THE DURGA OF DARKSHOM AND ROHRN
THE SERPENTS OF THE MOON
The durga were originally on the surface of Darkshom some 150,000 years ago according to modern estimates. Back then they were considered the Wilder Elves. They were very dark skinned like surface Dark Elves of today. Hair color generally was black. Skin appeared in rich tones of browns to reds. Eyes were mostly dark but could find brilliant colors of greens, blues, or yellows.
They were a more war-like society of the elven nations. Most considered them primitives. They were attuned to the forests as fighters. Many were expert horseman or able to tame and ride the great elks and fallow deer of the woodlands. Ranged and mounted combat were specialties. They were known for beautiful leather work and crafts from natural materials of their surroundings. Fey spirits such as pixies and fairies often would bring them materials to create items for them. Even though the Wilder Elf skill was different than the elves of the civilized parts of the nation—they had the inherent elven attention to detail.
Much like the Silver Dragon Elves on the continent of Janus, the Wilder’s were incredible shape changers. Most would chose one animal form and view that as their alternate self.
One of their princesses—known as Ketira (Many Tears) had met with an elven prince named Sar’Anderost. Despite the physical differences—he was much more pale than she with silver hair and light skin—they had fallen in love with each other. Their wedding became a major event and brought unity to the elven nation. Ketira was so beautiful. She bore the bright blue eyes of the river’s waters. To this day some say she was the first incarnation of Driannasi. Others who don’t believe that still feel she is one of the incarnations of the Compassion goddess.
There exists one faction of the Kingdom known as the Dark Elves. They are racial purists. At the time of Sar’Anderost and Ketira—they were only a small group. However they were greatly angered that a great king would sully himself with a savage. They worked magics and prayers to enlist the aide of agents of Cohen and his consort Kali Druin. She had decided to take the mages up on their request and convinced Cohen of the same. This complacency and peace could not be allowed to continue.
When there are remnants of any racial tension, it does not even take violent action to create a rift. Such was the case here. Ideas were fed into the minds of dreamers and became rumors in royal courts. On both the sides of the Wilder Elves and the rest of the Kingdom, ‘information’ was fed of upcoming betrayal and designs for war. Both sides believed it for the evidence was compelling. Over the years the tensions increased until finally war did break out. Agents of the Serpent Goddess and Cohen disguised themselves as agents of the opposing people—for lack of a better term. Acts of treason towards the treaty were broken. With no better understanding of what the truth was this led to all out rebellion.
Agents of the Kingdoms learned that treason was committed by Ketira when Sar’Anderost had to go to one of the sub-kingdoms for political reasons. They were to execute her without trial but the Wilder’s stated she was the double agent and wanted her to face their punishment. It was one thing the elders could agree on, which resulted not in any trial, but her being held captive by her own people. Her ear tip was sent to the Elven king--her own husband.
He returned in great anger. His people did little to back him and he was distraught over what was happening to his love. She was brought to him, but behind the Wilder elves were a band of demons and not the nature spirits of before. The corruption from Kali and Cohen had already begun. They stated that war would not break out if he surrendered himself to them. His wife would be spared if he did the same. His own people, blinded by evil and words, forced the issue on him and he voluntarily gave himself up. In front of him they butchered his wife and fed her remains to the wild beasts.
They blinded him after that. War did break out when the Kingdoms learned they had been duped. They chased the demon-backed Wilder into the cave system deeper and deeper until the Wilder were lost within the depths of midworld. The chase was 20 years. All the time Sar’Anderost was starved and the Wilder first learned how to torture. Kali and Cohen made sure the demons interbred with the already savage and brutal elves. In it came a lust for causing suffering and pain.
