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[White Elephant for Epee102] Penitence on High

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  • [White Elephant for Epee102] Penitence on High

    I waffled back and forth for quite a while about what sort of demonic/demon adjacent thing I wanted to write about until I settled on a FLOATING ISLAND!

    Penitence on High

    Somewhere high above the surface of Creation there lies a desolate land. Suspended upon currents of geomancy and sorcerous energy lies a broad stone plate so wide that a man could walk for five days from end to end and find no water. Hovering above this endless expanse of dunes and great rocky outcroppings lies yet another plate of stone, much smaller and home to thin trees and boundless water that flows over its edges in five great waterfalls to scour the plate below. Further up lie four more plates of stone, each smaller and infinitely more hospitable than the last. The final plate, where the Jailers live, is home to a lush jungle-garden and a palace of gold and white marble.

    Structures on the lowest plate are few and far between but on occasion a traveller might find a ramshackle hut of driftwood and mud assembled from detritus from the higher plates. He wound find no shade or solace from the omnipresent heat of the Sun, however.

    On Penitence, nothing casts a shadow.

    The Inmates
    Only unfortunate demons call Penitence home. Blood Apes more bone than flesh rub shoulders with broken-limbed Tomescu to drink from the water of the Five Falls. Gossamer-winged devils that would be much more at home plundering the endless depths of the Ravine of Whispers beat their wings against the harsh winds to carry news from the higher plates and long-necked teakettle courtiers whistle and puff in ritualized feeding procedures. On the lowest plate the only food is the vermin that the courtiers conjure or the flesh of other demons, but to consume the flesh of another Inmate is tantamount to suicide.

    The Jailers cannot abide the presence of cannibals.

    Life is harsh and horrible for the unfortunate Inmates of Penitence, and their lives are filled with unending bleakness and a death that never arrives. They cannot so much as throw themselves from the edges of the bottom plate, for the currents of energy will catch them and deposit them back down with a few more broken limbs than before. On occasion they are visited by the Jailers, or rejoice in the presence of some new demon who stumbles into the wastes, tracking silver sands wherever they go. Violence is uncommon, but its constant threat drives demons to seek allies in Penitence and join together into cliques. Some of these dominate whole portions of the lowest level, and the boisterous leaders of these gangs are on occasion plucked from the ground and taken up, to meet the Jailers.

    The Jailers
    Forbidden stories tell that the Sun has a child for each of his sunbeams. The Jailers are his bastards. Each of them is twisted and fragmented of form, their inhuman bodies surrounded by burning prayer-wheels or spiraling motes of light. Some are covered in eyes that gaze with ferocious anger and some instead sprout many hundreds of hands from their bodies, each grasping and gesturing to form a nuanced language of mudras and signs.

    The Jailers are the caretakers of Penitence and the guardians of its demonic inhabitants, but they are not merciful protectors. They destroy completely any demon that consumes the flesh of another and stomp down any murmurings of insurrection. Their benevolence is as magnificent as their malevolence, however, and those few demons that can curry the favor of the Jailers enjoy splendors the likes of which no poor fool on the lower plate could dare to dream.

    The Echelons
    Each plate above the surface is more beautiful and wondrous than the last, and this difference is most clearly demonstrated in the life that flourishes on the upper plates. The second plate, the one that hovers shadowless above the lowest plate, has barren scraggly trees and is riddled with holes where small animals dig their burrows. The demons that live here wield wooden spears and eat what little they can catch. Water rains down plentifully from the plate above, and yet still there is no shade to ward it from the Sun’s harsh light. At midday the water is scalding and the demons cannot drink.

    The layers that hover above the second are more lush, with forests and creeks and the occasional lemur or murmuring-bird. The demons that earn the right to these higher levels life almost in contentment, eating what they wish and clothing themselves in cloth woven of bark fibers and nested leaves.

    The fifth and final layer, where the Jailers live, is a paradise like few on Creation or in the Heavens. The radiance of the Sun is gentle here, and so a great jungle blooms around the great Palace of Penitence. The Jailers hold court there and discuss in silent voices the fates of the demons that live beneath them. On occasion they grant one of the Inmates below and audience, and the fortunate demon is never seen again.

    The Hooks
    Legend speaks of a great treasure that lies within the Palace of Penitence, guarded by the powerful Jailers. To pilfer it one must first stumble onto the lowest plate through occult or fiendish means and then make their way up, securing the aid of demons as they go.

    A powerful Second Circle demon whose assistance the party desperately craves is trapped in Penitence, and must be broken out. Throw in some demons who have been preparing a prison break for centuries and Penitence on High is a powder keg ready to explode.

  • #2
    Ooooh, I like this. The jailers are an intreasting group, they remind me of old testament/biblical angels with the many eyes/limbs and glowing. And so many, time to lure some players up there!

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