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Author Topic: The Storehouse of All Knowledge (Works in Progress and such)  (Read 22236 times)

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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Storehouse of All Knowledge (Works in Progress and such)
« Reply #25 on: December 20, 2004, 12:49:57 PM »
On the Red Ones- good idea. I originally did have it that way (how else would they get members), but I must have forgotten it somewhere in the process of creation.

On the Uhamonians- That's all well and good, and a lot of the time, that would be a better way to go about it. But in this case, I don't think that I really want to. In Lovecraftian fantasy, it generally doesn't work too well when one of the Old Ones turns out to have a soft spot for puppies, or an 'evil' sorceror works for good and gray areas. This sort of fantasy frequently needs to be more black-and-white than most people enjoy. And in addition, I need some good ol' evil cultists, and that's the last of that!
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Offline EchoMirage

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The Storehouse of All Knowledge (Works in Progress and such)
« Reply #26 on: December 21, 2004, 02:01:55 AM »
Okay, I guess it will work out well so too.
As for inspiration - try rather Rhapsody than Iron Maiden... it needs a heroic feel after all!  :wink:
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Storehouse of All Knowledge (Works in Progress and such)
« Reply #27 on: December 21, 2004, 11:58:06 PM »
Ah, but Rhapsody is just so cheesy! :)
Yeah, I'll try it.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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Miscellany and Amphigory
« Reply #28 on: December 25, 2004, 06:56:20 PM »
Demon items-
Demon items are Demons summoned to the mortal world in shape of weapons, armor, or even other items (Haakeven, a chieftan who dwelt in Cilicia, famously possessed a Demon ale mug who was also his advisor). This generally involves entrapment, trickery, or bargains, and such ceremonies are rarely performed, for they are dangerous and chancy in nature. Demon items are always of exceptional quality and near-indestructible make, and possess the addition of a Demonic mind and soul. Many heroes have possessed Demon items; Islathon the Valiant was known to have carried Simaliokh, a Demon sword.
The reader will note that some Demons choose to appear as weapons, including Ysvaryalyk, the Sword of Mourning, who manifests as a bejewelled sword with a golden blade.

Orichalchum-
Orichalchum is a reddish-gold metal that is as hard as steel, and some say, more beautiful than gold. Orichalchum is extremely rare and extremely magical, and may only be worked by a specially trained Magi-smith.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Storehouse of All Knowledge (Works in Progress and such)
« Reply #29 on: December 26, 2004, 10:36:24 PM »
Added a short summary of the regions of Mysia to the Mysians section.
Soon to come: More regional summaries, and the Contract Clans.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #30 on: December 27, 2004, 01:14:39 AM »
The Contract Clans

The nations of Ageratos are fractious and proud, and wars between them and within them are frequent and bloody, if not generally prolonged. The many petty barons, warlords, and kinglings who rule outside of the powerful nations in regions of wilderness and political dissolution are, as well, frequnetly in conflict, battling over tiny principalities and small tracts of land.

It is in these nebulous border-states, march-lands, bandit kingdoms, wildernesses, and tiny independent nations that constant conflict has spawned a great power in Ageratos: the Contract Clans.

The Clans, or Freefolk, as they are known to themselves, are a semi-independent population of various companies, outriders, sellswords, bandits, minor tribes, and other mercenary peoples, who travel across Ageratos, selling their swords to kinglings and rebels alike, under elaborate payment schemes/oaths of temporary fealty known as Contracts. Each Clan is semi-independent from the main Clans as a whole, and there are no "leaders" of the Freefolk, as such, though each clan, company, or band is bound to have a leader.

The Clans are a quasi-political entity/identity under which any roving company of mercenaries can find work. All rulers respect the Contract Clans- their fighting skills range from mediocre to incredible, but even the smallest boost in troop count can be helpful in the vicious fights that spark up. Mercenary bands who would not normally be able to find a Contract can, for a time, sign of a Word of Patron to a larger or more powerful group of Freefolk; in this situation, the smaller company is included in the larger's contracts, in a sort of a client-patron relationship, whereby they can gain fame and money to continue their exploits.

The Clans are not really organized into any sort of coalescent organization, though some form alliances among themselves, travel together, or join under Words of Patron, as mentioned above. The Brass Warriors of Keig really do not have any allegiance or brotherhood at all with the Snarlers of Muulekh, but under the label of Contract Clans, or the partnership of Freefolk, they can find work together, rather than in competition as would be the case without the loose connection.

Many heroes find their start among the Contract Clans. Islathon the Valiant traveled for many years as part of a Freefolk band known as the Redmount Blades, and gathered much of his famous fortune on those journeys. Contract Clans offer a way to adventure for many restless young men whose passions are too great for the constrainment of military, a way to see far-away lands never dreamed of, to meet folk that were thought mythical, and most of all, to be payed in exchange for simple killing.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #31 on: December 27, 2004, 01:25:26 AM »
Alcion, Master-Thief of Mysia-
Known far and wide as the Master-Thief, the gangling, blonde-haired adventurer called Alcion the Mysian is famous for having undertaken many heists that the sages deemed impossible, including the taking of the famous Fist-jewel of the Sorceror Korlash, the looting of the Vaults of the Uhamonians, and the theft of the Bejewelled Arrow of the Altar of Aulucai. He is a sardonic man, sometimes said to be in his late 30s, othertimes his early 50s, who spends his money quickly, though he is known to have huge amounts stored away in caches across Ageratos, and his own personal money-chamber in the Public Treasury of Hartacon (OOC: Somewhat like a bank, though there is only one branch). His quickness and intelligence are legendary, as well as trickery, and he is rumored to know spells of the Night-priests of the Thief God.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #32 on: December 31, 2004, 01:54:39 PM »
The Witnesses of Chalaca

Everyone can imagine the throne-chamber of a king: A pillared hallway, long and impressive, with a throne upon a dais at the end, where the king sits, issuing edicts. The walls are bejewelled, the clothing of silk; nobles crowd the hallway with bowing, and guards in gilded armor stand ready to slay offenders. But when one imagines this image, one rarely thinks of the surreptitious scribe who sits cross-legged beside the throne, recording all the occurences of the day, a scribe who is, inevitably, one of the Witnesses of Chalaca.

