The Coming of the Zioth

The Vhoosch

The Vhoosch nomadic tribes (Pronounced VOO-SH) eke out a tough existence on the most eastern fringes of the Eastern Kingdomsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigThe Eastern Kingdoms

Little is known about the Eastern Kingdoms. At one time, there was regular communication with Rang, but the kingdoms have become increasingly quiet over time.

Physically, the Eastern Kingdoms are nearly inaccessible from Rang. Their borders with the Ice Sea are treacherous due to rocks and ice, so there are very few ports. The border with
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It should be noted that the term “Vhoosch” is a bastardized form of Easterner word pronounced “Vooss”, which literally means garbage or rubbish. It was a term given to the country Easterners who refused the trend of urbanization and “civilization”, and those who stubbornly kept to their long lived tradition of living off the land. Long ago, from a time nobody can readily remember, the nomadic tribes began adopting the term as their own and have since used it as their own ethnic marker for countless generations. The great majority of Vhoosch tribes live in complete isolation from the Eastern Kingdomsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigThe Eastern Kingdoms

Little is known about the Eastern Kingdoms. At one time, there was regular communication with Rang, but the kingdoms have become increasingly quiet over time.

Physically, the Eastern Kingdoms are nearly inaccessible from Rang. Their borders with the Ice Sea are treacherous due to rocks and ice, so there are very few ports. The border with
, most being content with the excitement and tribulations offered by a life lived totally in the wilderness.

Others have since forged a more parasitic bond with the Eastern Kingdomsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigThe Eastern Kingdoms

Little is known about the Eastern Kingdoms. At one time, there was regular communication with Rang, but the kingdoms have become increasingly quiet over time.

Physically, the Eastern Kingdoms are nearly inaccessible from Rang. Their borders with the Ice Sea are treacherous due to rocks and ice, so there are very few ports. The border with
. These Vhoosch tribes constantly nip at the heels of the established Kingdoms, engaging in ransom kidnappings of high level officials and nobles, banditry, thieving, slavery and even at times organizing large scale raids. Some Vhoosch tribes have even managed to successfully extort the lesser nobility ruling over territories in close proximity to their own roaming grounds. Livestock and gold are readily given in exchange for the local Vhoosch to spend their criminal efforts elsewhere. It is also not totally unheard of for Vhoosch tribes to even secretly sell their services as mercenaries and assassins to the odd Eastern noble who needs to put some distance between himself and a very dastardly deed. The Kingdoms have tried three times to muster their combined military might in order to quash this annoying element. And all three times gained them nothing more than a few months of peaceful countryside for their eastern provinces. In response to all three major military campaigns against them, the Vhoosch tribes merely retreated deeper and deeper into the eastern wastelands and waited for the Kingdom armies to lose patience. Most of the Kingdoms nobility had decided that it was much cheaper to simply cut a deal with the Vhoosch as opposed to the costs of raising armies to go “ghost hunting” in the backwoods.

Vhoosch tribes are ruled over by a patriarch. There are no official grandiose titles, and the male in charge is simply known as “Father.” The patriarch holds the temporal power, and the matriarch (spouse of the patriarch) only holds power through her link to the patriarch. A Patriarch must be both charismatic and capable with his hands. An unpopular or selfish patriarch is often deposed by other males in the tribe. Biological family ties have very little meaning or substance in Vhoosch society. All tribesmen and tribeswomen refer to the Patriarch and Matriarch as 'Father' and 'Mother.' Loyalty in the tribe always stems upwards to their “Father” and “Mother.” Private property as an idea has no hold in the wastes. Everything is shared and used as needed by all involved. All Vhoosch tribes are self-sufficient communes where every person involved is expected to carry their own weight.

Vhoosch religion centers around the deity 'Loppgnung' (Key Keeper) who keeps the souls of the dead locked away. Ancestor worship and death are key components of Vhoosch religion. Teeth, hair, skin, finger nails, bones, urine, saliva, blood, feces, ejaculate and all other parts of the body are believed to hold power. With parts of a person's body, you can keep a link or connection to them when they travel over to the other side. It is not uncommon for Vhoosch families to hold the body parts of long deceased relatives for generations, as they believe it is possible to consult with them in order to obtain knowledge, advice and even a small glimpse into the future. Legs, arms and skulls are common features that decorate the interior of Vhoosch tents. Family heirlooms would smack highly of the macabre for outsiders. Bodies are often dissected and given to the family, with the more important body parts going to the father and brothers. Only clothing or a symbolic item is buried in place of the body.

