Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Center Cannot Hold: Dark Soram and the Kirgan

Ok.  Here is a bit of a rambling piece on a part of #Crux I refer to, but never really put much thought into.  Soram started as a "Africa analogue" and at some point, I diverged from that and just went my own way with it.  Research sort of can do that.  I still know nothing about the Soramese or their ways as a people.  

I also created a new race on the fly, the Qidaat.  I don't know what they are.  The word sounds weird, so it works.  What do you think?  Does this sound like a interesting place?


Soram
The great southern continent.  The Soramese tribe (although they refer to themselves as multiple tribes, from many different worlds originally), claim they came to this world with the Kirgan. The Kirgan are a isolated nation of Ursyklons, long exiled to Soram as punishment for their crimes.  The Kirgan clans chose to put aside Ursyklon taboos in their war against the Aboleth.  The Kirgan always treat their Soramese counterparts as equals- they specifically pursued diversity among those who surround them in Soram.

The Kirgan often took human wives and husbands.  Some purposefully infected themselves with lycanthropy and other curses.  Others contacted dark elder gods opposed to the Aboleth, but just as incomprehensible and terrifying as any other things found betwixt the stars.  They used mutation, dark rituals and other things to do whatever they could to win.  Even dead, their bodies no animal would dare touch.  

The Kirgan and those Humans who they married, went the extra mile to slay and stop the Aboleth.  Perhaps they went too far.  The Kirgan have long since isolated themselves to the southernmost reaches of Dark Soram.  Some believe this isolation is born out of fear of what they've become.  Others fear they have turned, that they work toward something just as dark as the Aboleth.

Forsaken Ursyklon, undead monsters and Soramese tribes are not the only inhabitants of Soram.  There also are the Qidaat.  The Qidaat came to Orphos less than a thousand years ago, crash landing in the thick jungle interior of Soram.  The Kirgan and the Qidaat came into conflict, the Qidaat using technology and devices beyond what the Kirgan still have access to.  The Qidaat never were able to repair their fallen starships.  Instead, they abandoned them to take over abandoned cities deep in Soram, long forsaken due to drought.

It is important to note that the Kirgan are not the governing body of Soram.  It isn't one empire or nation.  The Kirgan are honored amongst many of the Soramese, but unlike the Great Powers of the Maru Sea, Soram isn't unified in any way.  Jungles and ancient customs keep most villages self-governing. 

Lay of the Land
Soram and its vast reaches are populated by a myriad of towns.  Othebea, Maliph and Ainesia all have small colonies on its edges.  The Soramese Tribes are so diverse, it only misleads outsiders further.  Soram is thick with jungles.

It is also dense with ancient cities.  Where Maliph and Othebea see wilderness, the Soramese recognize roads and dozens of territories and kingdoms.  Ancient and current Soramese are diverse in their architectural abilities.  Perhaps the most dominant thing about Soram and its people, is that diversity.  They have rivalries, blood feuds and complicated religious connections.  

Soram is a tapestry of villages, cities and kingdoms.  But compared to the power of Maliph and the other Great Powers of the Maru Sea, they aren't quite as prepared to handle.  Already with established colonies, the Great Powers each have managed to use trade and other means to strong arm localities.  The Kirgan remain aloof, refusing calls from Soramese tribes to aid them.

The Qidaat Hives watch from deep in the interior, but they are slow thinkers.  They see little difference between the Soramese and these outsiders.  The Qidaat's main silk trade remains strong.  As long as they continue to receive the food and other goods they've long enjoyed from the edges of Soram, they ignore it.

Maliphi slavery of Soram therefore has long been tolerated by various parts of Soram.  The stronger tribes enjoy the benefits of selling rival villages away to Maliph.  The new colonies established by the Great Powers are small and tolerated because they add new trade value to the area.  But things are changing in the jungles of Soram, not necessarily for the better.

The Kirgan Deathwalkers
The Kirgan today are ruled by the mummified dead monarchs.  Each is infested with undead vermin
and snakes.  Their flesh never truly found rest.  For Ursyklons, the dead are to be returned back to nature, offered to the wolves and beasts of their communities as food.

These cursed Ursyklon kings and queens, no animal dared to dine upon their corpses.  Instead, their flesh dried instead of rotting.  They mummified, becoming dried husks.  Among the lands of Soram, these are the Deathwalkers.

The Deathwalkers still rule their people, even in death.  They stay to the deepest southern places of Soram.  They also avoid outsiders.  Some seek them out, often out of curiosity.  The Deathwalkers know secrets no others in the world know, long lost to time.

But others fear the Kirgan and their Deathwalkers.   That perhaps, deep in the southern reaches of Soram, they prepare for something dark.  Something nothing the rest of the world is quite prepared for.

Crux and Soram
The City of Curses has its own fair share of visitors from Dark Soram.  Often seen as more curiosities among the many to be seen in Crux, the University of Crux and the Esoterium Machina have long sent expeditions to the ruins to be found in Soram.

Many of these expeditions take and steal what they find.  Often without much guilt.

So Crux is home to countless Soramese, Kirgan and Qidaat relics of all kinds.  A vast collection of things selected to help "expand our arcane and scientific knowledge."  Of specific interest is the Ancient Kirgan and Ancient Soramese wonders described in Ursyklon texts. 

There are ancient metal texts from Ancient Soram that some of the Esoterium Machina believe contain the secrets of spaceflight, immortality and magic not seen since the Ursyklon first came to Orphos.  But the gold and jewel encrusted treasures stolen from Soram hold no clues.  Even the mummified bodies found, often lack the horror of the stories of the Deathwalkers.

Fresh sarcophagi always arrive from Soram, though.  Many in the Esoterium Machina have come to dismiss the stories of the Kirgan as mere fanciful legend.  Perhaps one day, they might catch one of these Deathwalkers, and get to experiment upon them, to learn their secrets.

Or vice versa.