The night seemed darker than what was natural. The moon and stars were clearly visible in the sky, yet their blessed light seemed to not even begin to touch the land beneath it. Shadows swirled around the small figure that struggled forward. She was late, much too late. The Mihra would not be pleased with her, but they'd be even more displeased if she didn't come back at all. Where had she been? Why was she out so late on such a night? The figure shook her head and took another stumbling step forward.
The shadows swirled again, more violently, enough to give the figure pause. As she came to a complete stop, her body stiff and awkward, the shadows took shape. She blinked, not believing her eyes. With how dark it was, she wasn't sure how she could perceive that a shadow existed; yet it was definitely blacker than the surrounding darkness. It formed in billows and whisps, extending there, shrinking here, until it was quite clearly the shape of a man. Tendrils of shadow and smoke came off of him and dispersed into the air. It could not be, but it was. She couldn't run, couldn't open her mouth except to gape. A chill came over her, working deep into the core of her being.
"Child." It's voice was grating and melodious at once. As if it had not been used for many years, yet there was a beauty hidden in it. Deep and strong, the woman felt she had to respond, had to stay here and hear what it had to say.
"Child, I have chosen you."
What could she say? "Who are you? What do you want? I need to go..." Yet her feet could not be willed to carry her on and away.
"You may go, after you take my message." A dark laugh sounded in her ears, though it was imperceptible from the body that made it. It moved, but only as if being blown by a wind. So unnatural. "Your Mihra have held this world too long. Tell them that Chaos is truth and Order a lie. Tell them that they still have time to repent. Tell them, we are coming."
She shook her head, unable to comprehend. Order a lie? Such a statement was heretical, such a belief was assured death. She could not do such a thing, never. Fear gripped her heart as anger rose up from the pit of her stomach. This was wrong.
"Oh you will, mortal child, or you will die. Remember my words." The knife was not drawn, but seemed to appear from the depths of the man's shadows. Gleaming white, it shone where nothing else did in the night. The woman managed to gasp as it slid between her ribs, a sharp cry piercing the night as it was withdrawn and everything vanished from around her.
Arryana awoke clutching her chest where the knife had stabbed her. Wildly she looked about her expecting to be alone in the darkness. Instead, she found herself in the small room she had within the temple complex. The sun was just beginning to rise, the warm light beginning to come in through her window. Nimble fingers trembled at undoing the laces of her nightshirt, but it was quickly pulled away to reveal an ugly purple bruise and swelling where the nightmare knife had pierced her.
Terlayne, a great empire to whom several kingdoms swear fealty, has ruled over a peaceful land for centuries with the aid of the Mihra. For four hundred years, the land has seen relative prosperity, but there are signs that this time of peace is coming to an end. Droughts have become more severe and longer lasting. The southern coast has seen some of the worst storms in memory. Banditry is increasing and some are forsaking the Mihra in favor of the old gods; the same old gods blamed for the dark times. There is unrest in the courts of the client kingdoms, some calling for the end of the empire. The worship of Order and the benefits it brought is crumbling from within. A young apprentice of the Mihra has sworn to see the end in her nightmares, but will anyone listen?
Terlayne encompasses all types of geography and peoples; from snow capped mountains in the north to plains, swamps, thick forests, and deserts. The land is divided into client kingdoms, all of the rulers of these various lands having sworn fealty to the Bithos family centuries ago. Countless kingdoms dotted the land in times long forgotten, but most were extinguished during the war that ravaged the land for well over one hundred years.
The war was brutal, though the cause of it has been lost and buried. What is known has become story and myth as much as fact. Violence broke out across the known land, magic being much more prevalent in those days was used as a mighty weapon. Entire cities and kingdoms could fall to a small group of extremely powerful although vulnerable people. Mages were prized and their death could mean the death of the army that used them. Back and forth the fighting went, but no matter the devastation or carnage, no side relented. The world trembled and buckled beneath the weight of destruction and the gods seemed not to hear the cries for aid, or, as the Mihra explained, the old gods were incapable of balance.
