To look upon The Land of the Sycorax is to know what it means to be forsaken by the gods. The spirits of the air are consumed with an ancient madness, and the earth pulses faintly with the taint of wild magic. The wind is never still, and the sun never shines. The rain never truly ends, but thankfully the storms are no longer as cruel as they once were.
Despite the relentless weight and oppression of the atmosphere, life is abundant here. Tough and cruel, but abundant, and strange. A pack of carnivorous oxen thunder toward a colossal flightless vulture with iridescent feathers and crocodile teeth, causing the blood red branches of a hand-shaped oak to spasm in the middle distance. All is aberrant and driven by grim desperation.
Landmarks:The Fangs of Evil:
To the northwest is a vast ocean bay. No more vicious and hungry a trap for sailors could ever be devised. Flashes of lightning illuminate the alluring silhouettes of a chorus of flesh-eating sirens. Their hypnotic song lures wise and foolish alike to almost certain death. The waters toss and churn with violence over a panoply of protruding sea spires, slashing reefs, and inescapable whirlpools. The shore is choked with the carcasses of uncounted ships in all shapes and sizes.
To the southeast, among the highlands, is a tightly packed collections of small mountains collectively known as The Harrows. It is here that the only remains of the pre-storm peoples of this land can be found, as well as the reanimated inhabitant of those ancient keeps. The dead are restless within the labyrinthine confines of The Harrow's steep and intermingling cliff faces, making escape from the raging poltergeists and shambling husks all the more nightmarish.
The Changeling Mire:
Endless flooding has turned the northern forests into a vast rotting swamp. Eerie globes of mysterious light dance over rippling black waters. Myriad amphibious things lurk just beneath the surface, throttling and leeching at one another. Things in the darkness mimic people's voices crying out for help. This is where the Sycorax do the bulk their farming, cultivating rice, nutritious fungus, and uncanny fruits.
Spoiler: Known History
Listen well, for I shall tell it true, as my mother told me, and her mother told her, and her own mother before her told it, and told it again. This place was once known as Prospero, a land of plenty and gentle weather. Twas hubris that led to the nightmare you see now. The hubris of the Mystics of Old. They sought to defy a mighty conquer, you see.
Dejan was his name, and far was his reach. The Conqueror Dejan had mastery of an art which could undo even the strongest enchantments or disperse even the subtlest spell. The Mystics of Old would not, could not, release their reign to him, and so conspired to call forth a power they believed could overwhelm Dejan's dispelling arts.
They summoned forth a primordial wind, ancient and terrible. Though surly strong enough to undo The Conqueror, by and by it was also far beyond the powers of the Mystics of Old to contain or control. They found themselves in battled with it, and though they sent it away, the price was terrible. None of them survived, and the fallout of the struggled scarred the sky and ruined the earth.
The primordial wind's power, and The Mystic's dying curses had driven the native spirits into permanent madness. For nearly two centuries since that day, storms have raged violently across the land. The first few years were a totally incomprehensible hell. Many plants and animals twisted and changed in the weirding winds, taking on the shape and memories of people who died in the initial wave of magical storms. The wind howled with gibbering poems, mountains became castles, castles became cake, the sun's light chilled, and the moon burned exposed skin.
The Conqueror Dejan, seeing that the land had become uninhabitable, simply declared victory and left it abandoned. The spectacle of its ruin would stand as a testament to the folly of defying the imperial will for generations. And so it remained, until the year 132.
An ambitious branch of a Regno expeditionary force that year set forth into territory. When they arrived they found it inhabitant only by wind-warped mutants and desperate half alive sailors, stranded by the ruinous Fangs of Evil on the northern coast. The one thousand strong expedition would have met the same fate, if not for their Initian secrets.
The magic of Initia needed no petition to distant gods drowned out by the thunder, nor favor from the deranged spirits writhing invisibly in the howling wind and battering rain. In fact, the land was so rich in ambient magic, the Speakers and Magi found they had little need to expend their supply of bani, finding themselves ever stronger the worse the storms around them raged. Indeed, every living thing seethed with magic. One needed only crush the bones of a two headed frog, or burn the leaves of a blood sucking tree to gain the same power as a fist full of bani powder.
