Place Story: The Seat of Man’s Evil
By Rick Merriman
Kezia is a medium sized country on the southern shore of the Cathall continent. After decimating most other races in the area, it is now populated predominantly by The Race of Man. Kezia, more than any other country populated with a Race of the Light, is thought to be more aligned with Barak and the ways of the dark than with Siberlee and the ways of the light.
Kezia has a long shoreline, mostly made up of jutting bedrock cliffs. The remainder of the country is arid and has little vegetation save a small area around the capital of Borgan. Because of its harsh environment, Kezia’s population soon became callous and vicious, often warring with its neighbors. The Kezian human population is considered the closest in all of Mernac to be aligned with Barak and the Fathers. They are thought in general to be somewhat evil – despite being from one of the Races of the Light.
What was to become Kezia, is where The Father BU first placed his children, the Race of Azemen, before he placed them in other remote areas on the continents of Toberna and Malroo. Humans from the East invaded Kezia in the fourth century and, though Azemen are far fiercer and better warriors than the Race of Man, the sheer numbers of the Race of Man finally decimated the Azemen population. Though a few Azemen tribes still exist, scattered throughout Kezia, it is now considered a human country. The few remaining Azemen are actively hunted, with a high bounty placed on the hides and even higher ones on their heads.
The entire country is considered a haunted place from the thousands of Azemen who were massacred in the conquest, and it is rumored Undead Azemen roam the rocky deserts hunting men, women, and children to exact their revenge. Kezians often paint or tattoo their faces and bodies with fierce symbols and images to ward of these Undead Azemen.
The Race of Man originally wanted Kezia because of its strategic position and its natural defenses, by way of high cliffs on the shore, and cave-riddled mountains around its borders. The country has always been defensible. This, however, came with a price. Most of the country is a rocky desert with almost no vegetation, or viable source of food besides the abundance of pygmy mountain goats. Most food besides goat meat and milk, comes from the ocean and the country’s extensive shorelines. This harsh environment caused the humans to feud with each other over the little food, and limited access to fresh water supplies. It is also the reason Kezia wages war so often.
The centuries of barely sustainable living conditions made the Kezians very stubborn, aggressive, and brutal. All but abandoned by The Mothers for killing so many in their quest to capture the country, many Kezians turned to praying to The Fathers and the ways of evil.
Kezia had an all but unnoticed history, save several border conflicts, until the rise of a warlord by the name of Hammel Iros. Hammel called all the warlords and their families of the country together with the pretense of negotiating a sustained peace. When gathered in what would one day be called the capital city of Borgan, he got them all drunk and had his men kill all the wives and children in their sleep before torturing each warlord for what became known as “Thirteen terrible days and thirteen tortuous nights.”
Hammel then proclaimed himself King. His rule was short as his youngest son, Jaida, who had one eye of blue and one eye of brown, assassinated Hammel in his bed. From this point on, all the leaders in the Iros family fear they can only be killed by someone with different colored eyes.
For their safety, the kings of Kezia mandate, even to this day, that all Kezians bleach their face or paint it white so the eye color stands out prominently.