The Mihra arrived in the darkest hours, having come from the unknown East. Worshippers of Order, they were powerful in action and words. As the war torn land seemed on the precipice of annihilation, the Mihra brought order and peace. Few know how or even why the Mihra arrived when they did or how they accomplished such a feat. The stories say that they banished the old gods, sealing them away from humanity in an act of a magic so great that magic use was nearly extinguished as well.
In the present day, magical ability is known as having a Talent. These Talents are wide ranging and largely not understood as their prevalence has only begun to rise in the past hundred years. All who possess a Talent are sent to the Mihra, most people distrust magic and want it to be kept within the confines of the Mihra. It is not impossible that there are people with Talents living outside of the Mihra, but these would be rare people who would have poor ability with their Talent.
Terlayne is largely a patriarchal society. The Empire and most kingdoms are lead by a male, the armies are male, and power even among the lower classes tends to be held by men. The Mihra offers the height of women's chances for a life other than becoming a wife and mother. At least, publicly, it would not be unreasonable to assume some women wield greater power from behind their men.
Twenty three kingdoms swear fealty to Emperor Matthar Bithos. These nations vary greatly in size and prosperity, from city-states to expansive tracts of land. All have long ago converted to the Mihra worship of Order, but beyond that, they vary in traditions as in days of old. The heavy hand of the empire is in fact quite light. The client kingdoms say their words and send their taxes, but other than that are left to themselves. Many of the ruling families have intermarried with each other and relations are nearly completely peaceful. War of any large scale has been avoided for four centuries, petty disputes are mediated by the Mihra and any fighting that does break out is more akin to a scuffle than a true battle. The people still fear war for what it wrought, though that fear is dissipating, especially under the current stresses of drought and storms.
Matthar Bithos has held his title for sixteen years and is now forty-three years old. He has several children, his first born son and heir recently married. The capital of Terlayne and her empire is in the original seat of power for the Bithos family, a large and sprawling city called Ylavin. It is a place of shining white marble, intricate architecture, and money. The royal families of the client kingdoms and high lords of the various lands have estates in Ylavin, even if they are not often used. A large temple of the Mihra order is the true center of the city, though the palace is visible for miles around, reaching high into the sky.
Ylavin is located in the northeast of Terlayne, in a land that is hilly and generally forested. Farther north of Ylavin are the highest peaks of the land, a great mountain range that sees little of spring or summer. Due west the land turns to forests and then to plains, the western coast prime for fishing. The eastern coast is not as hospitable, a cold current coats the land in mist and fog. Along the interior of the southwest is a large desert, though it is indeed inhabited. In the southeast the land is swampy.
The Mihra are located in the northeast as well, about a fortnight's journey south from the capital, still within the expanse of the kingdom of Terlayne, not just the empire. The city, called Larq, is far less aesthetic, but entirely orderly as one would expect. Shaped as a circle, the main temple and residences of the highest Mihra are housed in the exact center. The rest of the city is sectioned around the the temple in circles. There is a vibrant merchant and artisan presence in the city and farms are organized in the land surrounding the city. While it has a small permanent population, the times after a harvest or during a festival bring thousands of visitors.
The Kingdom of Amm en-DarThe people now known as the Amm en-Dari were once a a people beholden to clan and tribe over anything else. War changed that, and the Amm en-Dari were forced to bind together in days long past. They knelt to the Bithos Emperor and converted to the beliefs of the Mihra, though they remained nomadic and isolated. They claim the entire desert of the southwest as their own and few have want to challenge them on that. The Ammarei desert they have named it for countless generations, and the interior is survivable only by the Amm en-Dari it seems. Few, if any, have crossed the expanse without at least having a guide. As a people they still travel the desert in tribes, but they also recognize a higher power amongst themselves, one they call the Kral.