As such, the Vhoosch are very cautious about leaving behind parts of themselves (blood etc) in the hands of strangers, as these strangers might be capable of using their souls when they cross over to the other side. When in battle, the Vhoosch often tend to burn the bodies of their fallen in order to prevent another tribe from stealing away the souls of their relatives. The trade in body parts is a sinister off shoot where the Vhoosch are concerned, as selling and buying body parts is akin to spiritual slavery. A great deal of the gullible actively seek out grim merchants who would sell them supposed body parts that they could then use to consult with their long dead souls. As a general rule however, selling body parts is seen as very taboo and sacrilegous.

Cannibalism is not rare among the Vhoosch. When times are tough in the wastes, and food scarce, giving one's body to the tribe is seen as the ultimate sacrifice for the good of the many. It is a rare thing for the tribe to have to force this burden on one of their own as many will readily volunteer. The Vhoosch also will not shy away from picking off strangers and Easterners who happen to stray off into their lands. A few Vhoosch have turned the practice into a dark, quasi-religious affair, as many believe that consuming others allows you to inherit ther strengths and experience. Enemies and outsiders are often condemned to die as meals for the Vhoosch…especially when winter is in high gear and they are on the move with no time to hunt for aimals.

Vhoosch society is also famous in the Eastern lands for their extensive use of scarification. Popular Vhoosch mottos on the subject: “An unblemished body is the mark of the unproven.” and “Soft , smoothe hands are the fruit of a brittle spirit.” Vhoosch society values physical flaws on the body suffered through violence and other situations of duress. Everyone in a tribe, from a warrior down to a gatherer and then even down to a young girl will invariably have some kind of scar upon their skin. Scars are seen as a sign of maturity, of overcoming adversity and more importantly, that the person has no problems with handling violence. Amputees are given great status and are supported by the entire tribe despite sometimes their inability to continue on participating as fully as they once did.

In the case of ritual scarring, these special scars denote tribal ties, rank, profession, and awards for serving the tribe.The bulk of Vhoosch ritual scarification is done through cold branding, whereby the person's skin is exposed to special metallic needles treated with salves that make the cold almost as potent as dry ice. The entire process is painful and permanent. The cold kills all cells in the skin that cause pigmentation and hair, leaving a white/pink mark in their place. Any Vhoosch worth his or her salt stomachs the ordeal because the receiving of a scar is akin to receiving a congressional medal of honour. The quality of ritual scarring varies from tribe to tribe, but the great majority of Vhoosch ritual scars are unique things that are carried with pride.

Dueling scars are altogether more common. Violence and duels are frequent among the Vhoosch and even your most common person in the wilderness will have a dagger induced knick or two upon their bodies.

Suspicious outsiders who venture into Eastern Kingdom villages or provinces can be stripped down and searched for the tell tale signs of Vhoosch scarring. Easterners are always on guard for pockets of Vhoosch thieves, assassins and spies looking to sneak into the general population scouting for kinks in the armor of their more urbanized cousins.

Religion

The Vhoosch God Loppgnung has a strict non-interventionist policy in human affairs. He is merely the jail keeper who ensures that the world of the dead and the living do not clash. He does not appear before his people, or dabble in miracles. However, he does allow the dead and the living to communicate when the proper rituals and ceremonies are held. As a general rule, the Vhoosch do not believe in divine intervention or “magic.” The magic alone is the fact that humanity can reproduce itself and that there is a complex natural cycle put in place by the dormant powers that be. Magic would be a vulgar thing, especially if handled by mere mortals. Vhoosch mythology is replete with tales of Loppgnung punishing upstart would-be “sorcerers” with even daring to believe that they could toy with his fabric of reality. And the punishment is nothing more spectacular than cutting them off from their ancestors for eternity.

This being said, the Vhoosch nonetheless understand that Loppgnung's chief task is to keep the dead on the other side. And some dead are always seeking to break the barrier and return to reality. There are doomsday scenarios that depict the weight of these greedy spirits breaking down the barrier and returning to the world…. the consequences of such being horrendous and apocalyptic.

Moon Lore of the Voosch

Voosh Moon Lore is quite different from that lore of the moonsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigThe Five Moons

Five moons rise and set in the sky of Aerv, never crossing paths. At the end of the world, they will all wane together, and diminish to nothing for the Zioth.

