"...Many centuries ago, there was a city, probably in Persia, and an army of invaders waged a siege on that village. The townspeople surrendered, hoping for the best and offered up their treasures, virgins and servitude to the invaders. However upon entering the main streets the primitives saw workshops and garments and houses and women, for them a bewildering and terrible complexity of sedentary life. They became agitated, angry by the assault of sounds, smells and images. They frenzied, and attacked the townspeople, slaughtering every man, woman and child untill the streets were covered an inch thick in human blood, fat and viscera. At that day the Grand Visceral was born..."
A Desert with the Color Old Rust
Travelling from the southernmost gates of Stygia, one heads down into the starry flecked hills, following the eldest airt of the two. This is still a fairly densely travelled road, even in these harrowing days, with tradesmen, patrolls and decent folk.
However civilization is soon left behind as one passes into the Vak Krukri, the region of Stained Hills, where baron Khor dwells, one of the proudest but equally draconic autocrats paying lipservice to the old law of Stygia. If one avoids the high tariffs and taxes, the belligerent mercenaries of Khor minor, one may travel deeper south, heading slowly west along The Charicature, also known locally as The Damned River.
It is interesting how Stygian culture is perverted by the strangely twisted natives, some of which are said not to have ever been born in the flesh. It is best to avoid their haunted ceremonies, their debauched orgies along the shores of this river, and the strange ephemeral forms one may encounter in these badlands.
Down the Charicature one slowly enters Tempestuous regions, with quagmires, bogs, peats of crawling slime and mucous and other more familiar dangers. There are still Stygian waystations in this forlorn wilderness, spaced apart by reasonable marches. It is worthwhile to mention the degenerate locals use a reptilian slave race or domesticated beast, which is an interesting display for the weary traveller.
However at the end of The Charicature there is a dreary saltplane, known here as Mik Thuzaia. Here Stygian rule ends, and the last domain one will find is Marquizate Dwyll, governed by a prussian domem with a crude but effective military, largely composed of these aforementioned reptilian horrors, and their crudely moliated knights, forming a lethal cavalry. The stretch across these saltplains is ofcourse long and dangerous and filled with hardship. There dwell wicked spectres in the low dunes, who sing a song filled with venom and vermin, somehow combining the ancient arts of Pandemonium and Keening, but they are of little consequence when compared with the Viscerals beyond the saltplanes.
Their Name is Locust
Viscerals are spectres, of all castes, and stand a good chance to become the next major headache for Stygian Legionairs in the deeper regions of the Underworld. Their scourge reaches into the Yomi realms, Malfeas and the Abyss, with large regiments laying waste to strongholds and castles of any dark lord, irregardless of power or allegiance.
They are fearless and frenzied, but often cunning and treacherous in their ways. But their main power are their numbers and their uncomprimizing being; They are as Locusts, swarming suddenly out of nowhere, hard to pin down and hard to resist, and above all infectious.
The swarm of the Viscerals is driven by various states of being, all of which are variants of Xenophobia and Jealosy. Their empathic roots lie with the darker skinland emotions displayed by large unified armies. The genesis of the Visceral Orthodoxy was the pure envious fear the Huns felt towards civilization. Huns would plunder and loot for profit, but above all out of disgust. This feeling of contempt for whats strange was the seed of the Viscerals.
Echoes of this bizarre chauvinism echo all throughout history, in the death camps of Pol Pot where young and impressionable recruits killed millions because they had strange and foreign habits; in the atrocities waged by child soldiers all throughout africa who rather destroy what they can't understand or possess; by white trash americans hunting for negroes to lynch and massacre; by nazi's and zaelots of all religions. The underlying current of emotion is misunderstanding, fear, disgust, arrogance and xenophobia; laying waste to all which is different.
This orgy of destruction drives an army of uncountable spectral monstrosities, their dark emotions incarnate in a collective taint of corruption. All viscerals encountered in their scorched realms display similar characteristics. They all tend towards a visceral, corpselike form. Most are animated skeletons, but larger than any ordinary human. Most are as big as horses and seem to be swollen corpses, oddly assembled of the cartillage of their vanquished foes, but always with a gutted abdomen.
All viscerals lack internal abdomenal organs, including the heart, lungs and intestines. Their heads however are potato-like bulging cranial bloats, barely resembling skulls, dotted with pale white beady eyes set in dark sockets. From these flayed cadavers often jut a garbled collection of appendages. The viscerals use whatever armament is simple and straigtforward, like cutting implements and spears, and the more sentient in their ranks use whatever crude missile weapons they can loot from their foes.
What makes these abominations more than "just another animated zombi swill" are several crucial characteristics. First they share their corpus with another, allowing individual stormtroopers a nearly unlimited resistance to the attacks of their foes. They often send in bulging shocktroops composed of flailing limbs and bulging but hollow ribcages with dangling red meat and muscle. These are the bloated spearhead shades of the viscerality. They are incarnate beasts of envy and hate, and move fearless towards those vile foreigners that evoke their ire. The amounts of physical damage they can absorb is nothing short of titanic.
The second most characteristic is their ability to evaporate, hide, submerge in the soils. The temperaments of the viscerality can literally go underground for months or years in the underworld, becoming unseen but emerging as a flock of locusts when the time is right and the fruits of xenophobia are right for the picking.
