Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Nuralk Trochkompin

Nuralk is the world's most famous poet and commonly called by his first name. He is already several centuries old but still travels a lot, and rarely has the time to be a university teacher in his home city Mourinor in the Great Talash-Keh realm.
Nuralk's works have become the standard for any and all bards, and are widely known. Among his greatest works are the epos "The Four" and the poem collection "The Mists of Yallahan", both of which were translated into many languages, and serve many learners of foreign languages to get a grasp of rhyme and rhythm. Aside from his accomplishments in the literature and entertainment world, youths love him for making his wild hairdo of felted strands, barely tamed with tin beads, fit for good society (more or less).
"I have romanticized rebellions and told out rulers, insulted several orders, met a seraph, and almost caused war on at least three occasions, but my most discussed deed is: was my use of the Four's verse in "The Four" genius or theft?"
— Nuralk, poet
Also, Nuralk has made a name for himself by claiming he met a seraph. The seclusive people have not left their floating cities in millenia, but apparently this one came to talk; about what, Nuralk has never remembered, nor what the seraph looked like, except that he or she "walked like silk in the wind", which has since become a popular flattery.
"Valiantly prosperous, the bright land holds/ ashen and blood-smeared, the sharp land folds/ furiously blind, upheaving dim remains, the namesake groans/ thus is Sawa, the fiery, where each mountain moans."
— Nuralk, children's verse to remember Sawan states
Artists' notes
This guy was a really early celebrity while I created Genius Loci. Bards are a great thing in fantasy games, books, and whatnot; I remember several cool rpg companions, and also the joy of having bards sing the song of the Dragonborn in TES V: Skyrim. 

Tuesday, 20 January 2015


The vast majority of political, financial, and social positions lies with women in the highly militarized Sawan country Brighthold, weapons-related professions being closed to men. So, men stay at home during their wifes' long war tours, and take care of the large families and fort-like homes.
Brighthold has the world's largest and best-led army, and keeps the many bickering tribes and nations around in order. Their heroines are known far and wide, their skills undisputed and admired, their honour unquestionable. At home, Brightholders enjoy the simple life, social gatherings with bards, and their families. The Crowned is chosen by the Nobles' Assembly, and has never yet been cruel or unskilled.
"We just left the west, and we have to go back already and settle down the neighbours we just defended? Why can't the world stay saved for a day or two?"
— Unedirokar, soldier
Although Brighthold lies in the south, as a plateau it is windy and rather cool in temperature.
The Brighthold wear consists of leathers and pelts, exquisitely worked and adorned with animal tails, rims, pearlwork, and embroidery; woven fabrics are rare and expensive. The notable "underwear" is a leather suit covered with the typical, irregular metal plates. Brightholder civilians are proverbially "better armoured than other armies' skirmishers". Men's and women's clothing differs only slightly in elaboration and practicality.
"Ah, whenever my wife is home she disrupts our routines, leaves messes, and frightens the children with her challenges and loud behaviour. Still, we love her; I wish she'd stay longer so we could have another child - but alas, some tribe in the north is sure to rattle their spears and she'll leave sooner than we think."
— Halakamiron, husband
Artists' notes
I can't remember how Brighthold ("Lichtfeste") became a matriarchy, but it stuck and now I have all kinds of plot lines around it. It's not a feminist statement, though, I believe the only way to live in peace is if we agree genders aren't different. Brighthold was one of the earliest and because of its extremes most notable countries I invented; the costume is inspired by the Native Americans' and always fun to come up with.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

The Splinter War

The most devastating war Kitas ever had to endure lasted over a century. Started by subversive forces of shapechangers reaching for power, long suppressed conflicts broke out everywhere. Naturally, shapeshifters were hard to discover; their tactics were political and their network tight. Starting in northwest Sawa, the war burned its path eastwards, travelled to Lozir and then Gdera; it was finally managed to develop means to discover shapeshifters, but it took great effort to pacify the realms enough to employ them.

The real reasons of the shapeshifters' warmongering are lost in history; whether they wanted to rebuild afterwards, simply sought destruction, or followed some other plot, is unknown.
"It's not that we think our men were worth any less than us. It's that we don't trust them - after the cruelties committed by them in the Splinter War, they have no business being around weapons."
— Kiromatonak Stillhand, Brighthold scribe
After the war, the maps had to be redrawn. Shapeshifters were hunted and killed, shapeshifting was outlawed. Natural shifters were presumed extinct, spells forbidden, the name used as an insult.
Two millenia later, the shapeshifters' role in society was rediscovered, along with the forgotten spells. Scientists made a great effort for its acceptance and today, very slowly, shapeshifting is growing back into society.
"You should overcome the Splinter War. Even if it was such a great incision, you cannot linger on it forever - how will you brighten the future if the past throws such shadows?"
— The Kirnanas fleeter
Artists' notes
The original German "Splitterkrieg" might be more accurately translated as "Shatter War" but I didn't like how it sounds.
The Splinter War is a deep cut in history - there's a before and an after, and both are very different. So much was destroyed that entire countries have been forgotten. The war and the difference to before will be interesting along the way of telling the story of Genius Loci.
Why, do you ask, have the Four not helped? Because the Splinter War started at the end of one cycle and prevented the new one from beginning. The Years of Sorrow were not four years that time, but decades of a world without the Four to protect it from itself.