When Ovid gave his life so that the Parthenians could gain theirs. He split his life essence so that a little bit would fall into the heart of a each Parthenian and he discovered what lacked within their jewelled hearts. Through his devotion and sacrifice, Ovid gave the Parthenians a true existence. The Parthenians revere him as a sort of demi-god, though they profess to possess no religion and hold no festivals or ceremonies in his honour.
Each Parthenian begins life in a metal forge. Specially trained copper, gem, gold and silversmiths build the bodies of the Partheians like they would build a finely crafted sculpture. The finished result is a perfect statue, eyes of black obsidian glare out from beneath their copper hair and the angular, bronzed features. Almost identical in appearance, they range in height from 6'8" to 7' with angular, rigid frames and features. Their skin is caste bronze that flows like flesh and their lacquered hair is braided from fine threads of gold, silver and bronze. They are magically created lifeforms, given life by strange and powerful magics whose secrets have been lost since the days before the Great Disaster.
At their heart a jewel, cut into the shape of a human heart, throbs with the rhythms of a heartbeat, powering the automation with the true essence of life. Without these Jewels of the Heart, the bodies hang limp much like a person would if they where unconscious or asleep. These bodies as yet process no life, they are merely empty shells waiting to be filled.
Imbuing these jewels with the power of life lies in the hands
of the artists, craftsmen and magicians who inhabit the forbidden "City
of Artisans" in the centre of the city of Ovid. These artists are the true
lifeblood of the empire, their skills alone can give birth to new Parthenians.
The City of Artisans
This city within a city is a haven for artists and wizards of all types. Those chosen to live here exist in opulent splendour, every whim catered too. The only duty asked of them is to produce new Parthenians.
The city and its inhabitants are watched over by the spiritual decedents
of the inhabitants of ( ). Garbed in their distinctive red-mantle,
the Optifex sorcerers are fanatically devoted to their mechanical masters
and they alone hold the final secrets needed to give them true life. Children
across the empire are watched to see if they possess the rare magical talents
required. Taken to the City Artisans, they begin their gruelling apprenticeship,
most never leaving the island again.
The streets of the City of Artists are lined with open air workshops and smithies, filled with jewellers, goldsmiths, and a dozen different craftsmen who construct the automation's bodies. Immobile and lifeless bodies of newly created Parthenians lie in neat rows in the storerooms, waiting until they are inspected by a Optifex who select which bodies that will be taken to Ovid's Tomb at the centre of the City of Artists.
Within the tomb, the Optifex soak the lifeless statues within an alchemical solution for a year and day, before removing them and in the most solemn and secret of rituals, use Sorcery to place the the heart-shaped jewels, carved from only the most flawless of gems, within the chest of the lifeless Parthenian body. Bringing true life to a husk of metal and jewel.
The heart-jewels powers the Parthenian much like an engine. They do not need to eat and require only a few hours of rest a day. The gem will last for at least fifty years before it begins to wear down. At this point the body of the Parthenian begins to tarnish, the hair may rust or fall out, the eyes begin to fail. Soon the gem runs down completely and the Parthenian dies. No waste however, the body is simply melted down and used to build a new generation of Parthenians.
Culture and Mindset
The Parthenians have no culture or society in the traditional sense. They possess no families or homes, they have no religion, only a near-worship of Ovid who created them. To them all is work, they were born knowing what and how they where and that is all that is important to them. They are only a soldier or a sailor or a merchant, they only take names when necessary to blend in better with other races.
Consequently their cities are models of work ethic and efficiency. They have no homes, merely large barrack-like buildings filled with tiny cubicles. As many as four or five Parthenians will share a cubicle, one sleeping a few hours while the others work. The cities run at full speed twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.
They feel only a few emotions and express even less. The full range of emotion seems foreign to them and they tend to look down upon those who freely express themselves.
They have a Emperor, Emperor Ovidius to be exact. The Emperor was
merely adopted by the Parthenians as a figure head for the people to bow
to and pay their respect. In actuality the cities of Ovid and Ovidian,
as well as the entire empire is run by a complex, yet amazingly well run
bureaucracy. One Parthenian was chosen and acted the role of Emperor for
one year. Others took on the role, each taking the same name and dressing
in identcial robes. The common people in the Empire believe that
Ovidius is one person who has ruled for six hundred years. Common superstition
says that if the Emperor where to ever die, then the Empire would not be
Ovid and Ovidian
The only two, true Parthenian cities are Ovid and Ovidian. Both cities are nearly identical, favouring practical, geometric designs. Both are laid out in the same pattern and style. The only differences is the City of Artisans in the centre of Ovid, and the Royal Imperial Palace at the centre of Ovidian. Ovidian is also nearly three times the size of Ovid because of the Subject sectors that ring the capital. Each subject race has an area of the city that they can call their own and decorate as they like, trade and live. Most of the subject servants and diplomats have their residences in their native sector. Even foreign diplomats customarily stay in the sectors, the Parthenian sections of the city don't offer much in the way of comfort. The Parthenians themselves rarely enter the subject sectors. They find them noisy and overcrowded and prefer their quiet, orderly city.
