Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Desert People

In the deep desert, nomads roam, moving from hidden oasis to secret wells, tending their flocks, always on the move. They carry all that they own with them, caravans of wealth, though easily able to protect their fortunes. At its outskirts, men and lizardmen build their cities; few cities survived the attacks of the beastmen, and fewer cities still manage to flourish in the harsh environment. However, a few great cities managed to fend off monsters and brigands long enough to survive; of these, Korcu Baskenti is the largest, and most powerful. Desert spices and exotic trade flow through the city, as well as darker trade: slaves, stolen treasure, and dark magical items.

The desert-dwellers of old were men and Thrassians - great lizard-men, of considerable power. Many Thrassians, loyal to the evil wyrm, enslaved the men, and built a rich civilization with their sweat and blood. The towering citadels and majestic halls of the Zahara spread from the sparkling sea to the Dalgali Nehir, resplendent and opulent. At the peak of their wealth, Zaharans were kings of a third of Mor-Thir; their nation commanded respect from men, elves, and dwarves, and their trade covered the continent. But like all creatures of chaos, when trouble came, the mighty rulers refused to help each other. As the beastmen attacks began to grow in number, and all manner of vile creatures invaded their halls, their many slaves sensed an opportunity. Rising up, throwing off their shackles, the slaves revolted against their cruel masters. Quickly falling to in-fighting, the once-great Thrassians quickly came to an end. While many fell in battle with the beasts, countless more were murdered in their sleep by their own servants. Only a few managed to flee into the desert.

While Men, rather than lizardmen, rose to power, their rule was little better; worse, perhaps, because they made slaves of their own kind, man enslaving man. The Thrassians that remained were thrown into the gladiator pits; only the strongest could survive. Bred like animals, the powerful Thrassians became little more than animals.

One powerful group of men was a secret sect of mages: the Skinscribes. Serving under a lax Thrassian mage, one man managed to copy a spell from a spellbook onto his own flesh. He taught this spell to others, and as more spells were added, their combined power grew. At the time of the uprising, these skinscribes struck out, burning their oppressors in a hail of fire and fury. A human skinscribe was no match for a Thrassian Mage, but the rage and self-sacrifice of even untrained men was enough to overwhelm those many times more powerful than themselves.

Not all men were disloyal to the Thrassians; for their obedience, the loyal few were rewarded with power and magic. These men became dark mages and terrible necromancers, following their evil masters' ways. They ruled beside their lords until the rebellion; those not slain were driven into the deserts with their masters, to survived in the destroyed, abandoned cities, ruins filled with sand. though their empire was in ruins, these dark knights protected the secrets of their cthonic masters, wielding blades imbued with powerful magic. These guardians of the ruins of former glory chose that name for themselves: Ruinguards.

The desert has molded its people; the sands of earth and of time have worn them down, so only the strongest parts of themselves remain. The Skinscribes remain mages, but no longer practice in secret, nor restrict themselves to the darkest of arts. The Ruinguards, too, have been warn down; their magical blades passed from father to son so often that they have forgotten their roots. They are little more than magical knights, their dark past hidden beneath the shifting sands. Even the great and mighty Thrassians, once rulers of a third of Mor-Thir, have wasted away, becoming more beast-like with each passing age. Few pure-blooded Thrassians, if any, remain.

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