Many years later the King’s body was found at the same entrance the Wilder had been chased into. The son of Sar’Anderost had found the body and correctly identified it as his father. Evidence remained of what tortures had been laid on the once beloved King. Sar’Anderost’s body was interred in a great tomb along the northern coast of Janus in the mountains. That tomb still exists, but has been buried in the earthquake preceding the Great War of 500 years ago. The tomb is said to be haunted and that some day the wronged king will rise and search again for his lost love. It’s said that destruction will follow in the angered spirit’s path. He is called the father of the elves. Half of his children remained with the surface kingdoms. The other 2 children felt compelled to enter the midworld caves and never returned. Sar’Anderosts other name is the Father of the Durga—for some durga had been seen that looked as he did.
Since the descent into Midworld there have been many changes to what once were the Wilder. They had been given the word durga by their goddess for the unseelie or truly evil elves they had become. Over many generations of careful breeding and selection, we have come to the durga we understand in this day and age.
Kali still keeps an iron fist on her people. We know that they all participate in a ritual to bind their souls to the durga goddess. Only one has ever escaped this and that is due to divine hand from what we can tell—Compassion herself is the escapee. This is a fluke for Kali’s durga are carefully guarded by the goddess. No non-durga has ever witnessed what this ritual is. The details are unknown. However, searching for a soul in a durga will reveal that they have none. It is believed their soul is so tightly bound to the goddess that it is hers and no longer their own property. This gives her more power over them. The only durga with a soul was Driannasi.
From what we have discerned from corpses found on raids in durga territories their physiology has been altered from that of the surface elves. From thousands of generations in the cave system, their skin has gone milky white. Eyes are milky versions of regular eye colors. Hair will often be silver or white. Teeth are normal. Height is 4 to 7 inches smaller than that of surface elves. Ears are longer and will reach above the head. One assumes this is to facilitate hearing in the cave systems. The durga is more muscular than their surface cousins. Their body type is a shorter version of a muscled and lean human warrior man or woman. Over all they are very striking and a comely people. Their faces still display their elven heritage but with more refined features in the nobility. Records and paintings of the Queen Sioned—mother of Driannasi—indicate a very beautiful countenance. Such results are also visible in portraits of Driannasi. However the durga beauty can come across as a deadly beauty such as seen in a cobra. One is enticed.
On females there can often be telltale signs of rearing young. These are shown as scars from bite marks on the breasts. Some reports indicate that the young feed off of the breast milk and the mother’s blood. On autopsies we have found infants displaying fangs and sharp milk teeth. In stomach contents will be mixtures of blood and coagulated milk. There have also been traces of flesh and durga skin—bringing us to the conclusion that the infant possibly cannibalizes it’s litter mates. We currently do not know how rapidly the durga child will develop.
The durga life span is assumed to be as long as the surface elves if not longer. Sioned was recorded as saying her grandmother lived to 3,020 years old. Most will die in battle.
The reproductive organs of the durga female are similar to that found in cats. They have a multi-chambred uterus which allows for mating with multiple males and the bearing of multiple young. With the evidence of cannibalism we can also assume the litter-mates will kill each other off leaving only the strongest to survive.
The durga male shows no physical difference in reproduction from other elves.
He is physically a bit larger than the female in body type as are most races. Both male and female are wiry and muscled. There is no chest or facial hair on the durga male—same as the elves of the Kingdom.
None of the durga found bear tattooing or body scarring of any type. Records indicate they are vain and love beauty. Scars other than of nursing the young are seen as defacing the durga body. However, we have learned that the lesser classes of durga will have scarring. Prevention, it seems, is reserved for the noble or wealthy. They will decorate their ears and use elaborate paints and dyes on their skin that wash off after many weeks.
Hair colors are generally pale as well. One can assume that the entire body type is pale due to no exposure to the sun. This has been found in other cavern denizens. In exposure to bright sunlight the durga will attain sunburn and have Moon-blindness. They cannot see in the sunlight. Most durga activity is at night for this reason. durga are known to avoid high-sunlight regions such as the desert.