Ovidian has become the true capital of the Empire. Foreigners mix with subjects and Parthenians freely. The Imperial Palace is considered one of the most beautiful sights on Parthenthius. Gold and bronze statues line all the walls, surrounded by tapestries and paintings, by every race in the Empire.
Situated on the banks of Omen bay, the city has a huge sprawling market place and harbour where goods are traded by every race on Parthenthius and abroad. The city is heavily defended, for it is the political and trading hub of the Empire. The Parthenians are beginning to worry that perhaps the city has become to specialized. They do not want one city to become key during a war, therefore they feel they should separate the trading from the politics do that if one ever becomes disabled, the other will not. To this end they are giving serious thought to building a new city farther south, allowing it to be more centralized and thereby take over the trading duties held by Ovidian.
Ovid stands on the shores of Parthene isle. Originally the capital,
it was changed to Ovidian soon after the Malthan surrendered. The Parthenians
felt that it would inspire confidence and could be better defended by the
combined might of the armies. Where Ovidian is a sprawling metropolis,
Ovid is small and quiet. Other than the City of Artisans, there are less
than 500 foreigners throughout the entire city and those are usually servants
or slaves. Those used as oarsmen are not allowed off their ships under
pain of torture.
The are few entertainments events in Parthenian culture. Their are no artists and the beautiful tapestries and sculptures that adorn the buildings are usually of Endazi or Majaninyokawatu manufacture. Theatre does not exist and the only form that holds their attention are the arenas. For some unknown reason, the sight of combat and bloodshed seems to amuse the Parthenians greatly. They still never show emotion and the sight of an arena filled with stoic, silent Parthenians is enough to unnerve even the greatest of gladiators.
There are arenas in every corner of the empire. Small outposts and barracks have one where animals, slaves and captives are put through the paces. Smaller cities have one public centre and a few privately owned. The major cities usually have two or more major public centres and hundreds of privately owned arenas run, legally or illegally out of inns and taverns.
Not just the Parthenians, but all the subject races seem to have been caught up in the mania. Neighbourhoods and towns have hometown favourites, heavy betting and wagers are common, and the major, government sponsored events often turn into three-day festivals of bloodshed and partying. Hundreds of slaves are given a one day course on how to weld and weapon, a wooden shield and a spear and are sent out to be slaughtered. Prized gladiators are usually privately owned and treated like prize cattle.
Not to be undone, the Tanor have recently finished construction of
three major arenas, one in each of the Trig cities. Though not as popular
as it is in the Empire, the Tanor have begun to get a taste for the bloodshed.
Gliders and Mining Platforms
The mention of a mining platform will strike fear into the hearts of any slave on the continent. Large, mobile hulks used to mine the jewels and ores from the deserts and mountains, they are mounted on four mammoth stilts imbued with incredible magical energy. They can hover over any surface and travel slowing across almost any environmnt.
The platform rests on these stilts, covered with slaves and mining equipment. A giant drill is lowered through a whole cut into the centre where it churns the sands and stone, boring caverns into the ground. Hordes of slaves are chained to treadmills to keep this massive drill turning. Others are thrown naked over the edge, sent into the pits to spend hours a day looking for precious jewels.
In the deserts, water is always scarce aboard these monstrosities. The heat of the desert killing slaves by the hundreds. Even those platforms sent into the mountains have a dificult time of it, the massive drill is usually unsteady and can set off landslides or cave inns.
The Parthenians have developed a novel way to communicate across their empire. Small gliders transport documents and people quickly and efficiently. The gliders are small, usually made of bone and silks and can glide for hours under the hands of a skilled pilot, and in the deserts with the rising thermals they can glide forever.
Small stations with huge lift towers can be found covering most of
the Empire. A few exist outside the Empire, but only across Mal Tanor to
Lal Chim. These stations usually have a well, a barracks and a huge, 100-200
foot tower where the gliders are winched up and launched.
Their Place in the Empire
The Parthenians are the undisputed masters of their Empire. They conquered and have held the land and people in check for almost six hundred years.
They are surprisingly good rulers, masters at organization and control. They maintain that they are serving their subjects, expanding the influence of civilization to a savage continent. However they are not a terrible imaginative people and rely on other races for guidance in mundane mattrs. The Malthan once held the favoured posrtotion but proved to be too ambitious. While many still hold powerful advisory positions, their power has been dramatically cut back by the Parthenians. The Jinn where tried but proved to be too single minded in their goals. The answers seems to lie within the Majani, their adaptive natures allowing them to fill the roll with ease. Only now are the Parthenians beginning their true worth as military and social advisors.
The Sanctum Alcedon
Shigata Ga Nai High