the War of the Chosen ended with the defeat of the powerful wizard Menemronn, by
the Kaŭrrhem and an alliance of three
human nations that resisted his reign.
But one tribe got corrupted by the power the remnants of Menemronn posed and
deceived some humans and as well some
elves to become his successors. The leader
of these humans was Kyras the Dark who forged through
sword and magic a realm to
face Korweynites and
Kaŭrrhem in the struggle for dominance of East
Nybelmar: "The Second Shadow Realm". The
descendants of these times were later called Murmillions, which means "Men of
the Delms" in Santerran, and even now they form a
strong and dangerous nation living in the cursed ruins of Menemronn's fortress.
Murmillions are of slender appearance, with pale skin and dark hair which
ranges from ash blonde to black. Their lifespan is somewhat longer than the
average human and some say that even some
elven blood flows through their veins,
though of dark alignment. Murmillions are obsessed in gaining power and fame,
thinking that this is the way in which they please their main goddess,
is similar to Thalisien, the God of Dreams in Santerran belief, a God of mind
and dreams. Their clothing are mostly made of wool and dyed in dark, however
shimmering, colors. Purple and blue are their favourite colors together with
gray and wine red.
Coat of Arms/Sign.
The clerics and nobles of the Murmillions use a special kind of writing, based
on glyphs - these are supposed to be sacred as their reading/interpretation is
the only way in which one can connect with the truth of the Gods or the
aura, cár'áll. Their coat of arms is a purple banner on which the glyph of
Mari, the Glyph of Dreams, is painted. Sometimes, on special occasions, the noble
families have the honor of adding on the vertical margins of the banner smaller
glyphs that build a statement of wisdom, a "motto" that constitutes
that family's signature of pride. Santerran Murmillions have kept the Glyph of
Mari but they are painting it on a black banner. They want to point out that
Mari is herself merely the manifestation of the Unspoken and that the free
Murmillions are following a wrong path, being too much closely linked to
Menemronn the Purple and, obviously, his mistakes.
Murmillions live in the southern valleys and hillside of the Burning Mountains,
in the hills that are now called the "Nightvalleys". Many myths tell
about the dark and deep caves that can be found in these mountains and serve
them as strongholds for refuge and shelter. Their territories extend till the
coasts to the east and west and the plains south to the Oberion-Thaleseth
The hills of the Oberion Thaleseth pose the southern border to
those living there are now part of the High Kingdom though only loosely
controlled by the Santerran king. While Free Murmillions and
Murmillions drifted apart over the centuries there are still enough bonds to
cause unrest in the northern borders of the High Kingdom, a feared and hated
enemy by the Free Murmillions.
Murmillions are a folk of strong will and short temper. In their belief in the
Goddess Mari theyre willing to do much
which appears weird, arrogant or cruel to other people, but in their own way
they can be loyal comrades and warm family members. Murmillions are quite
fatalists, as they do believe that some things are meant to happen. For instance
this very reason is what stands now between Santerran
Murmillions and Free Murmillions. The last great war against
Aca-Santerra was started by them as
many believed the Year of Darkness would mean the rebirth of the Dark God,
Mari's spouse from beyond the world. They
were defeated by Asthalon the Black, the
only Santerran king said to be aligned to
Mari. That's why a lot of Families
accepted Santerran rule as being part of that
destiny: they were defeated because it was meant this way. Of course, many free
Murmillions are now regarding the Santerran
Families as "Fallen Families" and they are accusing them of tendencies to "speak
the name of the unspoken", giving their "unfree" status as an example of what
could happen if one tries to deal directly with the Dark One.
Some wise man once said that Murmillions are split between darkness and light,
seeking the one by obeying to the second. The religious rituals of
main Goddess of Murmillions, are always seemingly chaotic and are very
mind-influencing, driving the participants often in states of hysteria, deep
meditation or hallucinations.
