Shallow: City of Crime
h3.Council of Seven
Ostensibly the Council of Seven rule Shallow with an Iron fist. In reality they do little more than argue and debate upon the agree upon in what ways the city
The main function of the Council is to protect Shallow from the outside world of Severance. As one of the Economic powerhouses of the continent of Vecorran, and indeed, Severance itself, Shallow is a jewel that would fit nicely in any empirical crown. The Council are the organisation which prevents that jewel from being stolen by other hungry nations. This might at time seem a little odd to those who know the make up of the council, as several of its members have at times tried to use the mechanisms of the council itself to force Shallow to join another nation. These attempts have always been met with the older controlling elements of the council squashing these upstart votes, and occasionally, with the mysterious disappearances of those who attempt it.
Although they do enforce some domestic policies. The Soul-Gold standard act of 2,246 A.E. which created the laws which govern the fluctuations in value of a souls against other forms of commerce. This also established a universal standard of credit and which accounts for the high level of thefts in the city and prevents hyper-inflation. Essentially, they maintain the balance that allows the law abiding, enforcing , ignoring and breaking to continue in their strange symbiosis that is Shallow.
The Council of Seven operate at the highest echelon of Shallow,
Elections are counted continuously by the Electoral Seer, an Immortal of strange countenance that no-one has ever met. Apparently, he reads the souls of all within the city and his acolytes post the results of their thoughts and hearts and leanings daily at noon over the Money-houses and high-districts of Shallow. A vote can be bought with money to persuade, through power over someone’s soul, by winning their heart, or even appealing to their sense of justice or greed. Therefore, Shallow is often considered at once one of the most corrupt and incorruptible elected non-democratic democracies on Severance.
However, this system can be broken.
The balance between the Five High Guilds was once so fragile whenever it is challenged from an outside guild, war often erupts. The most recent of these events was so bad that the Council was forced into emergency powers in which they agreed to change the Council from Five to Seven.
Just over sixty years ago the council make up was changed for the first time in living memory. It was called the Black Year, or the Year of Death. It started when an enterprising wizard named Yarwick Plaguebearer helped cause a shift in the council by causing an sickness to spread throughout the lower wards, offering to help only those who voted there and then for the Guild of Palla. Within two days the Guild of Palla had enough votes to challenge one of the five established High-guilds and a quarter of the lower wards population had died of plague. However, with this such a sudden shock to Shallow’s well established system, Yarwick’s plague caused a war. With every guild threatened
The Amici started raising those who died and for the first time in living memory increased increased its membership by raiding the Sunken Graves and Hallow Hill. As well as creating new members in a bloody street-war with the Citadel.
Citadel offered healing where it could and protection at least where it could not, increasing its efforts to bring law and justice to the other guilds. For a while they controlled the entire mid-section of the city, destroying hundreds of monsters, undead and evil-doers in an attempt to create a balance.
At this time the Silver Scale for the first time appeared to be running out of money and desperately delved into risky options on the Soul Index for the first time. This led to a massive fluctuation in the economy, which in turn both aided during the booms and hindered during the crashes. The Silver Scale lost a lot its members to suicides and ‘mysterious disappearances’ which were considered suicides.
Incidentally, the Guild of Silence for the first time ever took contracts on loan just to balance the playing field.
Finally, the Dread pirate Avery Reist, did what any self respecting pirate would do. He ran at the first sign of trouble to his armada and without the restraints of the rest of the Council began raiding the coasts of neighbouring nations. This continued until they were so angry with his crimes they besieged Shallow in order to somehow prevent the constant harrowing of his visits.
Eventually, Barastyr and Nivocante formed an alliance and agreed to stop fighting, they used their combined might on the Council to hunt down and arrest Yarwick and scold the Guild of Palla.