The Witnesses of Chalaca are a monastic society devoted to the worship of the god Chalaca, the Eternal Lord of Surpassing Wisdom. They dwell in monasteries throughout Ageratos. These monasteries are among the greatest centers of learning in all the land, having huge libraries, centuries worth of information, and a population of Magi devoted to the act of knowing. It is often said that if one cannot learn something from the Magi fo Chalaca, it has never been known. The Witnesses are a special branch of the Magi of Chalaca who undertake the Oath of Observation:

"I shall always be the Eye of the Light
Recorder of Illustrious Destinies
and Bringer of Light to Places of Darkness"

The Witnesses are specially trained in a schooling that takes years and years to finish. When their training is complete, they have undergone a sort of personal transformation- they are no longer human, so much as they are living recording-machines. Witnesses of Chalaca all have the skill of perfect recall, and are able to remember anything ever said to them, except, perhaps, their own birth. They are the perfect observers, never blinking, never forming opinions, taking in everything. They can record anything they witness, hear, or basically are told to record, with lightning speed and perfect accuracy. They thus make perfect scribes. However, the Witnesses are also trained never to involve themselves or intrude upon events- their presence in a situation can change the situation, making it "impure". Thus, they are people of static observation, not action. They are generally as surreptitious as possible, and are often completely ignored witout conscious effort- they seem to be easily missed and easily forgotten.

The kings and rulers of Ageratos pay very well to hire Witnesses, depending on the rank of the Witness, from Iron-Ring Witnesses (who can cost as many as 1,000 Mysian staters) to the near-godlike observers known as the Ring-of-Light Witnesses (who have never been bought; they are dispatched by the Magi to witness events of great historical importance). Witnesses are expensive but useful, as they make near-perfect scribes, witnesses, and observers. They are also called to Witness business deals and the signing of oaths, and to oversee other ceremonies which require absolute accuracy in reporting.

What the kings and rulers don't know is that the Witnesses of Chalaca do not report only to them. Anything that is written or observed by a Witness is sent in a monthly package back to the Witness's home monastery, where the Magi of Chalaca induct this information into huge libraries, filing it meticulously for storage. An absolutely accurate record of every edict ever given by almost every king, autarch, baron, grand duke, high priest, master, absolute controller, high general, sorceror-king, overseer, lord-father, highest shaman, emperor, or otherwise in all of Ageratos can be found in the Master Archives of the central Temple of the Highest Light of Chalaca in the city of Ym in southern Mysia, overseen by the gnome-like ancient Master Lorekeepers of the Archive.

The Witnesses of Chalaca typically dress in robes of white, with hems of green and a knotted belt of blue silk. They shave their heads bald and wear white skullcaps.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #33 on: January 02, 2005, 03:38:28 PM »
The Black Crypt of Tsartis

The following is a short tale of horror which I composed before I ever came up with Ageratos. I have since made Tsartis a nation of Ageratos, so this story could very well happen to an Ageratos adventurer.

I know not what tempted me to rest upon the doorstep of that ancient burial-house in that ruinous burial ground of Tsartis, where dim will-o-wisps glow in the nighted aisles of the primeval woods. The stones were all astray within that gloam-ridden place; a-jumble in the mossy loam, with fungus sprouting upon them. The tall monuments were toppled, and their headpieces taken, and the gates of that place stood wide, with the iron hinges rusted. The statues all were beheaded, or with limbs crumbled upon the ground, and great cobwebs hung from everything. There was a dank fog upon that place, and which flowed into the wide-flung crypt.

I entered that place, glimpsing at grotesque idols and leering sculptures, and taking a whiff of the black flowers which grew like a carpet in some places of the burial ground, when I saw that black hulk of a mausoleum in the moon-less darkness. Passing there, I stooped at the steps of the crypt and peered within; darkness was there, a tenebrous curtain so heavy as to resemble the shroud of death itself, or blood-moistened black velvet of Izada.
   
The crypt was Tsartian in style, but made not with white marble, but with red-veined black, and the iron doors were cast open as if invite, or as if some gape-jawed beast. The heavy fog sank thick and black into the chthonic night-worlds of the mausoleum’s interior, and when I approached, there came a wafting, dank caress of sepulchral vapor, laden with the odor of must and decay, and of the cinnamon which is sprinkled upon the dead in that land.
   
I was compelled, while I stood upon that step, and with slow movements, lay down upon the uppermost step of the mausoleum, letting the chill ghost-air brush over me, raising the tiny hairs upon my body. I shivered with chill. As I lay upon that step, with the fog falling over me, I smelled the scent of musty cinnamon, and the remnants of a cloying odor, the sickeningly-sweet scent of death, and then, from within, there came an echoing rattle, and a scraping, as of stiffened cloth dragging upon stone. As I sat suddenly alert, there came the sound of a slow chime.  I lay to the step. Sleep swept over me.
   
As I awoke from a deep and dreamless sleep, comfortably warm and soft, I became aware of a distinct scent, that of musty cinnamon, and of a slow chiming, sounds unsettlingly like those of Tsartian funerals. My eyes slow un-gummed, and I attempted to sit up.
   
I was held down, and my eyes shot open, for staring into my eyes were the gaping, dust-caked sockets of a skull, its bone-white grayed with dust and age, and warped with cracks. The teeth were yellow, and crusted with black.  The bony fingers of its long-fleshless hands were upon my wrists, and its legs curved about mine, as if in parody of sleeping lovers. The dust of its crumbling bones lay thick upon me, and its antiquated, moth-tattered burial shroud lay upon us like a heavy black blanket.
   
With the strength of pure terror, I thrust the black-shrouded remnants from me, and leapt forth from the ancient burial-couch. I whirled in panic, meeting only bones, and turned upon the light that streamed in through the doors of the black crypt.

I dashed through lying corpses, kicking aside remnants with limbs outstretched in the contortions of death, as if to grasp my ankles and pull me back into the Underworld. I mounted the stair, and made silent vow never again to return to this gloamed burial ground.

But before I left that place, a sudden chill came upon me, and fear returned, and I whirled to face the blackness of the burial-couches- there, by the bones I had disturbed, there stood a silhouette, outlined in the light, of some being that belonged not to this waking Earth, something I know not what.