This place, once called Prospero on the ancient maps, was a paradise to the Initia magicians, but it was a waking nightmare to the working people of the caravan who sustained them. Before long there were cries and pleas to turn back and leave Prospero, but the Magi in command of the expedition would not have it. Frightful examples were made of would be deserters.
For the next fifty years Initia sorcery would provide safe havens across the storm torn realm. The price for that safety however would prove to be captivity and life long indentured servitude. The storm warped natives who came before the Regno would be gradually welcomed into this protection, but demeaned and slurred by the magi rulers as “sycorax”, an archaic word roughly meaning “unclean”.
Over time, the Regno who weren't direct favorites of the magi lords would begin marrying into and self identifying as Sycorax as well. In time, the Sycorax would quietly steal the secrets of Initian runes for themselves, adapting other magics to Initian methods and adding their own innovations learned from the land itself. Eventually, members of the Magi council who were more reluctant in their roles sustaining the oppressive rule quietly made arrangements to betray their fellows.
The Revolutionary Guard gathered their resources, armed capable fighters, and when the time was right, performed a grand ritual to produce The Great Calm. Every member of the magi council not backing the revolution, including their leader, the self proclaimed 'Storm Magus', had their heads mounted on pikes on the first and last clear sunny day the land had seen in well over a hundred years.
The Council of the Revolutionary Guard now rules, and have renamed the land Sycoraxistan, land of the Sycorax people. Though it remains to be seen if they'll prove any better then those they destroyed, one thing is for certain. The storms have softened perceptibly since The Great Calm. Travel through the region is now possible.
The Sycorax are a blend of different races. The results of interbreeding and subtle mutation by the arcane radiation produced by the great storms. Their origins can be traced to primarily back to humans, half elves, and storm dwarfs, as well as anthropoid monsters such as sirens and magically anthropoid beasts.
As a population, they do have some identifiable traits common among them despite their otherwise broad diversity. Dark ashen gray skin with an oily sheen. Fluffy white hair, including frequently bushy white eyebrows. A thin layer of insulating blubber doing little to conceal an otherwise muscular frame. And sharp, almost lupine teeth.
Socially and psychologically, by the time of The Great Calm, two generations of Sycorax had been born never knowing anything of the outside world beyond rumor and the wistful tales told by the elderly. Collectively, they're all emotionally scared by the lash of a tyrant's whip, and an endless state of environmental emergency. They are stoic and fierce, with little patience for subtly, and a deep contempt for luxury.
Rest and relaxation are only as valuable as the work they make possible when the rest ends. Toys are only as good as the skills they cultivate. Food only as valuable as the amount of time it keeps the belly full, and how long and well it can be stored. Books only as good as the information they impart.
Export: Magic Reagents [Great]
Required Imports: Metal
With some effort, most organic matter native to Sycoraxistan can be processed into a bani substituent. Tens of pounds of newt eyes and frog toes are harvested and packaged for use daily.
[Trade Post #1] Kaliyaga's Mill (Owner: Sycorax Revolutionary Guard):
[Trade Post #2] The Blood Orchard (Owner: None):
[Trade Post #3] The Bone Mine (Owner: None):
Without Initia, at least before the Great Calm, life in Sycoraxistan would have been impossible. Though the traditional Initia runes and practices have been greatly modified over the years, and have come to incorporate a number of Gamle Mater runes and Abhidi rituals of self mastery.
The only major towns and settlement in the region are all by definition religious centers, as only an Initian religious center could support any kind of civilization at all in the time of the Old Storms.
[Religious Center #1]*Five Corners Keep (Owner: Initia) -
[Religious Center #2]*Castle Omar (Owner: Initia) -
[Religious Center #3]* Shattered Peak (Owner: Initia)-
Spoiler: Caliban, Witness to Five Storms, First Among Equals