The Shalari - SaehdowBorn
Death cults, worshipers of dark powers, necromancers, and eaters of the dead. Individually these cults are horrible in society and the repercussions can have lasting effects on those they influence and affect. But what if that not just a small group tried to influence their belief on a people, but an entire people tried to use their belief to take over the world?
Shalari - Saehdowborn
Description: Gaunt and pale skinned, the Shalari look as if the dead rose from the ground and began living the lives they left behind. Their hair hangs to their waist, long and pale. As lifeless as their cold, dark eyes. A mockery of the living it seems. They are average height yet sickly looking and thin. Their movements are precise as if their joints are stiff and hindered, yet their strength comes not from the body but their inner darkness, their corrupted souls.
History: Born of the shadowy tears of their Creator, the Saehdow, the Shalari crept from the dank and dark places that stank of shadows and death. The battle between the Daemon and the Styarm was most bloodthirsty. Trapped between the two, the Saehdow were no match for the remorseless slaughter of their brothers. Only a handful survived, and hid in the darkest of the deep and wept for their loss. Wept in fear and anger. The shadowed tears pooling among the dregs of dust and decay, the forgotten and dying. The energy of the Necrotic, as the Shalari call it, pulled the dying together. Casting out the unneeded parts and the unwanted weak, the necrotic energy brought to life a sickening form, and thus from shadows of sorrow the Saehdow-born were forged.
On seeing the light of the heavens and the battles that still raged on between the Daemon and the Styarm they felt fear. Fear of the burning light, and pain. The sun, for it still crept through the lightning streaked clouds of the Styarm, burned at their eyes and skin. Causing pain that scolded their soul. Even as their soul was darkened because of the tears of their Creator, it was still a soul and it burned with pain. They went east toward the Shagahli Wastes, alone and burning. They crept toward the mountains where the fires of the inner crust still bloomed into the sky. In a place where the ground still erupted in liquid fire and the smoke kept the sun at bay. The heat from the fire mountains kept the dark place warm, and there the Shalari called home.
Personality: The Shalari are aloof, cold, and as dark as their shadow filled souls. They are cold and calculating, seeking the advantage to any engagement and weighing the price of their work involved. They are not a lazy people, but the choice of physical labor and effort is not highest on their list. Their thoughts are as dark as their moods and uncaring of any and all not in belief of their Creators, the Saehdow. Their entire culture is based off of their religious belief and they worship the Saehdow body and soul. They favor guile and subterfuge over a direct assault on any action, staying in the shadows until the time to strike is perfect for them.
Culture: The Shalari is a theocracy ruled by a single Conyamo chosen by the Saehdow for faithfulness and wicked sacrifices of the flesh, from the rulers of the Elysian Council. They rule the people of the Shalari with portents of pain, anguish, and fear from their Creator Gods.
Below the Conyamo is the royal family which consisted of the Conyamo's immediate family and all his children. The Conyamo's family is above the law as is the Conyamo. While they enjoy the perks of their station, they have no real authority over the rest of the populace but are as high as the Elysian Council. The Elysian Council consists of the leaders of each city state within the boundaries of the Shagahli Wastes. There are twenty seven city states that fall under the rule of the Elysian Council, overseen by the Conyamo. The council is hereditary and chooses their speakers knowing that one may be chosen to be the next Conyamo when the time comes. At the very bottom of their society are commoners, those who are not part of the hereditary birth or punished criminals are forced into labor stations or their armies.
Their cities are built from the volcanic rocks of the surrounding mountains with lake flows of liquid fire flowing a mere hundred yards from their homes. The heat does not bother them and because of the constant warmth wear little in regards to clothing. The thinnest wool is worn which does little to hide the body underneath, in fact showing most of what most cultures cover an caring little for it that it does.
Because of the harsh environment, little can be grown on the steps of the mountains the billow ash and smoke and liquid fire. However, on the edge of their cities the land is lush with growth, the ash feeding the soil making it ripe for vegetation that can thrive in the heat. The woolworms thrive in the trees and are a staple for their clothes and other simple needs of rope and other devices. Sweet fruits, and small swine like animals roam the out edge of these lands.
Also because of the violent nature of the lands, metal is seldom found in decent amounts of worth but a form of malleable gem-like crystal can be found in mass groves. These crystals are used to make what metal normally would. Simple every day items of use, as well as tack for their lizard-like horses, and the weapons that they do use. Their weapons are infected with a sickening taint that they are immune to, but festers a wound quickly and sickens the body.
Traits: By birth, they are not a very strong race. They rely more on their calling of the Necrotic and the powers that it gives them. They can naturally channel this dark power with ease from puberty as it begins coursing through their dark hearts. Similar to the magic of the Duavaet the Stormlords, it is a darker side that infects those that use it from the start. Their vision is poor when in bright light as their home is constantly clouded in the ash of the mountain fires. To protect their eyes from the burning ash they have developed a membrane that covers their dark eyes keeping dirt and material out while allowing them to see. Their nature being hand in hand with the Necrotic, they have a ability to not see in the dark, but see the life force that engulfs their surroundings. This ability makes them able to see the aura of all living things, whether plant, animal or being.
They are the only beings capable of wielding the Necrotic, a dark and evil force of power that infects the user as much as molds to their desires.
Relations: They view family as a way to keep their faith strong. They feel for their family, yet will sacrifice one of them to the Creators without question if asked. They have the same bond toward relations and allegiances. They feel obligated to them as a way of their religious belief, but if the need to separate themselves was required they would do so, and other involved would see it as a way it was to be.
