[native species:: Demonkind
[native language:: Demonic
[monarch(s):: The Demon Lords: Lord Grey, Lord Slain, Lord Vortigern and Lord Zirkath.
Unlike other Realms, Kurai's Markers are frozen without Guardians - they are indestructible and hidden far beneath the earth's surface, needing no protection. This, however, cancels out traditional portal making and allows the Lords to control these portals within their respective Kingdoms, unless one finds one of the Hellgates scattered throughout the Realm. Around these Gates, portal-making is a free act, though they will not work anywhere away from them (barring Lords, gods and Ethers).
Kurai is a place of many wars, including both the First and Second Demon Wars in the land of Felnova. The first was started by Kirai, former Lord of War; the second was the first Demon King in centuries, who sought not only the control of his Realm, but all Realms from his place in the Silver Throne. The King has the power to command the Demon Lords and their hellwolves; as a result, many are opposed to a King. There has only been one to briefly take the Throne in recent history - the fell Chamenos Bloodreign of War blood, the darker half of the late Solan Fallenskye.
The story behind the name of Noshinka - meaning 'Of The Sun' in Demonic - happened thousands upon thousands of years ago, when Xenion became Lord when his father, Lord Z'lanth Brokenoath, was murdered by the Lord of War at that time. Xenion went to Felnova to find his half-sister and the avian that was her mother, while his shoguns kept the Kingdom together. It was the first time he had ever seen the sun, and he was blinded by the light, and thus fell into a deep gorge, his single wing broken so that he could not fly. Though wounded, he climbed from the canyon throughout the evening and night, and was met by a glorious sunrise at the dawn of the next day.
So enamored of the Realm's sun, and its light, in the brief few years that he returned, the Land of the Bloodmoon was renamed to the Land of the Sun, Noshinka. That name has been adopted and is known throughout the Realm, and its story has become an amusing legend among Famine demons, of the Lord that was wreathed in Felnovian sunlight.
APPEARANCE: A legendary, nomadic village often located around the southern and western portions of Noshinka, moving every handful of months to another location. Appearing as a series of long tents colored black and green, they settle in places of strategic importance, including mesas, up against the jagged Darkwind Mountains, etc. These tents are made from enchanted hide and scales from larger kills its inhabitants have made- the higher quality the tent, the more important the figure residing within it. The largest tent is held by the current reigning shogun, currently Praneli no Ifrit, displaying the symbol of the Line of Ifrit. That symbol, a rampant lion of gold on a green field, is found on every shinobi in some way, usually armbands or jewelry of many kinds.
CULTURE: A legendary village of shinobi mages, specializing in experimentation and the magic of the body. Otherwise, they are exceptional hunters, and often trade with other Famine villages the trophies from their kills. The village of Kasai is where the Lion Claws of the Hikari Order found their home, the summoners of the Famine army- as well as the sheizi ninja dreadflowers, who are still found there today. They are often sought by young Famine demons who wish to train with the old masters in the family of the Ifrit, and locating the village without consent is seen as a deadly challenge. Outsiders are uncommon, and the knowledge of the village's current location is often known only by its shogun and its Lord.
APPEARANCE: The only city not associated with any Famine Clan, Naraku is a sprawling and rather large settlement currently located near the Bloodmoon Lake. Built as a traditional demonic village, with wooden buildings and sloped, decorative roofs, it is nevertheless made to be only semi-permanent. Specific enchantments, written in demonic runes, mark every piece, with the mages there being able to dismantle (or repair) the buildings very quickly and easily. Generally, the appearance of the houses may vary, though a castle at the center retains its appearance through every move.
The castle is squarely built, with an open courtyard at its center; the walls form the rooms, with sliding doors painted to depict various Famine demons of legend, and a statue of Zailen at each corner. The leader's quarters are half of the largest room, with a sliding wall in the center that can be pulled back and cleared for special meetings, banquets, and ceremonies, when such things cannot be held in the courtyard outside.