There is one true city in the Ammarei desert, Orta. A city made of mud bricks, it can hold several thousand people at full capacity. Few outsiders know the exact location of the city, save the Mihra who do travel to it. It was once a holy place, with many laws and customs tied directly to it, however many were cast aside when they converted centuries ago. The population that fills the city is largely migrant, it acts as a meeting place for tribes to settle disputes and is one of the few places where water and shade are guaranteed during a tribe's migration. It does, though, also have a small permanent population. The elderly often retire to Orta to live out the rest of their days. Families are raised here as well, a small portion of the Amm en-Dari people to be sure, but such people do exist.
The central piece to Amm en-Dari culture is a caste system. Laws regarding castes and caste movement do tend to allow movement based on one's talents. A man born to the herder caste who displays great martial ability will join the warrior caste. A man born to the warrior caste but dedicated to the priesthood will join that caste instead, for two examples. The rites of passage or acceptance into the castes will be similar, but differ dependent on the tribe. The castes, listed from most respected to least, are as follows:*Kubar: Subcastes include the Ustad (scholars), Kahin (priests and priestesses), Alverci (traders)As a note, not all tribes will contain all subcastes. Akinci, for example, are not found in all tribes. Those that settle down seasonally will have this subcaste, those that move near constantly will likely not.
*Sonraki: Subcastes include the Esgur (warriors), Demrici (blacksmiths, specifically of weapons and armor), Seyyid (hunters)
*Kendtesc: Subcastes include the Cobani (herders), Akinci (farmers)
*Senetkar: Subcastes include the Toxucu (weavers), Zerger (jewelers/metalworkers), Cilingar (toolsmith)
*Safil: The "dead" caste, those that have forsaken their tribe through various means, or those banished for crimes.Such a person will not be welcomed in any tribe and will leave the Ammarei completely if they still value their life.
The Kingdom of Porzak is a large, wealthy kingdom to the far Western reaches of the Empire. Its temperate climate has given Porzak great soil for farming, and large herds of game roam the plains, and great rivers crossing through the kingdom out to the sea boast plentiful numbers of fish, ensuring the people of Porzak never want for food. While most of the kingdom is plains and river lands, the border to the North East starts the beginning of great woodland where much of the kingdom’s lumber originates from and the foothills of the mountains mark the borders while housing the capital city of Rennor and its ruler, King Ermin. It is in these foothills that quarries and mines provide the kingdom with the stone required to allow Porzak’s cities and villages to have some modern touches in an otherwise intentionally rustic architectural design philosophy, something that becomes more prevalent the further away one goes from Rennor.
Despite the great expanses of land between cities, horses are not overly common in Porzak as the rivers have provided means of transportation between the cities for centuries. Owning a horse is considered a status symbol amongst the wealthy, and while there is a clearly defined noble class, a wealthy merchant or talented craftsman or smith often enjoy several of the boons afforded to the lower-classed nobles. Centuries of living amongst great herds of bison have yielded not only game and invaluable crafting resources, but it is now fairly common to find small domesticated herds, bred after generations of captivity, used as beasts of burden, transportation, and in some communities, war mounts.
Due to Porzak’s rich heritage of sailing the rivers, Porzark shipbuilders are prized craftsmen and can often find gainful employment throughout the empire, and the abundance of game and crops harvested by the Kingdom make for Porzak’s primary source of wealth, creating long caravans that travel by ship and bison to other Kingdoms that make Porzak in many cases the primary source of food for more than a few Kingdoms. Often, the most prized imports of the Kingdom are fabrics, textiles, and metal work from the Kingdoms that specialize in it.
Pozark has no standing army given the years of peace, although each city has a large contingency of guards that can act as a standing army if required, but mostly maintain peace and order in the lands and combat the criminal elements that can be found in any city. Elite regiments can be found in Rennor and Caspan, the two largest and wealthiest cities, where the Guardsmen act as personal bodyguards for the King’s house, high-born nobles, and others of importance. They receive the best training, arms and armour, and maintain a fierce discipline that make them amongst the finest paid soldiers in the Empire, despite their relatively small numbers, said to be numbering less than 600 for both cities.