Religion: Their entire race worships these Gods and would willingly cast their children to the Forever Pits of Dohgane. Their daily life revolves around thanking the Saehdow for their existence. Often including the sacrifice of slaves, criminals, or a royal family member. They take great stock of the cycle of the stars, when the can see them, and follow the pattern of the liquid flows of fire to detail their calendars.
The Dead Seekers are priests of the Shalari, are the most feared shock troops let loose on any field of battle. More warrior than priest, they have succumbed to the powers of the Necrotic by dark rituals to the Saehdow and given what small part of their darkened soul they had left for their Creators gifts. They are a form of devastation against any foe. When on the field of battle they wield bolts of Necrotic energies at their foes and striking them down with their fabled crystal Gaesteel blades. Causing fear and the darkness to come alive and fight for them. Powerful, these Death Seekers control the deep focus of the dark and have been known to replace lost limbs with full shadow on the field of battle. Deep injuries are sealed with this shadow form and heal their wounds forever replacing the lost flesh. These Shadow-touched are revered yet feared in their society. Their lost limbs look as shadow but are as solid as the arm or leg replaced. Once most of their bodies are replaced with the Necrotic force, they are overcome with its consuming power and become the Shadow Souled. The Shadow Souled are the assassin and proxy of the Saehdow. They no longer live in concert with the rest of the Shalari, they trek to the bowels of the Saerthera and the Corridor of Souls where they speak with the Saehdow directly. They are then elevated to a status of just short of becoming an Avatar of the Creator.
Those chosen to be the next Conyamo are brought to the bowels of the Saerthera to the Corridor of Souls, and left without food or water. The trek takes weeks with aid, traveling the vast pools of liquid fire and over hardened crust that could break away into a flaming pool at the slightest footstep. There the chosen faces the Saehdow in their natural forms. Only the Conyamo ever sees them and lives, yet refuse to speak of the test forever after.
One Conyamo that was able to find his way out without his senses, returned babbling the same poem over and over. It wasn't long before he jumped into the Forever Pits of Dohgane screaming the rhyme as he fell to his doom.
Another day in this corridor of souls.
Another night settles in as quickly as it goes.
The memories are shadows; blank on the page.
And I can't seem to find my way home.
And it's almost like,
Heaven's trying everything,
To break me down,
Heaven's trying everything,
To keep me out.
Adraghan – The dark fliers of the Creators. Now they seem worthy of praise at times, but they are not our Creator and therefore not worthy of us.
Daemon – They stand not far off from the Styarm. We hope they are watching when our Mother burns the eyes of her Brother Styarm. Then they shall know what it feels like to hide in the darkness as they fall one by one.
Faeyi – The sisters of our Mother. She hides in her hole, but it is not unreasonable. We will save her and hers for last.
Saehdow – They are our Creators and we are obedient.
Styarm – The most hated and vile, we do not even call them Creators. We have a plan for them.
Tetian – Of the Creators the simple minded one at best we feel no anger or fear for. Let him sleep his dreams away into nothing.
Velkaryes – Their day to our night. We respect their vigil but will turn them on their children in the end.
Kaur - Disgusting beasts. Their barbaric behavior belies the fact they have a society that prospers. To bad they are no more than beasts to us. Even my dokongi half breed is smart, but as dogs go probably the more loyal of the two.
Dracaer - Somehow these mutants crawled from their creator's backside and somehow that is grounds for being granted intelligence. It is sad what can pass off as an intelligent race.
Threy - Frail, worthless, and a hapless race. They stay in their green pastures and leafy forests and sing praise to their Creator. The only singing they will voice soon is their cries to their dead.
Duavaet - The Stormlords. We spit on the ground their feet soil with their passing. Arrogant to the last, they will rue the day when the feel the wrath of our Creator and what their Gods did. They will know pain at falling, and from their high perch it is a long fall.
Tuauan - What can be said of a mere beast of burden? You do not speak ill of the oxen that pull the cart, they simply do it. The Tuauan are similar, we think they live simply to just be there. Sad tale, not worth our effort.
G'rar - Worthy of power as they wrest it from the others to bad they choose to use that power defending the lands. Possibly worth the time to make allies, if they can understand their place under our heel.
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? Responses (9)
Another nice piece. Fear seems play an important role in this setting. Or maybe I'm reading into it more intended. Horse-Lizards are awesome! Picturing elongated, reptilian horses, ribs exposed, gaunt, probably a sickly grey with a long tail. Nice!
Also: Death Seekers are scary.
I agree with Pieh; another excellent sub on The Untold War. I look forward to more.
Very well written and thought out. An immense amount of detail.
Thanks Tundra... there are plans for more but Mathom has moved into my home.
? Not catching that term.
Ah, somebody here likes Five Finger Death Punch, eh?
I really like this race. In fact, I might use it in a campaign I'm thinking of. There's an area in it called the Volskari Dominion, which is essentially like Magic North Korea... With larger guns. The people there are fanatically loyal to the ruling regime, and have repeatedly marched to war for the dumbest reasons and for the smallest slights imaginable, like if someone declared war on the U.S. because they held the Olympics in Seattle. Anywho, I was originally going to have the Volskari people be humans with weak immune systems (Volskaria is highly volcanic, and the air there is so high in temperature that very little bacterial life can survive- no doubt I'm butchering my biology, here, but I'll work on that later), but I have to say that the Shalari are a way better fit for that sort of horrifying, utterly insane regime that I'm looking for. Also, the idea of a group of Death Seekers fighting an elite unit of CDN Marine commandos is pretty awesome.
Why yes, yes I do... on the FFDP remark. I always enjoyed that song but couldn't bring it to light the way I wanted to. Thank you for your comment, you can use them to your hearts content.
Yeah, their society just feels right for that kind of setting.