I fled that place in horror, and knew no more until I dropped from exhaustion.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #34 on: January 03, 2005, 09:36:17 PM »
Soon to be added once I flesh them out:
-the sinister Mishla Clan
-the wild Cilicians
-the death-worshipping Tsartians
-the barbarian Massagettae
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #35 on: January 07, 2005, 10:02:04 PM »
The Sons of Wailu

In Izada they have a saying: "The lowliest wasp strikes strong with noble action on his side." In the palaces and manors of that sunny land, much of the nobility devote themselves to this ideal of "noble action", and follow the code of Wailu (Literally, "nobility", with connotations of acting with or for noble causes), and are inducted into a secret brotherhood known as the Sons of Wailu.

Among the nobility of Izada, there is much restlessness; it has always been so. In light of this, it is not surprising that they seek diversion, but to them the great orgies of the Red Ones and the many decadences of Braza-Jaha, capitol of Izada, are not exciting enough. They seek new challenges to test their skills. It was just such a bored noble who founded the Sons of Wailu, a noble known as Zayad Ijai, Zayad the Quick. He was a man of great swordsmanship and valour, devoted entirely to the ancient ideal of noble action, striving for the good of man. Zayad took many proteges under his wing, who he taught the chivalric code of Wailu. He inducted them into a secret pact, that together they would seek noble action in their deeds. Thus the Sons of Wailu were born.

At the heart of things, the Sons of Wailu are simply a society of bored nobles who go about swashbuckling where they percieve evil to be. Most Sons of Wailu are, at the very least, good swordsmen, and they all have a similar style- a Son of Wailu can often be identified by the great swashing strokes and graceful footwork of his fighting. All attempt to follow the code of Wailu, which reads so:

"Wailu [noble action] guides every step, by the light of Auryaz.
Be always courteous and well-groomed; shun the dastard and the rogue
Do not poison the waters with lies
Live not sullied by untruth; right all wrongs done thee
Raise not thine hand against the blameless
Act always in the manner of the hero- be brief, bold, and accept no evil
Dwell not on the darknesses- let Auryaz shine in your mind, and thusly be cheered."

Sons of Wailu adventure abroad from Izada, seeking to do right by the world. Frequently, they can be seen saving maidens from thieves, battling ruffians, or counteracting the plans of dark sorcerors. They are the typical gallants, swinging recklessly into action with sword in hand and a quick eye.
In these times, much of the ire of the Sons of Wailu is focused on their arch-enemies, the sinister Mishla Clan. In an accelerating chain of blood for blood, Mishla Clansmen and Sons of Wailu battle each other in a secret war that can be found in the alleys throughout Ageratos. In fact, so great is the enmity of these two against each other that the Sons of Wailu are inclined to blame all evils on the Mishla Clan. The ducal heir is missing- the Mishla clan has taken him. The city was raided- the Mishla Clan was behind it. A sorceror has cursed the king- he was obviously of the Mishla Clan. Even when sings obviously point otherwise, the Sons of Wailu blame the Mishla Clan first.

Though it is unbeknownst to those outside the Sons of Wailu, there is a major division among them. The older nobles, the old guard of the Sons of Wailu, hold as they have always held- that the Sons of Wailu should fight against all evil and ignobility. But among the younger Sons, there is a great amount of animosity against the Mishla Clan, and a large majority of the Sons' younger members believe that their purpose should be expressly the counteraction of the Mishlas. There is, in addition, a great amount of pompous bravura stirred into this mixture- it has always been so, and always will be so, as long as jaded nobles compose the ranks.

The Sons of Wailu come to recruit new members at midnight, riding forth and awaking their household under the pretense of a sudden emergency. Taking the possible recruit from his bed, they take him to the nearest Noble Circle, the secret meeting spots of the Sons of Wailu, where they undertake secret initiation tests. The recruits who pass these tests are taken within the Noble Circle, and branded between their shoulder blades with the secret symbol of the Sons of Wailu- a stylized wasp, recalling the old adage of noble action. The others are turned away, never again to speak of what they have seen.

The initiation rite of the Sons of Wailu is a great fete, funded by the monetary leaders of the local sect, in which great jewelled costumes are worn, and masks, so that the true identities of Sons of Wailu will be unknown to the courtesans, slaves, and staff which are employed in order to work such a celebration. At the height of the party, a goat is brought out, and a ritual knife. The goat is then branded with the symbol of the sinister Mishla Clan, arch-enemies of the Sons of Wailu. A ceremonial knife, known as the Stinger in reference to the wasp-sigil, is produced, and all the members of the sect cut their forearms with it, and allow their blood to mingle with the blood of their neighbor in the circle. Then, the goat is slain with the Stinger and these words are spoken:

"The Stinger has struck!
While blood is still shed, there shall be Wailu!
While blood is still shed, we slay the Clan of Mishla!"

The long-term goals of the Sons of Wailu are rather undefined. They always, of course, seek to swashbuckle about in the name of noble action, and there can always be found Sons of Wailu striking for good in the heart of evil. But with the younger factions calling for Mishla blood, and the encroachment of barbarians and darker things on the borders of Izada, it seems that soon they will have to become less nebulous in focus.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #36 on: January 08, 2005, 12:59:44 PM »
The Sea of Esh-Eir

In the west of Ageratos, where, traditionally, is the border of the entire land, there is a great inland sea, a sea so vast that the other shore cannot be seen except on the clearest of summer days. It has a long, convoluted coastline, that is in turns rocky cliffs or marshy inlets, and much of the sea is crowded with islands. It is, in actuality, three great seas, stretching from the Gulf of Ice in the north, where the Sea of Death flows in, to the Strait of Karkessos, where one can cross into the Massagettae Wilderness, opening onto the Little North Sea, where the tombs of Tsartis sit cold and pale on the shores. The south of the Little North Sea becomes the Strait of Damrat, opening onto the Great Sea of Esh-Eir, the largest portion, upon who's shores lie the nations of Cilicia, Carmania, Aradash, and Casdia. The final strait is called the Snarl, and it leads to the rocky and shallow Little South Sea, upon which lies the nation Media, and the Gedrosi Desert.

