COMMUNITY - FORUMS - ANGELICA DOMAINS
[NA-West][Blackheart] The Higuri Clan & The Province of Moonbliss
+3

Motto: Power in Beauty/Within Beauty Lies Strength

Founder: Fasti Higuri

Ruler: Count Thiji Higuri

Duchy: Duskholm

Kingdom: Blackheart

Discord: https://discord.gg/c7av3WP (Archduchy’s Channel)

Introduction

A sanctuary amidst the mire. There have been very few parties who questioned the mystical beauty behind the town of Moonbliss. How a beacon of serenity can flourish within an environment such as a swamp is nothing short of surreal. When wandering adventurers passed through the swamp, they were immediately entranced by the flora strewn about the square, and the inn was almost always busy as an adventurer's guild became the main point of interest for individuals seeking to make a name for themselves. "A glimmering haven amidst the swamp, worthy of the town's name" is the common response anyone who had the pleasure of visiting Moonbliss would give. This settlement is a place of respite for weary travelers; a forum of commerce for peddlers and merchants to sell their wares; a hub for sellswords, mercenaries, and adventurers to begin their tales of heroism, or proceed along their next chapter, and a base of operations for the Regalia, the jewel-making business where all may commission their work - for the right price.

In Virtute Pulchritudinis/In Forma Iacet Virtus. The settlement’s ruling house, Clan Higuri, expresses a credo that seems arcane to the uninitiated: “Power in Beauty,” or “Within Beauty lies Strength.” From the surface it doesn’t seem to make any modicum of sense. But further inspection on the phrase would bring enlightenment to any soul. Strength comes from numerous realms: the physical; the spiritual; the mental. The Higuri family, through their mastery of gem-craft, discovered a new realm of strength in the aesthetic. The snow owl resting upon a blossoming alyssum – the Higuri Family’s crest - symbolizes the harmonization of intellect and wisdom with beauty and peace. By understanding the philosophies of beauty and taste, one can mold themselves into a powerful being whose very presence radiates charisma, be it adventurer, gentry, aristocrat, or noble. Battles need not always be won through the clashing of spell and steel. Words and intrigue can prove just as effective, if not better.

Hearts of gold; souls of ice. The eccentric Higuri family’s ancestry reveals roots pertaining to the Yoru tribe. Their constant longing for the colder climes of the tundra and taiga are what drives most of their actions. In such seemingly inimical and bleak biomes where the soil would yield little to no harvests, they would recall how their forefathers thrived in the dismal cold and persevered through the toughest of times. Hunting. Trading. Acts of goodwill and generosity. Though the Yoru don’t worship any deities, this particular clan shatters the norm by giving thanks to a minor deity whose constellation also shares the name: Zenobia, Maiden of Storms. Depicting a woman of ice blue locks, pale skin, and downward hands which revealed Her palms, this divinity was their guiding light and driving force to creating the haven that now exists within the County of Bindings.

Background

Deep within the northern reaches of Elyria lies the tundra, a vast biome of snow and ice, where very little vegetation grows and only the hardiest of fauna - and people - thrive. Not many dare to travel so far into the dismal darkness of the snow unprepared. It was at this time when the Higuri clan - a family primarily of Yoru origin - roamed the icy landscape as nomads, aiding other tribes however they could. Whether it was through the exchange of goods found during their travels, or goods they themselves have made, for the tundra hides a great many treasures - treasures such as precious minerals. These valuable stones were their greatest bargaining chip, and over time they would learn how to make their own products from them. Cutting, faceting, polishing, and shaping. Before too long the Higuri clan made a name for themselves as the "Gemkeeps of the North."

The Higuri clan, led by a Yoru named Fasti, came upon a village one fateful day during their travels. They were refugees of various races, seeking solace from the war and turmoil within the mainland. A beautiful Dras womann named Miza, who ventured far from her natural home to pursue her fortune, was among them, providing whatever aid she could for them. The villagers were penniless and hungry, and the Higuri, in their generosity, offered a portion of their supplies to feed and clothe them to better fend off the biting cold. They remained with them for several days, hoping to make things better for them through hunting and fishing, for they were also ill-equipped to do so. Eager to pay them off, they offered the only "good" available: Miza. They insisted she go with them, seeing kindred spirits in each other, and before long, they fell in love and were joined in matrimony.


