Category: Tertia Worldbuilding

The Factions of Tertia – The Razbitian Pirate Alliance

Razbiti, the prison country that failed. When it was first founded shortly before the war on alignment, Razbiti was intended to be an entire country’s worth of land dedicated to the exile of criminals. The nations of eastern Crobayoris came to an agreement to remove the problems within their societies in an attempt to improve upon historically tense relations. What they failed to see in their foresight were the problems that could be caused by gathering all of the continent’s sociopaths in one place. Among them were those who were evil, cunning or just outright merciless. There was no prison that could contain such a gathering and as such the criminals rose up and took Razbiti for themselves.

Anarchy came to rule as the established government of wardens was torn down. In its place rose a new hierarchy where only the most maniacal would be respected. Several factions were formed and took for themselves sections of Razbiti, each province representative of a certain crime. The murderers gathered in one area, the thieves in another; there was a place for every kind of crime you could imagine. The criminals reveled in their freedom, where they could do as they wished so long as they were prepared for the same to happen to them. However, quickly understood that their nation of freedom would quickly burn out without a leader.

The first emperor of Razbiti was the one who turned the country into one of pirates. He rallied the criminals with speeches about how they shouldn’t turn their blades on each other, but on the people who sent them to Razbiti in the first place. Those people had all the resources, all the power, just waiting to be taken from them. Thus, each of the factions formed into crews and appropriated some vessels from their Splitan neighbors to begin the legacy of the Razbitian pirate alliance. The alliance quickly became the most terrifying force of bandits in the world as they stole enough goods to fuel their entire country.

The alliance continues to be the cornerstone of the country’s continued success. Its notoriety is such that maniacs from each new generation come to Razbiti to become part of the next-to-lawless culture. Fresh blood and sharp blades constantly keep the alliance strong and the captains are said to become worse with each passing of the title. This is most of all true for the current empress, whose commanding aura and hideous strength are the most intense in the nation’s history.

EMPRESS OF THE GOLDEN OCEAN – JEANNE DELAHEIM

The current head of the pirate alliance who built her name on a foundation of brutality and stubbornness. The emperor or empress of Razbiti is not decided by bloodline or any other such arbitrary qualifications. The title can only be held by those with feats, whose stories are told in shivering whispers across the lands. By someone with a name that people fear to speak should they invite some kind of superstitious wrath. Theoretically, the easiest way to earn the title is to murder the previous title-holder but only once has someone succeeded in such an endeavor. Jeanne was not this person, no, she did something far more insane.

Jeanne was born in thieves’ territory, which is on the northern side of Razbiti. Thieves made their territory here because it let them be close to the Razbiti/Splitis border, so they could most effectively go and ‘borrow’ whatever they needed from their kind neighbor. This was a double-edged sword as the Splitans aren’t pushovers and have only gotten better at dealing with the Razbitians over the years. The fate that awaits Razbitians who are caught is brutal; for such people who have proven that no prison can hold them, they are effectively given the death sentence. Not in any traditional way, though. No execution stands, no lethal injections; instead, caught criminals are sent to die on Iaxus.

Jeanne, like all Razbitian children, was made to join in expeditions from a young age to get her used to the lifestyle. Whenever her parents would go out to sea with their crew intent on pillaging some foreign land, she went with them. Up until she was eight years old, when that crew was caught by a Splitan navy vessel. The cutthroats of the crew fought for their lives but were overwhelmed and restrained. There was no trial when it came to Razbitians, once they were tied with no chance of escape they were sent drifting off to Iaxus. The story of young eight-year-old Jeanne should have ended here, with no chance of her ever returning.

Against all logic, she did just that a decade later.

It should have been impossible. Iaxus allowed no survivors, its creatures were merciless and would hunt anything that dared to come too close to the shore. Their power overwhelming and their senses impeccable, paired with the fact that Razbitians were sent there tied like offerings should guarantee the deaths of all who are sent there. Regardless of such facts, it wasn’t the case for Jeanne. The only way to describe it would be her lack of fear. Wild creatures can sense such things, though usually through analysis of body language. For the creatures of Iaxus, fear is a visceral aura that they cannot resist. Once one sets foot on Iaxus then their death is soon, to feel fear is to meet that death quickest.

