of the Roses

Phenotype:
Carmanians are shorter than Mysians, but are overall middling in stature; their men are 5'5"-5'11" (165-180 cm), while women are 5'2"-5'8" (157-173 cm). Their builds are less slender than Mysians (though similar to the northerly Red Mysians), for their men have a tendency to be stout and strong, while their women are voluptuous or plump. They have the same medium-tan skin tone and tendency towards bronzing as their Mysian neighbors to the west (though they would not appreciate the comparison). They have dolicocephalic heads with Roman noses, strong jaws, and high foreheads. Their hair is usually wavy and light-brown or auburn in color. They have brown eyes.
In the southerly regions of Carmania, the people tend to be much shorter (women especially) and duskier in skin tone, with dark-brown or black hair, due to an infusion of Izadan bloodlines. They also have brown eyes.
Despite the cynical arrogance that Mysians show toward Carmanians, it is a proven fact that Mysian men find themselves attracted to Carmanian women, a phenomenon that is often referred to as the Rose Curse (by Mysians) or the Gold Curse (by Carmanians). In fact, many of the ancient statues of the Mysian love-goddess Zoe are based on Carmanian women.

Dress and Fashion:
Carmanian men wear a knee-length sleeveless tunic, known as an ithet, which is worn unbelted, and baggy breeches, garamet, belted with rope, in everyday business. In addition, they wear a band of cloth, the cazidiza, tied at the hairline. Their footwear is open-toed slippers, called shasaret. Weather dress is a waist-length mantle that fits over the shoulders, called a chalarminat, and a hood lined with fur, the cazarminat.
Formal dress is a knee-length embroidered robe with long sleeves that hang past the fingers, called a amalzinat.

Carmanian women wear a garment nearly identical to that of Mysian women, but it is called a hishicet. They wear the same shasharet as their husbands. Weather dress is a heavy over-robe with hood, called a dasharminat.
Formal dress for women is a complicated folded robe, made of many complex plaits and creases, that is enfolded around the woman in a hanging, many-layered confection of cotton or silk. This dress is known as amilzinat, and has been gaining popularity among Izadan and Mysian women as well. In another case of Carmanians being more alike to Mysians than they realize, women formally go barefoot.

Both men and women of Carmania wear jewelry, especially ear-rings. It is considered noble to pierce the body (it shows that one can withstand pain, a regal trait), and thus, many Carmanians have quite a few piercings in nose, eyebrow, ear, and other areas, though nothing like what a Three Kingdomer could boast. Heavy amulets and necklaces are also popular, but wearing anklets or armlets is believed to cause arthritis.
Carmanians tattoo their upper arms with prayers to Amalias, their Sky God.

Carmanian men wear their hair in a similar fashion to Mysians, while women wear theirs in a pair of long, thick braids; some women weave these braids together.

Food:
Carmanians eat a diet literally based on bread. Every meal is served on a flat plate of dish-bread, on which is piled steamed vegetables and rice. In addition, large cuts of meat are roasted, similar to steaks. Carmanian belies the influence of Izadan and Casdian food in it's spiciness. Predictably, they also eat roses and other flowers.
The general impression of Carmanian food is spicy and hot, with large amounts of rice and meat.

Music:
Carmanian music is deep and resonant, played on a variety of large woodwinds (such as tubas and long horns), small drums, and trained male singers who drone verses to Amalias.
The general impression of Carmanian music is deep, droning, and religious.

Society:
Carmanian society, in yet another parallel to Mysian society, is patriarchal and male-dominated. However, it lacks the intellectual trend of the Mysians, and instead focuses deeply on religion. The Magi of the God Amalias are the real rulers in any Carmanian city, and the king of Carmania is known as the Amamagil-Tarmal, the High Priest King. In addition, while Carmanians are patriarchal, they afford their women a much higher degree of independence- in fact, most occupations related to finances and management are performed by women, while men do most physical work.
The moralistic flavor of the Amalian religion and the theocratic nature of it's government make the Kingdom of Roses a place of strict laws. However, it is relatively easy to bribe any priest or official, due to a lack of any sort of laws relating to it in the Amalian Codes. Most other peoples see the laws of Carmania as being heavily religious, restrictive and tyrannical.
Carmanians do not keep slaves in the conventional sense, but they do practice debt-slavery and war-slavery.

Spirituality:
The Carmanians are famously pious and religion-bound. They worship Amalias, the Sky God, the Ram of Heaven. There are technically seven other gods in the Amalian tradition, but over time they have become mere avatars of Amalias. They are:

-Amalias, the Sky God, the Ram of Heaven
-Syzezegas, the Amalias of Wind, Speaker of Holy Words
-Feroheras, the Amalias of Thunder, Dispenser of Burning Spears
-Tarmacigias, the Amalias of Snow, Lord of the Mountains
-Ishdarzin, the Amalias of the Sun, Goddess of Shining Light
-Comashasetin, the Amalias of the Green, Lady of Growing Things
-s**thiheras, the Amalias of Water, Dispenser of Great Waves
-Arbacarizithin, the Amalias of Darkness, Keeper of the Dead

There are numerous temples to Amalias in each and every city, and there are mandatory prayer-days at the end of each week. These prayer-days include sacrafices of food and the blood of rams and sheep to Amalias, as well as communal prayers, and long readings from the Books of Amalias, the legendary history and mythology of Amalias and the Carmanian people, as well as their legendary leader, Shamas Carmasamal.

