Thursday, April 20, 2017

City of Curses: The Ainong, or Starfolk (pt 1)

#Crux, City of Curses, is a dark fantasy setting of intrigues, early industry and more than a little horror. 


The Ainong's oldest saying is one most of them remember: there are no Kings among the Ainong.  There are no lords.  No Ainong wears a crown.  They are born with only dirt below and the stars above.

The human tribe of the Ainong always see themselves as the last.  According to Ainong legend, their people were the last children of a Dragon and a Tree, the elder children becoming the kings of the Tomasi, Salaro and Rosac.  They are often the last human tribe named in tales.  In the recorded annals of the Machine, even the Ocridese and the Soramese come before them.

The Ursyklon conquest moved around them, as the Ainong never had cities to fall or treasures to take.  Salaro Sea Lords raided them.  The Tomasi Empire conquered them, only to forget them as it fell into ruin.  Vampyres and monsters would harass them, but not one true power claimed lordship over them.  Jarn in Bor would take what they wanted from them, crossing the narrow strait from
Bor into Ainesia.

But the Ainong themselves never created any kingdoms.  Instead, they always became part of kingdoms established by Tomasi Summoner-Lords.  Or Rosac Crusaders. Or Salaro nobles during the Othebean Crusades.

They were the peasants.  The serfs.  They tended their vast forests, growing phast to feed themselves.  Each Ainong village is part of a Starcircle.  A Starcircle is a vast area.  Part of it is ruins from long ago.  It's a decentralized polity.  They overlapped one another and involved oaths of alliance between one another.

Foreign Kings would bind Starcircles to their rule.  But never were able to break how they wove the many Ainong villages together.  Ossath transverse and bond Ainong villages together.  Ossath are semidemocratic, Ainong warrior hosts.  Kings and nobles could sometimes win over the Ossath.  But other times Ossath wiped out kings or nobles that would command them.  The Ossath love freedom.

Any Ainong can join an Ossath by seeking them out.  Ossath hosts take their names from constellations.  Each Ossath would serve in the warmer months, then return back to their villages in winter.  The Ossath follow the idea of the Ainong, all swearing to never serve any king.  These days the Ossath exist between outlaws and soldiers in Ainesia.  They serve the Empress and yet many Ossath hosts are willing to disobey.

Starcircles

The idea of the Starcircles are more important among the Starfolk as a people than outsiders.  A starcircle refers to ancient temples found throughout Ainesia, ruins from the Aetheric Empire.  Each ruin seems built around one constellation or another.

Their locations are often around or right under Ainong Towns. One can find massive ruin complexes right in the center of a traditional Starcircle.  Right where the center of the circle would be drawn on a map.

Each village around a ruin maintains strong connections to one another.  The central town of a Starcircle often based around the ruins themselves.  Or have some proximity to it.  A Starcaller often is elected among those villages within a Starcircle's reach.  Some villages vote in many such starcaller elections.  They can sit among multiple starcircles' reaches.

A Starcaller is given the task of maintaining the old Starcircle ruins.  Some do well at this, others treat the role as symbolic.  These days the Empire of Ainesia ignores the role, often sending their own agents to poke and prod the ruins.  Each village has its own view of the surrounding Starcircle ruins.  Some dislike them, eager to get rid of the ancient structures.

Others see them as sacred and kill those who would violate them.