The Downfall of Calipyg

Calipyg is a warning to those whose hubris lead them to remove themselves from the Great Games of the Empire. The roiling, endless, succession war keeps others vital and strong. They left us fighting for the Sceptre to fashion themselves a crown. But they made it too big, too grand, and now the Blight throttles them with it.

Behold, your new masters
The City

A city state on the coast of the Friendly Sea, built upon a string of islands in the salt marshes found there. No matter the season it is haunted by a pervasive wetness that, rather than simply fall from the sky in the right and proper manner, comes from the very air itself. It sticks to the bones and lends a counterpoint of decay to the wealthy polis. Everything is soft to the touch, a veneer of rot. The most affluent household will have moss climbing their velvet curtains.

The city is ruled by a line of Queens. The last succession caused something of a stir, where no female heir stepped fourth to don the Seven Faced Mask and wield the Concordant Staves Which Make Clear the Way. Not unheard of, certainly, but a scandal worthy of the finer tea-houses for sure. As is tradition, the male heir stepped into the position of Queen of Calipyg and accepted the Greater Seal.

The Seal

The Seal is practised among royal lines and some among the upstart middle orders putting on airs. The Lesser Seal, considered to be very fashionable, is a simple castration whereby the testes and scrotum are removed. Further, some accept The Greater Seal. Rarely seen outside of the aristocracy due in equal parts to its gruesome nature and difficulty in finding someone with the skill to cause such a heinous wound without killing the patient. Quite a feat in this foetid environment. Since the surgeon must perform a full emasculation it is entirely likely that anyone without the means to recuperate at leisure is likely to die in bed surrounded by their family and the sweet stench of necrotic flesh.

Many social practises have evolved around the Seals. Nobles who were both brave and wealthy enough to survive The Greater Seal take every opportunity to publicly urinate through richly adorned pissing horns, kept conspicuously slung under one arm when not in use. In turn, it is equally common for any noble or ambitious bourgeoisie to own one and wear it when in high society, Seal or no Seal.

The nobles, due to these practises, have understandable trouble with procreation. The most common way a new noble is born is through scandalous liaisons between female members of the aristocracy and low-born proles. This process is an entirely traditional and secretly accepted, but openly shunned, practise. One doesn't wish to give the under-classes ideas.

A typical Calipygeon night dockside

Calipyg used to be synonymous with necromancy and self mutilation, with one imagining the dead standing at every corner serving their butchered masters, but the truth falls short. Necromancy is reserved for the royal families, of which there are many, and is primarily used to maintain their own tenuous existence rather than frivoled away on the lesser social orders.

As can be imagined in such a society, magical knowledge is common amongst those who can afford to be tutored in it. It would be terribly shameful, and mark them as someone who works with their hands, to ever admit to not having one jot of necromantic prowess. This has, again, led to much duplicity at parties, with every noble attempting to outboast another with their stupendous age bought at the expense of others.
"Why I'm 200 years old if I'm a day!" 
"Well I consider it to be terribly gauche to count past 100", and so on,

They like to remind those too poor to afford immortality of what is to come

The Blight

But now Jewel of the West it is faced with change. The marsh is deep, nearly impassable, but what good is that against an invader that emerges from the cracks in your streets? In your basements and your palatial garden? The answer is of course none whatsoever. The Blight emerged from their deep mycelium some score of years past and broke the city overnight. 

From beneath, they devour

The city is sealed. Its people are tasked with building a vast tower with no reason given, no sense apparent. The nobility are placated by their conquerors and in turn keep the people in line. A secret police stalk the streets, distinguished only by their loamy smell and the faint hint of tendrils beneath the skin. None come in, none leave, the masses are fed by huge spore-bearing mushrooms. They gather around them each morning and fight for scraps. The nobles maintain a brisk smuggling ring so they may keep up appearances, but that can only last so long. The Blight knows, but they tolerate. They see everything and are content to control and build.

Queen Iacobetta d'Valaseno Taiapetra IV
The Blue Lady

The ruling family of Calipyg were purged, ensuring the nobles had no one to rally behind. In the confusion of the initial invasion there was little time to get the royals to safety, as such most were killed. All except the only son of Queen Iacobetta, the recently ascended Queen Benvenuto.

He now ostensibly leads a resistance, out in the marshes, though no one has seen the young Queen since the purge. Maybe an enterprising courtier took off with the mask and staves, plucking it from the young prince's corpse and becoming the beacon the Blight had hoped to quash in it's founding. What is certain is that the police search for the Blue Lady, uplifting slogans of revolt are scrawled in the public square under the noses of the surveillance bulbs, people whisper Her name in the queues at the spore towers.

The Blight want her dead, Queen or no.

No comments:

Post a Comment