The waters of the Sea, especially in the Gulf of Ice and the Little North Sea, are bitterly cold, while in more southerly portions, it is merely bracing. Many animals of all natures dwell in the Sea, and stranger things as well. The numerous islands of the Sea are home to secrets hidden long ago. In the center of the Great Sea, there is a very large island known as the Eye of Esh-Eir; this island has an ill star among the people of Aradash, on the eastern shore of the Sea. None who go to the Eye return.

Pirates are many in the Sea of Esh-Eir, as well as raiders from fighting nations, and in the Little North Sea, Massagettae frequently sail their rafts across the shallows to attack the Tsartians and Cilicians. The haunted islands of the Sea are likewise the source of many dangers, and trading ships passing between Aradash (gateway to the nations which purportedly lie in the vast waste of the East) and Carmania are frequently destroyed by the Akho, a massive sea-beast known as the "Embracer of Ships".
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« Reply #37 on: January 09, 2005, 01:45:35 AM »
Dhaa Drangar the Sorceror

Dhaa Drangar ("THAH drahn-GAHR", "dh" denoting a hard 'th' sound, 'aa' denoting a 'held' vowel mostly unique to the Mysian dialect of Phadhonian Longspeak. Phadhonian Longspeak's last native speaker died about 245 years ago, and the language is thus considered dead) was, in life, the king of Phadhonia, an early Mysian kingdom which held regions roughly corresponding to what is now the Sun's Path Mountains and most of the Haron, Bagghon, and Istifia provinces of northern Mysia. He gained his crown through subterfuge; during the 2nd Phadonia-Ephesis War, he formed a secret pact with the ruling Triumvirate of Ephesis and tricked Phadonia's other two generals into a trapped canyon, where they were slaughtered. Dhaa Drangar, in command of his army, swollen by the remnants of those of the other generals, as well as reinforcements sent from Ephesis, marched on the capitol of Phadhonia, Chaagonn (modern Shadon, capitol of Haron province). It is said that the king of Phadhonia was spitted on Drangar's blade over his breakfast, was buried by noonmeal, and that Drangar wore the crown by evenfeast.
Dhaa Drangar ruled over Phadhonia with an iron fist, cruelly oppressing the people. The kingdom became a military state, with Dhaa Drangar as Grand King-General. Many citizens of the nation went mysteriously missing, and dark things were seen wandering the cities of the land. It became unsafe to travel the countryside, for it became largely a waste, and Dhaa Drangar's warriors, as well as numerous bandits and evil creatures, lurked about.
In the 6th year of his reign, Dhaa Drangar tired of the increasingly impatient requests for support from his former allies, the Triumvirate of Ephesis, and a military expedition was organized. Marching into the heart of Ephesis, burning all the way along, Dhaa Drangar "freed" the capitol, and personally spitted the bodies of the Triumvirate on iron stakes above the gates. Ephesis was annexed soon afterward into Dhaa Drangar's kingdom.
As Dhaa Drangar's men ransacked the Triumvirate's citadel, Drangar himself came upon a secret chamber within a tower, wherein he found the secret arcane library and laboratory of the Triumvirate.
Over the intervening years, Dhaa Drangar became a terrible sorceror. The plight of the Phadhonians and Ephesians became ever worse. Other nations were either unable or unwilling to help. Eventually, it became so bad that Dhaa Drangar's helpless people were no longer able to eat or drink, so wasted had the land become, and so predatory were the demons. Out of the capitol came news of an uprising, but very soon, there was no news from the capitol- emissaries sent from the outer cities found an empty city with the gates standing open.
It was then that Islathon the Valiant rode into the kingdom of Dhaa Drangar. Through many feats of daring, he was able to overcome the demon guardians and evil spells of Dhaa Drangar's citadel, and, battling through into the sorceror's throne chamber, struck of Dhaa Drangar's head as the wizard was speaking a vile curse.
The rejoicing people of Ephesis and Phadhonia interred Dhaa Drangar's diced remains many feet underground in a tomb made all of solid lead, and his head was boiled. The flesh that was boiled from the skull was fed to dogs, who were then burned, and their bones were scattered in a lake. The skull was smashed with a hammer and wrapped in a cloth-of-gold bag adorned with symbols of binding and repellance to demons.
Many years ago, long after the land had repaired itself, and a new authority come over the land, and much of the legend of Dhaa Drangar forgotten, a tall iron tower appeared overnight on the sight that was known as the Sorceror's Tomb.
This tower was inhabited by a skull-faced sorceror with horribly suppurated and shrivelled flesh, who wore a corroded iron crown. The sorceror was the reborn Dhaa Drangar.
Dhaa Drangar has become a growing concern among the folk of northern Mysia. Though memories are dim, some can see history being repeated- dark beings stalk the land, and it seems that though the hills around the dark tower are growing dry, and the streams running too low, the tower itself is surrounded by an eerily vibrant garden, with leaves the color of blood.

Dhaa Drangar appears as a tall, wide, being, with limbs which would be powerful, were they not suppurated, scarred, and shrivelled. His head has no flesh- it is a bare skull, in which pale ghost-flames blaze in the empty eyesockets. He dresses in thick dark robes and wears a crown of corroded iron. He carries his ancient sword, Bitter Recrimination, and carries the scrolls of choice spells in tubular iron cases on a chain on his belt. His voice is booming and gravelly.
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Animals of Ageratos
« Reply #38 on: January 09, 2005, 08:32:55 PM »
In various places, one can expect to find all manner of familiar animals in Ageratos. But there are others which may not be so familiar.

Direwolf (Brachyurus)- Direwolves (also called Brachyurus, "short-tailed") are lupids of exemplary size. Most specimens grow to about half the heighth of a large horse, though larger specimens (such as the infamous 'King of the Wolves' who terrorizes northern Cilicia) have been seen. Direwolves differ from regular wolves not only in great size, but also in thick, bristling coats that are generally of a silvery color, or with less frequency, grey-white. Around the shoulder, neck, and chest, the coat is pronounced in thickness, with a straight-standing, almost spine-like quality about it- in common parlance it is called the "wolf's spines", while sages refer to it as a "horripillation". Last noted, the Direwolf has a much shorter tail than a normal wolf, leading to the name which sages call it, the Brachyurus. Direwolves exibit greater cunning (some would say intelligence) and ferocity than other wolves.

