Mordikhaan

Before the Sundering Mordikhaan was simply a vast mountainous region that hill tribes inhabited and empires like the Van and Arc ignored. Periodically the Broek peoples of the region would raid the coastal Arclands and a small army would be dispatched to teach them a lesson. All this changed with the advent of the Khul. When the dark and chaotic god broke away from the Keeper, vowing to become mortal to finally know what truth was, she crashed to earth with her withered hand maidens, the Norns in a burning meteorite. She established a mountain fortress city at the highest peak in the region called Kharis and drew to her the tribes of Mordikhaan and also countless mercenaries and adventurers from the Arclands and beyond. The Khul, set about establishing herself an army and created a monstrous guard of tortured humans called the Vrugg. These were prisoners and sometimes even infatuated volunteers who were burned alive in the Khul's fires, still in their armour. The magic of the Khul kept them alive and fused into their blackened chain and plate mail, and they now act as the giant shock troops of her regime. Mordikhaani spies and agents work throughout Aestis, attracting the naïve to serve their queen in Mordikhaan with promises of wealth. The Khul constantly seeks news of the sword Y'Kantulis, the only blade to have ever cut her, leaving half her face and body brutally disfigured. She is motivated by revenge and the desire for power.  

Kharis (The Crag)

  In the cold and misery of Mordikhaan, there is one source of warmth and shelter that most of the Khul’s servants are in two minds about visiting. Kharis, more commonly known as the Crag is a vast mountain complex that is the seat of the Khul’s power and her own throne room sits right at the heart of the mountain. The Khul’s throne rests on a circular platform that sits at the end of a long slender walkway which stretches over a vast chasm. Suspended deep in the dark below her are hundreds of scholar mages and others who have been consigned to cages in the dark and cold where they slowly go insane or starve to death. The Khul’s minions simply know that they are hanging in the dark to be on ‘listening duty’. Hidden in the alcoves above the Khul are stone caskets in which the Khul’s handmaidens, the Norns lie, awaiting her orders. For much of the time the throne room is empty and the Khul’s whereabouts is unknown, but her presence is always felt and her bodyguard, the Silent Legion is present across the Crag. The mountain serves as more than just a throne room for the queen; it is also a vast arsenal and garrison for the elite of her forces. At the foot of the mountain, the town of Tekund has developed, offering the Mordikhaani troops at the queen’s command everything that armies require.  

Field of Chains

Kept in caverns below the Crag are the prisoners of the Khul, men and women who have been captured in war and conquest who are chained together and used as slaves. All are mutilated, missing eyes, hands and tongues and most pray for death. Those condemned to the field of chains are forced on exhausting marches in front of the Khul’s armies when they advance against their enemies. The suffering of the Khul’s prisoners is displayed to enemies to show what will happen to them when they are defeated and to taunt them. Some opposing soldiers can see former comrades and loved ones staggering in the field of chains as they ready themselves for battle.  

Ragrim

  Ragrim can be reached from Kharis by river and it is the great military stronghold of the Khul. Armies that are marshalled together for invasion to the South (Wardenhal, Firg, the Mill Lands) and garrisoned here. Ragrim is a collection of huge hill forts with roads connecting them to a series of river ports where the Khul’s fleet is moored. It is at Ragrim that the Khul’s shocktroops, the Vrugg and Skabbakh mercenaries from the Black Republics live in vast caverns under the hills. They mingle with her human subjects and form a terrifying fighting force that constantly presents the rest of western Aestis with the threat of invasion. In the last two years, troop numbers have grown at Ragrim, suggesting that the Khul is planning her next war somewhere in Western Aestis or the Arclands again.  

Deurikh

  Deurikh is the most secretive place in Mordikhaan. It is where the Khul first established her power, and there is a vast meteor crater where legend has it, she first arrived in the mortal realm. An imposing fortress rises from the mountainside above the crater, now a lake, and it is where the Khul spends a large part of her time when she is away from the Crag. The Khul seems to have a deep connection to Deurikh and scholars have speculated that much of the power that she brought with her to the mortal realm is somehow stored here.  

