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Author Topic: The World of Acqua  (Read 21467 times)

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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The World of Acqua
« Reply #25 on: April 01, 2005, 07:54:17 PM »
Note on Big Red- for a true "dark sea" feel, try making him a tad less beneficial- perhaps he demands sacrafices of virgins and blood, or perhaps his worship involves some sort of dark rite (human sacrafice or what-have-you).
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Offline Maggot

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« Reply #26 on: April 01, 2005, 10:19:56 PM »
Great job,Cheka! Great job.   :)
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The Shura
« Reply #27 on: April 02, 2005, 09:32:59 AM »
Carved into the vast rock formations and shoals that lurk beneath the waves,are the dwellings of the Shura. These highly aggressive beings posses the muscular upper bodies of humans and the streamlined bottom half of a shark and have both gills and lungs,allowing them to study the ships that sail on the ocean surface above.

 There are many different clans and tribes of Shura,each with their own High Chief and war leaders. Screaming praises to the savage Shark Spirit,they make fierce war upon one another for control of the undersea amethysts deposits that are scattered in the Shura lands. These deposits are rather scarce and the Shura tribe that controls the greatest number of them is easily the most powerful. Amethyst is important to the Shura for many reasons,foremost among them being the heavy dependance that their tribal Shamans have on them. Shamans who enjoy a large stockpile of amethysts,are able to cast awesome summoning spells that can compel even the dread Sea Spiders and Sirens to obey them. In battles between the most powerful tribes,it is not uncommon to see magic controlled Sea Spiders fight on behalf of their Shura masters,unable to refuse the demands imposed on them. Not that the Shura really need them.  Shura berserkers are able to channel the unrelenting hunger of the Shark Spirit through heavy use of the sacred weed. When whipped into this frenzy,they rip open the bellies of their foes with their barbed bone tridents and devour the entrails that spill open. The more entrails of a foe that a Shura warrior devours,the stronger he is believed to become.
 
 
 Shura society is utterly brutal and ruthless,as befitting such a merciless folk. Physical strength and the ability to fend for one's self is a quality revered above all others,as all young male Shura learn from the day they are first brought into the savage world of their people. Tough and determined to survive from the very start,the young males are born with the inherent hunting instincts of their kind. For two months,the young male juveniles have these instincts honed to a razor keen edge under the baleful gaze of experienced hunters of the tribe. Then,upon completing this phase of their lives,they are expelled from the domain of the tribe to prove their worth in the dangerous waters that lie beyond. There for a period of four months,they must fend for themselves against the dangerous predators that swarm the seas of Acqua,as well as warriors of the other Shura tribes that will have no compunction against slaying and devouring them should they find these younglings hunting in hunting grounds claimed by them. Only the strongest and most resourceful of braves survive this brutal rite of passage.

 Upon returning to the tribe once their term of exile is over,these victorious survivors are now permitted the right to impregnate the females during the great breeding orgy that takes place in the middle of the month. During this frenzied time of copulation,each male will attempt to plant his seed in as may females as possible,all to aware that most of his children,will in all likelihood,not survive the brutal period of exile...

 The Shura are known by many islanders of Acqua as the Old Ones. It is widely held,that in an age now lost forever in the mists of time,the Shura were once air breathing beings that dwelled on the islands until the coming of the children of Acqua. According to the old tales,the Shura had almost wiped each other out when the sons of Acqua arrived on their shores. There the latter made a wager with the three warring Kings of the Shura. What the wager was,none can recall. But what they do know, is that had the sons of Acqua lost it,they would have had to leave the islands,never to return.  Fortunately for humanity,the sons of Acqua won and it was the Shura that had to leave. So the islander version goes.

 The Shura resent this as a foul lie. They tell a different story to those willing to hear it. The Shura people were driven into the sea they say,by the ruthless invaders with their burning weapons of iron. This old wrong still burns in their hearts,with many of their chiefs and Shamans woving to work towards the day the vile humans are driven off the islands that once belonged to them.

 Idle talk perhaps,for a people terrified of iron weapons and tools. But the Shura are sly and willy foes. They have shown themselves to be more than an idle threat. Many smaller ships of the mighty De Madden company have found themselves shattered upon treacherous shoals,after following the beacon from what they believe to be a light house showing them the safest way out of dangerous waters,unaware that these lights are actually cunning spells cast by Shamans of the Shura to lead them to their death.  The crews of the ships are quickly devoured,while a big part of the amethyst is given to the Shaman,with the rest going to the chief and his bravest warriors. The tribes of the Golden Shore call the deadly lights of the Shura 'Demon Lights.'' A Sea Wizard or Witch can recognize the magical aura emanating from them,and will order the captain to ignore them.