Water-falcon- Water-falcons are large sea-eagles known for great intelligence and trainability. They have the appearance of large falcons with orange-red skin and a crest of reddish feathers over the eyes; all other plumage is brown or white. Water-falcons are kept as messenger birds and as hunting falcons, but they are favored for the previous purpose. The king of the small kingdom of Euxia on the Sea of Death also has several units of falconers who utilize their specially-trained water-falcons as weapons, dispatching them to swoop down and claw at enemies.

Grandfather Spider- Grandfather Spiders are called so for their small and shriveled appearance- they often curl themselves up as if they were dead in order to take their prey unawares. These spiders are extremely poisonous; two drops of Grandfather Spider venom will slay a bull if given in feed or water. Assassins often capture and keep these spiders in order to extract their venom.
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« Reply #39 on: January 10, 2005, 11:30:25 AM »
Ageratos is really coming to life now, Captain. I loved the sea of Esh-Eir and the sorceror Dhaa Drangar. Keep on the good work!
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More strange animals...
« Reply #40 on: January 10, 2005, 04:59:25 PM »
Marongghovec (ale-ox)- the Marongghovec, or ale-ox, is a large, yak-like animal native to northern Ageratos. It lives on the tundras and plains, eating sweet grasses with its long, sticky tongue. The marongghovec's general features are yak or oxe-like, but their horns are lustrous and red, and they have aforementioned long sticky tongues. In addition, their lower bellies are a distinctive bone-white color (disguised by the shaggy fur) and are ribbed with leathery, thick skin.
The marongghovec's meat is tough and stringy, and its milk always tastes sour. The animal's true value lies in its mighty strength, equal to that of three normal oxen. A marongghovec is also usually belligerent, stubborn, and generally inflexible beyond its will. There is a way to get past it, and that way is beer. Any good marongghovec-driver will tell you that the best thing to quench ale-ox thirst with is beer, good beer. Upon drinking beer, marongghovec become quite drunk, and are at first doubly belligerent, rearing up proudly on their back-hooves to show off their fine, white bellies; during this early drunken state, a rearing ale-ox may at any moment enter near-paroxysms of rage, and cast about to destroy. But soon afterward, the marongghovec becomes quite stuporously intoxicated, and thense slumborous and stray-minded; they are then quite easily led as a work-beast.
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« Reply #41 on: January 10, 2005, 11:37:29 PM »
We need a general animals thread, not just the exotic animal competition. Then this critter (and your others) should be installed there directly. (Then someday we will move it into the LifeForms section and things will get interesting.)

I am very admused, yet wonderously amazed at this critter. It has true verisimilitude (which is a little oxymoron, but you get the idea).  

You should give it increased stamina as well as strength. This will allow it prodigeous strength to be properly utilized. Just a thought.
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« Reply #42 on: January 13, 2005, 01:06:04 AM »
First I would like to say that every setting should have an index of sorts, a list with clickable links, sorted after topic. Below is an example of how it could be organized, copy it if you care to keep and update an index at the beginning of the thread. (You are an admin so you can press “edit�, and copy paste the whole list from my source).

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

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

Overall you write professionally good, reminding me of my Middle-Earth sourcebooks, and that comparison testifies your thoroughness when presenting the source material. The races and nations are very thoroughly explained, and anyone planning on using your setting would find that it has ample material and background. Of course it would be interesting to learn even more about these cultures, such as local wildlife, flora, cities, villages and towns. The reading of these posts can become a little dry though, and proved, for me, to be the most difficult posts to read.

The NPCs you provide are interesting. They are larger than life, epic and “R.E.Howardesque� in character. Very, very good, I look forward to reading about your next NPCs.

The religious institutions and organizations is your strength methinks. It is easy to notice that you have a particular fondness for dark cults, but when describing the masterful Uhamonian Order, you really don’t need the Cthulhuish tentacles. In my opinion this order surpasses any Cthulhu order and the tentacles decrease the overall impression. The Curalon Hestaris, the Society of Red Ones and the Uhamonian Order are my personal favourites.

As for landscapes and edifices you have a flare for describing minute details of your setting. Where the general descriptions of the nations become a little dry, the minute details about seas and tombs are freshening and a good read.

The miscellaneous information is equally good, but any setting needs many, many more of these. Such references and details are essential for any setting.

 So overall it is very good. I like the setting and I like most of what has been posted.
Here is my wish list:
•   More exposure by listing Ageratos stuff in other threads like the “Establishmentsâ€?, “Organizationsâ€? and “City Imagesâ€? threads. This is great for attracting readers to your excellent thread and great for the community as a whole.
•   This in turn demands that you make cities and establishments. Organizations you already have plenty of ;) (for the moment)

Oh, and one question: I came up with an idea for Fan-Fiction. Can such contributions be posted here, or this a one man project? (It will take a lot of time before I am able to do so though, because of some projects of mine).
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« Reply #43 on: January 13, 2005, 06:26:49 PM »
If you want to post fan-fiction, that is A-okay with me! In fact, I would enjoy any contributions from any person (well, most contributions).

I have to invest some more time into describing the actual nations and lands- perhaps comprehensive posts like those I made for the provinces in the Empire?

Cities and establishments, yes, of course.
And some time, I will have to get around to more famous folks and heroes.
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« Reply #44 on: January 13, 2005, 06:31:38 PM »
AG's brilliant index added to the first page.
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« Reply #45 on: January 13, 2005, 11:11:35 PM »
Quote from: "CaptainPenguin"
I have to invest some more time into describing the actual nations and lands- perhaps comprehensive posts like those I made for the provinces in the Empire?

Well, actually that would be nice. Even nicer if you could make the locations along with possible hooks for those areas, but that might be just me.