As the moons turned to winters, the Higuri clan, along with Thiji, the Yoru-Dras offspring of Fasti and Miza, trekked through the northern climes, providing whatever care they could to those in need. Although he seldom spoke, Thiji was a natural at the way of the goldsmith, devoting much of his free time to the study and mastery of various stones. His father bestowed upon him a number of gems of various colors and patterns, which to Fasti was a sort of good luck charm. Though throughout their journey, they were constantly tracked by a snow owl, who seemed to have been following them since the time Fasti and Mira were wed. The owl took a liking to the young boy, almost immediately forming a bond with him after she emerged before the Higuri after a blizzard. On that day, Thiji named the owl "Nyra," for her innate tracking skills which would rival that of a hunter's.

"The owl - a symbol of intellect and wisdom," Fasti said. Upon closer inspection he found something within the owl's talons - a flowering plant that was unknown to Fasti. To Miza, however, it was an omen. She took the plant from Nyra's clutches and verified its origins.

"And this is alyssum," Miza stated. "This flower symbolizes beauty and peace, and is known to thrive in a myriad of regions - much like we Higuri who have carved our niche out amidst the tundra!"

The young prodigy inspected Nyra and the alyssum, wondering how to correlate the two. It did not take long for him, however, as he would utter the three words that would set his family's destiny in motion:

"Power... in Beauty."

Thiji's parents pondered over this phrase, building their family's beliefs around it and the Star of Zenobia, a minor deity Miza knew of whose winds were said to bring about great change. The Maiden of Storms, she called Her.

"When the moon is full, Zenobia's light shines its brightest amidst the curtain of night," Miza would explain to her new family. "Thus does the goddess Herself bless all beneath Her watch with a whisper that washes over all in tranquility. The Moonbliss, some call it."

Being of Yoru origin, Fasti and his fellow northerners weren't very privy to the gods and goddesses of Elyria, but after all that has transpired, they were more open-minded to the concept as their fortunes turned out for the better since that fateful day. However, fate had much more in store for the Higuri family...


It was during this time that Thiji noticed another avian soaring above - a raven. He was no older than ten or eleven winters, but Thiji was definitely wise beyond his years. For a raven to travel so far north was no mere coincidence. Once realizing it was spotted, however, the raven swooped downward, circling his clan's caravan for a few rounds before landing on Thiji's palm. Nyra, being protective of her new master, attempted to jump to his defense, but was told to stand down by Thiji. Fasti, Miza and the rest of the clan watched on as the black bird cocked its head back and forth, sizing the boy up before it pecked at one of the gems he was carrying. The first gem it chose was blue, like the sky on a clear day...

"The stone of wisdom. 'Tis said to enhance one's mental acuity and sense of self," Thiji explained to the raven. "A stone of self-motivation and providing calm within any storm."

This sudden analysis perplexed everyone around him. Fasti and Miza exchanged confused glares at one another, now curious to see how this all unfolds...

The raven then pecks at a stone that was as red as the rising sun.

"The stone of passion. An inextinguishable flame like the sun, glowing even in the thickest of clothes. A fabled stone said to boil water, melt wax, and stir the blood of any mann or womann," Thiji explained. Even Nyra was taken aback by this, and watched on along with Thiji's parents. The raven, still curious, pecked at a violet stone this time. "The stone of healing. It wards away evil and negative thoughts, and even prevents one from getting drunk... supposedly."

His kin couldn't help but chuckle at that one, though others were beginning to question the veracity of his words. They continued going through the various stones - Thiji explaining every single one to the bird in great detail - until it would then choose the deep green jewel... Thiji paused for a moment, as it was evidently the least favorite of his. However, he would humor the dark bird with a final analysis.


"... The stone of... of love," he replied reluctantly. "A symbol of hope... renewal... growth. An embodiment of justice, compassion, and harmony. Reveals the truth of the wearer, and brings balance... and loyalty."

This analysis was different than the others. He explained the intricacies of this stone in a manner greater than the others. Having heard enough, the raven takes the jewel from his palm and immediately takes wing, heading southward as it made its egress from the tundra. Fasti, slightly upset over the sudden thievery, practically gave chase to the clever bird for a few moments. Thiji, however, wasn't stressing it too much. He would remember well the raven as it flew away, gem in talon...