After being sent to slowly drift to their deaths, the vessels full of Razbitian scum gave off tremendous stenches of fear. In Jeanne’s case, the fear came from her crew’s captain, from her parents, from everyone else but her. She felt nothing as she saw them all torn apart and when the creatures were done they left her. Not out of any mercy, of course, it was because they couldn’t find her. Her breaths were impossibly shallow, a mixture of her survival instinct and her training as a thief. She moved not a single inch and most importantly she rejected all fear.

Jeanne survived the years with the resources from her vessel as well as others that were sent for execution. She lived on shipwrecks, undetected by the monstrosities that would have mauled her at a glance. In that time, she grew in a way most unnatural. Her young Magia body was influenced by Iaxus’ wild magic and she grew into a woman more monster than maiden. Blank, white eyes, nine-foot tall and impossibly strong. That’s the Jeanne that returned to Razbiti on one of the consigned vessels. The vessel was a fresh one, crew still living. She got to it before the creatures. That was the one time the creatures saw her, after she had become too powerful them to stop her.

Thus, her hushed stories began. They ranged from tales of the monster woman who survived Iaxus to those of a hero who rescued a Splitis-sent vessel. All true, though initially scarcely believed. No one was willing to accept that such a woman existed, until they saw her themselves. Her gargantuan visage, her harsh swings between raging violence and complete apathy, her invincible body that no weapon could pierce; all who felt her presence were subjugated. With the respect she commanded at merely a glance, the road to becoming empress was practically paved for her.

This all happened while she was still just merely adapting to Razbitian society. Remembering how to interact with civilization, re-learning how to speak, those kinds of mundane things. Sure, along the way she infrequently gave in to the raging Iaxiot magic that had found place in her flesh, but the damage she wreaked was only major and not quite severe. As she was guided towards the path of empress, her life’s purpose slowly became unclouded. This purpose was not dissimilar to that of a creature of Iaxus. Once becoming empress, she wanted to branch out and make the world her territory. She would begin with the Splitans who sent her to Iaxus, then move on to rule over Crobayoris. After that, she would become the first to lead the entire world.

After attaining her current title, the first thing she did was declare her will. In essence, she intended to make war with every other major faction in the world. To prove that she’s serious and that the world should consider her a threat, she has marked the stargazing leviathan Bagrysh. Her aim is to slay the great beast before challenging the rest of Tertia to stand up to her. The announcement of the battle for godhood only sweetened the endgame of her aspirations. In doing what she already planned, she would become a deity and rule over places beyond just one planet. Though the battle has not yet started, Jeanne considers herself already the victor.

ELISE ROSEHILL ‘THE SWEEPER’

Captain of the wandering hands, Elise is a rogue with skills that rival those of Rogue’s Gallery’s most notorious members. Child of the Rosehills, Elise was the most spoiled brat one could possibly imagine. Her parents were professors in the university of Velstand and, even among a rich society, they were extremely upper class. Not only could they get Elise anything, they did. Absolutely anything she ever wanted, no questions asked. For these parents, who had lived in the dark age of the war on alignment, they wanted to give their child the best life they could possibly offer. However, because of this, Elise grew up with no humbleness and infinite self-importance. As she started to attend school, she would take things from other kids with no sense of consequence to stop her.

Her parents realized too late what their ceaseless indulgence in their daughter had done. They became more strict, only got her most of the things she wanted and tried to teach her the proper ways of attaining such things. All this did was make Elise start trying to trade with other kids for the things she wanted and she would throw tantrums if they didn’t accept. Instead of learning to not take things from the other kids, she just learned how to steal without being punished. Spoiled as she was, she wasn’t a dumb child. She figured out on her own that she could go back to having everything so long as no one knew she was taking from others.

She got away with this mentality all the way up until her formal acceptance into the university of Velstand. It was practically guaranteed she would get into the university just from the richness and sway of her parents but she still did put in the work to achieve the proper qualifications. She wanted ‘A’s in all subjects so she got them, that’s the type of mentality that always drove her. At the university came the turning point in her life, when her ceaseless kleptomania would at last be punished. The university had a section in its art wing dedicated to recreations of the final projects of all the students who had graduated. All beautiful pieces of work from statues to paintings to clothing. When she saw it, Elise wanted all of it, and she always got what she wanted.