From what we can tell, the durga are immune to poisons but not disease. In battles, they have not been affected by poisons. Druids and other spellcasters have been able to successfully cast disease on the durga enemy with visible results. Corpses of durga have been found with occasional diseases such as leprosy.
VARIANTS: HALF DURGA
We are seeing an increase in the number of half-durga sightings. While evidence indicates there is an increase of durga raids on surface villages, many half breeds are showing as some of the raiders. They have been found as scouts. Some have appeared as slaves to the noble classes of the surface world.
All seem to be a mix with human. Skin colors vary depending on human lineage. Hair color will be pure white like the pure durga. The only other indication to durga heritage will be the color of the eyes. One slave currently owned by Lord Knightsbridge has eyes like the northern dogs—a milky or almost glacial blue. From interviews it has been learned she does tolerate sunlight, but needs her eyes shaded from light. She also does not do well in extreme heat. She prefers colder climates. The slave is as tall as her owner—almost 6 feet. Like other half durga she is tall and well muscled. This causes the writer to question if the creation of these mixtures is intentional.
Occasionally half-durga will be born completely blind. Many human parents will not keep a pregnancy from a rape by a durga so records are few. The reports of blindness are consistant throughout the continent however on those allowed to survive. The child of Codus and Driannasi is recorded to have completely blind from birth as well.
Lord Knightsbridge will not allow us to purchase the slave for dissection. We have been told that unlike human females she does not bleed with the moons. Most half elves do not. She has not been bred for us to learn how many children she is capable of. Lord Knightsbridge assures us he will keep us informed if he decides to use her for breeding. Her temper and anger does not bode well for this to happen however. She is not complacent. If other half durga have bred we have no records of results. Driannasi and Codus’ child raised by the orcs did not have children.
Research is being done among other continents to see if there is more half-durga activity. When we learn more it will be added to this document.
THE DURGA CULTURE
The culture is widespread throughout midworld in smaller cities. Overall the culture is lawful. They are a monarchy determined by power—not bloodline. The durga have a central ruler. The central ruler is titled the King or the Queen dependant on gender. These titles carry over from their origins on the surface world. During this time we have learned that it is in contention. A male named Varshek was assassinated and had been the former King. He had replaced the Queen Sioned when she was killed by the dwarves of DarkGate during the Great War. The head ruler is called either the king or queen. Their consorts may hold political power but from what we understand they are not often involved with decision making.
Consorts are an important part of the power process in the durga society. When interviewing the slave of Lord Knightsbridge it has been learned that the Queen Rosin has over 40 consorts. They are both male and female. These are not just for sexual purposes but are close and loyal companions to the ruling Queen. The same can be assumed with consorts of other society members. The durga will keep them loyal with a combination of fear, gifts, or favors. He or she may also genuinely have affection for the consorts. One can hope that there may be such a feeling, but it is doubtful. Consorts are separate from slaves.
There is no infighting among members of the same family. They need each other. If a family member is killed by another in that family—then the whole group will take retribution on the killer. The family provides power to the head. They may try political trickery or maneuvering to become the head, but they have reasons for staying united. If the head becomes the ruler of the durga people—then that whole family has power. With that power comes an increase in consorts, slaves, material goods, and in decision making. They also gain troops.
Other families will go after ones in power through assassinations, dueling, political maneuvering, or manipulation to increase their own power. Often there comes a time when a previous ruler will be killed and the most powerful one will become the new ruler. These changes in status are highly ritualized and often backed by the churches of Kali and the goddess herself.
All political aspirations are set aside in times of great need however—such as an ongoing war. durga can be terrifyingly unified in intent and purpose—especially if they see wisdom in the decisions their king or queen will make. All durga serve their goddess first and will follow the orders given to her priests and priestesses. They will unify to ensure the survival of their race and to increase it’s overall power. They will not back a fool’s errand as in the case of Sioned attacking DarkGate. Most of the durga stayed behind. They did join in the attack on Zaladorn and achieved victory in destroying the old city.