Suggested Format: (It is the contents and not the layout that is important in this example)
"Someplaceisthan", province of Myasia
Description: A forest full of dark flowers, blah, blah, blah[10+more lines of description, describing the actual landscape as well as cities and towns and villages of note found in the area, along with any NPCS and special areas of note. ]
Myths and Tales: There is rumoured that within the shadowy forest glades, an ancient secret blah, blah,blah
Hooks:
-Crush the evil! Blah, Blah, Blah
-Grand Diplomacy! Blah, Blah, Blah
-Tricky Problem solving! Blah, Blah, Blah

Sorry for all the Blahs, but I wanted to suggest a format and not lose the focus.
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« Reply #46 on: January 14, 2005, 02:36:11 PM »
The Thousand-Day-Battle Plains

Description:
In the midst of the wasteland between Arachosia's mountains and the marches of Parakonia, there is the vast steppe known as the Thousand-Day-Battle Plains. Bordered on the south by the Deepmoss Valley (famous as the home of Hibara the Herbmaster) and on the southwest by the Clouded Mountains and the Cataracts of the River Ashash, the Thousand-Day-Battle Plains are a huge expanse of emptiness, in most places nearly dead-flat, and in others hilly, or covered in the Mounds of the Dead, where the bodies of the Ancients lie buried in forgotten tombs.
The Plains have dry, rocky red soil that in the hot summer months rises as choking dust at the lightest footsteps. On some hillsides can be found large taluses of flinty stone and some fields are studded with huge boulders. They also are covered, for the most part, in waving grey-green grass called shtirz by locals. In locations where water is very plentiful, there grow squat, emerald-green iflirt-pines and thick-boled oaks, while in the more empty regions, one can sometimes see copses of okmithan, a species of small, gnarled deciduous trees with fan-shaped leaves and stiff dark wood. Other regions are carpeted in tall urgalshtirz, "great-shtirz", which grows in man-high tufts and weaves, and hides the landscape.
The animals of the Plains travel mostly in herds or packs, and are not used to the presence of human beings- so few travelers come through this wilderness that wild ale-oxen allow themselves to be saddled. In addition to these herds of ale-oxen, wild kine, and great aurochs, there are gazelles of various sorts and wild goats. Predators of the plains include packs of wolves, earth-foxes (small digging foxes), cougars (also called hill-lions), serpents, lizards, and the mysterious Shkorltzlikth, an animal reputedly so terrifying that its very shadow scorches the grass. There are herds of wild horses that dwell around the settlements of Plainsfolk, as well.
The Plainsfolk of the Thousand-Day-Battle Plains are a barbarian people who live semi-nomadic lives. Each tribe of Plainsfolk has a herd of wild horses who they follow, and establish small settlements in each stopping-point of the herd. It is a right of passage amongst Plainsfolk men to break a wild horse to serve as yours at the age of 15. The Plainsfolk are often hostile to more civilized folk who pass through their lands.

Tales, Legends, and Myths:
It is said by the people of the plains and the lands surrounding it that many thousands of years ago, the Thousand-Day-Battle Plains were the site of, predictably, a thousand-day battle between the God Vorl and Utmins, the Invincible Warrior. Vorl had become drunk and knocked over the towers of all the houses in Utmins-land. Utmins, in retaliation, took his Dauntless Company and captured Vorl's son, Sklash, the treacherous Dragon of Uchosha (which is plains-parlance for Arachosia), and chained him up under a lodge. Vorl came to the lodge and knocked it down, and stamped all of Utmins-land flat looking for Sklash, but he was not to be found, for Utmins had made the dragon's skin into armor. Vorl leapt upon Utmins' back and the two wrestled for seven days, flattening even more; then, Utmins drew out his sword and cut off Vorl's arm- the blood spatters became the Lakes of Vorlspilketh. Vorl, in a rage, pulled out Utmins' eye, and threw it into the sky, where the Sun God caught it in a net (it became the moon, say the Plainsfolk). Vorl and Utmins fought for one-thousand days, until, finally, they collapsed in exhaustion. But Vorl rose, and through treachery, overcame Utmins' company of men, and led his army into the Invincible Warrior's camp, where he cut off Utmins' head. The blood from Utmins' body flowed south and became the marshes of Carmania. Meanwhile, Vorl went north and buried the head in a cairn of stone- Mount Taris.

The Shkorltzlikth, "terror-eye", is a mysterious beast that is said to roam the Thousand-Day-Battle Plains. It is reputedly huge and flaming, so bright that none can bear to look upon it. Its body is poisonous, and so deadly that its very shadow causes the graze to wither and blaze. Some say that its hooves are made of iron and its tail is of brass.

It is also said among the Plainsfolk that a wizard once came to the Plains and commanded demons to build him a tower. But one of the demons discovered the secret word that the wizard used to seal their magical contract, and doing so, broke it, and the demons revolted and separated the wizard into ninety pieces.

Plot Hooks
Caravan- A caravan of traders needs to cross the Thousand-Day-Battle Plains, but they need guards to protect them from Plainsfolk, hill-lions, wolves, and the fearful Shkorltzlikth

Hunting Expedition- A noble has arranged a hunting expedition onto the Thousand-Day-Battle Plains, in the hopes of taking prize trophies. He needs guards, staff, and hunters to keep his competitiveness up.
(You could work the Shkorltzlikth into this)

The Beast Is Real!- The Shkorltzlikth is real, and has been terrifying a Mysian outpost on the southern plains. The heroes must defeat this terrifying demon-beast.

It's A Hoax!- A Mysian outpost on the southern plains is being terrified by the Shkorltzlikth, or a creature fitting its description. The heroes have been hired to get to the bottom of this.
(Its a hoax- a flaming effigy or model, possibly created by the Plainsfolk to scare off the Mysians, or for some other reason)

99 Pieces- The legend of the wizard and his demon contract is true, and a sorceror has hired the heroes to recover his 99 pieces so that said sorceror can learn to make such magic contracts.

I'll Be Back- The legend of the wizard is true, and he returns from the grave, and constructs his tower. He begins to terrify the populace- et cetera et cetera.

Lost (Iteration A)- The heroes become separated from their traveling party on the Plains. Can they survive long enough to find a settlement and find their way out of the vast expanse?