This was her first time pulling something more than just petty object theft. It was a full-blown heist on a scale that even an expert thief would be unwilling to attempt. Her aim wasn’t just one object in particular, she wanted to clean the graduation museum out. Her lofty goal resulted in her inevitable capture, she was expelled from the university and was sentenced to years imprisonment. Her parents managed to get her released early but, after what she had done, Elise had no place in Hasitott. Her name had become notorious and because Hasitott was a small country, everyone knew about what she did. Her disrespectful, selfish crime.

Though, Elise no longer had any interest in any regular life of education and work. During her entire stay in prison, her body still buzzed from the excitement of the heist. She had no intention of ‘correcting’ herself, she was going to steal again. In fact, losing her chance at university education felt freeing for her. She could go anywhere, take anything; so, she left Hasitott one night without a word to her parents. Next time she was publicly heard of, she had joined the pirates of Razbiti. People who shared her mentality, who thrived on taking from others to sustain themselves. The most free people around, Elise believed.

Having been born of Tottan blood, Elise’s capacity to learn was astounding. With this perk, she quickly learned to implement magic into her raids as she frequently participated in expeditions to Orison. Just by watching how the Pradans defended themselves, she learned the basics of magic and crafted her own spells from there. This process was not least of all helped by her acquisition of many enchanted items, one of which has become iconic to her heists. A puzzle box with pretentious Pradan markings on all its sides which contains a hammerspace of ridiculous size. Enough to hold a museum’s worth of items- or even the museum itself.

She swiped this box from one of the judges of the Serikaat during a pillaging that nearly didn’t end so well for her crew. These puzzle boxes were carried by judges as a means of portable imprisonment, able to take entire ships into custody. The judge’s appearance was unexpected, they had never personally come to the western coast to deal with Razbitian pirates prior. It was the rising strength of the alliance that caught the judge’s attention and, if it weren’t for Elise, the judge would have single-handedly dismantled the raid. He had captured the rest of the crew and even their ship, leaving Elise with no way of escape until the next crew came.

Such a show of cowardice would have stained her reputation in the alliance. Hiding while the rest of her crew were taken in action, there was no guarantee that the next crew would even take her back. Especially considering that she was an outsider in the first place. Her only chance was to get the puzzle box back from the judge and, against all odds, she succeeded. She rescued her crew with fantastic skill and at the end of the day they sailed back victorious. It was this feat that elevated Elise to her current status as one of the leaders of the alliance.

Elise’s treasure is currently at a value that would make even the Rogue’s Gallery gawk. In fact, her current estimated value is so well-known that members of the gallery make frequent attempts at finding and looting her goods. Elise herself doesn’t really care for that, the greed of others isn’t really of any concern. In her mind, it’s all about her and how she can make her exuberant loot pile bigger. She’s far from done, likely won’t ever be satisfied, what’s certain about Elise Rosehill is that she’ll steal until the day she dies.

‘EMERALD THUMB’ KETAS GLAUK

Captain of the flying highs, Ketas practically owns the underground drug trade across all of Tertia. He was originally born in Tesson some time before the misaligned kin came to the world, though he was unaffected by the wars at the time. Tesson wasn’t exactly contested land and they never went out of their way to pick fights, so they were mercifully left out of any conflicts between people. Unfortunately, the misaligned kin were far more indiscriminate than people. Tesson is a highly superstitious country that protects itself from questionably-real spirits using shockingly powerful talismans and rituals. Such protective measures were worthless against beings that re-appropriated magic just by existing.

Without a military to defend them, the Tessons were forced to evacuate to the surrounding countries to find refuge. Ketas was among the refugees who went to Rhaniad, which had become a land where people from all over the continent gathered. A great majority of the Tessons were unwilling to share their ways with the foreigners they shared space with but Ketas wanted to do something for the ailing people around him. Despite the rage of his fellow Tessons, he introduced various plants and incenses to the other refugees to calm their suffering minds. He offered temporary escape from the crushing dread and became highly popular for his ‘treatments’.