 But it seems that the Shura are no longer content with preying on their hated foes at sea. Unknown to the people of Acqua,after much argument and debate,some of the strongest tribes of the Shura have formed a pact to rid the islands of the human plague.  Agents have been sent out to secure the support of ambitious Krakens that aspire to attain the power of the fabled Big Red. The Shura have promised to deliver to them great amounts of the precious amethyst in return for their assaults on the great docks and ports of the humans. Quite a few have already chosen to join the Shura cause. The time may come when the people of Acqua find themselves cowering and cringing before the wrath of the Shura.
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Offline Ancient Gamer

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The World of Acqua
« Reply #28 on: April 02, 2005, 11:49:55 AM »
About the simile (or even literal interpretation) between the oceans and hell. Have you abandoned that course?
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Offline Cheka Man

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« Reply #29 on: April 02, 2005, 12:20:09 PM »
For human beings, they still think of it as Hell, but of course for the water-based beings, that's not the case. The very deepest oceans are Hell for everybody because the G'Thrann live in them.

Offline Cheka Man

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« Reply #30 on: April 02, 2005, 02:26:09 PM »
Big Red has been updated to make him much darker. I plan to write about the religions of Acqua later on.

Offline EchoMirage

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« Reply #31 on: April 02, 2005, 06:15:53 PM »
What does drive Big Red to eat maidens? I'd demand a fat man if I was a kraken. A bucket of lard is better than a sack of bones...
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Offline Cheka Man

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The World of Acqua
« Reply #32 on: April 02, 2005, 06:36:52 PM »
Partly tradition, partly their rareity-in Acqua, not many maidens cross the sea, partly not all the maidens are slim. But I see your point.  :D

Offline EchoMirage

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The Fate-Singer
« Reply #33 on: April 02, 2005, 06:37:06 PM »
Once, there was a score of sisters, who all praised Ulmania, and served her as priestesses, and She was delighted. She rejoiced in the brightness of their spirit, reveled in the beauty of their song, and went to sleep in their arms.

As a sign of favor, She granted them a beautiful garden on the back of a dormant sea turtle, and commanded Her servant Jiorri to sing to it and lull it to sleep, so that the garden would not shake, or the Turtle wander out of the Sanctuary Sea.

Yet Jiorri, young and reckless, has forsaken her duty in favor of playing with colourful fishes of the sea, and the turtle awoke. Hungry, it wandered off. Leaving the Sanctuary Sea, it entered the stream of time and matter again, even as a storm was brewing.
Raging waves claimed the lives of five sisters, and the rest were dragged off by mortals intent on claiming their beauty for themselves, and themselves only.
Of those, eight took their lives, while seven had to endure hardships beyond imagination.

Ulmania was furious and shattered when she learnt of the fate that befell her dear, and her wrath was great.
Curse did she all who harmed her chosen, and any place where cruelty was inflicted upon them. To this day, the places of their suicides are cursed and eerie, and no sane person will tread there.
But to Jiorri, she spoke: "My dear are gone, but their heritage is not. Go forth. I will see you no more. Until you are unmade, you shall watch their steps, and try to redeem yourself in my eyes."

And so Jiorri went.

Nowadays, she will appear out of the mist, a glistening figure, resembling a willowy female, skin wet and smooth like a seal's, translucent and clad in shells.
To those who have harmed a woman badly will she speak, and brand them with her palm, cold fire searing skin. On a quest she sends them, and obey they must, lest they suffer and wither.

Jiorri is known as the Fate-Singer, for her eerie song, no longer soothing, cuts deep into the minds of the Branded.

All of these quests are meant to aid the mortal offsping of those of the Twenty who lived in slavery. When the quest is done, the burn mark fades.
Little do the Branded know that Jiorri has to suffer all the pain they endure as well.
Meanwhile, all she hopes for as she wanders the mists is that one day, one of the descendants will give birth to twenty sisters as enchanting as the first score, and Ulmania forgive.
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Offline Cheka Man

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Jovian priests
« Reply #34 on: April 03, 2005, 11:20:11 AM »
There are two main religions on Acqua, those who worship Jove and those who worship Ulmaina.

The Jovian priests started in Banhoesea but have since spread across many islands. They are more then just men who pray and maintain their churches.They help the sick and the dying, and many Sea Wizards belong to the priesthood of Jove.They lend money at a 3% interest rate (more then 3% is seen as sinful.) The ships and boats (with the exception of the great De Madden Company ten masters, because of company policy) are decorated with beautiful purple prayer ribbons and prayer wheels that blow around in the wind.

