Loremageddon 2019, Day Twenty-Eight: Keronje, Albin Dant, the Halebeak Corsairs

Hello, everyone! Happy Thanksgiving, and welcome to Day Twenty-Eight of Loremageddon! I could’ve tried to theme this post accordingly, but that just seemed silly. Instead, we’ve got a category of spirits known for hanging out around mystics, a famously-charismatic necromancer, and a group of ocean-going rapscallions with their own agenda. If you’ll bear with me?

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Snippet #1: Keronje (World: Canno)

Keronje are primordial spirits which appear throughout the continent of Anseth. Curious beings drawn to magic and mystics alike, a Kerone’s exact form varies by region as well as with the local culture. In Kiwoda they create bodies from mixes of seashells, seaweed, and driftwood. These coastal Keronje incorporate asymmetrical glyphs into the materials they appropriate; sometimes these are chosen for their particular meanings, but often the spirit just creates a mish-mash of whatever shapes it likes without regard for what they’re supposed to say.

Being a nation of sailors, most Kiwodans look for as many swears as possible and choose the filthiest of any the hapless Keronje may have plastered on itself. Keronje are sapient, and over time this has driven the Kiwodan “lineage” to be just as rowdy and crass as the mortals they speak with. They’ve developed a particular game of hiding dire insults in certain parts of their forms and, as they swirl through the air in a clatter of sea-debris, seeing how many times they can reveal these insults to someone without having them noticed.

They don’t play the game with anyone who can’t read Kiwodan glyphs, of course–that’s just no fun!

As with most other Ansethi things, the Nilaboran Keronje are better-known. They prefer bodies made from many bands of cloth woven for them by their mortal friends or acquaintances, to which the Keronje adds pure-light imitations of glass and beads. A mask, usually gold, bronze, or copper and mirror-polished by the Keronje itself each day, completes the ensemble. This spirit-mask should be made from platelets sown together such that the Keronje can learn to manipulate it into facial expressions.

Because of their own curiosity and interests, as well as their immunity to raw magic exposure, Keronje make excellent helpers for mages. They can use their power to shore up or slightly-modify an enchantment without actually disrupting it, and Nilaboran mages rely on them for fine-tuning all the most complicated work. A Keronje chooses its family from a mage and those of the mage’s students or colleagues most similar in temperament–that is to say, spirit!–rather than by blood. It follows and works with this lineage until no suitable partner can be found.

Then, the spirit wanders on, seeking another practitioner of the arcane. Some few Keronje meet and bond with the wielders of more esoteric powers, and themselves become all the stranger for it.

Today’s Full Segment: Albin Dant and the Merry Undying (World: Creation’s Fringe)

Necromancy in itself has never been illegal on the Fringe, but it’s unlikely Albin Dant would’ve been stopped even if it had. A charming human known for his sunny disposition and excellent head of blond hair, Albin often boasted that he didn’t need magic to raise the dead–he just flashed them his best smile and they popped right out of the ground. An apparent narcissist, Albin invested great effort in looking the fool. He invited those around him to underestimate him while cataloguing everything he needed to know.

Then, once he understood what mattered to any given person–wealth, beauty, a second chance–he made himself appear a gullible benefactor through which to attain it. In this way Dant sooner or later ensnared most of his followers. He always gave them just a little bit less than desired, or, pretending forgetfulness, made them wait just a bit longer than expected. Little enough or long enough to want more, and every time they pressed him they believed it was their choice to do so.

One or two became wise to the game, and Albin made no effort to hold them when they chose to leave; controlling everyone was never his goal. He wanted a cult of personality with himself as its god, not the strain of actual rule. Besides, this process ensured he never wound up with someone cleverer than himself lurking in the shadows! Once he judged the time right, Albin set the hook: the problem, he asserted, was that resources and time limited each other. Everything a mortal soul wanted they could achieve, if only there wasn’t such a thing as old age.

“Of course,” his spiel usually ran, “I am a necromancer, and there’s a rather easy way around the question of mortality.” Thus he created his Merry Undying: followers signed a contract which appeared favorable to them in every respect. It had few conditions and stayed well within their home country’s laws. It simply neglected to omit the dependency of undead on the necromancer who created them.

Albin killed each according to their preferred mode and raised them in the same vain. For the most part they retained their free will and control over their bodily functions–yet Albin’s magic always made them a little too willing to cave to his whims, a little too stung by his disapproval. They could have left any time they wished; Albin’s genius was in ensuring they never wanted to. In this way he amassed close to a thousand Merry Undying at his sanctum on the continent of Antraed. Lovers, gaming partners, servants: they soon found themselves wanting to be whatever he wanted of them.

The necromancer’s manipulation came to an abrupt end: he was forty-two in year 1086 of the Fringe’s current era. Some astounding power sheared him in twain even as he stood giving a speech to his followers. They determined that his own second-in-command, a young necromancer named Yulte, must have been the one. Yulte herself could not remember how she devised the spell, only a surge of fury and power which culminated in a violet pure-energy slash right through Albin’s wards.

“I suppose I was just that tried of being under his thumb,” she said. In the process, she seemed to have made the Merry Undying able to persist as long as they liked: the magic upholding them persisted after Albin’s death, and many continue on to this day.

Snippet #2: the Halebeak Corsairs (World: Creation’s Fringe)

“Avast, Captain Rennog! Now, we can do this one o’ two ways–you’re sure? Well, it’s just I’d worked up a real fine speech and I was looking forward to using it…” This snatch of dialog, written down by the Novgori scribe Ulana Olsvaya, is typical of encounters with the Halebeak Corsairs. Prowling the archipelagic seas between the continents of Bilan, Chior, and Antraed, the Corsairs are an unusual blend of merchant-traders and pirates.

While earlier in the Fringe’s history they subsisted purely on piracy, in recent centuries they’ve come to the conclusion that trade is safer and sometimes just as profitable. Some Corsair captains, such as Captain Vatto in the above excerpt, are no longer pirates by any conventional understanding: they use their merchant-fleet’s arms and armed crewmates to browbeat others in selling goods at more competitive rates. Why not steal them, one might ask?

The answer is simple: the Corsairs have formidable connections and run some of the wealthiest ports themselves. Many tradeships are heading to a Corsair port to begin with, so robbing them outright risks choking the life from the region. It’s not about theft, but undercutting competitors by taking the shipments they were depending on and selling them to one’s own choice of buyers. This leads to another wrinkle: some Corsair fleets–those well-armed and savage enough–do persist in conventional piracy, but not on outside shipping.

Instead, these Corsairs hunt other Corsairs! Aside from plotting one’s way to the top level in any given port’s economy, this is the wealthiest lifestyle. These Captains often develop considerable ego, of course, seeing themselves as “the last true Halebeaks”; the cleverest have learned a particular region’s winds and currents to perfection, and time their pounces on other Corsairs so as to interrupt a strong-arm negotiation. In the process they often win gratitude from the beleaguered tradeships, which means a bonus from their employers–possibly from the merchant-crew as well!

While some governments have the resources to stamp out or at least break up the Corsairs, none presently want to; indeed, Tchior’s rulers consider them vital to the economy.

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There we are, Day Twenty-Eight! Leave me any thoughts you’ve got in the comments, drop a like, and share this lore with whoever you believe will enjoy it. You might follow me on Twitter for a little something extra. Otherwise, enjoy your Thanksgiving!

One thought on “Loremageddon 2019, Day Twenty-Eight: Keronje, Albin Dant, the Halebeak Corsairs

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