Welcome, my fine-fettled folk, to Day Eight! On the docket this time: a mechanized empire with an unfulfilled goal of unity, a mysterious order of fanatics who may have stared too long into the void, and a broader look at the servants of the Boreal Lady, Mirtulla. Forward, then!
Snippet #1: The Krunweil Iron Electorate (World: Creation’s Fringe)
Its name being derived from a phrase which translates to something like “because the crown lies too heavy,” the Iron Electorate was nonetheless an empire in most other regards. In fact, the Electorate itself was formed by the political and strategic genius of a single man. This was Great Elector Scharnhausen, whose first name and origins were, by his own design, lost to history. In fact, most scholars to this day are uncertain as to whether or not Scharnhausen was the Great Elector’s true surname, or an invented one.
The Iron Electorate has come to be mythologized considerably since its collapse; while there’s some understanding that its formation included a military element, Kalinger’s people have convinced themselves that Scharnhausen was able to unify seven different kingdoms–none of which had any previous interest in being unified–mostly through diplomacy. In reality, the Electorate relied on advanced technology and a huge amount of cheap, high quality steel whose origins have never been determined.
These formed the basis of Scharnhausen’s famous Plated Hordes: whole armies spearheaded by automatons of a design not quite like anything else on the Fringe. The Electorate used armored carriages with sloped, tapering designs to ferry troops and supplies through warzones, and multi-legged war machines to breach the enemy’s front lines in each battle before tearing apart the compromised formations with conventional infantry and cavalry.
Seizing the territory was only the first step, of course. Scharnhausen’s real genius lay in his ability to gauge exactly what steps would mollify a newly-conquered population and bring its people to see the Electorate first as a tolerable imposition, then as vital to their lives, and at last as the hereditary government which had “always” represented their people.
Scharnhausen himself was known to be human–or at least, to appear human–but lived over five hundred years. He was killed when Fon Kerrick and its Squalling Kindred attacked the Fringe again, and his successors were unable to sustain the empire he built; it shrank over the course of the next two centuries. As of Year 1196 of the Fringe’s Ninth Era, Kalinger has reverted to a monarchy.
Snippet #2: The Cobalt Dawn (World: Creation’s Fringe)
The Cobalt Dawn are mad–depending on the circumstances, they’re mad in every possible sense of the word! An order comprised entirely of psionics, the Cobalt Dawn are defined by their self-destructive obsession with the Uncanny Marrow, and most assume that they take their organizational colors from its blue energies. The Dawn themselves are divided on whether this holds true, but outsiders have no part in such discussions. The order’s origins lie somewhere amid the Fringe’s jumbled, lost history, and doubtless involve the Marrow–not discussions for a layperson’s ears.
The Dawn admit to taking inspiration from Mirtulla’s disciples in their organizational structure, but over time this mutated more into a military order than a religious one. The Dawn have three overall types of “front-line” personnel, the usual bevy of support staff, and one extraordinary group whose numbers will never be high.
For the front-line staff, the Dawn have Harrowers, who serve as psionic heavy infantry, Marrow-Scribes, who despite their name have considerable battlefield prowess and work as light infantry, scouts, or assassins as needed, and Condemnators, who provide the order’s best investigators, planners, and manipulators. The Condemnators bear some similarity in methodology and mindset to the Inquisitors of the Vigil. They are not, however, the Dawn’s most powerful members.
Among the Dawn’s blue-clad thousands, there exist a mere handful who plunged alone into the Marrow, tested themselves against its perils, and emerged alive–though to call them unscathed would be flagrant falsehood. Each takes up the legacy unveiled by the others, seeking a mind-warping sculpture comprised from ever-moving, interlocking rings engraved with writing which must not be witnessed.
Those who fail the test burn out from within, consumed by blue fires as they witness something no mortal soul can bear; the memories of this agony are etched upon the space in which the ring-sculpture manifests, and each who would take up the charge knows the risk they take.
Those who strike the proper balance, receiving the telepathic ripples of the rings’ meanings without reading the true Words, obtain the Onslaught Creed: an ancient warriors’ code which teaches the meaning of Zeal. Whatever role they played in the Dawn before, this is the start of the Cobalt Zealot’s path. Adhering to this new Creed, the Zealot trains with fervor, insight, and skill few mortals can match. Their training’s intensity, and future forays into the Marrow for insight, often inflict terrible wounds on the Zealot’s psyche.
Each Zealot comes to wield powers rivaling dozens or even hundreds of lesser psionics. Peerless warriors, they join the rest of the Dawn in battle when necessary, but otherwise wander the Fringe dispensing justice as the Creed understands it.
Snippet #3: The Frost Sentinels of Mirtulla (World: Creation’s Fringe)
Mirtulla is generally believed to be the Fringe’s oldest goddess, and while most theologians do not estimate her as the most powerful, her influence cannot be denied. The Boreal Lady holds herself apart from the world for reasons she has never seen fit to share. She must have such reasons, however, for her disciples are much too active on her behalf for apathy to be the answer.
“Frost Sentinel” is the name given to anyone who chooses to serve Mirtulla as a warrior rather than a member of her clergy. Both the Tundra-Chaplains and the Boreal Cadre are by definition Frost Sentinels, but these specialized servants are mainly called by their own titles; Frost Sentinel has thus come to refer mostly to Mirtulla’s rank-and-file. Of course, to refer to Frost Sentinels this way misses the point! The Boreal Lady has a well-earned reputation for perfectionism, and none driven enough to serve her in the first place can bear to think of failing her standards.
Frost Sentinels, though their distribution in hidden, defensible bastions across the Fringe makes it hard to gauge their numbers, are all formidable professional warriors. Their standard equipment consists of sharp-angled snow-white plate made from an unearthly metal, and steep fluted helms with an array of blade-like faces to deflect impacts. These are fully enclosed and all flow into a single concave spike at their tops, creating a fearsome silhouette.
For arms each carries a long spear or polearm, with polehammers and halberds being the most popular in this class, and a long sword with a blade verging on greatsword length and enough hilt for two hands as a sidearm. Adding their sleeveless ultramarine-blue robes and marching in perfect order, the Frost Sentinels make a formidable display. They are equally formidable in battle, and some generals say that as long as they have room to fight together, a hundred Frost Sentinels are worth a thousand common soldiers.
The Tundra-Chaplains and the Boreal Cadre thus constitute the elite within the elite. Few outsiders know why the two are distinguished as they are, and those who do know will not speak on it. However, both the Chaplains and the Cadreites are psionic to the last member. The Boreal Cadre focus more on individual skill and psionic power, and are known for unnaturally long lives. The Chaplains sacrifice this in order to channel Mirtulla’s divine power directly, wielding ice and cold to purge disease and the wicked alike.
A mortal’s body cannot long sustain the power of a goddess, however, and few Chaplains live past the age of forty.
There we are, the public releases for Day Eight all tied off and squared away! You all know the routine: comment, like, share with your friends, et cetera! Otherwise, I do have a Twitter if you’d like more of my ramblings!