Quite a lot of mythology centers around the moons. Zahirans' theology revolves around the Moon Children. The Moon Wanderers in the Shirahjat Cohilition migrate with the rising and setting of the moons in ways that only they fully understand.
that arose in Rangplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigThe Kingdom of Rang

Overview

Rang is a huge kingdom, covering more than a million square miles, and extending from the Great Sea to the Ice Sea. It dominates the area politically, militarily and religiously. Rang is a monarchy, led by King Diure LXIV, but its immense size weakens the central government. Most feudal lords manage their lands independently, and only answer to the king in the loosest sense. The king does have several pockets of power, such as in Huerten, which allow him to maintai…
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The Moons of the Honored Dead

The Great Hall - reserved for the warriors of great renown. They help the Guardian keep the dead on the right side of the Divide. Translates to the moon Zabrigarplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigThe Five Moons

Five moons rise and set in the sky of Aerv, never crossing paths. At the end of the world, they will all wane together, and diminish to nothing for the Zioth.

Quite a lot of mythology centers around the moons. Zahirans' theology revolves around the Moon Children. The Moon Wanderers in the Shirahjat Cohilition migrate with the rising and setting of the moons in ways that only they fully understand.
. Incidentally, many of the heroes that earned their way to this warrior's paradise did so by slaying dragonsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigDragons

Last updated for turn 216

There is a wide variety of stories about dragons. Some tell of majestic and benevolant beings who are willingly given tribute. Others tell of horrible, mindless creatures who think of nothing but destruction. Dragons in myth range in size from smaller than a blade of grass, to larger than Aerv itself.
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The Council - reserved for those Voosch who were especially just and now help the Guardian decide the which moon the souls go to on the day of the Zioth. Translates to the moon Halkakplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigThe Five Moons

Five moons rise and set in the sky of Aerv, never crossing paths. At the end of the world, they will all wane together, and diminish to nothing for the Zioth.

Quite a lot of mythology centers around the moons. Zahirans' theology revolves around the Moon Children. The Moon Wanderers in the Shirahjat Cohilition migrate with the rising and setting of the moons in ways that only they fully understand.
- 13 months of 28 days is very balanced.

The Moon of the Unquiet Dead

Unspeakable - A hellish shadow world for reserved for humanity's evil. (They are not enjoying it there and are reputed to spend a deal of time trying to break out). Voosch do not speak this moon's name and all manner of superstition are associated with it. Translates to the moon Otplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigThe Five Moons

Five moons rise and set in the sky of Aerv, never crossing paths. At the end of the world, they will all wane together, and diminish to nothing for the Zioth.

Quite a lot of mythology centers around the moons. Zahirans' theology revolves around the Moon Children. The Moon Wanderers in the Shirahjat Cohilition migrate with the rising and setting of the moons in ways that only they fully understand.
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The Moons of the Un-judged Dead

The last two are 'limbo' moons. When the world is rebuilt after the Zioth, they will reincarnate and get another chance to decide their ultimate fate. This leads to all sorts of speculation on whether a person has returned from the Divide to be judged again - how many times has the soul returned? Has it been damaged on along the way?

Vice - One for those who never made their mark, were cowards, lazy, selfish, or gluttonous. They weren't evil, but they have not proven themselves worthy of final judgement either. Translates to the moon Ilsupeichplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigThe Five Moons

Five moons rise and set in the sky of Aerv, never crossing paths. At the end of the world, they will all wane together, and diminish to nothing for the Zioth.

Quite a lot of mythology centers around the moons. Zahirans' theology revolves around the Moon Children. The Moon Wanderers in the Shirahjat Cohilition migrate with the rising and setting of the moons in ways that only they fully understand.
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Tragedy - Another for the souls who who died too young or from tragedy or were not properly burned with appropriate Voosch funeral rites. Translates to the moon Tiropplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigThe Five Moons

Five moons rise and set in the sky of Aerv, never crossing paths. At the end of the world, they will all wane together, and diminish to nothing for the Zioth.

Quite a lot of mythology centers around the moons. Zahirans' theology revolves around the Moon Children. The Moon Wanderers in the Shirahjat Cohilition migrate with the rising and setting of the moons in ways that only they fully understand.
- the speed of the moon's trajectory is said to reflect how quickly one's life burned out AND the same people claim it moves so quickly because those who are not at peace.