On the minus side, they tend to be highly patriarchal, and  at the least highly discourage the following of other religions, being more intolarent the closer they are based to Banhoesea.They are banned from shedding blood, but a handful of warrior priests have been known, in which case they carry maces.

Their churches often have a small amount of amythest on the altar.The symbol of Jove is a small globe of reddish amber.

Offline CaptainPenguin

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The World of Acqua
« Reply #35 on: April 03, 2005, 03:57:27 PM »
Don't forget burial rituals!
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Offline Cheka Man

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Jovian funeral rituals
« Reply #36 on: April 03, 2005, 06:45:41 PM »
The normal funeral ritual that takes place in the great majority of cases is that the body is laid in state for twenty-four hours to enable people to pay their last respects, and then it is placed on a funeral pyre. Three times the name of the dead person is called and the priest and relatives circle the pyre seven times and say prayers for the person's soul, the priest holding a flaming torch in one hand and twirling a prayer wheel.Then the pyre is set alight and the ashes and burnt bones are put in an urn and stored in the family home.

For the great nobles and the most famous commoners things are very different.All the priests turn out and they spin their prayer wheels and pray for the departed soul.A holiday is called so that people can line the streets to see the coffin go by to where the nobles are buried.The body has gold pieces placed upon it's eyes and then the coffin lid is closed and the body is placed in a tomb of green jade.It is thought that being buried with gold pieces in such a tomb cancels out the person's sins and lets them buy their way into Heaven.

For the worst murderers and the traitors, the priest curses them, and they are bound and gagged, a weight is bound to their legs and they are taken to the deep ocean and dropped overboard alive into the Hell of the sea bottom where the G'Thrann wait and where it is thought their souls will remain trapped for all eternity.

The worshippers of Ulmania have differnt funeral rituals. Within the tribes outside Banhoesea some cremate the dead, some bury them, some place them on rafts and float them out to sea,some that are at war catapault them into the other tribe's fortified places to cause disease, and some feed them to the Kraken known as Big Red.

Offline Cheka Man

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Ulmainian priests and priestesses
« Reply #37 on: April 06, 2005, 06:31:30 PM »
The Ulmanian Church, unlike the Jovian Church, allows both priests and priestesses and it's teachings are far less rigid. The general theme is
Be done as you would be done by Whilst the Jovians lend at interest, the Ulmanians will lend fellow Ulmanians money for free as long as there is a good chance of them paying it back.All devout Ulmanian beleavers also buy a burial plot on the Isle of the Dead,to avoid their bodies ending up on a Jovian funeral pyre.

Ulmanian churches have ornate statues of the goddess at the altar.Thier prayers are said quietly or aloud.At weddings the bride and groom swear to treat each other as equals and to love each other "until the seas dry up."
Ulmanian priest's and priestess's robes are normally a dark blue-green, unlike the scarlet robes of the priests of Jove.

Like the Jovian priests, the Ulmanian clergy help the sick and the dying,and often serve as Sea Witches and Sea Wizards or in other useful jobs.The only things they refuse point blank to do is to torture or execute people.Someone who does something dreadful such as murder or rape can be excommunicated form the Church and,after death, their bodies can be banned from the Isle of the Dead.It is thought their souls will then burn when their bodies are cremated.

Their funeral customs are here. http://www.strolen.com/setting/viewsetting.php?setting_id=110&index=2&sid=0b77882a4aa9f20821820ba3fc5d3f7b

Offline CaptainPenguin

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The World of Acqua
« Reply #38 on: April 06, 2005, 10:03:27 PM »
Do you already have the Priests of Jove?
And if not, may I do them?
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Offline Cheka Man

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« Reply #39 on: April 07, 2005, 10:11:03 AM »
I sort of have the Priests of Jove (their robes are scarlet and some of what they do is described) but you are welcome to *fill in* what I have left out. All I've described is their funeral rituals and a few little details-you can do the rest. :)

Offline Ancient Gamer

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« Reply #40 on: April 07, 2005, 11:06:18 AM »
Hey Cap. What about creating dissident Jovian Priests, Jovian Cults, Jovian Knightly Orders, Jovian Warrior Monks and the like?

I am contemplating doing the same for the Ulmanians.
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Offline Cheka Man

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« Reply #41 on: April 07, 2005, 01:19:07 PM »
Good idea,AG.I would like it  if you added some Jovians. Btw, the Jovians are closely linked to the De Madden Company at the highest level.The De Madden attitude to religion is "If it is not against us, it is with us."

Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Jovians
« Reply #42 on: April 07, 2005, 07:15:54 PM »
The Jovians, or the Illustrious Messengers of the Sky Father, as they are officially known, are the priests and religious community dedicated to the spreading of the worship of Jove, the Sky Father, the Red Lord, the Great Judge, the Great Eye, the Thunderer, the Vengeful One, Bestower of Blessings, Giver of Punishments.

Jove is the Great Lord of the Sky, and in Acquan mythology, is presented as the father of the world of Acqua. In the dualism of the Divine Couple, Jove contrasts his former lover, Ulmania, in representing the "negative" aspects of the world (though the word "negative" is to highly-charged with connotation to represent the actual concept)- darkness, night-time, emotion, extremes, great heat, the sky, wild animals, and death.
He is a strict, judgemental god, vengeful in his character, who demands great obedience and strict standards of behavior from his followers, whereby his title the Great Judge. He is regarded as a constantly watching (as the Great Eye) and judging god, who keeps long tallies of all of mankind's evils and sins. At one's death, Jove calls the soul to him, and passes judgement over the dead. If the soul's karmic balance is judged to be positive, the soul passes on to Isles of the Blessed in the Sanctuary Sea, where Ulmania dwells. If the soul's karmic balance is judged to be negative, the soul is torn apart by Khuber, the Great Hound of Jove, and is then spat out into the watery realm of Hell, which lies at the utmost bottom of Acqua's oceans. But most often, the soul's balance is neither overwhelmingly positive nor overwhelmingly negative- the soul is flung by Jove to the far, grey reaches of the sky, beyond the stars, where the soul drifts boringly and without personality for all eternity through Takhol, the Realm of the Dead.
Jove is also presented as an angry and vengeful god (especially by the Tulukhai Clan, a fanatical extremist Jovian sect)- the Jovians relate often the tale of the birth of Acqua, though it is tempered in that Jove is angered by Acqua because Acqua is a homosexual (something the Jovian sect declares an abomination). Thus, Jove wishes to destroy Acqua, and all humanity, for beings born of Acqua are tainted with Acqua's sins, as well as their own evil. Most Jovian ceremonies and rituals (including their main festival, Apang-Ma-Takha, Aversion of Judgement) are concerned with the abasement of beings before Jove and the aversion of his wrath and judgement upon the world. Jovian ceremonies always feature fire, and the burning of sacrafices and incense. Symbols of all the various aspects of Jove- Great Judge, Great Eye, Red Lord of Fire, Sky Father, and all the 1600 others- are represented in silk banners. Ceremonies tend to be grandiose in scale- Jove enjoys things which he sees as grand and reflective of his greatness.

Jovian temples are constructed in the form of towers or ziggurats (step-pyramids) to better elevate prayers toward the sky. As Jove is constantly visible in the sky, most temples prefer to have an open skylight, and balconies for observation of his glory. The color scheme of such temples is overwhelmingly red, and tends to be very simple, elegantly sparse, and even spartan, in contrast to the elaborate, sculpture-encrusted, and baroque temples of Ulmania. The top of a Jovian temple generally contains a Flame of Remission, a flaming altar that is kept constantly burning.

Jovian Clans
The Clans Ecclesiastical: (to be completed)
The Clans Militant: (to be completed)
The Clans Recluse: (to be completed)
The Clans Heretic: (to be completed)
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Offline macaroni

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The World of Acqua
« Reply #43 on: April 07, 2005, 11:36:03 PM »
The Titan of BangeTar

 Standing guard over the northern harbor of banhoesea, called Kitae-Minot in the common dialect, are the ruins of the ancient Titan of BangeTar. The ancient statue was built to commemorate the victory of Man over the Shura, driving them into the sea.
  The statue was a likeness of the Tamitur Shogunate ,with great amethyst eyes. Fires in the top of the statue appeared to give the Shogun glowing eyes and a crown of fire. For generations the statue lit the way for travelers entering the rocky shoals of Kitae-Minot.
  The statue was cast down in the year of the lily when pirates sacked the port.
  Today all that remains are the eroded stone legs of the ancient ruler. Even the iron pins holding together the massive stone blocks have been stolen for other projects. Thus the mighty Tamitur once called the "Shark King" is cast into the sea, forgotten to all but his enemies.
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Offline Cheka Man

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« Reply #44 on: April 08, 2005, 12:48:10 PM »
I would expect the Banhoesea goverment is planning to sell the space where the statue used to stand to some property developer for a lot of money,and has just not got around to it yet.

