The east

Pravaii revel in pain, torment and power. They lust for nothing less then the absolute destruction and enslavement of every other living thing on Tal'Vorn. Vicious and cruel without remorse, yet an individual Pravaii's life nonetheless revolves around service others, service to those stronger then they are or with more allies then they have themselves. To live in the twin cities of the Pravus is to live in a world filled with false alliances, deceit, lies and betrayal.

Pravus society is highly structured, with each Pravaii having an exact place in the social order, ranging from the ruler of the race, the Hierophant; to the priest class, the Pravaii Curor, the Bloody Handed Murderers and Priests of Killar, the Lord of Murder; the Veneficus, the Mages of the Dark Lord; the Nocaii, the Warriors and the Faiitallaii, the Slaves, the none Pravaii who do everything that the Pravaii wish, simply to stave off their inevitable sacrifice. A Pravaii's position within Pravus society relies up on many things, including how well they serve their superiors and the Pravus race as a whole, how many slaves they own and can thus sacrifice at the festivals to Killar the Bloody Handed.

Within the military the Nocaii are permitted to keep one tenth of everything they pillage, four tenths going to the commander, two tenths being 'donated' to the Killar Temples and the remainder belonging to the Hierophant. In this way is the Pravus society maintained, through warfare, pillage, murder and destruction. They set out in their great ships, their Atra Traba, to raid the coasts of the Great Continent and the Eastern Land. They sail up the mouths of rivers to attack unsuspecting Jump Gate communities and then escaping again before a larger force can appear.

To the Pravaii Curor, their place in Pravus society is fragile, even more so then any other of the Pravus. Though they are the Priests of Killar, though they spill blood and offer up hearts in his name, though they kill and slaughter and drink the blood of the living, still, they are almost as likely to fall under the knife of sacrifice as any of the thousands of slaves murdered every day to appease the raging hunger of the Bloody Handed One. Nearly all female, they are sometimes known as Killar's Brides, the God of Murder being their life and reason for being. They drink the blood of the sacrifices as well as bathing in it, and find themselves rejuvenated by it's power, given eternal beauty and life by Killar, in place of their creator goddess, Vriclar. This beauty is ethereal in it's very nature, intoxicating to behold and nigh irresistible. Indeed many have died willingly just do see a smile upon the blood red lips of a Curor.

The Veneficus occupy the highest points of the twin cities, seeking to separate themselves from the almost constant screams of dying slaves in the cities below, to seek out the clarity of air that is most suited for the constructing of spells. It is here that they cast their spells and expand their power. Moreover, it is they that extend a wreath of darkness over the Pravus lands, occupying a landmass normally hidden from view in the north, beyond the Dawn Islands, beyond the known extent of the Tal'Vorn Seas in the Far Lands.

Here the Pravus kingdom of ice and stone in the north is protected on all sides by ragged cliffs, jagged rocks and the wreathing mists and darkness of the Veneficus. Only the most skilled of the Pravaii captains can guide their ships through these rocks into the caverns under the cliffs, into carved tunnels far under the land to the very bowels of the twin cities. There they land at immense docks, all wreathed in darkness with just the guttering torchlight to illuminate their work. There they unload slaves, riches, wood, stone, food and water, before restocking on soldiers and anything else they require before sailing out into the seas once more. It takes many months to make the hazardous journey from the Pravaii lands to the realms of the other races, one fraught with danger and hardship. Yet they do it anyway, to claim slaves and wreak terror along the coasts.

The northern most of the cities, Excuraaii, is the home of the Hierophant, and is the largest and coldest of the two cities. Here is where the magic's of the Veneficus are strongest and here the boundaries between reality and the Nine Tiers of Hell are rubbed thin. A sound, like sand on glass, scratches on the nerves all the time. The Pravaii are born with it, and are unaffected, but it conspires to steadily drive the weaker minded slaves insane. Not that this in anyway lessens their value to the experiments of the Veneficus. It is a city of high spires of stone and metal, of cold air rushing through exposed streets and terraces, of shuttered windows and doors at night, to ward away the Demons that flicker in and out of existence during the dark hours.