After the war, the refugees returned home but those who had shared in Ketas’ relief sessions started to feel odd. As it turned out, they had become addicted to Ketas’ therapy and many of them returned to Rhaniad where the Tesson continued his treatments. The substances he employed were hence properly analyzed by scientists under the order of the Crobayoris Court of Justice. They were determined to be powerful drugs that could be extremely harmful in the long term, especially due to the harsh withdrawal symptoms that resulted from them. The court of justice unanimously decided to outlaw Ketas’ drugs, though he would not be stopped by mere legality.

Ketas truly believed that his drugs helped people, opened their minds and calmed them in a world full of deadly stress. ‘Withdrawal’ in his mind just meant realizing that truth, that the world in its truest form was painful to live in. The usage of his drugs had spread and had began to be practiced by others apart from him. Razbitians in particular were happy to adopt his concoctions into their lives, there was no such thing as ‘outlawing’ there. An intelligent man, Ketas traveled to Razbiti himself to become a leading figure in the country’s drug territory. The Razbitians respected Ketas for his actions during the war, so he quickly rose up through their hierarchy.

Through immersing himself in Razbitian culture, Ketas opened himself up to attempting riskier things with his drugs. This mostly involved applying the potent magic he learned in his homeland to the substances to bolster their effects greatly. He found that he could even add other effects to the drugs, like making users far more powerful in short bursts. The cost of this were enhanced rates of addiction and withdrawal. These drugs were more effective but those who took them came to rely on them more and as such had to take them more. For Ketas, such an increase in demand only served to make him more rich.

Empowering the drugs further showed exponentially more effective results but drastically worse side-effects. In the worst cases, the magic used in the drugs would clash with the magic in a Magia’s body and warp them in a similar manner to a Head transformation. Not a full-scale warping but enough to permanently cripple or kill an unlucky user. Regardless of the risk, Ketas’ drugs only became more sought after. Particularly, he caught the attention of sportsmen from Vasara who wanted to get a leg up on their competition. These sports players were rich enough to support Ketas’ business on their own but it seemed like people from all over wanted in.

The ridiculous amount of demand made Ketas the single most influential drug dealer in the world. Without really any intention of doing so, he became the king of all drug trade in all of Tertia. Anyone on the bad side of the law knows Ketas’ name and more importantly they know his ‘medicines’. To this day, Ketas believes himself to be a selfless man. He sees his drugs as a gateway for people to experience the world both how they want and how they should. He sees the Razbitian alliance that opened the way for his trade to be the heroes while the government who banned his drugs are villains. In his mind, his substances bring justice into the world, so he will make them until his own dead body is cremated.

‘BLOOD DIAMOND’ JACQUOTTE

Captain of the blood spillers, Jacquotte is among the most reviled mass-murderers in history. As to be expected from one born in the murderer’s territory of Razbiti. Of all the awful, reviled places in Razbiti, murderer’s territory is in contention for the worst. No where else has the mentality ‘kill or be killed’ been more prudent, if you don’t watch your back in this place then you die. For anyone who isn’t ‘one of them’ simply entering the territory is like going to another plane of existence. The atmosphere shifts at its border as bloodlust instantly weighs down on you. The air itself tastes of blood and you cannot shake the feeling of being in the gaze of a predator.

In other places of the world, people celebrate certain days with parties and parades. In the murderer’s territory, such days are when the residents let go of their strained shreds of restraint. These are people with an urge, a compulsion to take the lives of others. Their most violent instincts rampage in their brains, to hunt and kill whatever they can. There are no allies in their territory, only warm blood ripe for spilling. The worst of them even eat their victims or rape the corpses and that isn’t even looked down upon. If not removed from the territory, that’s the fate most kids end up facing. Jacquotte was one of the children who wasn’t.

Disgusting as it sounds, Jacquotte was lucky to be born broken. She was born days earlier than she should have been when her mother’s stomach was cut open and because of that her brain never quite developed properly. Her father, who had his fingers cut off by her mother’s killer, taught her the ways of a killer from the day she could walk. He was killed too when Jacquotte was six, when she got hungry after not being fed she ate his corpse. She was adopted by a man who intended to rape her when she got old enough but she killed him long before that. That was her first kill. The first of countless. She didn’t feel a thing, it was just so natural.