Despite the prevalence of bison and the river in Pozark’s history and culture, its flag and sigil is that of a great black bird called the Night Raven on account of the shadow it cast that was said to have been the apex predator in centuries past that is said to have a wingspan the width of a river and the ability to lift a horse and rider off the ground with its mighty talons. Rumours persist to this day that the bird still exists, having retreated to the less populated North on the far side of the mountains. Gripped in the great bird’s talons is a bearded axe, one of the earliest steel weapons amongst the Pozarki soldiers that stands as a symbol of Pozark’s might and resilience against the larger, better armed and trained soldiers of rival kingdoms that had invaded and attempted to subdue Pozark in ages past before the Mirha united the kingdoms. Invading armies found Pozarki resistance stubborn and fierce, facing vast numbers without fear. Often, scores of soldiers died at the hands of small handfuls of axe-wielding warriors, whose powerful bodies forged from a life of labour proved often to be greater than the often peasant soldiers who faced them. Those from outside Pozark often claim the Pozarki warriors were on drugs to account for their fearlessness and ferocity, while the Pozarki will staunchly claim it was patriotism and the gods who gave their ancestors strength. The truth is likely a mixture of the two sides of the story, but none will contest the loss of life from these wars were horrific.
When the king finally bent his knee to the emperor after the Mirha brought peace, Pozark’s population had been largely ravaged, with perhaps as much as 15% of Pozark’s population being killed in the conflict. Pozark was permitted to keep its traditions, customs, and its population could finally recover after its great losses in the wars and pestilence of years past. Many believe this lead to Pozark’s strong economy and relative anonymity of the Kingdom, who in an interesting turn of events in the centuries that followed proved to be a staunchly loyal subject of the Empire, even going so far to hold massive festivals for the coming of the Imperial family in their visits to the Kingdom. House Utenvan, the rulers of Pozark, have a long history of marrying into the Imperial family, occasionally seeing a descendant sit alongside the Emperor as his wife.
Remnants of kingdoms lost centuries ago, the denizens of Terlayne's large South-Eastern swamp are a people born of necessity.
Little more than warring tribes at the time, the small fortifications that once dotted Terlayne routinely raided and sacked each other for gold and resources. Petty squabbles often resulted in full blown wars and rulers more concerned with property than life made mad grabs for rival lands. Spiteful and proud, the small Lords refused to concede even when facing certain destruction.
As time passed, the wars grew more feverish as did the instruments of death wielded. The larger kingdoms began employing powerful Mages while the bickering city-states continued swatting at each other unaware. Entire cities began disappearing, ripped from existence over night as the prideful scuffles reached a fever pitch, mutual destruction the only option for the narrow-minded kingdoms.
Enough was enough. Unwilling to die for their power hungry betters, refugees from several crumbling kingdoms fled to find sanctuary elsewhere. To the refugees' dismay, it seemed no where was safe from the constant fighting; magic killing the very land itself as it did in Asgan. Indeed, the only hope for salvation came when word from the East spoke of a strange group had come to restore Order to the land. With nowhere left to turn, the ragged nomads started East.
With no means of direction beyond that of the blistering sun and drastically dwindling in numbers, when the weary vagabonds saw the lush green foliage of the South-East Swamp all intentions of meeting up with the advancing Order were cast aside in favour of survival. Dense canopies, water swelling from the earth below, the surviving travelers thought their new dwelling an oasis.
Life within the swamp was fatal at first, nearly wiping out the already dismal population through disease and predator. The ones who survived were soon greeted with more refugees from other kingdoms fleeing the war, the majority of which died in turn. For nearly a century this continued, old rivalries falling away as a new people were born deep within the bloated gaseous heart of the swamp.
With lineages spanning the entire expanse of Terlayne, the A'tosh are a diverse and varied people. Named for a pidgin word used by the first amalgam of people to settle the swamp, 'A'tosh' is used to describe both the swamp itself as well as the people who call it home. While no two A'tosh look alike, there are certain characteristics that all people of the swamp share. Any exposed skin on an A'tosh is usually coated in some sort of rash or bites and their stomachs are often distended by intestinal worms. It's also not uncommon to see several circles or bulges beneath the skin of an A'tosh depending on if eggs or ring worms have found a way inside.