Offline Cheka Man

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Feeding the Kraken.
« Reply #45 on: April 08, 2005, 04:39:17 PM »
The islanders on Kossier Island are now rich and generally happy. They trade amythest and many other objects with the islands to the west of their island, and have recently signed a treaty with the De Madden Company enabling them to do so without the worry of any interference, as long as they stay within a certain distance from Banhoesea. They now have a small navy of their own, but their islands most potent defense is the great Kraken who protects it.It used to be that the Kraken was happy with the odd lump of amythest, dropped into the water above him, but then he began to demand one maiden every sixty days, as well.

They have so far produced the maidens in a number of ways. Any maiden who committs murder or treason,and any married maiden who cheats on her husband and is found out,can be fed to the Kraken.Shipwrecked females can also suffer this fate.Most maidens refrain from committing death penalty offenses and even allowing for Acqua's dangerous oceans, shipwrecks are not common as they have a  lighthouse, Too many shipwrecks would damage their trading links.

For a time they resorted to kiddnapping maidens from nearby islands,  but after they were found out and a small war happened in which the Kraken had to get involved, the Kraken itself banned further kiddnaps. So they have done deals with other islands to send them their worst female convicts and also by maidens from slavers who  visit once a year. Lastly, and very rarely, a suicidal maiden may very rarely volunteer to die in this way.

Two days before the selected maiden is due to die, she is dressed in beautiful gold and silver jewelry and a crown set with emeralds is placed upon her head. She is fed well and treated in many ways like a queen,but three guards with clubs watch her at all times to prevent her from escaping.
People bring her the finest foods, whilst others ask her to take messages to those in the other world.

After two days she is stripped of her jewels, by force if need be, her hands are tied behind her back, and the public executioners place her in a boat that has been painted black. A priest of Ulmania or Jove, depending on her faith, prays with her if she wants to pray, as she is rowed out to where the Kraken lies in wait for her,and then she is thrown into the sea by the public executioners, where a tentacle pulls her underwater to her death. Large numbers of people gather on the shore to watch the spectacle.

Offline Cheka Man

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The Heathens of Ulmania
« Reply #46 on: April 09, 2005, 11:01:01 AM »
The Heathens of Ulmania refer to themselves as the Practioniers of the true Faith and are one of the most despised, feared and hated cults on the planet. There are thought to be not more between 30 to 40 members of this cult,about half of which are female. They kiddnap Jovian worshippers and on occasion,Jovian Priests, and they then try for six months to brainwash them, often using torture, to get them to worship Ulmania and join them.Those who refuse, are murdered, their throats slashed from ear to ear and their bodies weighted down and dropped into the sea,so that their victems are denied even the proper funeral rites. They are thought to have murdered hundereds of people in this way,stealing their money.What they do goes against everything that the Goddess Ulmania stands for,and so the Ulmanians hate them as much as the Jovians do.

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The One Who Must Scream For all Eternity
« Reply #47 on: April 11, 2005, 03:58:39 AM »
When the God Jove came into existence,he created the order of angelic beings known as the Ashervati to help him rule over all creation. Beautiful beings of pure light,the Ashervati were the most regal and magnificent of Jove's creation, molded from the very rays that emanated from the Great Lord of the Sky.
 
 Among them,one soon rose quickly to become the most beloved of Jove. Sargash or 'Beautiful Light in the Heavens' was the youngest of the ten Ashervati brought into existence by the Sky Father. Despite this,he soon won himself a special place in the otherwise stern and unyielding heart of Jove ,with his earnest dedication to help his divine master create an ideal world. Unlike his older and more tranquil brothers,the blood of young Sargas was easy to excite. The passion flowed strong in him and the great Jove was touched that Sargas believed so deeply in his grand experiment of creation. The other Ashervati merely carried out his bidding like the loyal servants they were,but Sargash actually dreamed ....

 Ironic then,that the same passion which won Sargash the favour of the Great Sky Father,would utimately cause his down fall.  But perhaps,no shock to those who realize and accept the other aspect of Jove,that of the stern Great Judge and Bestower of Punishments,the stern and unforgiving  master who can  forgive no transgession,even the slightest. As cold and ruthless as the waters of the ocean is Jove when he wears that mantle of vengeance and punishment.

  Thus it was,that when Jove discovered the rephrensible homosexual nature of his Son Acqua,he cursed him for bringing such dishonor upon his father and swore that he would have nothing to do with him again. Never would Acqua's safety be guaranteed,for Jove would not hesitate to smite him into nothingness were he to commit sin again. And the same watchful,unforgiving eye would be turned upon the children of Acqua,for it was inconceivable  that they not inherit the sin that had stained the soul of their father.