The second city, Formadonaii is where the main temple of Killar is located and thus has the larger population of Pravaii Corur. This also means that it has a lower population overall, due to the almost hourly sacrifices that take place. The streets echo to the laughter of the Corur and the screams of the slaves as they die. Once a year the city withstands the madness of the Bloodtime, a single night when the Corur go out into the streets and slay any they find, spilling their blood in an orgy of violence, vicious sexual frenzy, murder and rape until the very streets themselves run red and the spires rain blood to the ground far below.

The Pravaii are Elven in their very nature, their faces and bodies almost identical to their brethren in Lathrandar. Yet it is their minds and their choices that mark them out as different. The chill north makes them pale skinned and their Elven heritage makes them dark haired, yet their lusts, beliefs and desires make them Pravaii, Stricken, rather then Elven. Millennia ago, the Elven race was divided into two groups, roughly equal in size, but with incredibly differing views. The Elven believed that their immortality was gifted to them so that they could understand the world and nature around them, so that they could make themselves one with the world that had birthed them, equal with all living things. On the other hand, the Elves that would one day become the Pravaii thought that their very existence, their undying nature, meant that Elves and Elves alone where fit to rule Tal'Vorn.

After many decades of arguing, the schism devolved into full-blown civil war, with Elf slaying Elf for almost a century. Through it all however, the Elven Queen remained firmly neutral, refusing to choose as side in the conflict. However eventually she was forced to, after the Pravaii started killing every living thing and burning down the tree's just to prove their point, that they where superior to everything. For this the Elven Queen would not simply watch any longer. She and many of the Elven Priests begged Vriclar to aid them. The Goddess of Life heard them and cursed the Pravaii, stripping them of their immortality. From that day forward, they would age and die like all other living things.

Confused, terrified and unable to muster the will to fight any longer, the Pravus took to the seas in great ships and fled to the seas, away from the vengeful Elven. After many years of wandering without a homeland, the Pravaii discovered the Grey Lands. After several unsuccessful attempts at landing, they found the two inlets. Making their way into the bowels of the earth, they moored at what seemed to be natural harbours. Making their slow way up in the darkness, they emerged at the foot of two immense spires of stone, riddled through with caves, passages and caverns and rooms. It was perfect, a pair of ready-made fortresses for the Pravaii.

Moreover, it is there that they have made their abode ever since, fortifying the spires until it was unassailable. Nevertheless, they where still dying. Until they where contacted by one of the Old Ones, one of the Gods. However, this one was not Vriclar. It was Killar, the Bloody Handed. The God of Murder and Rage saw in the brooding Pravus a deep seeded hatred against Vriclar and all living things that he could use for himself.

Therefore, he offered them immortality again. In exchange for each sacrifice that they offered up to him, the Pravaii that delivered the killing blow would be gifted with youth and beauty. They eagerly accepted, and set out in their great ships to find sacrifices for Killar. However, the God of Murder was no fool. He knew that once every Pravaii was immortal again, he would no longer receive the souls of those they killed in his name. Therefore, he limits their immorality and beauty. It lasts only a year, before it must be renewed once more. Moreover, it is this desire to live that drives the Pravaii. And it is this desire that creates the thousands of alliances and betrayals that riddle the Pravus society, as each Pravaii seeks out enough allies so that they are assured enough slaves to sacrifice.

However, Killar's hunger ever grows, and still does and so the God of Murder is no longer satisfied with but one sacrifice per year per Pravaii. Now he demands a hundred deaths in his name for each life he will grant back as immortality. Thus, the Pravaii have, in recent years, been driven out into full-blown war with the other Races, capturing and sacrificing any sentient creatures they could lay their hands upon. Naturally, this offends the Races and the Humans. Nevertheless, the Pravaii look so similar to the Elves that the Magus Council cannot act by the simple presence of the Lady Life, an Elf, upon their Council. The Elves deny any involvement, but refuse to explain about their dark brethren.