Carmanian Naming Customs:
Male Carmanian names end in -as, -vis,  and -o. Female Carmanian names end in -in, -shiz, and -ir.
Examples-
Males- Carmanas (very popular; "rose"), Athivis, Azatharo, Shathavis, Shamas (akin to being named Jesus), Shamasizas ("son of Shamas"), Amaliastharo ("faithful to Amalias")
Females- Inshizitin, Amaliastharir ("faithful to Amalias"), Shamasizir ("daughter of Shamas"), Carmanin, Ashiz, Sathashin, Dadizin
Carmanians have no last names. If they must be distinguished, they are called by their occupation, or simply as "Sharer in Amalias". Examples- Sadamas the Potter, Is**thshiz the Librarian, Argonir Who Shares in Amalias

Customs:
Carmanians greet each other with a very pious "Amalias bless you". All people, male and female, are given the term of respect "Ama", which simply means "high". Priests and nobles (interchangable terms in Carmania) are called "Amal", which means "lord". Priestesses are called "Amil", "lady". Carmanians are comfortable with a relatively high level of informality- even priests often give their first names as opposed to being called "ama" or "amal".
Carmanians frequently give gifts. Whenever one is to meet another person, plans are made well in advance so that both individuals may present a gift.
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« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2004, 09:20:06 PM »
The Arachosians
There were once seven brother spiders
And they went out from the Dying Land
And they crossed the cold cold Sea of Death
And on the way, they became enraged over a bit of food
And each fought with another
Until among them fell a leaf of Peace
So to prevent further discord
Each sought out one
Of the Seven Corners of the World
To spin their webs
One went to Ageratos (and became very wise)
One went to Xoa Tan (and became very strange)
One went to Ahursis (and became all-shadowed)
One went to Yor (and became lost for many years)
One went to Dreamland (and fell quite asleep)
One went to Hell (and was quite awake for eternity)
And the last one went to the Edge of the World
And though they searched
They did not find him.
-The Song of the Spider

In Their Own Tongue:
Arachosii ("people of Chon"; 'ahr-ah-CHO-see-ee')

Epithets:
Spiders (by many people), Sons of Chon (by many people), Loremasters (by many people), Witch Men (by Three Kingdomers and Cilicians)

Homeland:
Arachosia, the Blue Kingdom

Phenotype:
Arachosians are a small people, lesser in stature and lighter in build than their closest racial cousins, the Parakonians. Both men and women average 4'10"-5'4" (147-163 cm) in height, and are typically very slender; this makes men look boyish and women elfin. They have paler skin than other Agera, with shades from very pale tan to milky white, and they burn very badly in sustained sun. They have dolicocephalic skulls with retrousse noses and mild facial features- they tend not to provoke any absolute first impressions. Their hair can be very dark brown, deep auburn, or any shade of black; it is considered beautiful to have hair so black that it is nearly blue, while light hair is believed to signify dishonesty (Mysians, thus, are never trusted).

Dress and Fashion:
Arachosian dress does not differentiate between normal times and special times- they always seem to be arrayed in their finest garments.

Arachosian men wear a heavy, toggled robe known as a wzepaton ('hweh-ZEP-uh-ton'). Over this is placed a mantle that fits over the shoulders and upper chest called a himbiwa and baggy trousers underneath called pachawaon. The sleeves of the robe would hang to the knuckles, but at the elbow, they are tied back with ribbons of cloth called verochaii. They typically wear a conical cap with hanging ear-flaps called a wzachosison. Their weather-dress is a thick, hoodless cloak fastened at the neck called a vachuston (the word is a corruption of the Mysian 'velcuton'). All clothing is decorated in colorful patterns that signify the man's family history.

Arachosian women wear the achotion, a garment composed of a tight, vest-like corset (sleeveless) attached to a loose, thin skirt that is slightly more than knee-length. Over the achotion is worn a awachiston, a long robe that is belted with a sash of silk. Weather-dress is a vachuston, like that of men, and a cloth is tied over the hair to keep it somewhat dry. Their clothing is decorated in colorful patterns, like men's, but the patterns of womens' clothing denotes only their mother's family history.

Both men and women in Arachosia wear watichii, slippers which cover the toe but not the heel, for footwear.

Arachosians do not wear much jewelry, but what they do is careful and tasteful in nature. They favor silver (it complements their complexions) and blue or other dark colors. They do not pierce ears- this is believed to lower intelligence. They do wear anklets and bracelets and chokers, and rings on both fingers and toes are popular. It is currently fashionable for both men and women to tint their lips with crimson.

Arachosian men grow their hair to shoulder length, but they tightly knot it in a bun above their heads (the better to fit under their conical caps). They do not grow beards, but thin, carefully-trimmed sideburns are in style. Women wear their hair long, hanging just past the shoulders, and part it so that the bangs of the hair form a sort of frame around the face. During special occasions it is not uncommon for them to weave their hair into elaborate hairstyles, or arrange their hair in the elegant "ladybug-wing" style, wherein the hair is pulled back behind the head and separated into two "wings". Women who are courting only one man, and those who are engaged, weave a small braid into their hair above their brow and tuck it behind their ear; men who are courting only one woman, or are engaged, tie their bun with a green ribbon.

Food:
Arachosian food is what we would call 'highly-evolved cuisine', that is, it is very sparse, carefully planned, with meticulously chosen ingredients. The Arachosian culinary tradition is a carefully protected part of their culture, and has suffered little influence from the surrounding nations. It consists mostly of thin strips of bird-meat or fish, drizzled in thick sauces with a distinct beefy flavor, and arrayed with near-raw chopped vegetables.
More proletarian Arachosians eat similar cuisine, but it is often cooked longer and takes the form of a thick, stewy concoction.

Music:
Arachosian music is sparse and slow; it utilizes mostly stringed instruments such as balisets and violins. They play slowly and carefully, choosing notes as if it were a life-and-death decision, and the songs are generally sad or melancholy in tone.
The general impression of Arachosian music is slow and melancholy.