Notable Mordikhaani

  Caston Cleargh Caston is an arrogant and ambitious Mordikhaani apparatchik, who is interested in extending his own power as far as it will go across the Khul’s realm. He knows that this can only be done by being useful to the lady of Mordikhaan and if that means expending the lives of countless ordinary scum, then he is more than happy to do that. Caston’s bodyguard is his brother Cormagh, a hulking sadistic giant who provides an air of silent menace in the background. Caston lives in relatively comfortable circumstances at the Crag, in a series of carved stone chambers, where he plans two things (along with everyone else who is close to the Khul), his future in Mordikhaan, and possible escape routes when inevitably he falls from grace.   Siah Toeck Siah is an alchemist who has an instinctual understanding of how to harness the forces of nature for destructive purposes. He left Harenis many years ago and voluntarily made his way to Mordikhaan, believing that the Khul would be interested in his discoveries. Initially he was wrong and spent several years mouldering in a prison cell under the Crag until his physical health was ruined. When by chance he was able to show how to harness the energy of Strike, he was dragged before the lady of Mordikhaan and given the chance of a new life. She now prizes his skills in creating new and inventive weapons, explosives and poisons for the battlefield and Siah occupies a place at the Khul’s side. He is scrupulous in preventing his apprentices from learning all his secrets, fearing his own replacement and several are poisoned when they know too much.  

Adventure Hooks

  * A desperate merchant in Wardenhal pays the PCs to get his daughter back from a coastal fortress in Mordikhaan. It’s a set up, he’s the resident of Wardenhal and the PCs are walking into a trap. If they are captured they will be pressed into service for the Khul or they will have to fight their way out.   * The PCs hear that there is opposition to the Khul from a dissident general in Mordikhaan. They are sent by Drexe, the Lord Counsel of Arc to make contact. Their cover is blown - nightmare.   * The PCs are unwittingly hired by agents of the Khul to take on the Haunter, believing they are simply working against a gang of rogues and thieves. They wind up in the crossfire between two ruthless factions.

The Houses of Obsession

Across Mordikhaan are a series of former Aruhvian monasteries which have been seized by the cultist supporters of the Khul, the obsessionalists, and renamed the Houses of Obsession. The origins of Obsessionalism, the religion of the Khul, are far from clear, but its main philosophers revel in lies, misdirection and misleading others. They see this as one of the highest callings of their order. Even the origins of the Khul are far from clear, but the most compelling belief about the dark lady of Mordikhaan was that she came to the world of Hermia as a result of the Sundering, that she was one part of the consciousness of the Keeper that shattered and broke away. Some obsessionalists claim that she was the first fragment that broke away from the great god's mind and that in fact she caused the Sundering by commencing the disintegration of the Keeper. Other obsessionalists of course disagree as to present one coherent argument would be to fail in their duty to the Khul, which is to spread chaos.   Xanter Yarax, the first obsessionalist and the architect of the faith, argued that obsessionalism was the truest form of Aruhvianism, pointing out that the Khul was the living embodiment of the Keeper's mind (or as close to it as could be achieved) in Aestis. He argued (no doubt disingenuously), that faith had to be misleading, to be complex and contradictory, because to believe in a god in spite of a clear and logical story was the greatest act of devotion. He argued that humans had no right to a simple narrative and they must strive to choose from thousands of competing stories, statements, arguments and ideas about the Khul. Within obsessionalism, there is no hierarchy of prophets or priests, all ideas are seen to be as valid as others, so few priests are venerated other than Yarax. The religion posits itself as a series of inconvenient truths about the nature of faith and knowing, but of course this is a fraud. The one thing that keeps obsessionalism together as a coherent set of beliefs is terror and those within the faith who can submit others to greater levels of control, fear, torment and torture are favoured by the Khul.

Articles under Mordikhaan


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