Due to their constant maladies, A'tosh have a notoriously short life span though this can be subverted using medicinal herbs found only within the A'tosh Swamp. Another symptom of the A'tosh's grotesque condition is the revulsion expressed by those outside the swamp. One of the last kingdoms to join the Empire, were it not for the beneficial plants within the A'tosh Swamp It's highly likely the other kingdoms would simply disregard them all together as attempts at improving foreign relations has met with nominal success.
Descendants of descendants of descendants of vagabonds and nomads, the A'tosh are a people steeped in family and camaraderie. The Swamp is also revered in an almost divine air, the aged trees as much a part of the family as those who dwell within and the reason for the all-encompassing title of A'tosh.
Intermingling amid the varying races of refugees over the years has resulted in familial bonds within the Swamp to be as tangled as the vines overhead. All are equal within the A'tosh as all are bloodkin with and within the Swamp. When disputes do arise among the A'tosh, it is left to the Swamp to arbitrate in the form of who has lasted longer within Its grasp. The elder of the disputants is given favour as they have proven capable of thriving within their hostile environment though this can be challenged.
If a problem is large enough or a younger disputant feels strongly enough about it, an elder may be challenged to a test of arms. It is at this point that a third and final chance for peaceful resolution is called. Should an elder A'tosh refuse a duel and overturn the original judgement in his favour, the younger disputant is awarded the bounty of original judgement and no further action is taken.
Should an elder accept a challenge however, the dispute can only end in bloodshed. Challenges cannot be retracted once declared and both parties involved are unable to return to the family without proof of their kill. Often a finger or severed ear, the bodies of those lost to challenges are intentionally left within the Swamp as an offering. Challenges are rarely carried to this stage and are often a cause for great mourning as all lose a cherish family member in the process. Though taught to accept a victor into their folds once again, some A'tosh can't help but hold resentment.
While largely symbolic, Challenges hold multiple pragmatic benefits. By giving preference to those who have shown fortitude over time originally and then allowing only one combatant to return, the family as a whole is strengthened by weeding out the less advantageous with no detriment to the freedom of an individual. If only the strongest were kept alive the psychological impact would breed little more than savages. By making Challenges the choice of both parties involved, the herd is culled with no lasting trauma.
Another benefit comes from leaving the slain within the Swamp. Again, keeping the body out of sight proves less traumatic to the family as a whole. Not only that, but the nutrient-dense corpse is quickly eaten away by the creatures within all A'tosh promoting faster decomposition. Returning to the Swamp is a large part of the A'tosh belief system and also feeds the highly coveted herbs within the A'tosh Swamp.
After the age of thirty, an A'tosh can no longer be challenged and is instead considered a revered elder at having lived so long within the Swamp's embrace. Revered elders hold a special place among the A'tosh much as a grandmother or grandfather would in other cultures. Though revered elders hold no actual authority, their wisdom is often sought in times of duress. Once deemed a revered elder, an A'tosh's duties cease to involve the day to day routines that make life possible, but are more 'managerial' in practice. Charged with seeking out and acting as confidants for members of the family after a Challenge has concluded, revered elders are the last line of defense against civil war.
As trees within the A'tosh Swamp are as much a part of the family as any other, killing them is strictly forbidden. Legends are told of the original A'tosh who failed to respect their home and were nearly wiped out. Living within dreary rockwells and shoddy fortifications of dead limbs made with crude stone tools, the original A'tosh were a stout and hardy bunch to have survived at all. It wasn't until the A'tosh swore fealty to the Empire that they began importing lumber and tools for proper dwellings.
The medicinal herbs grown within the A'tosh Swamp are the lifeblood of the A'tosh family literally and figuratively. Without the poultices created from these plants themselves, the A'tosh would have been wiped out centuries ago by their near-uninhabitable home. Once a way to grow the plants consistently was devised, exportation of the miracle cures brought in food which, when added to the A'toshi diet of swamp pods and lizard-snakes, did wonders for strengthening their immune system raising the life expectancy of a common A'tosh from twenty to twenty-three and building materials offering true shelter from the elements and predators raising it from twenty-three to an amazing twenty-seven.
