The Lore of The Steel - The World and The Tribes
The Lore of The Steel – The World and The Tribes
The great continent of Laurasia consists of a huge mainland surrounded by a multitude of small and large group of islands.
The Deccan Mountains – home to the Blood Trekkers
At the heart of the continent, the mighty Deccan Mountains stand high, piercing into the clouds and constantly in argument with the strong Laurasian Winds. By estimates of many scientists, the Deccan Mountains are said to be some of the most ancient structures in the entire continent. These mountains form several inter-tangled mountain ranges with structures so strange that they almost seem alien to most.
The mountains are also the source of the only two rivers in the continent – the Ravi river to the North and the Milkdhar river to the South.
The Deccan Mountains are home to one of the fiercest and one of the most ruthless tribes in the entire continent – the Blood Trekkers. The Blood Trekkers live in carefully crafted metallic coves deep in the gorges of the mountains. They often lay claim to the mysterious proposition that they are the direct descendants of the Dark One – a genius of an engineer and a master of a craftsman, no one really knows or remembers for certain as to who he really was.
Legends say that he was a master of weaponry and immensely skilled at the art of killing men. Some say that he was a broken lover; his heart turned so dark after his break that the dark abyss of the void in his heart could only be satisfied with blood. And so, he went blood thirsty, killing at least a dozen men each night with weapons so terrible that they could rip apart a man's skull in just a flash, weapons so strange that some even postulated that he had been granted those weapons as a gift from the devil himself. No one in his tribe had the courage or the wits to lay a finger on the mad murderer, not even the chief, until the day when one of his weapons backfired on him, burning the upper half of his face leaving only the eyes unharmed. After that godforsaken night, no one ever saw him in the tribe. Legends say that he covered his burnt face with a dark hood and fled the tribe settlement in the gloom and darkness of that night. Some claimed to have seen him struggling his way into the dark gorges of the Deccan Mountains. It is there that he had mated with the Burnt Maiden – a lady half burnt and banished to the Deccan Mountains after being accused of witchcraft by her tribesmen. It is said that she ultimately gave birth to the first Blood Trekkers.
The Blood Trekkers ride the Mechclimbers – huge steam-powered machines with eight legs for walking and trekking even the most dangerous of the terrains. Mechclimbers are designed to carry both men and weapons. They are slow, yet augmented with some of the most deadliest weapons, designed and built by the Blood Trekkers themselves.
The Blood Trekkers never sell their creations and consider gold to be a useless and a worthless metal. Each member of the tribe must take care of everything ranging from cultivating his/her own crops, to raising his/her own animals, to fighting in battle along side other members of the tribe when the situation calls for it.
The Blood Trekkers are the fiercest in battle and yet, they equally honour their war traditions. One of the most important traditions is that they rip out the tongues of the men they kill in battle. The ripped out tongues are bolted to and hung from the front of the Mechclimbers. In course of time, the number of tongues grow into hundreds and even thousands and in course of time, they form a mane decorating the Mechclimber. The larger the tongue-mane of a Mechclimber, the fiercer its rider.
The chief of the Blood Trekkers is the one with the Mechclimber having the largest tongue-mane. There are no elections and no selections. The eldest in the tribe is awarded the privilege to count all the tongues in all the Mechclimbers once a year and then, he/she proudly declares the name of the chief for the next year.
The Great Chilika Lakes – where the Frogs dwell
North-east to the Deccan Mountains lie the Great Chilika Lakes. Surrounded by a thick layer of deciduous forests, the lakes act as the perfect hiding place for the amphibious tribe – the Frogs. The Frogs are a meek tribe, often hiding in the depths of the forests. They dwell in glass-and-metal houses sprouting up from the softness of the lake shores. Although very weak in forward attack, the Frogs are extremely well in defence. They have an elaborate defence system lining the deciduous forests.
The defence system consists of a series of watch towers, each tower connected to the next one with a colour-fire communication system. The colour-fire communication system consists of three pipes, each pipe encasing a single thick oiled thread and each thread burns with a different colour. The colours are blue, green and red; blue when the tower is facing a minor attack, green when it is facing a major attack and red when the tower is in acute distress. Thus, there would be three pipes between each pair of towers. To send a signal, a fire has to be lit at one end of the oiled thread. The fire would then rapidly spread to the other end of the thread, and depending on the colour of the flame, the message would be interpreted.
