The Saltfolk of Judi and the Feats of The Black King The Climate of Judi
Rain for much of the world is seen as cleansing wash from the heavens above that purifies the earth, leaving behind dewdrops, puddles and the earthy scent of sated flora. To the large isle of Judi, aptly nicknamed ‘the sea’s spittoon’ rain is seen as little more than a common occurrence whose purpose is to rock the boats of fishermen and drench the backs of the hard-laboring populace. While severe conditions are extremely rare the port-laden island has been known to suffer from waterspouts and harsh winds that blow in from the turbulent seas surrounding the isle, indeed a sunny day is a rarity, lukewarm summers, blistering winters, and soggy picnics are a staple of the isles. The History of Judi Part 1: The discovery of Judi What transitioned into pro-human, xenophobic clergy and kingdoms on Axios was the humble beginnings of Judi’s people. What began as a trade-rush for the salt-heavy shores of Judi following the natural island’s discovery at the end of Horen’s reign quickly lead into a hostile landgrab by the Lord Elijah Dunward in an effort to claim the monopoly of salt flowing into the mainland of the world turned into a struggle for survival when Dunward Bannermen came across a great totem of Ankrus nestled away in a sea cave at the eastern end of the isle; valuing the offerings left to the spirit and the totem itself the simple-minded soldiers brutalized the totem, enraging Ankrus in their meddling. Soon the isle would find itself besieged by great waves, tearing apart the trading vessels and the small fleet held by the Dunward Family and blocking any exit off the isle. In their exodus from the developing world outside the humble populace of Judi turned to their belief in the creator to grant them the strength to carry on, a prayer that seemed to remain unanswered for more than two centuries.
Nearly four generations after the Dunward had made the isle their prison a sudden surge of energy tore the sky above Judi, setting the ever-present clouds ablaze in a bright golden flame, parting them and bringing the first starry night to Judi in over two-hundred years and flooding the night sky with radiance for a short while, when the clouds burned away and but the expansive stars beyond were visible in the sky a great sigil sparked itself to life and took shape, what appeared to be a stylized Lorraine presented itself to the humble, isolated and ignorant worshippers of Judi, who whether in fear or reverence fell to their knees and began to pray. Part 2: The Emergence
The sky had opened for the first time in centuries, and the waters beyond the shallow surf of the isle had begun to calm. The Symbol that lingered in the sky dissipated the night after it emerged. The Topic of divine intervention had lit up the streets, Judi had not seen change in recent centuries and for the first time in those centuries a clear sky ruled the day. Bishops of Judi’s church stepped forward, to spread their ideology unto the simple saltfolk. Particularly Wilbur Wyrmwood who began preaching that the symbol in the sky was a sign of the end of all things, and that the creator came soon to reap the souls of his chosen children.
While Wilber's philosophy initially only preyed upon the fearful and ignorant it quickly gained traction when upon a venture into the wilds of the isle a group of huntsmen encountered a great black creature, eldritch in nature constructed of hard chitin, brain-like tumours and tentacles of all lengths. Finding their efforts to slay the beast unsuccessfully they soon found themselves trapped by the creature’s eldritch abilities and at Its mercy. Rather than slay Its captives the creature opted to invade their minds, taking from each of them pieces of common and speaking but one word it comprehended to the terrified humans “Peace.” And with illusions unheard of by mortals forced serenity upon the frightened hunters, winding them down that it might study them in peace. With some light convincing by the creature the huntsman lead it back to the City of Dunhalls seat of both the church of Judi and the House Dunward. AMong the first to greet the great beast was Wilber Wormwood and his faithful who knelt and bowed to the beast as Wilbur took notice of the strange lorraine crosses plastered upon Its form, the very same that had lit the sky days before. Part 3: The Six Miracles
Though wilber and his faithful had shielded the beast there remained a great number who declared the black creature a false prophet and a monster, and in return to their outcries the maddened wilber asked the creator for some proof it was the salvation it seemed to be. Possessing magical ability beyond that of any mortal the creature considered the tasks to be offered to it, and requested to know what it might do to ease the worries of those who reject it. In great detail Wilber told of the six great worries of the people of Judi, the first it had already solved, the sun bloomed once more in the sky above the isles. The Second would be more difficult, an unfortunate fungal infection girded the trees to the south of the isle that threatened the largest source of lumber available to the people of Judi, the third was a great hungry beast that tormented the eastern harbor of Malbu with Its presence, the fourth was the sickness of the animals nearby the City of Dunhall that caused meals beyond the basest grool to be inaccessible to any but the upper class, The fifth was the plague that plagued the district of cleanfire in south Dunhall which had earned its names through repeated burning by the King’s men as to stop the spread of disease in the cramped slums. The sixth and final problem that Wilber informed the black horror of was the wrath of the sea, for two-hundred years they had been unable to traverse beyond the bays of their island home lest the sea consume their ship and lives. WIlber pleaded with his eldritch guest to prove his greatness to those who doubted it outside, begged it show mercy in the face of their ignorance and being as clever as all voidal spawn of merit the Arch-horror agreed, seeing the ignorance of isolated island folk as an exploitable resource for Its own benefit. As a testament to Its commitment the creature promised the desperate Bishop Wormwood that if he were to gather all to come and witness it solve these issues, that once per week it would perform a great act of mercy to prove Its divinity to the populace of Judi and begin through them all a new age of prosperity for the isles.