Lost (Iteration B)- A noble of (someplace) has gone missing on the Plains, and the heroes must find him.
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« Reply #47 on: January 15, 2005, 02:32:02 AM »
The Cilicians
And so it was that Kerrukm and Haunnu were married at the Temple;
But Kerrukm's clan-retainer, Asha, looked on with jealousy and pain in his heart- he, too, loved Haunnu, but he feared action, for like a youth who is early stricken with Love's darts, he feared inadequacy and heartbreak for himself or others; as well, he had no wish to be disloyal to his chieftan, Kerrukm.
For many months, Kerrukm and Haunnu were very happy, and Asha became more and more stricken; his shoulders sagged as if under a weight, his eyes were in deep shadow, and he became hotly angered at slight comments.
Finally, when the complaints among the clansmen of Asha's listlessness and temper grew too great, Hikenvoshla the Mysian, another clan-retainer, went before Kerrukm.
Hikenvoshla the Mysian said: "Thou hast, in wisdom, seen the malaise of Asha the clansmen, he of coppered hair and weighted presence?"
Kerrukm replied: "This weighs upon my soul. But may he not simply be stricken by evil spirits?"
Hikenvoshla said: "We have asked him to make the Rituals, but he refuses. We think he is not stricken by evil spirits."
Kerrukm said: "Then I dispatch thee to find his confidence in this matter- you must bring me the solution."
Therefore, Hikenvoshla the Mysian went to Asha and, clapping him upon the shoulder, said:
"Tell me, clansman, in your confidence- what is it that weighs upon thee?"
Asha said: "There is one who is my heart's desire."
Hikenvoshla said: "Forsooth? Then who is this one that preys so upon thee?"
Asha replied: "I care not to elaborate."
Hikenvoshla was dispatched frustrated, but a little wiser.
So it went when was sent Kikurushma, Ikahashn, and Arishla, also clan-retainers, who were sent to find Asha's secret love.
Finally, one day, it was discovered that Haunnu had gone missing in the night- a search was conducted, of part Asha was not.
It was discovered that Asha had fled the lands of Kerrukm and gone to the east.
There was a chase sent, and Asha was discovered lodging with Harrkkn, King of the Akshlas; and it was discovered that during the journey, Haunnu had been bitten by a serpent, and that Asha was even now upon her grave weeping in shame, fear, and rage.
When they went before Asha, he said to them: "All has come to nothing- I have destroyed all I loved. The only recourse is death."
But Kerrukm, who had before been filled only with rightful vengefulness, went to Asha and said: "Forsooth, my friend- there is nothing to regret."
Asha replied: "There is a child who waits for you, among the People of the East. It is not my bastard; it is your full-blooded son."
Kerrukm said: "What is his name?"
Asha said: "Haunnu called him Kilikka."
Kerrukm then gave to Asha the ceremonial sword, and Asha took himself to a place hallowed by Magi, and spilt his blood in expiation of guilt.
-The Tales of the People of Kilikka

In Their Own Tongue:
Kilikkateka ("the clan of Kilikka"; 'kee-lee-kah-tey-kah'; in proper Cilician, as spoken by the upper classes, this should include the modifier 'Kor-' on the front of the word, denoting an organization of people)

Epithets:
The Redheaded Ones, the Wolf People, the Berzerkers, the Northern Ones (by people south of Mysia), the Raveners (by the Parakonians)

Homeland:
Cilicia, the Wolf Land (in their tongue, Kilikkata)

Phenotype:
The Cilicians are among the tallest of all Agera. Men stand 6'1"-6'7" (177-201 cm) and women somewhat shorter, at 5'5"-6'1" (158-176 cm). Cilicians usually have a sturdy, well-proportioned build, and are a bit heavier than the norm (being a bit chubby is common among children and elderly Cilicians); in some regions, however, it is more common for the folk to be extremely thin and willowy (these ectomorphic individuals are often called "tree-children" or "grass-children"). Cilicians have a pale-medium skin tone that lends itself to having a pinkish tone, and burns quite easily. They have a wide variety of facial features which mix and match quite frequently in unusual ways, though long, aquiline noses are common. They have red, auburn, coppery, or red-blonde hair that is very curly or frizzy, or in some cases, waved. Cilicians have blue or green eyes.

Dress and Fashion:
Cilician men usually dress in knee-length kilts called mteshkar, which are generally striped with one's clan colors and fastened with a thick belt of leather (irreushla). Over this is worn a long coat-like garment with sleeves that reach to the middle of the forearm, called a kulshlimu; the kulshlimu is generally not worn closed, but hangs open, though among southern Cilicians, it is slowly becoming fashionable to belt it with a strip of cloth. Footwear is either thick boots of hides and fur or simple leather sandals. All clothing is trimmed with fur to cut the cold. Weather dress (which, in Cilicia's climate, is almost always worn) is a heavy pelt-cloak of wolf or elk, and a close-fitting leathern cap with earflaps, which is, of course, trimmed with fur.
During formal or festive occasions, Cilician men dress in a similar fashion, but they use cloths specially made and kept for such occasions- their kulshlimus are checked in bright patterns, and their mteshkar are striped in the brightest of shades possible to emphasize clan membership. On these occasions, it is also traditional for Cilician men over 30 to wear a ceremonial breastplate of bone and horn, painted with clan patterns and mystical symbols, called a dashlekk.

Women dress in gowns or dresses, called akikknd that reach down to the middle of the shins. Among Cilician women, it is often a sign of status to have the thinnest possible fabrics for one's akikkn. Over the akikkn, women wear a short jacket or vest that covers the shoulders, arms, and upper torso, called a mashlukk. Footwear is fur-lined slippers of leather. Most clothing is fur-lined, including the thinnest of akikkn. Weather-dress (again ubiquitous) is a heavy pelt-cloak, like those of men, and a hood of fur and leather that is pulled over the head and tied into the clasp of the pelt. At the hairline, young women who are eligible for marriage wear a white band of cloth.
In formal occasions and festivals, young women bring out the bvakknheutnd, a tunic of thin cloth painted with clan symbols and designs with a short skirt reaching to about the lower-middle thigh. Older women wear layers of long, thin robes, and wrap jewelled or decorated sashes about their waists.

Cilicians wear lots of jewelry, men and women both. Typically, a man carries his wealth (or signs of it) in the form of heavy bangles, torcs, and earrings, while women may wear necklaces, torcs, armlets, bangles, bracelets, and other bric-a-brack. Cilicians prefer colorful materials to the luster of metals, and enjoy jewels very much. Their jewelry has a distinct barbaric character to it- wolf fangs and feathers are common among rubies and emeralds. Cilicians also wear huge amounts of carved things- things which are carved are believed to release their spiritual power, or hutmild. Many Cilicians weave carven figurines and beads into their hair, or hang them from their clothing- it is not uncommon to see Cilicians wearing pseudo-armors of carven ivory and wood.

