Archive for the 'Fiction' Category

Day 99: The Halcyon Sea

November 3, 2009

The Halcyon Sea was the heart of the Western Dominion, far to the west of the Spine.  Legends speak of a shallow basin a hundred miles across, as clear and calm as any sea could be, and yet its peoples learned nothing from its example.

From Anishomodz in the north to Gomoi in the north, all the cities there prospered for a time, but cracked from within with the arrival of the Vulgar Gods.  Unlike in the East, where the Vulgar Gods contented themselves with tearing down cities brick by brick, in the West they took human-like form, and demanded worship from the people of  the Western Dome-Under-Sky.  Some of the old cities are still remembered: Denayir was a vibrant bazaar, but crawled with spies. Emjou held to lost ideals like a tree that will not bend in the wind, and ended as we would expect. Sohebbiga descended into madness, while Tohan paid the price of foolish pride. Overgrown Karaiish and labyrinthine Balohn devoured their neighbour, Baruuth, and were slain in turn by bloodthirsty, sprawling Ravibe. Shining Isra teetered longest, and finally collapsed from corruption, while fortresslike Gomoi was consumed by fear. In the north, distant Anishomodz perhaps still survives, alone and unwanted. The Halcyon was a land of slaves who toiled in sprawling fields of maize and rice. But in the cities many called themselves free, despite the ominpresence of their Gods.

Individually, the Vulgar Gods would turn men to salt, turn swords on the soldiers that wielded them, and wrestled battlescarred Drakes into submission.  Together, they burned kingdoms and turned whole peoples to clouds of ash. Too, the Vulgar Gods had legions of spirits that matched or exceeded their long-dead armies. Some likely still survive, and in their varied ruins they remain the strongest and canniest of their lot.



Day 97: Lantern Street

November 1, 2009

A nice spot in Husk, Lantern Street is one of the more multi-ethnic areas of Husk, where Tiefers and Wasters dwell in about equal numbers. Those who have lived there know about the connected cellars beneath many of the houses, even running across the road (some of these cellars were originally hallways within the Husk). These luckily do not experience seepage from the similar tunnels which serve as Husk’s sewers.

At the very end of the street is a hub of a few roads, where they meet at the circular Wyrrith Park. Wyrrith Park is known for the Wyrring Tree, a large, somewhat healthy willow watched over by a ghost who, though seldom seen, is subject of many local folk tales. Wyrrith Park is the main location for the holidays celebrated by the people of Lantern Street and is large enough to host a small fair (although this is definitely a local park – the rest of the city celebrates holidays elsewhere, especially in the Sheltered Market).

Day 96: Old School

October 31, 2009

Here’s a blast from the past: the Vyrmen, which are oily, draconic vultures from my old Staunwark Island campaign. I came up with the concept, and after a disastrous situation where I added the half-dragon template to a vulture (and basically killed a PC out of the blue) Blackdirge of EN World did the stats and expanded it out for me.

At first sight this creature appears to be a large black vulture, but closer examination reveals its draconic origin. The beast is covered in greasy black plumage through which splotches of ebony scaled flesh gleam. A head that is part avian and part reptile sways from a short supple neck as the beast hisses menacingly and tears at the ground with its long raking talons.

Exceedingly foul and ill tempered, Vyrmen are the result of black dragon blood mixed with that of ordinary vultures. The beasts were designed to act as aerial spies and skirmishers but turned out to be all but intractable, and the sorcerers who created them gave up entirely. Of course, by that time, many of the Vyrmen had already escaped into the wild. Unfortunately the fecund quality of their draconic blood has allowed them to flourish and they have become quite the menace in many populated areas.

All Vyrmen are a dull black in color and range from the size of ordinary vultures to monstrous specimens the size of ponies. They are universally of foul disposition and will attack and kill anything that cannot outrun or outfight them. Also, it appears that in special circumstances Vyrmen can be bribed and commanded – but only by those with stronger black dragon blood than their own.

Day 94: The Witch-Empress

October 29, 2009

Edit: WordPress ate Day 94, I’ll move that to day 95.

What follows tells of the Eastern Dome, and its greatest leader.  Some say Crucia descended from Yushia herself.

Yushia was the eldest child of the Dalat-Ma, a lesser noble house that had become part of the Sky Guard. At the time, few recalled their claim to the Tenfold Throne, which dated back to the Paiogun Wars. Her mother was a frightening witch, and her father was Yushius, the highest-ranking member of the Sky Guard guards caste after the mass assasination of the bastard-Aspirant Abius.

Wisely, Yushius convinced the remaining members of the Sky Guard castes to withdraw from the conflict following Abius’s death, choosing to preserve the Dominion Guard castes rather than backing a particular Aspirant-Emperor.

Their forces gathered, they secured a safe exit from Padalat; a long train of Skyguard – once the mightiest force of the Eastern Dominion – passed through the Arches of Padalat. While walking beneath the last arch, Yushia’s mother gave birth and died in the same moment.

Yushius’s forces retreated to the ramparts of Hune, a sprawling fortress built deep in the mountains we now call the Knuckle. Yushius brought with him certain loyal Imperial vassals who like him, no longer had a lord to serve, and thus made a tiny, self-sufficient enclave that was sheltered from the early Madness.

Thus, Yushia was raised at Hune, surrounded by warriors, warlocks and men of state.

When she was old enough to wed, Yushia disappeared from Hune. Ten years later, she returned and deposited her four children to be raised by with Yushius. From this day onward she was never remarked upon as having any outward sign of aging. Over the next 12 years she would return occasionally, while rumours spoke of a mighty Witch gathering forces and spirits to her side. Then, like a lightning bolt and aided by strange warriors from a nameless land, she conquered Padalat independent of the support of her father’s Skyguard. A messenger was sent to Hune, and once again the Empress had a guard (though she was an Aspirant, in truth). She would spend the rest of her life securing larger and larger portions of the Eastern Dominion, and showed no touch of age until her death just before the completion of the Thrice Coronation.

Day 92: Stitchers-of-Worlds

October 27, 2009

Stitchers-of-worlds appear to be harmless floating disks, from which several tendrils and twin eyestalks emerge.  The disks are hard and strong, like a horn, while their tendrils are soft and vine-like.  They are around the size of cats, though their tendrils can extend about two and a half feet.

When natural fissures or rents in reality appear, these beings are often drawn to the fissure, and slowly, carefully, repair it.  They are often encountered underground, near locations that have suffered from the mad plans of plane-tearers, and their diet consists of rats and insects.  When they have access to the surface.  When above-ground, their preferred food is tree leaves or long grasses.

Though clearly not of this world, and possibly originating from the mad and fecund Void, Stitchers-of-Worlds are generally benign, and in the past some were even kept by wizards and artificers as pets.