They often use various rituals to determine the future, but those are more
misleading and subtle than the ones known from the priests of
Thalisien and are also more detailed and presumably more powerful, if
interpreted correctly. Santerrans see
Mari more as a Goddess of illusion and
insanity than as one of destiny, thus being the antagonist of Thalisien.
Murmillions live in so-called draks which are houses built and carved
into the hillsides and rocks of the mountains often reachable only via one
artificial path or road. They serve as towns and fortresses at the same time and
are difficult to conquer. Draks are often built into high cliffs and consist in
a confusing network of stairways, passages and short connection tunnels. In
these draks, often the nobility and craftsmen - which are more or less one and
the same - live together with their family, their servants and other aligned
The other Murmillions live in small villages scattered over the hills. There,
often a family lives from herding sheep and cattle and some basic farming. The
houses they live in are halfway dug into the ground and covered with grass and
earth as roof. The first room is an open meeting place with a fireplace in its
midst around which the family eats and lives. Guests stay here overnight as
well. As taverns and inns are rare, this is actually the only way for wanderers
to find shelter in the Nightvalleys. From the circular meeting room normally
three, sometimes more, doors lead to further rooms, one being the storage room and
kitchen, one leading to a narrow stable for the livestock of the family and the
last leading to the private chambers. This is usually one big room divided by
thin leather or wood. Outside these, farms may have one small garden for
vegetables and herbs.
Murmillions dress in crude wool clothes which are, however, specially dyed in
mostly earthly and dark colors with a shimmer of brighter colors in them. Over
their usually single-coloured skirts or dresses Murmillions - men and women
alike - wear black leather vests, jackets, bracelets and belts often decorated
with silver. Depending on the weather a wide fur coat wrapped around the body
and often only fixed with the belt completes their outfit.
Murmillions also use black leather whenever possible. Black is seen as a pure colour,
similar to silver which is related to the stars.
Most of their jewelry, rings, necklaces or bracelets are made of silver. Gold,
precious stones - except the dark opal which is highly appreciated - are seen as
a sign of unjustifiable arrogance, not worthy of a decent folk.
Men usually wear their dark hair shortcut, with well-kept beards, sometimes,
when kept longer, with one or two braids, only seldom long and open. The women
wear their hair long and open often kept together with leather straps or hats.
During a war Murmillions dress in black brigandines entrenched with steel plates
around the shoulders, a half closed helmet that covers the eyes and nose and is
often decorated with various figures or feathers to make the warrior appear
higher. They bear a round shield and a scythar.
Murmillions live mainly from their livestock, eating the meat and making cheese
and other milk products. Grain for bread is also produced and every family has a
small, private garden which adds some vegetables to their daily menu from time
to time. Over time their demand for more food sources made them import food from
the southern regions along the Jerrah and even fish from the
islands of the
Murmillions are great mountain warriors. Most of them fight on foot, but
noblemen may invest in a mountain horse to ride on the battlefield. They use
mainly spears, pikes and axes.
Their most famous weapon is the scythar, the so-called "bladeaxe"
which is used by nearly anyone who has enough money. Its blade is curved like a
sickle, however at its tip a thorn points forward again. The bow between the
thorn and the rest of the blade is used to fend off enemy
swords and the thorn
itself - as is the blade - is strong enough to pierce most kinds of armor.
Santerrans later adopted this traditional equipment, including the scythar, and
hired Murmillions as mercenaries in their wars against Korweyn. They have
exchanged however the round shield for a great rectangular one and added several
light throwing spears to a warrior's equipment. Later a caste of their own elite
warriors would bear the name "Murmillions" for their expertise in
ground war. This is also a sign of how high Santerrans value Murmillion skills
in warfare, no matter if they are their allies or their foes.
Murmillions are excellent smiths and craftsmen and this occupation is held in
great respect amongst them (their nobility is actually formed mainly by these
criteria). They believe that the mastery of iron and craftsmanship are
related and different noble families pretend to hold different secrets of
linking magic to their products. However, they view the
magic of their artifacts as working only for
the one for whom the artifact was made. Thus their master warriors always have
personalized weapons (the form is
basically the same, but the various decorative elements differ, as well as the
glyphs, which are usually embedded on the blades). Also many Murmillions are
wearing secretely (under their clothes) various silver amulets inscribed with
glyphs, believing that these are helping them not to interrupt their contact
with the world of Mari.