Unbeknownst to them over the years, the mainland of the realm was thrust into a period of conflict, where many warring factions vyed over territory and the resources lying deep within the earth. Since very few were interested in freezing to death within the dismal tundra, the biome's inhabitants had naught to fear.

Or, at least, that is what they believed.


Far to the south, amidst the murky waters of Elyria’s quagmires, stood a castle. Its ebon spires stood proudly, and the black-violet banners billowed in defiance against the wind. The symbol on the banner, however, was most intriguing: it depicted a heart, pitch-black as night, with veins and thorns jutting out from all directions – some would even say that gazing upon it long enough, you’d swear you saw it beating. This was undoubtedly the domain of the Collective Alliance, whose power and influence dwarfed that of many other kingdoms in the land. Few would dare challenge them in their strategic habitat, which made it ideal for attrition warfare; those whose shields and blades broke against their blackened shields would only become fodder and free spoils. Of course, that was their former, archaic name. They have just recently become a new entity… known as Blackheart.

Through the misty veil which obscured the sun’s light from the land, the dark bird swooped down from the heavens and made its way to a castle which bore a striking resemblance to the imposing ebon castle which was no doubt the kingdom’s capital. However, this keep had a different air – an aura of elegance – like a jewel amidst the mire. Upon the highest balcony of the castle stood a stunning maiden, gazing down over the land she and her house governed. In her hands was a rose, bright, red, and brimming with life. She twirled it slowly, her fingers dancing gracefully around the thorns, not even sparing a moment to glance. Her white dress glimmered beneath the moonlight, reflecting off her porcelain-smooth skin and illuminating her chambers with a silvery glow. Just who precisely was this quintessence of beauty…?

From the corner of her eye the raven made its descent upon the land, and her limpid eyes widened in anticipation. There was news to be had after so many long days of waiting. Before too long, she would hear a knock upon her door.


“Enter,” she commanded softly. Entering the threshold was a hooded man whose cloak bore the sigil of what appeared to be the selfsame raven bound in golden chains. He closed the door behind him and slowly approached the lady until he was but a spear’s length away from her, and bowed courteously to her. With her back still turned, she asked again, in her feather-soft tone: “What news from beyond the borders, Steward?”

The man gave his report to her based on the information he had gained from his scouts – something about “filling this world with Blood” and “more souls answering the call of the shadows by the week.” These admonitions were common to the lady – it was the vision of the Queen of Black Hearts to bring all under her kingdom's banners. However, just as she had believed his report had concluded, he touched on a more interesting subject: about a family of selfless individuals who roamed the tundra, and providing aid to all they met; of a recluse of a boy whose knowledge of gems was what one would consider to be uncanny, and how he had described each and every stone to the raven he encountered with vivid detail. This was when the noblewoman was intrigued. So intrigued, even, that she turned her head ever so slightly, her gaze lowered to the floor as the green glint of the emerald caught her eye. When the Steward explained how the boy depicted this stone, she let out a quiet exhale as a solitary tear fell from her eye, landing upon the rose. It was almost as if she had heard the most tantalizing poetry which caressed her very soul. “Beautiful…” she whispered.

“What shall you have me do with this knowledge, Countess?” asked the Steward. After a beat or two, the lady slowly turned her body to face the Steward, and gave her order.

“This… Thiji is the black sheep amongst these Gemkeeps of the North. Their presence will prove invaluable to fulfilling the goals of our Queen… and of our own goals. The Higuri will serve the Bindings well, for they embody excellence, honesty, and loyalty in their core. They will be nomads no more; they shall have a home amidst the County of Bindings, for their destiny now lies with Blackheart… bring them to us. Bring them… to me.”


Without hesitation, the Steward acknowledged her orders and exited the chambers, sparing only his fastest riders northward. The beautiful Countess whispered something indistinct into the wind. Over the course of several days the Higuri clan continued about their humble crusade, furthering their skill and mastery over the precious stones which laid beneath the earth’s crust. And every night Fasti and Miza would muse to their son about their dreams of creating a settlement that would be like a sanctuary for the weary, and a place for everyone and anyone to make a name for themselves. Most importantly, they would have a proper establishment from which to create the foundation their goldsmithing empire. And they would name it “Moonbliss,” after the monthly event that pays homage to the Maiden of Storms. A noble dream for such humble souls.

