Sunday, January 19, 2020

The Mok'shai

The Mok’shai
Seek not refuge from the Storm; rather, prepare thineself, as a soldier unto the rains.
Born unto the never-ending storm, said to be the soldiers of the great conflict of the heavens. The Mok’shai are a people native to a world ravaged by ceaseless rain, of the constant ringing of thunder, the howls of wind, and the maddening beats of raindrops. A world of giant trees, of a sky blocked by a sheet of clouds. A world hellbent on destroying it’s people, whether it be through great floods, or ravenous monsters. Yet despite all this, the warriors of light do not give in.

The Mok’shai are a people of middling height, and firm builds. Their most notable features are their skin twinged red, and their eyes pale as mist. They dress in simple things; in the hides and carapace of the monsters lurking in the Rainforests, as well as simple decorations of bone and wood. Despite the bleakness of their homes of stone, the Mok’shai take pride in their colorful clothes, said to be symbols of hope, a reminder of what awaits at the end of the conflict.

The Great Conflict
Do you hear their cries? Their calls of valor, their screams of desperation? There is a conflict, in the sky. The Gods fight and die there. And we shall assist them.

In a time immemorial, it was said that there was paradise; a land without worry or want, free of conflict. With clear skies, and an ever shining sun. This land was home to the Gods, ever content to live out eternity in their garden. But all was not well  in Paradise. One God, named Mishal, grew frustrated with the stagnancy of Paradise, and hungered for change. And so, he set out to be the harbinger of it, crafting Demons of which to cause strife, and carry out his divine conflict. 

When it was discovered that the Demons causing trouble in Paradise was the fault of Mishal, the Betrayer God slew the most beloved of the Gods, and declared war upon Heaven, snuffing out the divine light to show his endless legion of the sky. At the death of their beloved, the Gods wept, and flooded paradise with their sorrow. This was the first of the rains, the constant personification of the Gods’ eternal grief over their loss. 

The Gods were prepared to avenge the Beloved, no matter the cost. But they needed soldiers, before they could fight back. And so to reclaim heaven, they crafted the Mok’shai, the steadfast warriors of light. Born to avenge the Beloved God, and reclaim heaven, in the great conflict of the sky.

The Storms ravaging the world are a result of the great conflict, the eternal battle raging in the sky between the Gods, and the Betrayer. The howlings of the wind are the cries of war, the beats of thunder are the blows of weapons, and the rains are the blood and tears of the Gods. It is said that the Mok’shai are the soldiers of the Gods, meant to fight the Demons of the betrayer. And as such, the Mok’shai use their lives to become strong, and ready for the war to come, so that in death they may fight to reclaim peace.

The Jungle
We live in the wreckage of a once perfect world; the conflict has ravaged it, destroyed it beyond recognition. But with peace, we may rebuild.
Once, the world was a paradise of eternal sun. Now, the skies are blocked out by thick clouds, brewing a ceaseless storm. The constant rains have ravaged the world, with the regular flooding making the lands nigh inhospitable. And yet, the Mok’shai survive. While traditional crop farming is nigh impossible under the harsh conditions of the storm, high above in the tree canopies survive many creatures; great birds, gigantic snakes, massive insects, and winding systems of moss and fungi. 

And so, the Mok’shai farm the mosses and fungi of the great trees to survive, and hunt when able. Eggs are a necessity of the Mok’shai diet, as well as mushrooms, and stews. Meats are more rare, and several mushrooms have been cultivated to mimic it, but it’s a matter of great celebration when fresh meat is obtained from a hunt. Fruit is also abundant, but is highly contested among the wildlife, and so somewhat dangerous to obtain.

Down on the surface of the world, at the roots and trunks of the great trees, lies a bed of hostility. Great predator cats, primates, and many other manner of beasts make their home at the forest bed. This is also where the Mok’shai reside, surviving the floods in their massive Ziggurat cities. These great monuments of stone stand stalwart against the forces of the Jungle, as well as harboring it’s people from the storm.

The Ziggurat Cities
When one wishes to stand against a storm, to survive the test of time, one should take shelter in stone.
Massive structures of stone, the Ziggurat Cities are the safe havens of the Mok’shai, standing defiantly against the inhospitable nature of the Jungle. Their history is unclear, as they have been present for as long as the Mok'shai are aware. There are many theories as to their construction, but many simply ask; how? According to the Mok'shai, the Ziggurats should be impossible. With the constant threat of flooding, mining isn’t feasible, unless one already had a Ziggurat city from which to mine stone safely. And that isn’t even to mention how difficult moving the stone from location to location would be. By all accounts, the construction of the Ziggurats should not be possible.

And yet, they stand. Nearly completely submerged during a flood, they are as if islands among a sea of water and trees. Inside, quarries for stone, and farms for moss and mushrooms, are paramount. All the necessary resources for survival are attainable from within a Ziggurat City. Temples to the Gods stand at their peak, with which the Storm Heralds may commune with the great generals of the Sky, and receive instruction from the Gods. 

While having all the necessities of life available to them, the Mok’shai were born for war. And so, they hunt the great beasts of the Jungle to prepare for battle; and often, conflict between the Ziggurat Cities will break out, usually as a contest for resources, or to whip ‘complacent’ cities back into fighting shape. But while the Mok'shai were born for war, they do not neglect the arts. It is said that when the Conflict is won, and the skies clear, the Mok'shai will be given a place in paradise. And so it is important to them, to learn how to live as the Gods- surrounded by art and song. Of course, paper is nigh useless to record anything in the Jungle, and so records are carved into stone, to stand the test of time as the Ziggurat Cities do.

The Storm Heralds
Brace thineself against the Thunder, for the Gods do not speak softly.
One cannot have a legion of soldiers, without a commander to lead them. For the Mok'shai, the Storm Heralds are their great commanders, acting as the mouthpiece of the Gods, being able to commune with them, or so they believe.

The Storm Heralds are marked by three key features; first among them, they wear feathers of the great birds of the canopy, vibrant and grand. Second, they wear upon their person the few precious pieces of metal available to the Mok'shai, their jewelry not made of Wood or Bone. Third, and the most prominent, they carry lightning scars across their body, often covering the arms.

You see, for a Storm Herald to be appointed, they must stand atop the Ziggurat during a particularly violent storm, or even a flood, and hold aloft the most precious item the Mok'shai have; the Lightning Rod. A pole of metal, the craft of which is unknown to the Mok'shai. Their origins are a mystery, as they’ve existed alongside the Ziggurats for millenia. If successful, then the Herald to be shall be struck with lightning, seen as a communion to the Gods. If he lives, he is now a fully fledged Herald, acting as a mouthpiece for information on the current state of the War.

It is said that the first Storm Herald, Onn Hadrada, was the first to harness fire for the Mok'shai, by holding aloft a wooden staff. When he communed with the Gods, his staff held a solitary spark, of which was used to bring fire to the soldiers of light.