Society:
The best description of Arachosian society would be 'meticulous'. A good follow-up term would be 'knowledge-hungry'. The hyper-intellectual and philosophical ways of the Arachosians present themselves in unusual ways- the vast libraries that are dug into their mountain homes, the keeping of long family histories, the presentation of long-winded discussions about lineage and personal history upon meeting, and an emphasis on secrecy to the outside world. The tiny, mountain-bound land of Arachosia, having only three major passes into the central valley of the land, provides a very good example of how geography can shape culture- sheltered from the ravagings of barbarians and foreign influence, Arachosians can be troubled to concern themselves with the gathering of knowledge and information, and the understanding of self.
Arachosians are not particularly prejudiced towards either sex, but they are most definitely a racist people. Arachosians do not hate other kinds of people, but they consistently refuse to value them or their contributions in any high manner. Arachosia comes before all. In fact, Arachosians consider most other peoples to be sub-human, and a common greeting upon the return from a foreign land is "Welcome to the land of humans."
Arachosians are also preoccupied, if not obsessed, with cleanliness. Most Arachosian cities are extremely tidy, and the people there fastidiously do their part to keep themselves clean. They are the only nation in Ageratos to have invented soap.

Spirituality:
Arachosians have a triumvirate religion based on the worship of Chon, the Great Spider, Weaver of Fate. The tritheon of Chon, the Creator, Wzachir, the Preserver, and Teshab, the Destroyer, is the only true religion, purport the Arachosians. The Magi of the Tritheon keep one temple for all three gods, separated into thirds for each deity.
The beliefs of their religion state that the original world was created by a different god, but was destroyed by Teshab, who overdid his job as Destroyer. The only survivor of this world was a spider, Chon, who wove the new world out of his web and then created Wzachir, the Preserver, to watch over it, and make sure that the overzealous Teshab would not ruin everything as he had before.

-Chon, the Creator, the Great Spider, Weaver of Fate, Birth
-Wzachir, the Preserver, the Bearer of Fruit, the Watcher, the Keeper, Life
-Teshab, the Destroyer, the Storm King, Ender of Eras, Cutter of Threads, Death

Prayers for the worship of Chon take place at dawn; for Wzachir at noon; and for Teshab at sunset. Arachosians attend services whenever they can, but it is not a priority; they believe that the gods get along just fine without them. Arachosian religion has little mysticism or tradition in relation to other Ageran religions; it emphasizes personal reflection and meditation on the Gods and the natural forces which they represent.

Arachosian Naming Customs:
Arachosian names for males end in -on, -ab and -ir. Female names end in -o, -iza, and -chi.
Examples-
Males- Chatichon, Wzachirshir, Wzirion, Chation, Arachir, Arachosion, Echon, Hiwion, Awishir, Achab, Tirishir, Shichab
Females- Chaticho, Achiza, Achi, Awatichi, Achizwichi, Echitiza, Arochirio, Chitro, Ashro, Shiwiza
Arachosians carry on their mother's name as a last name, with the prefix chi-, "child of". For instance, Sichicashon, son of Wziza, would be Sichicashon chiWziza.

Customs
Arachosians greet each other by simply saying "good day", and by touching palms. However, when one is introduced to a new person, it is customary to relate a long description of family and personal history, as well as an explanation of one's family history clothing patterns. There are no real titles in Arachosia, though if one feels the need to afford respect to another, the prefix Id- is added to the name (Id-Sichicashon chiWziza).
Arachosians place their slippers by the door of each establishment or house which they enter, so as not to track dirt or mud, and all cities have channels of running water along the main streets so that citizens can wash their hands and faces.
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« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2004, 07:04:32 PM »
The Curalon Hestaris

The Curalon Hestaris, the infamous Brotherhood of Sinners, is an ancient school-guild of warriors, founded, among many other such guilds, during the years between the fall of the Ancients and the rise of the modern Agera kingdoms.

Originally, the Curalon Hestaris was founded by Witiza the Black, the legendary Bloody-Handed Blademaster, Murderer of a Thousand Warriors, Slayer of Kings. Witiza was an Ageran warrior, trained by swordmasters of the Ancients, who was one of the primary terrors of the Bloody Age (Many Ageran folktales and legends remember him as a primary foe of their culture heroes). Witiza led his band of slayers for more than 50 years before he suddenly, mysteriously, slew them all.
Having done so, Witiza formed the Brotherhood of Sinners, gathering notorious criminals, bandits, and warriors from all across Bloody Age Ageratos. All, including Witiza, took an oath before the Dread God Angra that they would become the greatest warriors of all Time, reciting the Oath of Sinners and Swords, still the principal oath of the Curalon Hestaris:

"Before Angra Blackheart,
the Lord of Fury, fire-eyed,
I do swear that I am
The Sword That Drips Blood
The Foe-Slayer
The Flesh-Render
The Heart-Ripper
I do swear that
None shall defeat me in single combat
None shall overmatch me in soldiery
None shall see me beg, fall, or fear
And when Death comes
I shall smile."

The principal axiom of the Curalon Hestaris, and the basis of all its teachings, is this:

"Inhale. Kill. Exhale."

Disciples of the warrior-religion of the Brotherhood, called Hestari (Sinners), Swordmasters, or simply Swords, are the finest single warriors in all of Ageratos. None can match their skill, reflexes like lightning, dexterity like cats, courage and ferocity like madmen, strength like bears, and the fanaticism of their insane sword-worship. They compose poems to their knives, and prayers to their swords, and they write their own death-songs; they are feared for their singular technique, the Blade of Fury. The mysticism of the Curalon Hestaris is powerful indeed, even drawing upon magic (called Weirding by the Hestari) to an extent. Many Hestari have been seen striking without moving a muscle, and healing the most grievous wounds without ointment or prayer.

Hestari hire themselves out as mercenaries to the highest bidder. Many wars between kings have been one simply due to the timely hiring of Hestari warriors.
Hestari take on all comers who seek to join their brotherhood, but they make no promises of survival. Only the most hardened make it through the horrific weeding processes of the Brotherhood of Sinners. The Curalon Hestaris also purchase orphans and slave-children for their Brotherhood; many orphanages actually prefer to adopt their children into the Curalon Hestaris, for the Swords pay very well.
Hestari train with all weapons, small and large, and in light and heavy armors, but the majority of a Sinner's training goes into the arts of the sword and the knife.