Over the years, several Pravaii showed skill with magic that was of a different caste to the magic's of Life. Indeed, it was almost totally opposite, focused instead upon pain and death. Thus, unknown at first, did the Dark God, the Corrupter, the Despiser, make his presence felt within Pravus society. Eventually he was revealed, but by this time the Pravaii where to corrupt, do blinded by years of sacrifice to Killar to deny the foul God his power over them. And so his Casters took positions of power, stripping the flesh from the bones of any who opposed them. Thus was the Shroud crafted, drifting from the towers of the Veneficus and wreathing all the Grey Lands in a pallor of darkness and confusing mists.

The Pravaii fight in a very specific manner, inherent to their basic mentality and their limitations as a fighting force. Though they can take to the field of battle in force should they wish to, and once there they would make a formidable opponent, they prefer to work through terror and confusion, attacking where the enemy is weakest, undermining his morale and his support, before dealing the crushing blow. This is much like how Pravaii politics works, with the individuals gathering allies and eliminating their weaker opponents to, in the end, weaken a larger foe.

Their larger ships, the Atra Traba, sail part way up rivers, until they are within a few miles of the target. Then the Atra Traba's unload multiple smaller craft, each containing troops. The ones containing foot troops sail up the river, whilst the ones containing cavalry move immediately to the shore, to allow the horses and the Hastraii to move up the river under their own power. In this manner, the Atra Traba are close enough to lend support, but the immense ships do not give the attack away before it is time. If possible, the Pravaii will also choose to attack at night, using their superior senses to know when and where to attack the humans.

They use troops mounted on horseback to sweep the flanks of a foe, lashing out with long lances or firing their short-ranged hand crossbows at point-blank, causing havoc in the lines. Meanwhile the foot troops armed with vicious halberds, hooked swords, crossbows and other vicious weaponry, advance into the centre of their lines as quickly as possible, hitting the enemy before they realise what is happening. Meanwhile, heavier cavalry, normally mounted upon the reptilian Hastraii, consisting of the lower nobility armed with long lances and vicious axes, maces and swords, swing round into the opponents flanks, their charge nigh irresistible.

All of their weapons, even their crossbow bolts, are designed to wound rather then kill. This allows the Pravaii to take a higher proportion of prisoners then would otherwise be possible. Each prisoner who can walk is bound together and led behind the Hastraii, forced to run or fall and be dragged across the ground. Any unable to walk have their wounds opened up, their ankles and wrists broken to prevent them crawling away and are left to die. This sort of behaviour is typical of the Pravaii, destroying what they cannot use and killing what they cannot capture. Once they reach the boats, the soldiers are loaded on to them and the prisoners are forced to lead the boats back downstream, under the watchful eyes of several groups of Hastraii riders. This is a taster of what is to come for them in their new life as Faiitallaii, meaning 'Without Life'. Literally as slaves they can die at any moment, for any reason and the Pravaii that killed them will not be questioned.

Once on the boats, this is where at least half of them will die. Their wounds will not be tended to and thus will fester and putrefy. They are set to work immediately, forced to either row the immense Atra Traba through the water, clean the outside of it's hull, wait upon the Pravaii, fetch, carry, work as sailors, or be sacrificed upon the vessels altar. Their life is brutal, harsh, painful and, fortunately for them, short. Each Atra Traba can spend up to a decade away from port, normally only coming back to the Grey Lands when they run short on supplies, too many Pravaii have been injured or killed, or their compliment of slaves is growing too large. Once in port they will unload the Hierophants property, half of the surviving slaves, take on water, troops, food and other supplies before setting sail into the waters again.

Pravaii buildings are very different from the ones of the Elven, focusing upon denying nature rather then accepting it, all hard lines and sharp edges, cold stone and bitter metal. Immense spires towering over the land, buildings designed to amplify the screams of the dying, carvings meant to blind the eye and warp the mind, funnels and grooves in the ground to channel the blood spilt in the streets, to turn the stone red and wreath the towers in red mist as the blood falls.