The Frogs ride the Jumpers. The Jumpers are boat-shaped amphibious vehicles which can swim over and even under the lakes. On land, they travel in short jumps, enabled by a clever combination of steam-powered pistons and springs. This tactic turns the Jumpers into difficult targets. Designed more like a defence machine, a Jumper can still pack a hell load of terrestrial as well as underwater weaponry.
The Frogs are also one of the most God-fearing tribes in the entire continent of Laurasia. They have Water Shamans who serve as both priest and tribe chief. There can only be one Water Shaman at a time and it is the sole responsibility of the Water Shaman to choose a successor.
The Frogs worship the Seven Headed Serpent – a fictitious creature, which the Frogs believe, brought about the Great Storm that created the entire universe.
Food isn't a big problem in the vicinity of the Great Chilika Lakes. However, the Frogs choose to cultivate and consume aquatic plants and small aquatic animals.
Whatever the Frogs may be; they are survivors, having survived everything from cyclones to earthquakes to invasions.
Himarc – The knowledge source of Laurasia
Northeast of the great continent of Laurasia lies the island of Himarc. Roughly shaped in the form of an arc, Himarc is home to the Dymag – the only university in all of Laurasia. The Dymag is so gigantic in its spread that it covers the entire length and breadth of the island. The university teaches everything from fine arts to music to medicine to engineering. It has labs and facilities spanning areas as huge as entire villages. The Dymag is said to have been founded ages ago by the Wise One – one of the then wealthiest as well as one of the most intelligent women in all of Laurasia. It is said that she had acquired all her wealth using only her wits.
It is said that eventually, she put all her money and mind and sweat to build the Dymag.
In its initial days, the Dymag was no more than a small village in the heart of the Himarc icy wilderness. Over the ages, it grew and grew till it encompassed the entire island. What kept the Dymag growing was the constant flow of gold from the tribes in the mainland. The more the gold a tribe had to offer, the better were their tribesmen trained. And, the knowledge that the Dymag imparted was invaluable to the tribes. It was necessary because they had to have the best of the weapons; necessary because they had to win battles with the other tribes of Laurasia; necessary because they had to pass on their hard earned knowledge to future generations; necessary because they had to protect the very existence of their tribe, their culture and their values.
The Dymag had some rules laid down straight for any tribe to be imparted knowledge -
Every tribe had to donate the lifetime of at least one man/woman in a hundred to the service of the Dymag. The men/women would be chosen by a highly stringent test and the ones selected would never return to their tribes. They would live and die in the Dymag.
No tribe shall indulge itself in any direct/indirect conflict with the Dymag. In case of an external attack, the tribes must always lend their assistance to ward off the attack.
The number of students that the Dymag took in at a time (from any particular tribe) was always directly proportional to the amount of gold that they received from the tribe.
The Dymag is a carefully crafted architectural marvel. At the centre lies a huge spider-like structure with a big central administrative tower with at least five hundred rooms distributed in ten floors. Arced bridges stretch out from the central tower to eight smaller auxiliary towers. Each one of the auxiliary towers acts as the departmental centre for a specific school of study – fine arts, music, science, medicine, engineering, civic studies, literature and agriculture. And, each school has its own sub divisions as well.
The central spider structure is surrounded by a huge circle shaped building which acts as the library for the Dymag. It is said that the library contains over a million books and scriptures – both ancient and modern.
Other than the central unit, the Dymag has two huge units – one in the northern arm of Himarc and one in the southern arm. The northern unit houses the labs and the workshops of the Dymag. The southern unit houses the hostels and the accommodations for the students, the teachers and the non-teaching staff of the Dymag.
Apart from all these fanciful buildings, the entire island of Himarc is surrounded by an elaborate defence system. The defence mechanism is unlike any other in the entire continent of Laurasia. The crux of this system consists of a huge wall constructed a mile away from the coast of Himarc and into the ocean. The wall rises out from the ocean floor and stands at least a hundred feet above the surface of the ocean.
Surrounding the entire island of Himarc, the wall is the first line of defence for the Dymag. Should the wall fall, there is still a mile of ocean for the raiders to sail before they reach the shores of Himarc. The wall also houses eight lighthouses covering its entire length.
The coastline is guarded by a fleet of small, steam-powered boats who constantly patrol the mile of ocean that lies between the wall and the shores of Himarc. The shores are themselves guarded by a series of guard towers that dot the entire island circumference.