 Appalled and furious was the compassionate Sargash when word of Jove's decision to ostracize his own flesh and blood reached his ears. Acqua had been his dear friend. Ignoring the prudent counsel of his brothers who warned him not to question that which Jove in his infallible wisdom,had decreed,he strode into the Hall of the Sky where the great Sky Father resided,to demonstrate his angry disapproval of what had been done to his friend.

 Heedless of the terrible anger that darkened Jove's face at this intrusion ,he lambasted the Red Lord for his inability to mingle his cruel justice with mercy. Mercy that was more important in a God than justice,for without mercy how does a God differ from any petty lower being that would kill others of its own kind for even the most petty infringement of inflexible,rigid laws?

  Enraged by this blasmepheous comparision,Jove grabbed Sargas by the scruff of his neck and flung him into the absolute dark depths of the oceans where only the fearsome levethians of terror known as the G'Thrann dwell,declaring that for daring to accuse the Great Judge himself,Sargash would never be welcome at the doors of the Sky realm again.

  And in the black,icy depths of his place of exile,Sargash grew bitter. Cursing Jove as a tyrant,he swore that he would show himself more worthy than the intolerant and haughty Great Judge of,ruling the hearts and minds of  thinking beings. Spurning the blind,fanatical world of dogma that Jove would impose on mortal kind,he would build his own realm,one free of guilt and sin. There mortal kind would have to fear no divine wrath,ruled only by their own conscience.

  With this in mind,he used his powerful gifts to bring forth a most magnificent city into existence at the bottom of the ocean. This would be where his alternate vision would blossom. Or so he imagined.

  Unknown to him,the emergance of this abberation in their domain had not gone unnoticed by the G'Thrann. Uttering angry cries,they emerged from their dark lairs and wiped out the city utterly,in the process crushing the seeds of Sargash's plan.

 Unable to stop them,the Ashervati could only look on in impotent rage from the crevice that concealed him from the abominations,as they went about their dreadful work. When there was finally nothing left to destroy,they departed leaving huge devastation in their wake.

 Gnashing his teeth in rage,Sargahs decided then and there,that the insult done to him by the hulking monsters would not go unpunished.

  Soaring out of the ocean depths with a stroke of his powerful wings,he flew towards the peak of the great fire mountain Thurang.  There,hovering just above the crater that seethed with lava and molten rock,he spread his arms wide and begin to cast a powerful spell. If all went well,he would soon be a vast monster ten times the size of the largest G'Thrann there was. Then he would return to the ocean depths to inflict his bloody vengance on the accursed brutes.

 He had not reckoned on the ever watchful Eye of Jove,however. Angered that Sargash had returned from his exile to the ocean depths,the Red Lord was nevertheless puzzled by Sargash's purpose in coming to the fire mountain Thurang and decided to observe him to divine the fallen Ashervati's purpose.

 His question was answered when the first grotesque physical changes started to come upon Sargash. Realizing swiftly that if he did nothing to halt Saragash's transformation,a monstrous threat would be unleashed into the world,he summoned the tiniest portion of his power and blasted Sargash with a counter spell.

 Even that little exertion on the part of Jove was enough to to send Sargash reeling. Stunned,he toppled from the sky into the burning crater directly below him,a hideous mix of monster and angel.

  Then with a mere flick of his hand,Jove sealed the lips of the crater,imprisoning Sargash in that burning prison for all eternity.

 To this day,Sargash remains the prisoner of scorching Thurang,the smouldering inner fires in the bowels of the fire mountain eating into his malformed flesh. His loud screams of agony and torture reverberate for miles,causing any ship within miles to tremble violently,as if hit by a gale or storm. For this reason,many mariners avoid the waters surrounding Thurang,convinced that to sail into them would be to tempt the powerful evil that lies imprisoned in Thurang's smouldering embrace. Only when the G'Thrann forgive the fallen Ashverati,will those waters be safe they say.
“I'm yet another resource-consuming kid in an overpopulated planet, raised to an alarming extent by Hollywood and Madison Avenue, poised with my cynical and alienated peers to take over the world when you're old and weak.” -Bill Watterson

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Offline Cheka Man

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The Isle of Arsonists
« Reply #48 on: April 11, 2005, 07:11:46 PM »
The Isle of Arsonists, fifty miles from Banhoesea, is where all of the arsonists are sent. It is blackened and scorched from the many fires that are set by the gibbering insane, and full of the blackened stumps of trees.
Often smoke is seen rising from it, and most captians order their crews to stay far from it. Yet it has plant life of a kind...rich green grass grows in the winter, along with certain grape vines that only grow in a scorched area.So in the winter when rains make burning almost impossible the arsonists enjoy sweet purple grapes.