After this membership of the Council was moved from five members to seven. The competition now rarely enters the realm of the five High Guilds, or the personal lives of their Council members and leaders, but is instead contained to those lesser guilds. Everyone, especially the members of the five controlling guilds, find this much more amicable to business in the City. No additional Towers were constructed though and the other two smaller guilds that change frequently occupy two halls at the base the towers, known affectionately as the ‘knuckles’.
The Five High Guilds and their leaders are as follows;
Barastyr as head of the Amici is the oldest member of the Council. This is not surprising as he founded the Council in Shallow’s infancy over 3,000 years ago.
The Avatars of Severance
The Avatars of Severance are once mortal beings who through legendary acts have ascended to the power of the Gods. Originally there were many more Avatars, each only claiming a single aspect and domain. However, mortals and Avatars alike are ever ambitious, and as such the pantheon has shrunk as old Avatars have been severed from their power. These wars between deities have torn the very realms of Severance asunder many times. As the Avatars have grown in power these battles have become ever more complex and have been known to span generations of mortal lives. No-one truly knows what sparks the ascension of mortals into the Avatars,although many have theories. All that is truly known is that once a being begins a path to becoming an Avatar it will more than likely end in Severance and as a consequence a reshaping of the realms, usually paved with the blood and heroism of thousands. All magic is drawn from the purviews of the Avatars and all aspects of life seem to be in some way tied to them. Although, scholars of Tacit, Anan and Lex have begun to theorise that there may be many unknown Avatars…or even theoretically more powerful “elder” Gods, which for lack of a better term, have been labelled Ancients.
The Avatars are worshipped, praised and cursed across all spectrums of all socieites. A mortal will often find himself . The Avatars no-longer walk the mortal plain and instead make use of near ascended beings and manifestations of their power known as Heralds as their representatives. Each Avatar often has at least one Herald per aspect he controls, although this is not always the case. Some of the Avatars have more than one and others have no Heralds at all. Like the laws of Ascension, the rules governing the Heralds are unknown. The Heralds often lead the most important missions and tasks which an Avatar might set out, when priests and sworn-warriors are not enough. However, the Heralds contain a fragment of the Avatar’s power, thus they are not used extensively or without caution. The power of a herald is second only to the Avatar themselves, and more than once a mortal has become a Herald of another Avatar before they themselves have take the risks of ascenion themselves.
Anan,Fate Sealer, Avatar of Destiny and Time, Patron of Prophets
Cel, Lady of Night, Avatar of Moon and Stars, Patron of the Lost
Cymera, The Veiled Sleep, Avatar of Dreams, Illusion, and Intoxication, Patron of Addicts and Chymists
Hallow The Wayfarer, Avatar of Dying and Journeys, Patron of the Living
Jasar,The Master of the Scales, Avatar of Seasons and Weatlh, Patron of Farmers and Merchants
Jin, Guardian of the Dead, Avatar of the Dead, Patron of Ghosts and Undertakers
Finnast, The Broken Mask, Avatar of Plague and Madness, Patron of the Ill
Lex,The Usurper, Avatar of Machines and Secrets, Patron of Engineers
Malachai, Tyrant of Steel, Avatar of Thunder and Metal, Patron of Blacksmiths
Mock, The Black Jester, Avatar of Misfortune and Tragedy, Patron of Fools and Assassins
Sang, The Sentinel , Avatar of Light, Blood and Bone, Patron of Healers
Tacit, The Watcher, Avatar of Knowlege and Memory, Patron of Scholars and Historians
Palla, The Wandering Child , Avatar of Loss and Suffering, Patron of Orphans and Prisoners
Rake, Chance Taker, Avatar of Luck and Theft, Patron of Thieves, Liars and Gamblers
Rime,Storm Lord, Avatar of the Ocean and Storm, Patron of Sailors
Vael, The Fallen, Avatar of Treachery and Betrayal, Patron of Traitors
Valice, Queen of Thorns, Avatar of Nature and Cruelty, Patron of Hunters
Victus, The Rising Hero, Avatar of Glory and Honour, Patron of the Just