And there in lies their third strength. Viscerals lay waste to a region of the underworld and then just disappear. They burrow deep in the earth ande vanish, leaving a void where days or weeks before a horde of animate horrors waged genocide. Then the spirit of the viscerality moves, seeking a new target, a fresh soil for the emotions that evoke them. When the viscerality moves underground subtle signs reveal their immanence. But only when some breed of underworldly beings has become ripe for the plucking do they emerge. First a few, then quickly hundreds and thousand and hundreds of thousand emerge. They burrow from the earth, bones and meat coalescing into a animate tide of death.
They then proceed to feed upon that faction of wraiths, kuei-jin, demons, spectres, banes or other nether realm vileness that awakened their nefarious sentiments. By means of a combination of what resembles bone shinthai and flesh shinthai, or maybe a distant cousin of vicissitude they spread a plague. They convert, quite quickly, their targets to their unique beliefs, and draw them into their single Visceral corpus.
The Least amongst the Viscerals
Most viscerals are demented carcasses fueled by nothing by base hatred. As such any dopplegaenger or stripling is quickly dissolved or devoured by the omnipresent shades, to add to the bulk of their armies of prejudice. The Shades of the Viscerality are crude but effective. However above them in rank stand puppeteers of amazing demogagogue ability, who wield the legions of gristle, directing them as weapons against new prey.
The Orthodox Visceratocracy
The leaders of the viscerality are conscious and often intelligent nephwracks. They inhabit the inner ranks of these horrors of Oblivion. They play a deadly but effective machiavellan game which alwsays seems to work; they weave a web of distrust between nations of peoples, and make otherwise peacefull people become envious, distrustfull and eventually bloodthirsty.
These Nephwracks used to inhabit the deepest labyrinthine dwelling places of this breed of specters, but recently they have scrambled out, their eyes glowing with renewed vigour, after the cataclysmic events surrounding the sixth maelstrom. They comprize the Visceratocracy, a scheming middle management of superiority complex. They are always on the lookout for crowds to sway, souls to convert to their hollow, heartless gospel of atrocity.
They desire either to feed their victims to the ever ravenous stomachs of the Shades, or lustfull to eviscerate their targets with the manifest desire to make them as they are; empty cages, ever desiring to devour but unable to keep whatever they devour inside. Always eager to loot and plunder whatever riches the others, the aliens have amassed, full of contempt because they are other than they are.
The Disembowlment of Heretics
The nephwracks of the Visceracracy seeks out the strongest and cleverest "converts" to their ideology and sacrifices them in a ritual reminiscient to the evisceration practiced by aztecs, plucking empty their ribcages and bellies, filling them forever more with that same hatred of otherness. Indeed, the Nephwrack visceralite high priests have indeed awakened, their white beady eyes staring hungrily from their freshly opened pits, a gnawing emptyness at the base of their soul, ever seeking to fill, but only able to spill.
Oh yes indeed, recent events have indeed awakened their hunger. For where in the last centuries they were only able to harvest and convert the souls of the damned to their ranks now they have heard a symphony of hatred well up from beyond the shadowlands, beyond the fog, from the lands of the living. And they are readying their hooks, their pronged carving blades, sharpening their claws and nails for the coming tide of bellyripping...
The Grand Viscerality
At the heart of this tide rests a bloated carcass. All treasures, loot and spoils are deposited at Its manifold feet. The Grand Visceral still rests, but his slumber has been distrurbed by pangs of hunger, of that old familiar hollowness. The Great Beast of the Viscerality is rousing to devour. The Malfean horror that lies deepest within this swarm of Locusts, like a insect queen of damnation, is hard to describe. Like a mountainous crab it sways on limbs that can scarcely carry its behemoth carapace. It is big as can be expected of any hungry, greedy vileness of its rank.
And it is clever, for it has many heads that stick from its main bulk like the heads of a Hydra. Each head is a bloated form, like a giant skull, but set with hundreds of the same empty white eyes that characterize its host. The heads stick from the main body at odd angles, and vaguely echo periods of history that allowed it to feed. Mongol hordes vie with skinhead features; zulu's with first dynasty chinese xenophobes. All these heads combine into one intelligent, shewd, cunning beast with a single mind set on devouring and integrating those inferior foreigners for once and for all.
The Hubrite Order
The Malfean Visceral beast rouses its limbs and legions, calls its clarion of greed and hate again, and has found a fitting instrument. A certain group of awakened magi have recently been showing a new understanding, a new awareness. These magi are found in any faction of magi, in all major ethnicities, in every nation of the world. All have a similarity; they all experiences, for one reason or another, a Near Death Experience during a major abdomenal surgery.
Since that episode something within these magi has changed. Since then they have become inspired with a certain desire to "go after those damn bastards". The mage can easily be a Celestial Chorister who may have taken up a resentment for "terrorists" after they caused the death of a loved one and the heartattack that came after.... What that mage doesn't realize is that his subtle corruption is mirrored by the same emotions, probably in his very adversaries. Maybe an euthanatos mage, formerly a virtuous muslim, has been fostering these anti-western, anti-decadence, anti-european, anti-capitalism sentiments after a large grenade fragment was removed from his underbelly.
All these scars barely healed, these magi
have slowly been sliding into a subtle corruption, a devious
hunger calling from low within their bellies, calling out for
the eradication of those... strangers.