Settlements extend from the original midworld caves into the durga city of Serpent’s Maw in Rohrn. All are unified under the king or queen. Stabs at power are not determined by location.
durga have political alliances with the Darrog’n dwarves of Rohrn. They participate heavily in the slave trade and may sell their own people off to the Darrog’n as punishment. The dwarves are experts in breaking spirits—even those of the durga. This alliance is carefully kept because the durga are wary of the power of the dark dwarves.
THE POWER OF THE TEMPLE OF KALI
Here are details for the structure of the order of Kali. While the king or queen holds the highest power in the society, there is a secret undercurrent to the entire culture. No durga is truly aware of the real power the temple of Kali holds over the rule and political structure of durga society. They have been known to perform assassinations and get families into bitter feuds over them—according to I’makkiri —head of the Order of the Asp. The main temple is headed by one known as the Matron Mother who is the supreme power of the entire durga culture throughout the midworld . She represents the image and power of Kali and is the most powerful priestess of the culture. Currently the Matron Mother is Rosin’Err Illdegar. This is the ONLY position within the culture that is held by only one gender.
The temple performs all sacrifices and executions. All births are overseen by the priests and priestesses. There are no marriages. The temple oversees everything related to deaths and dying. They often mete out the punishments for crimes against Kali or her people—such as treason. Punishments range as simple as plucking out an eye to full torture and execution in public. These are rare occurances. Treason for instance—is rare. It is said Kali keeps an iron fist on her people. Other acts of treason may occur inside the temple—as in the case of coveting a temple slave. This will allow for the one committing the crime to be taken as a slave, punished, and then continue to serve or be sold off. This can happen often.
In reality the Temple is the law. While the King or Queen rules—the real source of power is their alliance with the temple. Laws are written in the temple and passed through the ruler. If a ruler falls out of favor with the priests and priestesses, then it’s likely an assassination will occur or the temple will back a contender for the throne. Hence the ruler is very careful to stay in the good graces of the temple. Gifts are often given to the temple to seal agreements or for bribes (which rarely work as such). Bribes usually result in the family who sends the bribe a black mark with the temple and end up being watched closer. However such families may think they have been successful. While the temple has great wealth—there are times they will distribute some of it back to certain families they support.
These are a perverse people. Consorts are male and female. We have been told that they will often involve torture or servitude into their matings. They do not stay with only one mate. Many times they will be together with more than one partner at the same time. They will often have these activities with their own children involved—which will seal a love/hate relationship in the child. That relationship fuels anger in the child which in future years turns them more brutal to the outside world. Sometimes they will take in a person from another race and mate with them for sport—later to kill the victim horribly. I’makkir has described instances where a durga party will finish battling and become aroused by it to the point they will mate on the dead bodies. However they are not necropheliacs. They will not mate with animals or the dead. Demons however are an acceptable alternative.
The durga are not a timid people. There is not much that causes a durga to fear. A half durga will show fear under extreme circumstances only. There have been no accounts of pure durga showing any fear if they are raised inside the durga culture. They have no shame in what they are for they see nothing wrong with what they are. You cannot guilt a durga. Guilt is an emotion they just are not capable of—and there is no word equivalent in their language.
In extreme circumstances they may find what they call ‘love’. However this is a form of control and the ‘loved one’ is property or an object in the durga eyes. Having a durga love you is like having a vampire love you. You have no say in the matter. If the person they are attracted to is not used to the ways of the durga they will train them in it. For example we have obtained records where durga women have taken children they desired. When these captives escaped years later they eventually were able to explain that they were tortured into submission. ‘Mothers’ will be protective and very possessive of their ‘children’, but it is twisted by the standards of us more civilized peoples. Children will share the bed with the parent and lover or lovers. One had been known to tattoo the child with acid then set the ink into the scars. Drawings of the tattooing seem to denote possession and had the markings of the owning ‘parent’ on them. It’s unknown if these adoptees have their souls bound to Kali—but it is assumed so. We only have comparisons to the non-durga necromancers who follow Kali.
