Hello, everyone! Welcome to Day Fifteen! I’m running with something of a regional theme today. First, the more temperate lands of Canno’s Steel End, then a look into the followers of the agricultural goddess Hosri, and to cap things off, the lonely rock formations and isolated holdouts of the Al Barin Badlands. Follow me below the asterisks, if you’d be so kind?
Snippet #1: The Steel End (World: Canno)
The Steel End is the southernmost of the Black Havens, and more properly a kind of grey. Proximity to the violent waters of the Cleavehull Sea makes the Steel End’s coastline especially fearsome despite its brighter shades. With storm-winds howling and rain slashing sideways against their eyes, foreign sailors often come to think it a foreboding place, and so it is–for about the first two miles inland.
Behind its dour shores, the Steel End hides some of Canno’s best farm country. Nestled up alongside drifting spars of slate and granite lie many broad fields made fertile by forests in ancient days. Though cooler than the northern Havens owing to differences in ocean currents and the lack of myriad active volcanoes, the Steel End has a mild climate overall. In the centuries since the Loar War, it’s among the few places left which can rightly be called “pleasant.”
While the northern Black Havens are famous for their wines, and rightly so, the Steel End produces beer and liquors in staggering quantity for its size. A series of hills and isolated mountains, along with the fortresses which secure them, help to keep the Steel End’s heartland defended against foreign invaders. Many of these are anchored along the ancient troughs from which the Steel End draws its name.
Metalworking and construction via those metals occurred on a staggering scale in the Age of Splendors, and with both the arcane and the sciences at their peak, Canno’s people developed novel solutions to the need for ever-greater quantities of steel, brass, and the like. This culminated in creating enormous systems of enchantments and machinery, with squat control towers and whole grids of copper to control the spells. Then came the troughs themselves: miles long, as much as a hundred feet wide, all inset with warded paneling.
These troughs served many purposes. First, they superheated junk materials until they became molten. Then, careful use of the control runes allowed them to vaporize and rearrange the atomic components of those materials into whatever substance was required–turning whole rivers of molten detritus into gas as they passed through great crystalline tubes, then restoring them. Lastly, the troughs fed the day’s materials into either portal-pipes which had been calibrated to pour them directly into distant molds, or into mundane pipes which split the vast metallic rivers until they became but tiny streams filling whatever shape the trough’s manager deemed best for shipping elsewhere.
The troughs were running day and night by the time Loar came. When civilization toppled, they remained, with the metals they’d channeled cooling and solidifying over the months after Loar bombardment damaged most of the troughs’ enchantments beyond function. The most “precious” metals, gold first of all, of course, were mined quickly from these solid deposits after the War.
However, many of the troughs were hidden by the collapsing landscape during especially vicious bombardment, and both new trough-sites and the artificial veins they offer are still unearthed–perhaps once a century, now.
Fortifying and controlling the troughs, as well as the pure metals from the Age of Splendors, has turned the Steel End into a land of a hundred squabbling nobles. The boldest hope to reclaim the secrets of the troughs, and reignite the foundry-fires of the past.
Today’s Full Segment: the Disciples of Hosri (Worlds: Canno, Creation’s Fringe)
The Disciples of Hosri include all those who serve the Cannoan Goddess of Agriculture in a clerical capacity. Hosri maintains a much closer relationship with her followers than most deities, and so there’s little need for a traditional system of initiates. The only crimes which would see someone thrown out of the Disciples are those which most societies punish regardless. Otherwise, Hosri tends to let each find their own interpretation of her dictums, which are delivered as a simple mantra: “Nourish and nurture; mend and merge.”
The message is a rather obvious one of togetherness, healing, and helping others to grow. While most Disciples take this at face value to work as healers or farmers, and Hosri’s own epithet–“She of the Shears”–makes it clear enough how she approaches these commandments, there’s no mandate that it must be so. Disciples may decide to work as everything from cooks to teachers and, indeed, prostitutes. This last approach isn’t especially common, but few of the other Disciples see anything odd about it. It certainly involves its share of “merging!”
The Disciples wear green robes emblazoned by black shears with a thick white border; these are usually modest, but there’s no special prohibition against finery. This said, most of the Disciples have reached a conclusion among themselves that it would be tacky to commission anything elaborate. Those who wear ornate robes usually have them as gifts from this noble whose children they cured of fever, or that town grateful for having its crops preserved through a drought.
Mages are welcome among the Disciples provided they’re comfortable restricting themselves from destructive powers, which go against their goddess’s purview. True priests of Hosri–that is to say, those who can channel the goddess’s power directly–emerge as a far higher percentage of her followers than of most other deities.
The Disciples see themselves as universally opposed to Shepla, and some even consider her a kind of anti-goddess who wishes only evil for mortals. This has created a feedback loop of feuds between She of the Shears and She of Thorns and Bracken; it seems unlikely this will ever end.
Snippet #2: The Al Barin Badlands (World: Creation’s Fringe)
The Al Barin badlands are among the Fringe’s most desolate regions. Sandstone intermixes with pale blue stones and soil, with silvery streaks of metal, with iron veins and metal shards or husks from some long-forgotten empire. While beautiful to look upon in their austere way, the Badlands are among the most inhospitable regions of Creation’s Fringe–not because of their temperature, which in truth is a little cooler even than woodland nations like Kalinger, but because of their aridity.
Too far northward on the continent of Savber to benefit from humidity evaporating off the Riven Sea, too southerly to receive rivers from further north, and mountainous by their nature, the Badlands contain so little water that not a single plant grows there naturally. It’s this very inhospitability that makes them popular with obscure groups, social outcasts, and mystics of every stripe–the lack of water may not concern an expatriate Cannoan mage fleeing the Vigil’s justice.
These elements give the badlands a rough-and-tumble reputation which the local Marrowscour population do nothing to dispel. This austere breed of warriors regard their sole duty in the badlands as watching for another of Fon Kerrick’s intrusions. It’s difficult to argue the point. Even a fugitive spree-killer can’t cause a fraction of the damage Fon Kerrick does with the briefest touch upon the Fringe, and the badlands are among its favorite places to appear. Few fully understand its reasons, but the isolated crags and obscured landscape make it easy to assemble an army of its Squalling Kindred there. If Kerrick weren’t using it for this purpose, another entity surely would be.
Or perhaps that’s just another attempt to rationalize harshness with no rationality behind it. The badlands may be patrolled or avoided, but badlands they shall remain.
Alright, that’s it for today! I wasn’t expecting quite so much sense of time abyss from these entries, but that’s no bad thing. As always, leave a like, offer up any thoughts you’re burning to share down in the comments, share this post with your friends, and perhaps seek me out On Twitter? Warning: I am what the kids call “horny on main.”