There was nearly no elbow room at the creature’s first presentation, dozens made the trek out to the tree farms at the south of the isles to witness the first of the miracles, and to no disappointment. With a crowd of the curious or faithful the horror sought out the infected trees, silently observing them at first (much to the chagrin of Its audience) and after an hour of silent study the horror curled its chitin-coated hands around the trunk of a fungus infested tree, and where its digits lay there began a soft ripple of golden luminescence across the bark that burned away the fungi rapidly and spread along the forest floor, as tendrils of light sought the trees and annihilated their infestations; chanting a strange and frightful incantation as it went the creature cleaned the forest with what seemed to be little effort.
The Third Miracle came with a larger audience, none had been able to solve the issues distributed by Malbu the Bay Beast, while the eastern bay of Malbu hadn’t gone unmolested by fishermen in the past five years the bay had been unfishable due to the persistence of a trapped water dragon unable to cross out into the choppy waters surrounding Judi. Unable to pass through the high sandbars from Its new prison and had begun preying upon the schools of fish spawning in the bay whilst assaulting any Judian who dared to tread too close to the Bay, in recent months Malbu’s rage had become especially destructive, Its destruction of fishing vessels even docked in the bay or any human that had begun to tread on the bay had now begun to not only threaten the food supply in Eastern Judi but now the supplies it was able to trade between the rest of the isles was being slowed to a crawl as well.
The Black King approached the bay to a few dozen pilgrims and much of the town of Malbu’s population watching in breathless anticipation. The Large black beast looming over Its home attracted the water dragon, it swam to confront the trespasser but when the beast reared its head up to blast its unwelcomed guest with searing-hot water it was instead met with a brilliant radiance, one that temporarily blinded all those in attendance. While Its foe and the simple folk were blinded the Arch horror tore a hole beneath the dragon into Its mindplane, funneling it down in the blink of an eye. When the eyesight of the onlookers was restored they saw little but the water dragon’s absence, where Its Body once rose from the water there was now just a large displacement of water, attempting to fill itself as though the beast had been pulled from creation itself.
The following week brought with it a crowd larger than any other, with the safety of Malbu Harbor assured the many denizens of the Isle had grown curious, the latest miracle had seen pilgrims from a grand majority of the churches of Judi as well as hundreds of citizens journey from their respective homes to Dunhall in order to watch the supposed creator work his miracles. Much to their surprise and approval the beast performed two miracles. It called upon the sickly and broken of the Cleanfire district to be brought before it. One at a time it would see the weak, the pitiful, broken, and those stuck at death’s door and pressed one of its tendrils to their head, all at once a rush of luminescence would rush over the afflicted, disorienting them. While they described the beast’s touch as a tingling feeling that caused them to collapse and be purged of their disease, the truth was far from divinity. The Horror’s broodlings, practically microscopic was responsible for these deeds, drilling into the bodies of both the trees of the farms and the poor of cleanfire, eradicating the disease from within and putting them onto the road to recovery, however this intrusion overwhelmed the body and lead to their collapse. By the end of the day, the beast had seened to cleanfire and moved Its attention beyond the city, spending that eve performing a similar process with the animals in order to kill two birds with one stone.