CULTURE: Though tied to no Clan and holding a position of relative unimportance within the Famine military, Naraku has a place of honor at Lord Slain's side, being one of the oldest established cities within the Kingdom. They swear fealty to their Lord, and have a host of ninja of their own, who have gained something of a reputation among the Famine people. Feared for their ferocity, a ninja from Naraku is often given very wide berth. Otherwise, it is a decent, if wary, place to live, favoring the defense of its people over all. Naraku is considered one of the safest places in the Kingdom, save for the Fortress itself.
APPEARANCE: The middle-sized city and home of the Family of Valefor, Ōra, is one of the most prestigious and powerful villages in the entire Kingdom. Primarily stationary, Ōra Village only moves once every several hundred years, and its buildings and outer wall are crafted from black stone pulled from the ground by powerful earth mages. Channeling stones- large, flat stone slabs with a circle cut from the center, holding a large crystal- are found in several places within the village, and are used by the mage-ninja to focus their energies an hone their abilities.
CULTURE: Known for its training of the sheizi ninja, able to practice both among the black-stoned buildings and the jagged crags of the Darkwind Mountains. Most of Ōra's occupants are ninja themselves of varying ages, and there exists here a school for teaching the art of the sheizi to all ages of demons. Sworn to their Lord, the village of Ōra is tasked with keeping the sheizi ninja ranks filled, fit, and ready should they need to answer the call of their Kingdom.
APPEARANCE: Massively different from the majority of places in Kurai, Proudscale Peak is a settlement of eastern dragons located in the far north of Noshinka. For a number of leagues all around a sharp, jutting mountain is what is called the Forest of Dragons, an oddly green and lush place filled with Felnovian plants and animals. Bespelled against most intruders by sentient trees that block every path, and enchanted to have true water-rain, the mountain within is crested with a circular ring of stones that surrounds a pure, sweet-tasting lake of water that sustains the Peak's inhabitants. Inside, the mountain is filled with an intricately carved series of caverns and caves, decorated with claw-scratched runes telling the tales of dragons throughout the Realms. Home to a great collection of knowledge, a library buried at the lowest level, guarded by four Ancients considered to be the first of the True Easterns.
CULTURE: A city wreathed in the worship of the Ten, as well as a center of learning and protection for dragonkind. They actively shun all other species, barring dragon hybrids and a select few Famine demons. In times of need, they may aid the Famine Kingdom and have a long-standing alliance with the demons of Famine for their city's protection. Rather aloof and apart from the rest of the Realm, these dragons rarely take part in things that do not concern Proudscale or its surrounding forest.
APPEARANCE: Called the 'Shadow of Lightning' in the demon tongue, for the towers infused with metal at various parts of the city that collect lightning to be stored and used against enemies. The only permanent city in all of Famine, built of metal and black rock, with a series of tall, square towers with angled, sweeping roofs gilt with silver, topped by roaring, emerald statues of Zailen that crackle with energy from the lightning-towers. The central tower is the tallest, at four complete stories, the other laid out in a square with one three-storied tower at each point in the compass.
A low, single-story wall surrounds these, with all other buildings outside of it; another, three-story curtain wall surrounds these, guarded by the Ixion's finest mage-samurai. The entire city is laid out in a large rectangle, with its gates facing east, to catch the rising moon. The light of the newly-risen moon will fall along the road from the main gates and into a large temple to Zailen, square in shape but squat, with a large statue of the lion god made by a skilled craftsman that glows with power. Monks guard the temple, though all are allowed through the city to pray at its cathedral and worship their god.
CULTURE: Considered a central place of worship for the demons of Famine, Shokku no Kage has long been considered a place of religious importance. Demons- and outsiders- who are not Famine are turned away at the gates, though all from their Kingdom are allowed inside. The Clan of Ixion stresses the importance of giving Zailen his due, for he is their creator, and brings his wrath upon those who do not show the proper respect. Twice a month, the monks from the temple walk the entire city's circumference twice, burning incense for purity, that ends in a bonfire at the center of the castle's courtyard, where demons may burn old possessions and cleanse their souls of their sins.