In terms of the alliance, the people who come out of this territory are perfect soldiers. They’re people proficient in both killing and not dying, key skills to have in any battle. Any given ship is likely to have one or two murders on board to bolster their fighting strength. Any more than that and the crew risks getting killed themselves. Jacquotte was brought into a crew about a year after the incident with the man who adopted her. She was an unnerving figure from the get-go, never spoke and never reacted if anything hit her. Fact was she couldn’t, she wasn’t able to put words together and she was insensitive to pain because of her brain problems.

Nothing really got through to her. Her first crew found out pretty fast that she basically wouldn’t react to anything and would only do what she had to so she could sustain her body. Truthfully, not even she knew why she did it. There were only two things that would spur her. Vicious intent and the presence of blood. She was like a shark, on one occasion two of her crewmates got in a fist-fight and one of them got a bloody nose. Her murderer’s instinct triggered and she nearly slaughtered everyone on the ship. That survivors abandoned her on the nearest shore as soon as they could.

She was stranded on northern Frantumere, not too far from Razbiti but she had no way of returning without a ship. Unable to speak and with no knowledge of sign language, she had no way of obtaining one either. She wasn’t a thief or a sailor, she was a killer. That’s all she was good for. Then, she had a thought. Why would she want to return to Razbiti? What waited for her there? Why not just live in this new situation? It wasn’t like she had a goal, so she decided to just go with it. She washed the crew’s blood from her clothes and made her way to a location she’d heard the crew talk about. Frantumere’s sentinel city of the north; Dorrea.

It was a vertical city, built mainly to deter Razbitian bandits. Walls around it, lights and lookouts that saw the waters between the shore and Razbiti and the highest valuing goods on the upper floors. When Jacquotte came to the city, she gave off the vibe of being just a lost girl. They let her in and she found a family willing to take care of her until she found what to do with herself. While ‘passive’ like this, she didn’t really feel the urge to kill at all. Her aim really was just to keep living, so she did her best to become a part of Frantumeran society. She learned ways of getting around her inability to talk, got a job and things seemed fine for her.

Until just one event. One little thing that anyone else in the city could have just ignored but she couldn’t. The main problem with Frantumeran societies were inner-city gangs who would do war with each other using magic. On her way home from work one day, Jacquotte caught a glimpse of a gang war in an abandoned alleyway. She felt aversion, like she knew she shouldn’t go towards it, but she was drawn. The violent air was creepily nostalgic, her body moved like it wanted to be in it. When she stepped in the alleyway, her eyes looked through the shadows and that’s when she saw blood. Then, there were corpses all around her. She didn’t feel a thing.

Her adoptive mother, a kind old lady, kept asking her about her aspirations. Jacquotte told her each time that she didn’t have any but the old lady was sure she would find something. The old lady claimed that it was bad for young people not to have aspirations, if they leave such things too late then their chance may just pass them by. The idea stuck with Jacquotte, though she was certain her modus operandi was as simple as just living. In that street, as thought surpassed instinct, she recalled those conversations with her adoptive mother. Killing felt natural to her, like it was right for her body, so perhaps that was her aspiration. To just keep killing.

So she did. She killed everyone on the bottom floor of Dorrea. Then everyone on the second. All the way up to the top, until blood dripped down like a fountain. In a night, she made the sentinel city a ghost town. The one person she didn’t kill was her adoptive mother. Jacquotte didn’t know why. She saw her home and knew her mother was in there, so she didn’t understand why she didn’t kill her. Was her aspiration only to kill certain people? Jacquotte thought on this until a Razbitian raiding party came to the city. They had noticed that Dorrea’s searchlights had stopped. An opportunity, they thought, they never expected what they found.

Jacquotte considered killing them but she hadn’t figured out what the difference between her mother and those she killed was. She wondered whether or not it was her aspiration to kill the Razbitians as well. She didn’t have an answer, so she stayed her hand. When the pirates offered to take her along with them, she thought that maybe they could lead her to the ones she aspired to kill. It was a better bet than just staying idle. Jacquotte attained her rank for the slaughter of the fort city, though she is less a captain and more a weapon. Pointed towards those the alliance wants killed and let loose. Jacquotte still hasn’t figured out the difference between those she kills and those she doesn’t, though she believed the killing will lead her to an answer eventually.