The traditional uniform of the Curalon Hestaris is a tight-fitting breastplate of black leather with sleeves of dun-colored silk and black leather gauntlets, baggy black trousers and steel-toed boots of black. They wear their swords horizontally across the back of their hips. They tattoo the symbol of a stylized blood-dripping sword on their breast above their heart and the word hestaron ("sinner") on the palm of their left hand.
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« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2004, 08:48:08 PM »
Finished the Arachosians.
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« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2004, 10:04:57 PM »
Up next- the Three Kingdomers, the Parakonians (and Parakonian Skillmasters), the Herbmasters of Hibara, and Uhamonians
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« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2004, 02:56:44 PM »
I have removed Wailu. I don't feel that it really fit with the mood and tone that I was going for with this setting.
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« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2004, 03:25:17 PM »
The Three Kingdomers
In the BEGINNING OF TURNINGS, there was a GREAT DARKNESS, and that GREAT DARKNESS made many GREAT WINDS, who all were very rageful and BATTLED in the LAND OF A THOUSAND THUNDERS. Then, six GREAT WINDS took the shape of BULLS, and these were the SHEDU, and the SHEDU BATTLED the other GREAT WINDS and CAPTURED THEM and made them into MOIST EARTH which they cast upon the DARKNESS SEA below.
Out of the DARKNESS SEA came a SNAKE, and the SNAKE crawled into the DRINKING CUP of one of the SHEDU. Out of the DRINKING CUP came ninety CHILDREN, and these CHILDREN went to the SHORE OF THE DARKNESS SEA, and the CHILDREN sailed across the DARKNESS SEA.
All was well then, until the SHEDU came to the CHILDREN, and were VERY ANGRY and RAINED THUNDERS upon them.
Thence, the CHILDREN bowed down before the SHEDU, and the sun came out again.
-The Saga of the Children of the Shedu

In Their Own Tongue:
Three Kingdomers as a whole: Penatchu ("the People"; 'peh-NAH-choo')
Amardothi: Amadotchu ('ah-mah-DOH-choo')
Kerastari: Kherasdoru ('khehr-ahs-DOH-roo')
Alarothi: Ararotchu ('ah-rah-ROH-choo')

Epithets:
Bull-Worshippers (by many people), Ox-Worshippers (by many people), Three Kingdomers (by many people), Western Barbarians (by Cilicians, Casdians, and Phasians), Accursed Ones (by Parakonians)

Homeland:
The Three Kingdoms of Amardoth (Amadotchi), Kerastar (Kherasdori), and Alaroth (Ararotchi), the Bull Kingdoms, the Western Kingdoms

Phenotype:
The Three Kingdomers are akin to their more southerly neighbors the Mysians in height, but rather than being willowy, Three Kingdomers tend toward the brawny toned musculature of a lifetime warrior, with wide shoulders, strong limbs, and large hands. They have paler skin than Mysians or Carmanians, but they are not the milky white of Arachosians. They have strong jaws and brows, with a tendency towards hawk noses. Their hair is generally reddish-brown or bronze-toned, and their eyes are blue or grey.

Dress and Fashion:
Men of the Three Kingdoms wear a pleated kilt that is slightly longer than knee length, called a silisc, which is decorated with their clan pattern. The silisc is tied at the waist with a long strip of fabric, a khetcha, with the leftover length of the belt hanging to the knee. Generally, the silisc is the only clothing worn, however, during formal occasions, the man will don a radetchimara, a long cloak that is fastened at the neck with a pin, and decorated with the clan pattern. Weather dress is a cloak similar to the radetchimara, but less fancy and decorative, and lined with fur, called a tirara, and a tight-fitting wool cap with earflaps that is tied under chin, also called a tirara (the term simply means 'dry-keeper', from "tirtch", dry, and "ararasc", to keep or to make). Footwear is sandals on platforms of cork which add anywhere from 1 to 5 inches in height.

Three Kingdomer women are known for their dress- they are kept heavily veiled in layered robes known as fakhitchu, which leaves only the face, from brows to chin, exposed. The fakhitchu is formal and weather clothing, as well as clothing for all occasions. Three Kingdoms women go barefoot, a tradition learned from Mysians.

Three Kingdomers wear a lot of jewelry of all sorts, but the majority of their ornamentation is in piercings and body ornamentation. Most Three Kingdomers can be seen having many piercings in ears, brows, noses, lips, nipples, navels, and other areas, as well as tattoos of all sorts. Three Kingdomers regard tattoos as sacred, and frequently ink mythological images and legendary monsters on their flesh.

Three Kingdoms men grow their hair very long, and wear it in long, wild topknots and braids. Most grow beards which they also braid. Women grow their hair long and simple.

Food:
Three Kingdoms food is generally regarded as being primitive in comparison to other foods. Mostly, it consists of charred meats on the bone and piles of roasted vegetables. This is sometimes accompanied by dishes of soup or broth of meat stock. Three Kingdomers eat with their hands- untensils are scorned as 'weak men's tools'.
The general impression of Three Kingdoms food is very medieval and meat-centered, messy and beefy.

Music:
Three Kingdoms music is made up of tribal beats on drums and woodwinds, chants, and the drunken anthems of the audience. In some cases, a barkhatchu, a bard, is called to relate the long, shouting histories and sagas of Three Kingdoms legends.
The general impression of Three Kingdoms music is loud, raucous, and tribal.