Asgan is a land that lies far north of Ylavin. It's a harsh and cold territory, mountainous and seeing only a few varying weeks of Spring and even less of Summer. Most of the land is rocky or looks like an avalanche hit it, the capital Asgarn being the only remaining city that was untouched by the heinous act during the war.
The land is too rocky and cold to support a lot of plant life, much less crops for human consumption. Mountain Goats, Wolves, Rabbits, Snow owls, to name but a few creatures that eek out a living in the unforgiving Mountains. They provide the main source of food, clothing, and other necessities to the people that live there. It's a harsh life, which leaves no room for weakness.
In the old days, where the Gods were worshiped rather than Order, Asgan was a wealthy nation. It's mountains were chalked full of ore, and Asgan smiths were some of the best, some would say the best, in the land. Certainly, the steel that came from the Asgan Mountains was stronger than average, and there were other rumors swirling around about it. Feasted upon blood, they said. Grew stronger with each kill and hungrier, sometimes even attacking the wielder in it's frenzy.
But then the war came. The war that lasted over a century, the war known to the people of Asgan as 'The War of the Southerners'. For their lore teaches that Asgan had no part in the bloody conflict, but was an innocent victim of the bloodthirstiness of the southerners. Regardless, Asgan was kept safe from the ravages of war, making money by selling their weapons at high prices. And the warring nations bought them up. That is, until one decided to take Asgan out of the picture. Through an act of powerful magic, a group of mages stripped Asgan's power from them.
They quite simply, eradicated the ore in the Mountains.
In hindsight, this was a mistake. Some sections of the Mountains were only held together by the ore in them, when that was removed all at once...hundreds upon thousands of stone rubble fell upon the mining cities of Asgan, destroyed fortresses, crushing all in it's path. When the shaking and rumbling and crashing finally stopped, Asgan was crippled as a nation. Ripe for conquest. But who would seek to conquer such a desolate place, with none of the ore that made it so powerful? For the next half a century or so, Asgan began to barely recover. Money wasn't flowing in to afford the price of rebuilding, and more and more people left the once numerous nation till only what could be considered an abnormally large tribe was left. And that's all they needed. The few remaining mages in the land were not powerful. Why would the need to be, when none would dare cut themselves off from Asgan's steel? But they were strong enough to put their talents to...darker uses.
And thus, the first of the Ice Wraiths were born. Selling out their services, these mages became renowned assassins. After all, all the other mages were too busy fighting the wars to bother with assassination and skulking around in the shadows. And the mages of Asgan used this to their highest advantage. Soon, slowly, money began to flow back into ravaged and crippled nation. With money for it, a few of the mages began training those without magic in the arts of assassination. Rumors of mages from the East, promoting 'Order', and winning. They sensed the ages of war coming to a close...and the ages of powerful magics. So, to keep the money flowing into the broken nation, they had to train commoners.
When this was done, the system was set, and their perfect little assassins were created, the mages turned to the bloodier side of the money making business. Removing the competition. Slowly, gruelingly, they set about crushing the powerful assassin's guilds and securing the Ice Wraith's seat as 'top assassins'. They finished just as the Mihra banished the Gods. The Ice Wraiths had to adapt, and quickly. Worship of the Gods was thrown out, but the systems were kept. And it worked. Asgan is now a thriving city state, money from the assassination contracts providing all they need.
The people are as harsh as the land. They follow the statement 'The Strong Survive', to the letter. Suspicious of outsiders, or 'Southerners' those who live in Asgan, nearly all of them in Asgarn, usually come across as brusque, rude, secretive, and generally unpleasant to be around. That's to outsiders though. To their tribe, especially their families, they're warm. Affectionate even. As warm and affectionate as Asgans can be, anyways. The young have a high mortality rate, especially in the years before double digits. The people don't name their children till they're at least seven, even then it's their 'test name', to see if this one will survive. Those that live to the age of twelve, go to the Ice Wraiths, for the good of the tribe.
