Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Darque; Races of Sarterra

Liocheles required minions in the world of Sarterra that were more than capable to carry out her goals. Thus the Darque were born. These tall, slender humanoids were fashioned by the avatar to be swift and deadly. Their skin is jet black, and their hair stark white, like Liocheles herself. Graceful and stern, the Darque favor agility and dexterity over brute strength. They are a blur in combat, and are equally at home in the Underdarque, as well as above ground.

Gifted in infiltration and stealth, an order of Darque soon emerged. Ordained by Liocheles herself, they became master assassins and spies and are simply known as the Darqueblades. Their eyes would eventually be everywhere, lurking in the shadows, observing. When called upon, they strike with frightening speed to eliminate key targets. Many wars have been avoided (or initiated) with the mysterious death of a single leader.

Due to the nature of their jet black skin, scarification is used widely instead of tattooing. These ritually applied scars tell much about the average Darque; their family affiliation, their occupation, their beliefs, and the like. Taller and thinner than the average human, the Darque embody a cold, calculating beauty and grace with an unnerving hint of the predator that lies just under their skin.

It is unknown what the relation is of the Darque, and the fairer skinned Elves of Sarterra. Certainly, the resemblance is uncanny. It is said that a wandering band of Elves became lost in the Yax Pac Desert long ago. Desperate and dying, they cried out to the void for salvation, and it was Liocheles that answered their call. She used these Elves as her template for which her Darque were created, thus entwining the two races forever.

The Darque, as a civilization, are advanced in the art of assassination.

The Darqueblades represent the pinnacle of natural abiltites the Darque have to offer; stealth, speed, grace, and lethality. Being masters of infiltration, deception, and cunning, the Darque formed an inner circle of elite assassins. Unlike sellswords, or hired mercenaries, the Darque do not work for just anyone and will only offer their services if they feel they can avert a war or disaster, or gain from it personally. This is not a selfish stance, merely pragmatic. Given the relatively low number of members of the Darqueblades, they have to carefully choose when they will become involved or not, replacement assassins are hard to come by.

Where other races might allow those of exceptional merit from other races to join their sects, membership in the Darqueblades is strictly for the Darque and none other. Rumors exist of Darque Vampires recently but are unconfirmed as of yet.

The Darqueblades have their own inner structure and maintain a base of operations in every Darque city, known simply as a 'house'. The Darque act on their own accord and answer to none other than Liocheles herself. If the Darque race is Liocheles' right hand, then the Darqueblades are the razor sharp sword she wields.

Every nation seemingly has a navy, whether it be a simple merchant fleet, or an armada set for raiding. The Darque are no different and maintain their own navies as well.

The Darque Corsairs stand apart from the mundane navies of the Darque. The Corsairs have a singular goal on the oceans of Sarterra, to search and destroy.

The Darque Corsairs seek out the enemies of the Darque at sea, and the sight of their angular, black sails on the horizon will panic even the saltiest sea dog.

Corsair ships are sleek and fast, like the race at the helm, and veteran troops fill the decks. Each ship is supported by ranks of archers, ballista, and every ship is also accompanied by a high ranking Storm Mage.

When the Darque learned of Darque Lord Zesual von Teken'val, and his ancient ties to their race, they eagerly sent emissaries out to meet with him and his kind.

Darque Lord Zesual von Teken'val had transcended beyond his racial origins and had become a Vampire, not only that, but he had amassed a nation of the undead under his banner.

The Darque reunited with the Darque Lord and over the years strengthened the bonds with the Vampire nation. The two races sharing many similarities, but simultaneously being so different from one another.

The 'gift' of Vampirism is not to be taken lightly, and after much debate and talks, and the blessings of Liocheles, the Darque selected an order of their own to undertake this metamorphosis.

The Darqueblood were created, a large generation of Darque Vampires, straddling the two worlds between von Teken'val's people and their own. This union would last for several decades.

When signs of corruption began to show among von Teken'val and his people, the Darquebloods grew cautious, sending many of their own back to the Darquelands. As von Teken'val's people became more and more twisted, their nobility eroding quickly, the remaining Darquebloods tried to intervene, steer their allies back into the light, but it was to no avail. Seeing there would be no resolution to the situation, and tensions growing daily between von Teken'val and the Darquebloods, they withdrew wholesale back to the Darquelands. They left behind a vampire nation that had become twisted and malevolent.

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