The arms and armour of the Pravaii focus upon the capture and disabling of opponents, rather then a swift death. After all, even a crippled slave is a potential sacrifice. Thus their weapons are barbed to cause maximum damage and blood loose, hooked and curved to trap limbs and weapons, and often heavily ornate. This is to show the Pravaii's position within the Pravus society and his place within the Hierophants court. Another sign of this is the number of belted weapons a Pravaii will carry, the most common number amidst the gentry and nobles being two. A common foot soldier would not carry anything more then a single simple short bladed knife or sword as well as a long spear. They are armoured lightly, in mail and half-plate, allowing for more movement then the full plate worn by human knights. Though this gives less protection, combined with the unnatural reactions of the Pravaii and all Elven, it is more important to be mobile then armoured.

[It is for this reason that many of their forward scouts and raiders wear no armour at all, using a hand crossbow to cut down their foes from afar, or the long lance to ride in on horseback, strike at their opponents and fade away once more before they can be struck. Pravaii assassins and scouts are the best in the world, able to vanish from sight at a moments notice. It is said that once a Pravaii assassin has been commissioned, he will never stop until his target has fallen, be it by blade, bolt or poison.

The Hierophant is the ruler of the Pravaii. Immortal and untouchable, he bathes daily in the blood of a hundred sacrifices, only permitting the strongest to be slaughtered for his immortality. The Hierophant is, by his very name, the head of the Pravaii Curor and it is he who leads the Bloodtime in its madness. When he stalks the streets, all the Pravaii cower in fear before the coming of their master. It is whispered that he lived in the time when Elven and the Pravaii actually where one race, that it was his voice that first gathered followers to his cause. That it is he and he alone who is responsible for the dividing of the Elven kind, to fuel his own ambitions.

However, the Hierophant is also a war leader, and is often away on campaign, leading his own personal bodyguard in raids and assaults to claim slaves for himself. Thus the Domina Curor, the Lady Murder, leads the congregation of murderers. Her name is Era Krasha Lalarllaii, blessed by Killar and the most beautiful of all the Parvaii. It is even rumoured that her beauty matches that of the Elven Queen. She is cruel, cold, heartless and vicious, revelling in the death and sex of the Bloodtime, living only for the thrill of taking another life. She feels affection for three things in the entire world. Killar, her bedmate the Hierophant and her axe, Basiumors, the Kiss of Death, known amidst the humans as the Betrayers Axe. A weapon of immense power and of cruel design, it was crafted by the Pravaii soon after their exile. It is of black metal, it's blade high and razor sharp, barbed and carved to cause maximum bleeding. But even worse is its grip. Covered in razor sharp needles, to use the weapon is to spill your own blood in the process. It is this that gives the Basiumors its power, the power of wounds that will never close, of blood that will never stop flowing until the heart stops beating.

The Pravaii are a cruel race, yet they are a fallen race as well. Pravus means Stricken and that is what they are. Cast down from what they once where, they have clawed their way back up again upon the bodies of those weaker then they. They live only for revenge and for the chance of immortality like their Elven brethren.

Every living thing is a slave not yet taken and a sacrifice not yet killed.
Spoken by the Hierophant

Te miaii igaiitur, Killar, iuvenesco vestrum!
Te miaii igaiitur pectoraii laudaii!
Te miaii igaiitur animaii!
Te quod igaiitur sceltauraii!

I give this life to you Killar!
I give this heart in your name!
I give this soul unto you!
I drink this blood to give me life!

A Curor prayer with translation

Take them all! No deaths!
Command given by a Pravaii Commander before attacking

I´┐Żll take your heart and drink your blood, break your back and smash your skull!
Spoken by a Curor during the BloodTime

© Joshua Binks (Paladin), Christopher Riley (Carnage), Brad Rumsey (Lithium), Alicia Rumsey (Escapist) and Vanessa Vaughan (Andanin) 2002 -