They are also a people who have a rich story base, with fantastic tales of The Great White Bear(Representing The Cold) The vile Southerners, monsters, heroes, magic and might.
The Ice Wraiths are more a cult than an assassins guild. They follow a large amount of strange beliefs, the primary three being: Consuming the flesh of the fallen will grant you their strength, The Cold is a living thing, to be respected, but not feared, and Blood ties are never to be broken, and the Tribe is your Blood. Of course, these are kept largely secret from the Southerners, as the soft fools wouldn't understand and their money would stop flowing. Rumors can't be stopped however, and there are a multitude of them about the Ice Wraiths being cannibals, demons in flesh, shadow manipulators...the list goes on.
They follow a three code doctrine.
1) Your life is to the Tribe. Do not do anything that would bring danger or ruin down upon it, and slaughter those who would seek to do so.
2) You are not to take a life that isn't sanctioned by the Wraiths, isn't threatening your life, or isn't threatening the well fare of the Tribe.
3) Nothing is true, Everything is permitted If you owe anything to anyone, repay them as soon as you can. Your soul will be stained and corrupted the longer you owe.
Being the final powerful Assassins Guild, or Cult, they can charge high prices for their kills. The price changes based on who is to be slain, but it's never cheap.
The Hierarchy of the Ice Wraiths is simple.
1) Snowflakes, or Flakes. They are the new recruits, usually destined to become the next Ice Wraiths. Twelve at the youngest, 15 at the oldest.
2) Frosts. They oversee the teaching of the Flakes, and the day to day management of the Wraiths. They are the most numerous, and are taken generally from outside of the tribe. Not to far outside, lest they...react unfavorably to some of the practices of the Wraiths.
3) Ice Wraiths, or Wraiths. They are the fewest of the Cult, and the eldest of them lead it and decide upon major decisions. One of them, Nadrin, possesses the only other talent in the Wraiths. He can telepathically speak to anyone in the Cult, but at great cost. For everyone he speaks to, he ages considerably. Only 20 in soul and mind, his body looks well over 60. It is unknown if he will continue to live when his body fails. Yet another reason for the high price of the Wraiths. The Ice Wraiths are marked by a twinkle carved into their arms, a herb rubbed into it making the scar a snow white.
Mihra denotes both the individual and the organization. The head of the Mihra is known as Jhae Mihra; the current Jhae is Mescul Dhar, a man who has seen 68 years. He serves to set the direction of the Mih'ra, as well as the governance of the Mih'ra although the advisory council (the Nuthar) must generate a consensus to pass a law. Mescul has served as Jhae for only 5 years. He does have a talent, though having one is not required to rise to Jhae. Mescul Dhar can create shields; his talent extends itself to physical attacks, in which he can prevent or soften blows for short periods of time, on himself or others. He has tried to test this ability against other talent attacks with inconsistent results and no pattern of which he can or cannot defend against.
The Nuthar, a group of 11 Mihra, are the second most senior. They are the Jhae's advisory council as well as the Jhae's electors. They may never elect one of themselves to post as Jhae. If they feel one of their own is best suited to the post, he or she must resign and forfeit his/her seat in the case of losing the election.
The Ral Mihra are next, and are the overseers of various activities. These include: education and discipline, Talent research, diplomacy, historical research, and religious duties.
The population of Mihra who have taken their vows are often just addressed as Mihra, although they are formally called Mihra-das. They work with the various Rals in whichever facet they are called to.
Those out of apprenticeship but short of having taken vows are called Val Mihra, their days are filled with classes, especially true of those with Talents.
The religious aspect of the Mihra is perhaps the smallest sector of the organization. Worship of Order is seen in how one conducts one's everyday life and is different dependent on one's station in life. Balance and order for a lord is far different than for a common serf. There are wandering priests who offer advice and counsel to those without high enough status to warrant a permanent counselor.
Rules, Guidelines, and Other Assorted Things:
- The GM (me) gets the final say. I will be fair and open.