Cilician men grow their hair long and wild, preferably with many braids and weavings, and large sideburns. Only men over 25 may grow beards- this is the sign of an adult. Warriors of a tribe will wash their hair through with lime, bleaching it into a mane of white-yellow spikes. Most women of Cilicia cut their curly locks at about shoulder length, and pull it back tightly, catching it into a ponytail behind the head. In southern Cilicia, young women attempt to grow their hair as long as possible, however.

Food:
Cilician food is generally meat foremost. Any Cilician who doesn't enjoy a good chunk of roasted elk is probably a coward, or worse, a Mysian. Organ meat, haunch meat, it's all the same when roasted over a crackling fire. They eat a large amount of protein, with the added root vegetables and various fowls and fishes, generally eaten with the bones, which Cilicians relish as "good for the teeth" (perhaps not coincidentally, choking deaths are common among Cilicians, especially at their wild raucous feasts).
The general impression of Cilician food is fire-roasted, dripping grease, heavy and filling.

Music:
Cilicians make music on small horns and hand-drums, with rattling tribal beats and storytelling chants. Accompanying may be the buzzing throat-singers of western Cilicia, or the droning bagpipe-like instruments of the north- and southeast.
The general impression of Cilician music is long, narrative, and droning.

Society:
Cilician society is based on the given word and the bond between master and servant. Cilician males form bands of warriors (OOC: similar to the Germanic gefolge) under the head of a chieftain, who is in turn bonded to the high-chieftain of his clan. Cilicians organize themselves into clans. However, these are clans less in the familial sense we might make it to be than they are organizations of clients and patrons- a clan is made up of a chieftain and his bonded retainers, and the retainers' retainers, and so on. One may leave a clan or join another at any time, but the rituals for the release of given word must be overseen. These relationships are governed by complex ritual laws, and based on the giving of oaths, which are regarded as sacred things- to give one's word in Cilician society is to put one's heart and soul behind a promise, and traitors and breakers of promises are among the worst of criminals.

Spirituality:
The Cilician gods are incredibly numerous and vary by region, for the Cilicians are not ruled by one authority or group of Magi. These gods are generally known as ulikkiri ('oo-lee-kee-ree'; literally, "they are watching"). There are generally agreed, however, to be three "universal" ulikkiri, shared by most, if not all, of the tribes:

-Mimerrde, the Wisest One, Gray-Hooded One, Night-Traveler, the Poet God
-Norrnd, the Wolf God, the Bloody One, the Terrible Spear-Shaker
-Nishlurr, the Liar, the Trickster, Lord of Fire and Darkness, Honey-Tongued, the Cunning and Bold

Magi among the Cilicians are called mtorushla ('m'toh-roosh-lah') and are rather more similar in function to tribal shamans than the organized priests of the other nations. Mtorushla of a given area have a loose brotherhood of sorts, and gather together for rites to the local ulikkiri and to the universal ones. Ritual sacrafice of humans and animals is a large part of Cilician religion, and also fortune-telling. Indeed, shrines to the grim Cilician gods are often frightening in their stench of blood and death. A well-known method of divining the future among the mtorushla is to bind a man in a kneeling position, and hack him in the back with a sword- his writhings are sprays of blood are then interpreted.
As stated before, Cilicians believe oaths and given word to be sacred, and any oathbreaker is said to be cursed by Mimerrde.

Cilician Naming Customs:
Cilician male names end in -a, -as, -nd, -urr, and -n; female names in -u, -ish, -ikm, and -arr.
Male Name Examples: Asha, Kilikka (very popular; literally "he is like a wolf"), Beushlas, Morrnd, Mtikkurr, Rrolshn
Female Name Examples: Haunnu, Thrikklish, Mnoshlikm, Shleusharr
Cilician names are generally preceded by an identification of clan- "I am of Krishla Clan, named Mishkarra.

Social Customs:
Cilicians greet each other by kissing each cheek- this is true of all, except between those of low status and high status; in such situations, such as a king greeting a peasant, the high status person places their palm towards the low status person.
Cilicians are not overly concerned with hygiene, but they never, ever eat from another's portion of food, or drink from an unwashed vessel that another has drank out of.
It is considered a healthy behavior to drink lots of alcohol, and those who do not are often believed to be suffering from sicknesses.
Because of their belief in the sacred power derived from carved things, many Cilicians whittle in their spare time, and present people they meet with gifts of carven figurines.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Storehouse of All Knowledge (Works in Progress and such)
« Reply #48 on: January 16, 2005, 06:42:54 PM »
Finished the Cilicians
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The Boots
« Reply #49 on: January 20, 2005, 08:07:20 PM »
The Boots (also called Lord Snarkh or Lord Bujum)

Taking its name from ancient children's songs and fairytales ("snarkh" being an Ageran term which could be somewhat equated to "goblin"; "bujum" being something like a very dangerous snarkh; and the Boots being a mysterious man mentioned in the child's song "Hunting of the Snarkh"), The Boots is a mysterious agent of great strangeness who one can only hire in very improbable times and places. The Boots must first be contacted through his agent Fishla, a Cilician man who dwells in Hartacon in Mysia, though Fishla himself can be contacted through his agents in various cities. When one arranges a meeting with the Boots (through Fishla), one is given a slip of paper with an unusual rhyme or riddle which provides the location of the meeting, which is generally in an incredibly improbable time and place, such as two hours past midnight on the banks of dry stream where nothing grows in Anthia, at the bottom of the Vale of Swords in daylight on your birthday, or in the center of a public square just after evenfeast. The Boots is never quite seen, but it is easily heard, by those who it wants to hear it, and it is never reasonable about its terms. It insists on being payed in bizarre goods- live beavers, the dust from the grave of a madman collected at dawn, a pound of spiders, a newly-cast bell. After, and only after, this payment is made will the Boots give that famous phrase:
"I shall send out my snarkhs and bujums."
Within a week of this phrase, the intended victim of the assassination will disappear, without a trace, under unknown circumstances. It is often said that the victim has been "taken by the bujums" (who reputedly have the power to make a man vanish), a common expression denoting that the person has vanished.
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