Society:
The Three Kingdoms are barely civilized, from many viewpoints. Their society is ruled by a warrior aristocracy of males, who have power of life and death over anyone else. It is fairly primitive and clan-based, politically, with each family owing allegiance to a clan. Males are dominant, females are subservient, and warriors are the rulers of all.
It would be easy to say that the Three Kingdoms exist in chaos, but in actuality, the warrior duels and elitist nature of the society have a tendency to put the best in positions of power- a sort of natural meritocracy. Poor leaders are suffered little by the Bull-Worshippers, and often meet early ends.
Slavery is a common practice in the Three Kingdoms, especially war-slavery. Captured prisoners frequently find their ends in the Jewel Pits of Amardoth, digging diamonds from the walls of crumbling tunnels.

Spirituality:
The Three Kingdoms share one religion, that of the Oxcollossi, the Storm Bulls, called Shedu in the language of the Three Kingdoms. The Shedu are nine in number, but they are not really distinct personalities; together they rule the universe as warrior-kings, casting thunder upon those who displease them. They are the perfect gods for a warrior people. They are represented as huge bulls with gigantic horns, battling demons, or as bull-headed men carrying curved swords.

The Shedu, the Nine Storm Bulls, the Oxcollossi

Each clan has their own Magi to perform sacred rituals to the Shedu. These sacred rituals take place on the last day of each month, with special extra rituals on stormy days. On these ritual days, raucous parties are held, with drinking, feasting, and songs, and human sacrifices are made to the Shedu. It is considered the highest possible honor to be sacraficed, one's neck snapped and body cast from the top of the sacred ziggurat.

Three Kingdomer Naming Traditions:
Male names for Three Kingdomers end in -a, -isc, -aram, and -u. Female names end in -akh, -im, and -ar
Examples-
Male- Khatcha, Fikiru, Balakharam, Utchirisc
Female- Barakh, Amarurim, Hatcharar, Rirakh, Imim

Customs:
Three Kingdomers greet each other by saying "With your honor". They invite others in by saying "Bring your honor", and say farewell by saying "Carry away your honor". Warriors greet each other by clashing swords. Women kiss when they meet.
It is customary for a male host and male guest to wrestle at parties. This is partly to prove who is stronger, and partly for simple amusement. Arm-wrestling is also popular.
It is never permissable to touch another man's woman, or speak to her without his permission.
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« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2004, 09:51:46 PM »
The Herbmasters of Hibara

Long ago, in the Deepmoss Valley of the central wilderness north of Mysia and south of Parakon, there dwelt a small man with a long white beard and wrinkled, weathered skin, leathery from years of life in the wilderness. He rarely wore anything but a tattered white robe, and he never wore shoes, and his name was Hibara (In Mysian, "gardener"; 'ee-BAH-rah').
Hibara was renowned as the greatest gardener in the history of horticulture. There was no vegetable, no herb, no flower that he did not understand, that he could not make grow, even in the dead of winter. He loved all plants and all growing things, even those which were poisonous. He had a magical way with the growing things.
Many sought to learn his secrets, but Hibara could neither read nor write, so he could not write out his secrets; as it was in the midst of the Bloody Age, nobody wished to go to him to learn, either, that they might be ridden down by Witiza the Black or the Dragon Warriors.

One day, as Hibara tended to the plants of his garden, which lay among the moss-carpeted stones of the Valley, a brave man came to him, and asked to be taught Hibara's secrets, saying that he had fought off a hundred evil bandits and their master, a sorceror, to find Hibara.

"I have no secrets, my son. I did this by my own hand." said Hibara in his quavering little voice.
Disappointed, the brave man replied: "Then will you not give me herbs with which to heal my wounds?"
To which Hibara said: "No, but I shall teach you to grow them yourself."

Thus began the Herbmasters of Hibara, for after that day, many of like mind came to Hibara in his little garden in Deepmoss Valley, and there learned the arts of the gardener, of the keeper and friend of growing things, the arts of becoming an Herbmaster.

The Herbmasters of Hibara are, simply put, the finest gardeners in all of Ageratos. There is no plant which they cannot make grow faster, larger, sooner, better, and it is their mission to restore life to those parts of Ageratos which have been slain by war and fear and fire, and to bring all people the peace of growing things.

The Herbmasters have no writings, for they keep everything by learning and memory, as Hibara himself did. They wear only cotton robes, and wear no shoes. They are pacifists, and never, ever take life.
Anyone, even a woman, can become an Herbmaster. They must simply devote themselves to the ways of Hibara, and speak this oath:

"I have no secrets.
I have only
The growing things
That I will make
Live in the warm black earth."

Herbmasters are welcome in almost every place they go, for they bring with them healing, medicine, food, and new techniques with which to grow new and better plants. Their mystical skill, that of making plants grow great and beautiful and strong, even in the dead of winter, they cannot impart. But they can give lesser techniques, such as growing on the cusp of winter, creating large growth, and other ways.

Herbmasters do not ask for payment- material positions have no worth for them. They care only for the growing things, for the flowers and crops and moss and grass and soil. They eat only that which they grow, and never kill. Scrupulously honest, they are a rare exception to a world of amoral killers and thieves.
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« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2004, 11:05:22 PM »
The Society of the Red Ones

There are, in some lands, great mounds and barrows, huge things, like small mountains and large hills. They are covered in grass, but nothing else will grow upon them, for just below the surface, under the layers of moss, loam, and crumbled rock, there lie ruins, the ancient pyramids and tombs and temples of the Ancients. These hills, which some call the Mounds of the Dead, can be found in many places across Ageratos, and are seldom places of good omen. They are haunted, haunted by the spirits of the Ancients, and by their unfathomable gods and magic. No Agera goes to these Mounds willingly, that he be struck down by magic from beyond memory.

But it was in one of these Mounds of the Dead that the Society of the Red Ones arose, from a crypt of ancient evil beyond time and memory.