In the summer finding food is a major problem.Some manage to eat lobsters that they catch in lobster pots, some eat rasins, some kill and eat each other and some end up starving to death. Very rarely, some ship's captain might take pity on them and give them some food.

There is a serious risk of being caught up,when the grass dries, in the fires set by the lunatics, and burnt alive before being eaten.That is the most dangerous time of the year.The arsonists are put ashore with only one set of clothing,so even if it avoids being burnt, after a few weeks it smells and looks disgusting.Many have wounds or pink scars from small, non-fatal burns.The sane hate the lunatics with a passion but are grossly outnumbered.

At the highest part of the island,where flames cannot reach, is a small clay ziggurat sacred to Jove, which is on the top of a dormant volcano, so there is allways a fire burning within it.Both the sane and the mad respect this holy place and will not do anything to damage it.

The arsonists must sleep in the open air,without bedding, in all weathers, since the lunatics burnt down the huts that had been built for them and the fires spread to the huts of the sane.

Offline Maggot

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The Black Tide
« Reply #49 on: April 15, 2005, 03:59:01 AM »
Twenty leagues off the west coast of Kossier island,lies a scattered chain of four small islands that lie just outside the zone of Big Red's influence.  Totally devoid of Amethyst,they are of absolutely no interest to the garangutan Kraken,but are neverthless blessed in their own way,being lush and verdant. Many of the spices that grace the tables of Banhoesea and the comely,dark haired female slaves that are so prized by the harems of it's nobility,hail from the vast plantations and slave markets repectively that the DeMadden Company owns and runs with the aid of prominent tribal chieftains of the native Tuvalatu tribe.
 
 Contrary to what one expects,the Company has a barely noticable presence on the islands,apart from a token force that resides in a little fort they erected  half a century ago in the scrub jungles of the main island's interior. As far as the Company high officials are concerned,posting a significant detachment of soldiers would be a meaningless waste of money and manpower,given the complete absence of any threats to the Company's hold over the islands. The natives are servile and meek,choosing to declare themselves under the protection of the Company in return for  a handsome cut of the profits made from the booming spice trade,ruling out any likelihood of a native revolt taking place in the near future. As for that bloated brute Big Red, as the high officials scornfully refer to the rapacious Kraken,he would not wish to go to war with powerful DeMadden Company over a bunch of islands that have nothing to offer him. Even his most rabid warriors understand that and would never dare to launch a raid on any costal villages to grab vestal maidens to sate the voracious apetite of their master. Thus it is,that the only times that the men of the Company actually get to see the islands,is the once annual visit that a high official makes in order to commemorate and reknew the pledge of allegiance the islanders have made to the DeMadden Company.

  There,in the smoky taverns and brothels,they hear strange tales of the Black Tide. The natives who worship Ulmania under her various names,often appeal to her as the Godess Protectress,willingg with to shield them from the ravages of this great evil that descends on their shores once every 60 years.  Mere superstion to the skeptical sea-men that hear these hushed tales only to scoff at them, but even they, when seeing the expression of dread on the face of the story teller and his feverent prayers to Ulmania that the Black Tide leave his loved ones alone,find themselves wondering if there is indeed some basis behind the the story of the Black Tide.

  They come in the dead of night,vast hordes of black wriggling things slithering out of the sea to smother the silver sands of the shore for miles around like some fell tide of malignant evil. Then they swarm and seethe over each other,never moving from the vicinity of the beach,appearing as if to wait for something to happen.
   
 Hours later,the next wave of terror comes in the gruesome and demonic forms of hundreds of monsterous brutes,each one a fiend that would inspire dark dreams for nights to come. Repulsive serpentine beasts, they crawl on twisted, thick arms, pulling themselves by gnarled, taloned paws. They possess no legs, but instead have a long, writhing, meaty tail. Their heads resemble those of crocodiles, adorned with plates and horns of chitin. Their bodies are covered in scales and plates of thick chitin.

  Organizing themselves into maruding bands of twenty each,they swoop down on the nearest costal villages,dragging away all the unfortunate residents and smashing open the skulls of those who resist abduction. Hours later,the various bands return with the captive wretches they have snatched from the villages and bring them to the part of the beach where the loathsome wriggling masses of the worms await the fresh living bodies that the beasts have collected for them.

  But the victims are not devoured as one would expect,their skin stripped to bone by the vast hordes of the repulsive squirming things. Nay,it is a far worse fate then simply being eaten alive, that they are doomed to suffer.  The wriggling black worms are parasites. Devoid of bodies that enable to perform the functions that abilities that humans take for granted, they must enter the body of another being to seize controll of it and use it as their host.