The final of the miracles, the sea. In the three weeks since the Horror’s emergence, Ankrus had turned Its attention away from the isle, finding more important bouts to attend to than vengeance against ignorant island dwellers, especially with a large abomination contesting it. Unaware of this, the horror initially made a plan to guide the boat along using an unearthly telekinetic talent, thankfully this wasn’t necessary. With the attention of Judi’s reigning lord, Samuel Dunward II grabbed, it had brought much of the clergy and the royal family of Dunhall along for the journey. Upon reaching the edge of the shallow water where the waves would normally pick up and threaten ships the passengers found only overcast skies and calm seas stretching far into the horizon. With what they perceived to be their freedom the clergy and royal family fell to their knees before their savior, praying forgiveness for their suspicion and ignorance. The Creature gave no offense in return for their apology, choosing instead to play the part of the merciful caretaker it graciously accepted such fawning and apology and lead them into deeper waters that they might taste the freedom given in order to convince them of its mercy. Part 4: The Fl’nthogg Inquisition
The Black King’s reign upon the isles lasted a short fifty years, in this time it was a cherished leader with merely a few bishops and their flock rejecting the creature’s claim that it was the avatar of the creator. Despite these claims they were quickly and sometimes violently shouted down by the believers of the newly forming High Faith, the Fl’nthogg. With the Royal family’s support and the fear that opposing the beast might mean damnation or simply death considering it had recently opened up the possibility of leaving the isle and freed their people from the sea’s unrelenting hold. With the support of King Dunward and his vassals the creature had assured its faith would be untouchable and Its venturing puppets would return with bountiful discoveries for it to savor. In order to keep Its facade perfect, the creature would refuse petty uses of Its powers and produced religious ceremonies, study, and encouraged the embrace of magic for humankind, as they were the only ones fit to wield it and should discover the possibilities it had to offer. For Fifty years, and the passing of another king the Horror’s word became law, Its faith became the dominant and zealously defended word of the Isles, trade was established with outside forces who were not permitted to enter the isles lest they attempt in ignorance to strike down the faithful of the horror.
While the horror sought no aggressions against the non-believers and canonists of the isles Its faithful did not share the sentiment, oft coming to blows and public outrage at the claims of naysayers that had threatened in the eyes of some zealots, such as the aged High Pontiff Wilber Wormwood whom the creature frequently dissuaded from targeting the unfaithful despite expressing disappointment in their reluctant. While the isles were swiftly on the way to becoming a legitimate nation once more when tragedy struck. The Black King vanished, giving no word or indication of Its departure to any of the faithful, inciting a panic. Unaware that out of sheer envy a greater horror had consumed the beast in the veil beyond the High Faith pointed fingers, they had served so devotedly and their creator would surely not abandon them. With a whisper in the ear of the newly crowned, impressionable King Thomas Dunward III Wilber sought to right the wrongs that had driven off their merciful creator, having provided counsel to the boy’s father in manners involving the Black King it was little trouble for Wilber to insist the King call upon the military of Judi in order to right this wrong.
King Dunward called for the formation of an inquisition, rallying the faithful to join and hunt down the nonbelievers of the isle and either convert or do away with them. The Inquisition shortly replaced Judi’s Constabulary as the primary force of law within the city of Dunhall and beyond, aggressively pursuing and putting to the blade any who publicly opposed the high faith and the word of the Black King with extreme efficiency. In the end when the Isle’s purge failed to bring back their merciful god, the Fl’nthogg inquisition declared that the seas were opened that they might share the Black Scrolls with the world. So, through violence and intimidation did the High Faith dominate Dunwall, and sunk Its fangs into the isle’s culture for many years to come. Part 5: Modern Judi
Much like all religious nations, it wasn’t long before Judi’s militaristic approach to their faith was replaced by a humanitarian approach of equality and humility. Dunhall yet stands as the capital of the bustling salt isles of Judi whose seafood, cloth, and plentiful salt allow have allowed the isles to remain a comfortable bastion of religion and trade within the world with only dotted civil conflicts of interests. Now ruled by King Anthony Mal III the stranglehold of the Dunward family has since collapsed into irrelevance, displaced in a violent revolt amidst war with Oyashima the Dunward family has been rendered a landless house while the trade family of Mal rules the isles. Magically-fueled technologies such as lifts are commonplace due to the liberal use of magic on Judi and the Isles have turned their attention on agriculture, magitech advancement, religion, trade, and the preservation of Its culture. The Isles most common exports are fish, salt, technology, and wool and these things are most often traded with the Country’s former adversary and greatest trade partner, Oyashima. It is unusual to see a Judian away from home if not on their pilgrimage but hearts and minds wander away from comfort, perhaps one may find their way toward Axios and the roving descendants eventually but for now these strange neighbors remain as such. The Fashion of Judi
While helpless in their two-century isolation, the Judian’s learned to persevere by adapting to the climate of their new home, they employed insulated clothing, the emphasis of their fashion turning toward the leather, fur, and cloth coats/hats produced from the hides, hemp, and wool most plentiful on the island.