The Society of the Red Ones is a debauched cult of hedonists, who wallow in sin as if it were one of the Holy Baths of Izada. They conduct any pleasure imaginable- orgies and sex parties, gluttonous feasts, vast symposiums of insane carnality, and, hidden from all others, foul rituals in nighted secret. Begun by Aias the Fair, a hedonistic man with intentions, in his own words, of becoming "the most bedded man in any land", the Society of the Red Ones has existed for well over thirty years, and is becoming a growing problem in Ageratos, especially in Carmania, who's zealous Magi burn such ones as heretics and moral degenerates. The Red Ones have a way of subtle luring, by which even the most ethically-armored folk may find themselves under the passionate sway of the Society.

The truth of the matter is that Aias the Fair was not always a hedonist. As any man of the village of Mochra in Lower Shichram, a province of Arachosia,  will tell you, Aias was originally the pious Magi of their local shrine to Chon. He had been a man of strong convictions, they will tell you, and a wise, pious young man, until the day that he entered the nearby Mound of the Dead, which he did to exorcise its evils.

When he returned, Aias was a changed man. He immediately sought out the beautiful young daughter of the village hetman and raped her upon the green, and then stormed from the town, heading, they will tell you, "like a demon in flight". Within days he returned, bringing with him men and women from the capitol, debauched nobles and drunkard peasants alike, where, against all tidings and resistance, they went into the Mound once again.

This is merely the genesis of the this fairly young cult, and it will surely spread in the gilt-yet-rotten kingdoms of Ageratos. One of the Society's holiest rituals, after all, is a long held tradition among the carnalists of Mysia: the Great Orgy, undertaken by any given enclave of Red Ones, which is fairly self-explanatory. The Society is organized into many such Enclaves, and each Enclave is headed by a Crimson Magi. The Crimson Magi is often either the fairest or the most experienced of the members of the Enclave. The Magi can be either male or female, the Society makes no distinction.

There cannot be said to be any more true structure to the Society of the Red Ones; it is a regional thing, and the founder, Aias the Fair, died of the falling sickness, chattering with madness when his soul left him.

The Truth of the Matter
Though no know it this is the truth of the Society, as I, Aias the Fair, pen it-
My heart misgives, now that I lay weak and discarded by the
things which became part of us.
Know this- within the Mound of the Dead which I entered, I found at it's lower limit, a forgotten hallway. At the end of this hallway, there was a stone which sealed the way, and upon this stone were written glyphs of the speech of the Ancients, which no man can decipher.
Truly, in my zeal to destroy the ghosts of that place, I smashed upon that seal my staff, and it fell in, revealing a dark crypt within. There I saw a thing... I cannot describe it. No-one who has seen it can describe it. It is impossible- defies our perception.
But it spoke to me- at first I thought it a demon, but it said:
"Man... Man! We are a god-god-god! God!" and it outstretched its indecipherable limb, and I touched it with quavering hand. A dark
thing crawled upon me, and like lightning thence to my neck, and I felt a strange sensation.
I felt then the most wonderful sensation, a burning pleasure, like I had never before felt. In this madness I fled the Mound, and returned with others who felt the same passion... I cannot bear what I did to that girl! But in my madness...
In any case, we returned, and once again the indescribable thing presented us with other
things which crawled upon my compatriots...
I cannot recount the many years of things I have done. It was all the parasites, though, the
things and not myself.
They urged me, and hounded me with pleasure and then its revocation; I could feel them feeding from my wild emotions, deep sadnesses and excitements.
They transfer with a kiss- that is our secret way to pass along the little gods that drive us. We kiss, and between us flee the little gods, and then we make love. It is indescribable, the first moments with the parasites, like a drug beyond the wildest of imaginings.
But I know the truth- the eldest of us, we get madder everyday. They are fraying our brains, these little gods. They are gods that Man was never meant to know. And when we become weak, they make a sleep come upon us, and we drift away, until the others can feed us and restore our strength.
The parasites fled me today, and the falling sickness finally came for me. But before the left, they presented me with the truth of what the glyphs upon the door-seal said, in that Mound twenty years ago:

"May the Gods keep this shut.
We summoned a Star Traveler,
with baits of love and worship.
But now we have its blessing
and its curse.
May the Gods keep this shut."
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« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2004, 11:07:01 PM »
I may add more to the Society of the Red Ones, just to see that it is properly fleshed out.
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« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2004, 06:06:26 PM »
The Parakonians
Igdarak, the Hound of Heaven, was released upon the Moor, and chased Akix for seven and seventy days. Akix ran and ran and ran. When he could run no more, he came to a halt beneath a tree, in which there was a honeycomb.
Igdarak came upon him, and bayed: "I have found you, Akix! Bow down and be slain!"
But Akix pointed to the honeycomb and said: "Oh great Hound of Heaven, I am most tired. I can run no longer, and you have found me. You deserve a reward. Why don't you climb up that tree and get the honeycomb, and then you can eat it and take me back to your master."
Igdarak howled in agreement, and began to climb the tree. But he found that when he climbed, his fur became caught in the sharp bark, and he could go no farther.
Akix said: "Oh Hound of Heaven, why don't you give me your fur, and then you can climb more easily?"
Igdarak considered for a moment, and then said: "That is a good idea. I shall give you my fur," and he did so.
When he had done so, Akix ran off with the fur while Igdarak became busied with the bees that swarmed about the honeycomb.
Akix fled to a cave, and there he spread the fur and lay upon it. As he slept, his magic went into the fur, and the lice crawled from it, and they became men.
When Akix awoke, he found men shivering with him in the cave. Thereupon, he cut up the fur with his sword and taught the men to make cloaks of it, and called them Parakonni, "cloak-sons".
-The Tales of Akix the Trickster

In Their Own Tongue:
Parakonni ("cloak-sons"; 'pah-rah-KOH-nee')

Epithets:
The Northern Folk (by many people), the Skillmasters (by many people), Northrons (by many people), Western Devils (by Massagetae)

