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Verkh Charnel Fields

The Verkh Charnel Fields are perhaps one of the most shuddersome locations in all the world. Somewhere deep in the autonomous region of Nar'vora are the Verkh Charnel Fields, a vast cemetery of alleged alien origin. The Vygin clans tell tales of a dying race that descended to the earth in the cataclysmic days after the Judgement in search of a place to die…if this is true they certainly found it.

The Verkh Charnel Fields exist in a perfect five league radius around a collapsing fortress. The fields are filled with thousands of slim tombstones, some fallen but most standing vigil over the bones below. The tombstones all bear visages of sullen, large-headed beings and crude script denoting some unique identifier…perhaps. The unnamed fortress at the center of the cemetery seems to be of mortal make but no indication of who built it. The structure is barely standing appearing to have been consumed by fire hot enough to melt rock.

“If the remains are the genuine article then I cannot confirm nor deny they are that of modern man. If indeed real then my conclusion the remains are not that of some ghoulish alien race but more likely an uncataloged tribe of deformed men that once thrived in those barbarous wastes…”

-Tsek Pavlovich, Royal Surgeon of the Czardom of Vormanska

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Shemuul is one of the city-states of the Lydoccia archipelago, it is located inland on the island of Corvay at the foot of the Apolis Mountains. Shemuul’s wealth came from mining and processing iron, coal, gold and other precious minerals using the profits to build a society free from gross poverty, slavery and other social evils. Great care was taken to beautify the city despite the dozens of foundries and mills that worked the bounty of the mines. For centuries under the stewardship of the Uruahzu family Shemuul prospered with generations of people living, loving, working and building untouched by the harsh world.

When Lydoccia was revealed to the world Shemuul was mostly untouched by the ecological changes that ravaged the archipelago - it would be the savage ambition of men driven wild with zeal that would change the city’s fate. For as long as the city stood the Shemu lived at peace with the island’s native people, the Lammu. Though sometimes quarrelsome the Lammu could be easily sated by the Shemu with gifts and displays of respect but such gestures only fueled a silent resentment among the natives.

The Scouring of Shemuul is a long and tragic story that ends with Rhammazu, Lammu war king and chosen of Hashimak conquering the city. From their hidden underground cities Lammu warriors in the tens of thousands overwhelmed the city massacring thousands in an orgy of bloodlust. Rhammazu took the daughter of the king for his wife and declared the city a gift to Hashimak, his god. In reverence to Hashimak the new barbarian king had the Temple of the Mountain torn down and replaced with a towering ziggurat with a terrifying effigy affixed at its apex to serve as the heart of the Iron Church of Hashimak.

The egalitarian city of productivity has become a nightmare of industry under the yoke of the barbarous Lammu. The foundries work dawn to dusk casting cancerous black smoke into the sky and oily rain falls from the stygian clouds turning the white stone buildings black with grime. Those Shemu who have taken Hashimak as their god and choose to collaborate with the Lammu have been spared the worst treatment, some have even prospered while those who reject the new order are customarily tormented. The worship of Umulous, the ancestral god of Shemuul is forbidden in public along with the wearing of symbols of faith.

Under the rule of the Lammu Shemuul has become a bloated, poisoned nightmare but yet very powerful. They openly trade with the newly arrived merchants and guilds of the Sharoo Magyar Alligium who care little of the city’s internal affairs. Ecologically the once fertile hinterlands of Shemuul have become unproductive leaving the city no longer able to sustain itself without imported foodstuffs. Mayhaps one day the city will throw off the yoke of tyranny or perhaps Shemuul is just another example of a grim future.

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Gwurn Sodality

The Gwurn Sodality is an order of political advisors and tacticians that serve the emperor and noble houses of the Tru-isil Empire. Despite what seems like a reach limited to the Tru-isil Empire the Gwurn Sodality is suspected to have ties to shadowy foreign institutions most notably the Er Straga Coven. The epigones of the Gwurn Sodality exhibit numerous similarities in methods of thinking and prognosticating outcomes as the witch-sisters so much I believe them to have a direct connection.

Members of the order are chosen as infants from the ranks of orphans and abandoned children. Gwurn Sodality brothers tasked with finding new members look for what they call the ‘shimmering’ in infants…some type of occult resonance in their soul. Once chosen infants are brought to one of the Sodality temples where they begin a lifetime of grueling mental training. There are undoubtedly those that fail the training…as to their fate one can only guess.

When training is complete brothers of the Gwurn Sodality are assigned to the imperial court or one of the noble houses in what is usually a lifetime appointment. Serving as advisors, Sodality brothers are expected to task themselves with bolstering the power and influence of their masters. In what is a grand game of chess, members of the Gwurn Sodality test their abilities against other members whom they have spent decades training alongside.

“They wear ornate dark steel helmets that cover everything but their mouths. What skin can be seen is white as snow except their lips which are a deep cobalt. Never once had anyone in the household seen his face, some going as far as saying the helmet was somehow…grafted to their flesh. With such a mysterious lot all manner of rumors flutter about and I must say…I don’t discount any of them.”

–Vasilii Pratavich, ambassador of Vormanska

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