One eve, in the dead of night when all slumbered within a friendly settlement which welcomed them, Thiji was wide awake. He was content with his current life, but in his heart he knew that there was so much more for him out there. He wanted to strive for excellence and pursue his true calling – a destiny whose path lied beyond the tundra. Leaving his hovel to gather his thoughts, Thiji fixed his eyes upon the starry heavens, slowly closing his eyes to feel the northern breeze through his face and hair… only except – there was no breeze. In fact, it was silent over the entire village. This was to be expected given the time of day, but this was… an unusual quiet. The only source of light was the silver-white gaze of the full moon, and the twinkling stars that belonged to the Maiden of Storms. This could only mean that the next portent to follow was the calming whisper sweeping the land to complete the event. This time, however, was different.

When the zephyr came through the northern lands, the young boy swore he felt the winds envelop and embrace him, as if a mother had been reunited with her wayward child. And then he heard a voice upon the wind… soft… gentle… pleasant, yet alluring… as if Thiji had received a first kiss.

“Come home, little lamb… come… to me…”


The voice enraptured him – practically mesmerized by the sound. Was it Zenobia calling to him…? Or was it destiny? Or something even greater...? His eyes shut once more, his mind filling with the wind’s voice… and then reopened them. Nyra came into view, clutching something in her talons which shined in the moonlight. She landed on his shoulder, dropping the item into his palm – it was the emerald the raven took from him some time ago. Clearly she must have encountered the bird while she was active in the middle of the night and sought to return his prized possession to its owner. Thiji then knew that the raven’s appearance in the tundra was no mere coincidence. It was scouting for some greater power – seeking potential allies… or enemies.

With an outstretched wing, Nyra pointed southward. On the horizon, Thiji noticed a small group of menn and womenn astride horses – some of which were adorned in fine fabrics, while others wore armor as black as pitch, bearing flags completely unknown to the young mann. Thiji simply watched fearlessly as they approached, the gentle rumble of hooves trotting the snow waking the settlers.

Just like the winds of change that Zenobia heralds, the arrival of these menn and womenn would bring about change for Thiji… and his family.

This young goldsmith’s time has come.


Demographics

Population:

151-204 (85% Dras; 5% To'resk; 4% Neran; <1% Janoa)

Biome:

Swamp

Top Professions

Woodworker, Fishermann, Hunter, Priest, Woodcutter

Notable Professions

Tanner, Carver, Woodcutter, Woodworker, Philosopher

Resources

Most abundant: Fresh Water

Second most abundant: Wood

Present: Game, Forage, Fish, Farmland, High Ground, Mineral Deposits, Trade Route

Objective

Paying homage to the Maiden of Storms, the Province of Moonbliss is a sanctum within the swamps of southern Elyria, and its main town of Zenobia's Rest is a place of respite for weary travelers; a forum of commerce for peddlers and merchants to sell their wares; a hub for sellswords, mercenaries, and adventurers to begin their tales of heroism, or proceed along their next chapter, and a base of operations for the Regalia, the jewel-making business where all may commission their work - for the right price.

While not necessarily military-focused, Moonbliss caters to the morale and well-being of its people, whether they be citizens, tourists, or even aristocrats and nobles. This County also serves as one of the main avenues to acquire accessories or other special adornments within the Kingdom of Blackheart, as its main thoroughfare - the Emerald Way - leads straight into the Duskholm capital of Penumbra.

Organizations

The Higuri Regalia (Led by Magistrate Thiji Higuri)

Zenobia's Rest Adventurer's Guild (Proprietor/Proprietress and Innkeeper needed)

Mayors

Awaiting potentials.

The Sigil of the Sanctuary of Moonbliss


"I welcome you to the Higuri Regalia -- Where There is Power in Beauty."

9/21/2019 2:49:03 AM #1
+1

I love the lore, and the name Moonbliss. I am keeping an eye on settlements with philosophers, so I will definitely familiarize myself with your province.


9/25/2019 4:29:08 AM #2
+0

Great write-up, Thiji! I look forward to working with you!


-Count Sombris Toxilayn

10/7/2019 10:26:49 PM #3
+0

I always look forward to seeing what fellow Blackhearts will achieve.


Log in to post