   They begin life in the reefs that are found in abundance off the shores of the ocean, thousands of them clustering together in the vast eggs sacs that are laid by their ancestors. Lying slumbering in the sacs for almost a century, they are only awakened when summer arrives,warming the waters that insulate the egg sac. Immediately they begin to emerge from their eggs, driven by the powerful, inexorable, urge in their bodies to swim for the shores of the island. But first, the same urge has them lay their own clutches of eggs,wanting to ensure that there is a future generation to see to it that their kind continues to thrive.

 It all comes naturally to them. The worms are not sentient. Like ants or termites,they are not capable of thinking for themselves, but merely obey the encoded set of instructions that lie dormant in their genes, waiting to be awakened. And so their great rush to the beaches of the islands begin. The enormous mass of their tightly massed together bodies turn the waters pitch black as they pass, making them an easy target for hungry fish in search of  a feast. By the time they slither ashore to their destination,less than half their original numbers remain.

 But still enough remain to call forth their brutish helpers. Their bodies give out a huge mindless cry for aid that compells the latter to come to the aid of the worms. For they too,have have an important part to fullfil in ensuring the welfare of the worms, being given the task of  gathering hosts for their slimy little supplicants to infest.  The parasites,upon infesting the bodies of their hosts,actually slither their way up to to the brain of the victim. It then proceeds to absorb it utterly,taking great care to keep the brain alive as it does this. Soon,it has claimed the victim's intelligence for itself,consuming his soul entirely and wiping out his mind in the act,an act that will take a week for the worm to complete. During this length of time, an interesting pattern emerges.

 Even as the worm begins to develop a sentient mind,one built on the  spark of self-awareness harvested from the victim's brain, the physical body of the host begins to change into something decidedly non human. What they become depends on the level of intellect  that their former owners possessed. The physical bodies of dullards unfortunate enough to be infested by a worm,are twisted and corrupted into the very brutes that aide the worms in getting their hosts. On the other hand,a fairly smart person turns into something else entirely.

 The second kind resemble, from a distance, extremely thin, hunched men with whip-curved spines and long necks. But from up close, it becomes abundantly clear that they are not human; their skins are clad in glimmering bluish scales, and their scoliated spines are crowned in rows of complex spines. Their hands are small and sly, and have six long fingers with curved nails; these hands they constantly rub and wring together, in a sly and sycophantic motion. They are short and bandy-legged, and their draping tails are half-again as long as their bodies. Their faces are reptilian and long, with a long solid dental ridge rather than separate teeth. Their brows and jaws are bearded with flexible spines, and their throats possess fanning fins.

 The first type are ever hungy carnivores,fiends that lurk in dark coves,waiting reach out to grab any uanwary prey that swims along. Their powerful tails can crack open the skull of even the biggest and most robust Shura and their wicked claws are capable of ripping open the biggest octopus or squid,making them fearsome predators. But they are not reknown for their intelligence,and also happen to be terrified of magic,even the weakest spark. Shura hunters heed their traditional tales that surround this creature and are always careful to wear enchanted amulets made of Amethyst shards when stalking prey in places where these creatures have been sighted.

 The second type is a parasite rather than predator. A parasite that feeds off the efforts of his brutish breathen. Though capable of hunting on their own,they simply prefer to grab the kill of a brute. The brute will not object to this,but meeky surrenders his kill,recognizing the presence of a superior being,one he sees with a mix of hate and grudging awe. Hate because he is is bullied and robbed by the other,but awe because the other is not a minion like him,unshackled by the former's inexorable urge to serve the needs of the worms.

   It is respect well deserved.  Extremely sly and gifted with magic,they have the ability to leach Amethyst stones of their magic,drawing the latent power of the stones into their own bodies. This way,they amass a powerful amount of magic within themselves and need not rely on Amthyst stones to cast spells,unlike other beings.  

  Powerful spell casters to be reckoned with, many of them have set up protection rackets in the small costal villages of Acqua. Appearing to the villagers in the midst of a a powerful gale it has conjured,this fiend demands offerings everyday of the best of what food the village has,as well as bright gold jewelry,being the rather vain thing it is. Shiny jewelry complements it's gleaming scales very well,meaning that it has a great weakness for shining baubles.

  To help a village get rid of such a leech that afflicts it,is not easy ,given that it is a gifted mind reader and can probe a human's mind with ease,enabling it to detect any intention of treachery or violence towards it. Thus,setting a trap for them is nigh impossible.
“I'm yet another resource-consuming kid in an overpopulated planet, raised to an alarming extent by Hollywood and Madison Avenue, poised with my cynical and alienated peers to take over the world when you're old and weak.” -Bill Watterson

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