Homeland:
Parakonia, the Land of the Skillmasters, Northland

Phenotype:
Parakonians are tall and strongly built, with men standing 5'8"-6'6" (175-200 cm) and women 5'4"-6' (157-176 cm). They tend to be muscular in build, with a pale skin tone, though not so pale as Arachosians, and they burn terribly in the sun. They have long faces, with steep brows and wide noses. They have straight, dark hair, brown, black, or blue-black. Some in the southern regions closer to the wilderness have auburn hair. The typical eye color is brown.
Skillmasters of different harruxiks tend to have different appearances-
WarSkillmasters usually are more muscular and toned than their regular counterparts, and tend to be darker in hair color.
GreenSkillmasters are often shorter than the norm and smaller, closer to Arachosians in appearance. They have blue eyes, and male GreenSkillmasters do not grow beards.
WaterSkillmasters are thin and willowy in appearance, and often have curly rather than straight hair.
HouseSkillmasters are shorter and, on the average, weighty rather than muscular. They tend to have light brown hair rather than dark, and have smiling features.
SteelSkillmasters are stronger and stouter than average, and males tend to bald sooner in age.
Skillmasters of minor harruxiks exhibit their own features which are two numerous to describe here.

Dress and Fashion:
Parakonian dress is highly varied based on caste, and for Skillmasters, harruxik. There are over six-thousand semi-separate castes in Parakonian social structure, and while some are nebulously defined, or blend into others, each has their own specific costume.
So while definitive remarks could not be made on all kinds of dress, the basic character of Parakonian dress is heavy and flowing, mostly fur-lined, with many buckles and straps and gauzy robes. Clothing tends to be decorated according to precise caste or harruxik patterns- certain combinations of shapes and colors for each, sun figurines for one caste, frowning faces for another- a good example is that EagleSkillmasters wear the image of a toad upon the stomach of their robes, while ToadSkillmasters wear the image of an eagle, and naturally, the two harruxiks are enemies.

Parakonians wear much jewelry, mostly made of gold, which their country is rich in. They also wear semiprecious stones and iron, those who can get it. Piercings are not considered to be appropriate, but tattooes are important for some harruxiks.

Usually, Parakonian men grow their hair long and simply braid it, while women wear theirs relatively short by comparison, merely shoulder length. But this is subject influence by caste and harruxik.

Food:
Parakonians eat mostly the same as their ancestors- great haunches of meat and chicken, platters of pumpkins, squash, and suchlike vegetables, all roasted. The general impression of Parakonian food is simple, hearty, and somewhat primitive. They do not use utensils.

Music:
Parakonians have quite beautiful music which is produced mostly on harps and other small stringed instruments, accompanied by quietly-piping flutes and the warbling ritual tunes of Parakonian trickster-legend. The general impression of Parakonian music is high, complex, and warbling, somewhat like birdsong.

Society:
Parakonia has perhaps the most complex and alien social structure of any Agera kingdom, one which arose out of a blending of Agera tribes which were foreign even for their people and natives who had been influenced by the vanished Ancients. Parakonian society is organized into an incredible caste system, as highly gradated, complex, subtle, and maddening to outsiders as any foreign language. There are extremely precise protocols for dealing with a member of an outside cast- specific greetings and behaviors, specific sayings, idioms, and tones of voice, specific religious myths alluded to. Each caste is semi-hereditary in that one's caste can be changed by the Magi at any temple with only a minor loss of social standing amongst the new caste. The castes of Parakonia are subtly different, blending in and out of each other, some nearly indistinguishable, and even the Parakonians themselves get confused at times; thus, it is customary to associate only with those in castes similar to your own. People of the castes of farmers who sew grain and farmers who wreap wheat would associate more often with each other than with a person of the caste of smiths that works with gold and silver.
Advancement and status in the castes are based on the acquisition of Skills, which are the organized system of things which must be learned to be considered a Skillmaster.
Skillmasters are a caste all to their own, and are organized into sub-castes called harruxiks. There are many thousands of harruxiks, but the most major harruxiks have become semi-religious brotherhood-guilds. These are the Harruxik of Seven Deadly Skills, which trains WarSkills (combat and military skills, the proper use of willpower), the Harruxik of Ninety Special Green Glances,  which trains GreenSkills (politics and beauracracy), the Harruxik of Long Flowing Water, which trains WaterSkills (religious skills- these are the Magi of Parakonia), the Harruxik of the House, which trains HouseSkills (also politics, but also rulership, finances, and a limited amount of art), and the Harruxik of Mighty Steel, which teaches SteelSkills (blacksmithing, working with metals, and some combat skills). In addition, there are thousands of lesser harruxiks that are less codified in their Skills.

Spirituality:
Parakonians have an animistic religion that states that the world is populated by avagh or avax, little gods who dwell in all things. Like the Parakonians themselves, the little gods have a caste system which they say mimics their own. Skillmasters among the little gods are demigods, called digibara, who are revered with their own shrines and temples. The greatest gods are represented as the creators of the caste system, namely Akix, the Trickster, a moon deity, and Hachnavagh, shining god, a sun deity.
Magi (WaterSkillmasters) are very important as almost shamanistic conduits between the ideal caste system of the gods and the cluttered one of humans. The purpose of Magi is to help to support, sustain, and fix the caste system, seeing to its health and wellfare.

Parakonian Naming Customs:
Parakonian names for males end in -ix, -a, -ak, and -ish. Parakonian names for females always end in -axal.
Examples-
Male- Hagharix, Digkora, Kaxarak, Arkashish
Female- Haxaxal, Karhachaxal, Ishkaxal
Parakonians take an elaborate title based on caste, harruxik, and ancient clan affliation. For example, Igdarbikak the Clay-Pot-Maker, Son of Red Sword Clan; Mijgikal the WaterSkillmaster, Daughter of Shining Clay Clan

Customs:
Parakonian customs are so many, so various, so caste-specific, that to name even a few would be madness. In any case, foreigners, regarded as outside the caste system, are free from the obligation to behave properly within the caste system (though it is preferred that they make an effort).
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2004, 12:47:17 PM »
Before I go on, does anyone have any questions? Suggestions? Criticisms?
Feedback, any at all?
Anything?!

