Friday, 20 February 2009
Overview of Yoon-suin, the Mountains of the Moon, and the Mollusc Clanships of the Sundarban Mangroves
Sughd was founded five hundred years ago by mercenary ogre magi from the West; they were employed by a Raj of Syr Darya who neglected to pay them, so in return they destroyed him and his dynasty and took the city for themselves. In order to do so they made a blood pact with a great demon known as The Shikk, who gave them aid, but as payment The Shikk took the left half of every human being in the city, transforming them into vile nasnas. Since that day all the people of Syr Darya have had but half a face, half a body, one arm and one leg.
The Oligarchies are slaving cities which exploit the vast mineral wealth of the mountains and sell it downstream to Lamarakh and the Hundred Kingdoms. Spread among the Oligarchies are the many ruins of dwarven citadels which used to cluster the mountains. The dwarves are now almost entirely disappeared, though some remain in the highest peaks and glaciers. Their abandoned citadels are the haunts of the Drongukk, yak-headed ghosts who knaw on bones and copper for their sustenance.
Druk Yul is also called the Land of the Thunder Dragon. High in its glaciers, 8000 or more metres above sea level, are great Dzong carved from rock and ice; in them reside crystal dragons, the rulers of Druk Yul, and their storm giant servants. The cities, lower in altitude, are inhabited by duergar and humans; a strict caste system keeps humans at the bottom, little higher than dogs.
Lamarakh is a river kingdom; all of its settlements are boat-cities afloat on the God River, formed by lashing together barges, junks and rafts. Its people trade up and down the rivers, taking metals and minerals from the Mountains of the Moon downstream to the coast or to the Hundred Kingdoms; in return it ships slaves and spices to the Oligarchies. Its population is a mixture of humans and slugpeople; giant crayfish are employed to pull the boats when a city needs to move upstream.
The Hundred Kingdoms is the traditional name for the thirty-eight city states which exist between the God River and the Satpura Traps. Founded on rich alluvial soil and with year-round alternating sunshine and rainfall, their population is so dense that they have a constant surplus to send as slaves to Lamarakh and the Oligarchies. They are locked in continual warfare over resources and living space, and worship a massive bull-elephant god who devours the souls slain in battle and hungers satelessly.
The Clanships are twelve in number, so-called because all the members of each one are more-or-less clones, being bred from the same genetic stock. Slugpeople in the Sundarbans are hermaphroditic and only reproduce with other members of the same clan. The people of the clanships live in a mangrove swamp and build their cities on the roots of the trees - trees which can grow over a hundred metres tall.
Just southeast of the Clanships are The Topaz Islands and the Yellow City, a rocky archipelago of volcanic islands running along the coast, where a rich seam of topaz has broken through the surface of the sea. Dry of fresh water and lacking in any vegetation, the islands can only support thousands of sea birds, a single topaz dragon, and a nation of crabmen known as the Krytocracy who worship the dragon as their god-king. For his part, the capricious dragon spends his days sunning himself on the rocks or devouring one or two of his supposed worshipers. On the shore, however, where conditions are less harsh, lies the Yellow City, so called because of the colour it glows when the sunlight hits the rocks it is made from. The citizenry are a mixture of humans and crabmen.
The Dai-Aoi-Sango-Shou, or Great Blue Reef, is home to three squidpeople polities - Aoi-shio (the Blue Tide), Aka-shio (the Red Tide) and Murasaki-shio (the Purple Tide). The squid people are militant xenophobes who constantly raid the Topaz Islands and the Sundarbans for flesh; little is known of their society or culture, for all visitors are eaten.