- Advanced rules apply: Good and coherent grammar and spelling, at least 2 paragraphs per post, no godmodding/metagaming, no OP chars or Mary/Gary Stus
- Keep active!: Use the OOC, ask questions of me and your fellow rp'ers. Chat, plan, discuss. I don't mind you chatting about things other than the rp unless the rp gets completely lost. I won't force a posting schedule, but keep it moving, no one needs to write a novel, so the pressure for this is pretty low. Struggling? Ask!
- There will be limits to the type of character you make, but these limits center around those who wish to have Talents. The other chars will simply need to have a good reason for getting involved in this quest.
- What is the quest?: There are dark things afoot. Our band of characters will team up for (I'm assuming) varied reasons to stop the Order from crumbling, to prevent the old gods from re-entering the world.
- Magic/Talents: What is OP here may not be OP with what you're used to. Magic is nearly dead and gone. Those who have a Talent have only one, a very specific thing they can do and not a general field. Even those who spend their entire lives working on their Talent are quite unlikely to master it. Talents also always have a counter-effect of some kind on the user. Sometimes this means dealing with ineffectiveness of the Talent and at other times actual harm to the person.
- The world is quite open to development. Feel free to create the kingdom your character comes from, keeping in mind the general geography I gave up above.
Appearance: text and/or images, if images-no anime
Profession: If you have a Talent, include that here
Brief History: include why they are in Larq whether they be members of the Mihra or from elsewhere
Garon Verhardt: Sellsword, played by Dervish
Narcisse of Fanitullen: Duelist for Hire, played by O|NoSoul
Gamot Dar'Tosh: Trapmaster, played by WittyReference
Lyra Dundura: Mihra-das Historian (Talent: Memory Alteration), played by Dervish
Morgan Kasper: Mihra-das and Master of Devices (Talent: Machines), played by Naril
Yngvar: Assassin (Talent: Being Unseen), played by Rtron
Nur "Nora" Nassif, Traveling Mihra-das (Talent: Fire), played by Merle
Name: Lelianya Bithos
Taller than average for a woman and slender, she is physically quite weak.
Profession: Mihra-das, working under a Ral who oversees historical research
The Bithos family claims familial connection to the Emperor, although their blood is much diluted from the line. A minor branch of the family, and one who's ancestors vied too much to remain close to power, the Bithos' long ago were relegated to ruling over a small plot of land butting against the mountains of the north. Small estates bring small incomes, and the Bithos' can claim little except their name.
It was to this family and these circumstances that Lelianya was born to; the third child and second daughter, her arrival was certainly not a cause for great joy or celebration. Before she would leave her childhood home, she would see three more sisters born to her parents. Obvious too, even to Lelianya at a young age, was her parents' disdain for each other. Her father had married above him in a way, and had brought crucially needed funds into the languishing house. The lack of even second son to accomplish the same feat infuriated the man. Lelianya's mother was no happier at the arrangement; her mercantile father had certainly expected more out of the name he gave his daughter.
Lelianya's worth to her family would only be seen in time, with her curse. At a young age, only a few years old, she began to display odd behavior. Her first word was "yellow," while she pointed at her mother. These tendencies to acknowledge a color in reference to a person were sporadic and discounted as a childish game until she reached her ninth year and a traveling Mihra was present for one instance. The Mihra-das, an older man named Denin, spent months with the family, intrigued by the girl and suspecting something more than just her imagination at work.
He was correct, of course, for by this time Lelianya had begun to associate the colors for the emotional states of the person. Terrified that their daughter had a Talent, her parents were more than relieved to see her off to Larq in the company of the Mihra. Lelianya too, though it took many years, would come to be relieved of it as well.
Her studies under the Mihra were extensive, and the focus on her Talent took precedence though her own interest lay in the history of Terlayne and the understanding of the time before their time of peace. Her apprenticeship lasted sixteen years, though such was not atypical. Two years ago she took her vows and exited her time of apprenticeship. Since then she has worked under one of the Ral Mihra whose focus was in the field of historical research. She also became a mentor to one of the older apprentices, a woman named Arryana.