GIMME' SOME FEEDBACK!
I need feedback to survive!
Necesito un poco feedback!
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« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2004, 08:22:18 PM »
Feedback on the Parakonians or on Ageratos in general?
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2004, 08:24:16 PM »
Ageratos in general, silly!
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« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2004, 08:28:33 PM »
Ahh.Ok,then.Here comes my feedback.You've done a god job describing each culture,but it might make things a little more exciting if you addded their politcal structure and the problems that beset them.
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« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2004, 08:22:25 PM »
Will get right on that.
In the meantime, I'm going to leave the Parakonians sitting for a little while and focus on some places and such. I just have no inspiration to make them.

I've been reading a lot of Hellboy and listening to Iron Maiden, so expect to see more strange cults and otherworldly horrors.
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« Reply #21 on: December 16, 2004, 09:21:13 PM »
The Uhamonian Order

In the mountains of northern Arachosia and southern Parakonia there is are scattered small monasteries, built upon high cliffs and in inaccessible places, where few can find them, and always, always near to the ancient relics of past ages. These monasteries belong to the Uhamonian Order, a cult of recluses and hermits who dwell together in isolation amongst the snowy peaks. The Uhamonians are not only monks, however. Some are peerless magicians, and all are devotees of an ancient god, known as the Uhamo, which in an ancient tongue means "Endless One".

The Uhamonians have much in common with the Magi of other gods. They build their homes and cells and storehouses around central temples of their gods. They induct their devotees with oaths of holy significance. But the Uhamonians not only are oathbound, but soulbound. When inducted into the worship of the Uhamo, their souls are chained to the central altar of their monastery, so that they may never seek to leave, or if they do, die.

Uhamonians keep many sacred mystical rituals at periodic points during the day, in which they gather in the central temples of their monastery to bow and pray before a stone depiction of the Uhamo, recite magical formulae, and wash themselves in the purified waters of the surrounding glaciers and snows. When they are not undergoing these rituals, studying the Black Arts, or doing the chores of the monastery, they are meditating, secluded, trying to plunge deeper in the dark, watery silence of their god's consciousness, to feel its tentacles upon their souls, ready to set them free in a universe of possibilities.

The holiest sites of the Uhamonians are the two ancient cavern-temples of Baurru Kor and Yihan Kor. These cyclopean caverns predate the Agera and the Ancients, and the Uhamonians say that they predate Man itself, having been built by gods in reverence to the Uhamo.
Within both of these temples are vast empty vault-halls, leading 1000 feet (in Baurru Kor) or a mile (in Yihan Kor) back into the rock of the mountain, to the holy of holies which reveals the true nature of the Uhamonians' god.

The central altars of these temples bear the image of the Uhamo, a blasphemous thing, carved in an exactitude of life, towering.
It is a massive, thick stem of tentacles, which coil and drape over the altar like the roots of an alien tree. Atop the step their is a central mass of fleshy arms and coils, surrounding a mad three-part beak, ringed in pincers and feathery mouthparts, and twelve staring eyes, surrounded by tiny clawed appendages. Its stone graspers coil around another absolutely lifelike image, a statue of a man cross-legged and close-eyed in meditation. The statue-man's jaw is bearded, and his hands are together in a pose of reverence to the insane creature above him.

The Uhamonians revere the Uhamo as the only true god, whom all other gods are but spiritual splinters of. Meditating in reverence of this blasphemous thing, they sink deeper and deeper into madness. In the dark of the night, the Uhamonians gibber as they sleep. When the monks sit down to eat, their bowls are filled only with snow, and they drink from empty cups. They wear robes stitched with swirling, eldritch patterns that confuse the eye, and stalk the mountains with curved knives, waiting to leap upon the unwary traveler and devour his heart. Even the eldest of the Uhamonians is as strong as a gorilla and hardy as a mountain goat.

The Uhamonians keep another secret, though it is something of an open one- their massive treasure hoard, which they keep in vaults beneath Haurri Bidash, their central monastery outside of the mouth of Yihan Ko. The Uhamonians have gathered some great amount of treasure in many centuries as mountain bandits and monks. It is said that there are seven great vaults full of treasure, though this is unfounded; only one man, Alcion, the Master-Thief of Mysia, has ever (allegedly) managed to penetrate the sanctity of these vaults, having destroyed the phantom wards upon the door of the first and plundering it for a huge emerald and many sacks of gold. As he will tell you if you ask him, this was no small feat, and he will relate to you his fantastic tale of the horrors in that place, and the vast amounts of treasure that he could only carry the least of.
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« Reply #22 on: December 18, 2004, 01:46:31 AM »
Finally finished the Parakonians.
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« Reply #23 on: December 18, 2004, 01:09:25 PM »
So any other feedback? Feedback of any kind? Criticisms? Comments? Words of Wisdom?
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« Reply #24 on: December 20, 2004, 09:06:31 AM »
To comment on the Red Ones and Uhamonians...
I dislike the fact that you picture the Red Ones' evil as overindulgenece in sexuality... sure, caring just about sex is stupid, and violation anyone to get it is evil, but it should not be the paramount of their vileness. And being just jumped by a parasite which forces you to do evil is not as interesting as if the dark thing just made an offer, and let them have the choice. Only a voluntary step into darkness d**ns your soul for good.

As for the Uhamonians - they need some more dimensions, not just 'evil warrior monks of Cthulu'. Perhaps their 'god' should have a cover identity - a small girlie goddess of daffodils and small fluffy animals? Or perhaps though yucky and tentacly and stuff, their god could be a foce of goodness or cosmic balance, but misunderstood because of being so alien. And all the time he might be kind, wise, or just good in bed.
Of course he might be evil, but should have some motivations beside trying to be evil because it's good to be evil.
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