Besides the noble families, there are also the commoners which deal with farming
and livestock keeping.
A third social class is that of the clergy, priests and priestesses of
all her manifestations. They are closely related to the noble families, each
cult of Mari being involved in seeking the best way to connect the "World
of Mari" (that of Dreams and Power) with
the "World of Exile" (that which is usually referred to as "real life"). Also
the clerics are keepers of the written knowledge (although every respectable
noble family keeps a private library in their draks), which is traditionally
printed as glyphs on leather scrolls - since the
Santerran conquest though they started to use paper as well but not for the
very important texts.
There is no obvious segregation of sexes amongst Murmillions though it appears
that women can only be found in dealing with housekeeping or various modes of
entertaining, or as a part of the clergy cults.
Murmillion's society may resemble to that of a tribal type, as there are many
noble families, each with their own traditions, structured by a clan model.
However they are ruled by a King who is always selected from one of the noble
families by a council formed by representatives of all the religious cults. Once
a King or Queen is chosen no one has the right to challenge him/her until death
occurs. After the "Year of Darkness"
Santerran Murmillions have given
up to this tradition and accepted the rule of the
Santerran High King.
majority stayed autarchic
though as Santerrans only intervene when civil unrest poses a threat to their
dominance in the region.
The King has the right to enforce the general laws of the land but he cannot
interfere in the various noble families' businesses as long as they don't stop
paying taxes or supplying the King's "Drakkars" (his personal army)
with soldiers. The main duty of the King in times of peace is to arbitrate the
arguments between the noble families and prevent any signs of civil unrest.
Originally, Murmillions are reclusive people, doing little trade and almost
never engaging in peaceful relations with other realms. However, since the
Santerran conquest, the south-western Families
began to change their attitude and be more open to various forms of exchange
while still maintaining much of their old traditions. Some of the Families kept
some contacts with the Free Murmillions (for acquiring amber or black opals in
exchange for paper or exotic foods) but keeping them in secret - mainly for
gaining an "advantage" over the other Families. They also trade some of their
weapons and other various products of
their craftsmanship to the rest of
The lands of the Murmillions are formed by mountains and high hills, with a range
of volcanoes (many of them still active - the Burning Mountains) far in the
east. Besides small portions of farmlands and vineyards on the high hills, there
can be found, up in the mountains, various mining sites producing mainly iron
ore, silver, amber and opals.
Festivals and Observances.
Murmillions worship Mari, the Goddess of Dreams, in all her
manifestations. They have many cults each worshipping
Mari in their own way, as they believe
that the Goddess is present in everything that
men are, or are doing. They believe that by dreaming they touch with
Mari's very essence, thus many dreams are
thought to be prophetic. They also believe in the existence of a second God -
thought to be the "husband" of Mari,
though his name is never spoken and his presence never revered. As he is the one
that holds everything, yet he is nothing but "an absence causing
Mari's presence". However, the
Murmillions' attraction to the black colour seems to be related to this absent
God, thus one can interpret the wearing of this colour as a means of
acknowledging his existence in silence, preparing the way for
This religious system prevents any grand festivals, as each day, and mostly each
night, is connected to the sacred world through
Mari's manifestations. However, they
celebrate some moments of the year as well as the main moments of their lives
but never outside their families. Also the choosing of a new King determines a
week of leisure throughout all the lands of the Murmillions.
The only exception to this are the eclipses the priesthood of
Mari is very
skilled in determining. This is seen as a sign of the Unspoken coming close to
the world and is accompanied by several days of frenetic festivals and fanatic
worshipping until the very day of the event. These signs have been sometimes
used as good reasons to start wars against the neighboring nations, be it the
Korweynites or, later, Santerrans. In the recent centuries, however, the
political impact of such occurrences has ceased.