It is to be assumed that this is a fierce and dangerous race. We do not have complete knowledge about them. There is much more to be discovered. However we doubt the wisdom involved in keeping such creatures in the current slave system or even allowing the existence of the half-breed durga. It is our belief that all of them should be eradicated for the safety of society. This proves a difficult task since we do not know for certain how wide-spread they are. They operate with a single-mindedness that is frightening. We have submitted the above research to Emporer Zalus VIV of Zaladorn. Our recommendation is that we receive further funds to capture and research more of the durga creatures to find a better way to stop the menace.
Captain of Cultural Research
City of Greenwich
AUTHOR'S NOTE--THE ALBINO DURGA
As a writer I decided to create something even the durga were afraid of. No culture is perfect. Each one should have benefits and flaws—even an inherently evil culture. In other fantasy settings you hear of albino elves. They have various names. Now, durga is actually a term for unseelie elves—so there is no copyright issue with rpg companies. However, that is where any similarity ends with those other elves with the same name. This even goes as far as the genetic abnormality albinism in these evil elves.
The reason I am writing this note—and not the studious gnomes of Darkshom—is because these people are ones that not even the durga like to discuss. They are a nasty and dirty secret. In reality this is part of why there is a breeding program being started by the current Matron Mother.
They have spent a severely long time within the cave system. Already as you have seen from Babel Hermetese’ writings, these elves are devoid of pigmentation to begin with. I myself have done further investigation into their genetics and have learned of this rather bizarre abnormality that is partially caused by just a deviant gene, the twist in gravity of midworld where the gravitational plate shifts and it’s radiation, and the lack of light in general.
The albino durga is a creature so devoid of color it is almost transparent. The skin layer is considerably thin, easily torn, and without a layer of fat. As a result you have a creature that is thin, wiry, and easily damaged. They can be prone to disease and cancerous growths. The skin is transparent enough that the blood vessels and organs can be seen. Blood vessels appear to be a blue network of spidery lines across the skin. Albino eyes are red due to increased capillary flow and build-up within the surface of the eye. They absolutely CANNOT stand light of any kind. Due to lack of UV protection they often will have cancerous growths that make almost all of them hideous to look at. These are the monsters of the durga.
The durga themselves cannot seem to stop this from happening. They are afraid to execute infants born this way because somehow they fear the wrath of Kali Druin. It seems she favors them—and the durga call them the Living Undead. Still, they are socially outcaste.
This leads to all sorts of mental health issues within these people. They are more deviant and brutal than the durga themselves. These creatures have become so isolated that they have no socialization. Somehow they still manage to form groups.
Kali does favor them. She is a fickle goddess and has granted these beings some strange gifts. Along with a complete lack of conscience—they also possess tremendous magical power. A 40 year old albino will have the magical power of a 200 year old durga. They also possess great intelligence and cunning, so they learn new magic quickly.
A new development seems to be that some are being born with the ability to luminesce like other cave denizens. They will appear as a humanoid with a green glow to it’s skin to those with normal vision.
The final ability is that of being able to expand blood vessels. This is not present in all of the albino durga—but is showing a greater appearance. They give off a very faint heat signature. When the blood vessels are expanded—it acts as a flash in the infrared spectrum. For creatures with infravision or any ability to detect heat—this is like a beacon. It is one of the tactics these durga use to lure victims or prey. They are carnivorous and cannibalistic at times. They will eat their own if a member of their societal group dies for any reason. However they prefer the flesh of other elves—if anything for revenge on them. These durga hate ALL other elves. Inwardly they feel hurt and betrayed by all other elves. Their anger and lust for blood is insatiable.
Nothing is known about how they form their society or it’s inner workings. Even I have not gotten that far—but they are out there. They are waiting.
Copyright May 2007, Christine H. Rietsch