(Pictured Above:The Royal Family of Dunward: Circa 1522, fashion icons and the inspiration for modern regal attire in Judi)
In order to protect from the harsh winds and rains of Judi it wasn’t uncommon for sleeves to be long, frilled and consisting of multiple layers and for skirts to be widened considerably with mesh in order to better shield from the wind striking them up or rainwater sticking heavy wool to the knees. In order to avoid draft it is not uncommon for women to dawn heavy underclothing of ruffles beneath their skirts. Due to the considerable size of these dresses it came to pass that opulence was measured by the materials used, the design of the print upon the fabric, and the generosity of jewelery decorating women’s hair, fingers, and wrists. Men were judged by a simpler standard, however. Long coats of hemp, wool, and rarely silk (Very few can afford the Oyashima’s specialty fabrics) decorated with buttons of gold and multiple layers of detailed suits featuring ascots, vests, undershirts and occasional wigs made up warm, fashionable clothes on Judi whilst less extravagant, warm clothes became the mark of the impoverished. Judi’s famous button-up vests and long coats have become a staple of eccentric fashion in human and elven communities
(The Average Dunward citizenry; Circa 1609) Religion
With the intervention of the Black King and a violent schism following Its departure from the Isles the ‘High Faith’ or Fl’nthogg seized the monopoly of faith upon Judi. Due to centuries of uninterrupted propaganda and zealous violence against the naysayers of Fl’nthogg Its customs and traditions have sunk their roots deep into the social order of the isles. Clergy
(Two Clergymen of Fl’Nthogg in formal dress. Art by Will Beck)
While the Clergy of Fl’nthogg practice strange and alien methods of worship for the creator they are seen as little more than one of the many sects and schisms of the True Faith and considered mostly harmless save for their aggressive recruitment tactics in the form of missionaries. Clergymen can often be seen donning black robes and tentacled masks to mimic the avatar of their great creator, decorated with brightly colored trim featuring scripture of the Holy Scrolls translated into High Speak (Moonspeak) and embroidered into the garments by the priest himself.
While prayer is oft performed in High Speak, and their robes are abnormally menacing the faithful of The Black King are oft scholars of good nature, adepts of alchemy and magic who see fit to use their expertise in order to deliver salvation and peace upon humankind. To this end it is often seen that priests use Telekinesis to aid with building of shelters and alchemy to aid in healing the needy of foreign lands and acting as the bulk of scholars and healers on Judi itself. Though similar to canonism the religion differs in the introduction of the Black Scrolls, additions penned by Wilber Wormwood which detail the creator’s return upon Judi and the Six miracles he performed before his departure.
(A plague doctor and preacher of Fl’Nthogg.)
It is customary for young Judians of sixteen on Judi to volunteer for a religious exodus known as the Mal’Dahoth for a year to assist in spreading the black faith to all the world. They are sent as well-wishers, relief agents, and preachers to the pitiful and suffering corners of the world in order to share the bounty of the High Faith and the Creator’s mercy. Services
Being as most faithful of Fl’nthogg are adept with magic it is uncommon to attend a ceremony held within the cathedral in which one remains bored. Much to the delight and fear of those introduced to Fl’Nthogg, services are oft supplemented with magic in order for the preacher to add emphasis to his scripture and word. This often leads to theatre-like performances of great illusions performed by enchantments set upon the cathedral for specific stories from the Black Scrolls, such theatrics are reserved for important holidays such as The day of the Saint’s Year that the creator descended, called Nth’aug which it is customary for a grand festival of prayer, gift-giving and feasting Though the exact date it lost, it is usually celebrated for a month on the first Sun’s Smile following the fourth month of the Saint’s Year. (Easter).
(A priest performing a Nth’aug service.) Customs, Construction, and cuisine.
Due to the entrapment on the isles, Cuisine and Conversational phrases have carried on through the years as a staple of Judi’s culture. Small customs such as knocking on wood if you sneeze in order to ward off illness, hanging a horseshoe above the doorway prong-side up to ward off bad luck from a household, passing someone on the stairs is oft considered to bring misfortune. Good luck can also be brought by storing a polished skipping stone in one’s front pocket when going out of town for festivities or business, spawning the phrase ‘just a stone’s throw away’ in recent years.
The re-use of bricks processed with transfiguration for reinforcement Gave Judian houses their sleek and famous aesthetically pleasing appearances as well as giving them space for family and visiting friends. It is even possible for wealthy children in Judi to have their own rooms and toy chests without sacrificing room for guests and social gatherings. Roofs are often sloped as to prevent the gather of daily rainfall upon rooftops and to reduce the resistance given to billowing winds.
(Artist depiction of a Judian Merchant’s home.)
Cuisine that utilizes the wasteless nature of the entrapped people of the Isles oft appears even today as, fried fish, sausage, potatoes, bread dishes and stew as the most prominent meals in the isle and are regarded as traditional and respectable meals despite their poor nutritional value. Tea from Oyashima is also considered a delicacy craved by the Judians and their ilk, and is often served at mid-day for social gatherings. Famous dishes include such things as: Sausage, Meat pies, puddings, gravy, Shepards pie, and of course crumpets. While much of these dishes are made from what most descendants would consider slop they are a point of pride for the people of Judi.
(Black Pudding, a blood sausage made famous in Judi.)