‘GUERNICA’

Captain of the big pictures, Guernica’s limb of the alliance is the least established of all of them. He was born to a humble family in Orison, Shaqada and from a young age had his eyes set on Kjerne. Kjerne is where the guild of pleasure is based, a place of circuses and carnivals and amusement parks. Amidst the bottomless joy is the one and only school owned and run by members of the guild of pleasure, known as the hardest school in the world to be accepted into. In terms of application-to-acceptance rates, it’s even more difficult to enter than Velstand. The benefit of graduating from this school is an automatic placement into the guild of pleasure, which practically means you’re set for life.

The reason why this school is so hard to get into is because it requires more than just on-paper qualifications. There are multiple stages of interviews with several different invigilators from the guild of pleasure itself. In these interviews one has to consistently prove that they have a proper mix of drive, aspiration and potential. You have to prove that you’re prepared physically, mentally, magically and to put on a show. Even if one does manage to get accepted, most quit within the first month. The school doesn’t just teach one form of entertainment, it teaches all forms, and if one falls behind on the curriculum them they don’t catch up.

Guernica was one who had the potential to best these ridiculous odds. He was smart, he had talent, he had a vision; heck, he was even the best mage in his class before pleasure school. He managed to impress the invigilators and get into the school, he had dreams of becoming the world’s most iconic artist and it seemed so close after he got past that dreaded first month. Yet, at the end of the three year course, after he had learned all the school could teach him, disaster struck. He wanted to do something grand, so massive to outshine not just his peers but any other student who entered the school. So, when the school asked him to provide his final art project, he presented the school itself.

Tirelessly, he had practiced magic that allowed him to shape solid materials to his will. He wanted his art to be on such a scale that it would overshadow all other works, he wanted to make entire landscapes and mountains canvases for his work. For his project, he altered the entire school to take on a shape that he had been designing and perfecting from his first day. The invigilators were struck, silenced, awed and… enraged. No one had given Guernica permission to do such a thing, so he was scolded and expelled for his art. He did not graduate, he did not become a part of the guild of pleasure. It was the saddest day of Guernica’s life.

He went through the motions, as all artists with dreams too big do. At first, he thought that his design simply wasn’t good enough. Then, he found ways to justify himself. No, his vision couldn’t have been wrong, they just couldn’t see the genius of it. They were too absorbed in their own image of the building that they could not see improvement when it was presented so clearly to them. Guernica decided that the guild of pleasure was below him, but then where was there to go? If he just went off and continued doing as he did to the school, would he be shouted at and chased off again? He needed assurance, a way to go above consequence for the sake of his work.

It was then that he turned to the Razbitian pirates. Having lived in Shaqada, he knew a lot about the pirates and their frequent invasions of the western coast. He had never seen them himself since his town was further inland so he had no qualms with going to their side. Surely they must have their own visions that they must go above the law to reach, he justified. He went to the western coast and waited until a ship was spotted. He would know, the coastal towns had alarms set up for any time Razbitian ships were spotted off the coast. When that alarm sounded, he went out and warped a cliff-side into the shape of a massive skull to draw the pirates’ attention. The pirates, impressed by his molding magic, were easily swayed into accepting him into their rank.

He was brought to Razbiti’s middle lands, where outsiders and smaller crime factions were grouped up. This was basically the recruitment center of Razbiti for when a captain from one of the major factions wanted more meat for their crew. The people of the middle lands were frequently bullied but tough for it. Guernica found himself among a crowd of arsonists and anarchists, a group of folks most interested in ripping down homes and the things their targets held dear. Guernica built his own crew from this lot, convincing them that it was better to shape such things in their image instead of mindlessly destroying them. After all, no one would know it was their work if all that was left was ash.

Guernica rose to his current high position solely through his ability to stand out. On any raid he went on, he would leave behind tremendous, unmissable and unmistakable displays of his art. Entire towns would be shifted into shapes that looked more as if they belonged in abstract paintings in his wake, in the eyes of the other pirates it was like a statement that he owned that land. However, Guernica does not do what he does for such a reason. He does not raid to steal or to kill, he goes in searches of new canvases in need of some editorial work. In his mind, he still sees the landscape that he wishes to turn into his magnum opus. With the pirates his magic will improve, become stronger, until his art is finally seen and recognized by all of Tertia.