Realm of Kali

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Just SurvivingRealm of KaliCopyright © 2000 by Erin Willow

Aayaka walked with slow but steady steps through the Gate and into the dark area; what those of vulgar parlance called the Caves of the Blood Banquet. The Priest of Vishnu knew, more than most, that tranquility of the soul was the last hope of a cutter upon entering this place. Only then might one of the Dark Mother's proxies listen to his words; only then might he receive the requested aid against the Marilith and her raiding hordes--among the Gods of his people, the Dark Mother knew best how to deal with such forces. Aayaka's retainers were less steady, more worried, and their tension only increased as they made their way through a bend in the cave, and came to the Torchlit passage of the Hall of Skulls. Walls of severed human heads, some ancient, others with flesh still rotting, rose some 50 feet on the sides. In the ceiling other heads, larger and possibly tanar'ri in origin stared down at the party, hinged jaws locked in a shriek. The floor, where visible, was a white powder of pulverized bone, and pools of blood collected in puddles along the corridor.

Suddenly, as if in the blink of an eye, the petitioners were upon them, entering from a side hall. Numbering a dozen or so the maniacal expression showed in all of their faces, the black tar painted in the shape of a skull around their eyes, cheeks and lips sparkling in the shadows, swords drawn as they, the Thuggee, surrounded Aayaka and his two fellows. Aayaka stood silent and calm, patiently staring into the Thuggee leader's eyes and awaiting his response. The retainers, to Aayaka's regret, panicked. As soon as the two young men backed away and went for their weapons the Thuggee were upon them--all save the leader, who continued to stare into Aayaka's eyes. Aayaka's gaze remained strong even as he heard the screams of his fellows, sharp blades cutting into bone and sinew, splashes of the liquid of life hitting his face as Kali's worshipers tore apart the two men, dancing on their twitching bodies as the goddess did long ago, and taking choice entrails for adornment. And then, after countless minutes of dispassionate quiet, the Thuggee leader nodded his head and beckoned for the Priest to follow. Through miles of twisted passages and hideous visions Aayaka traveled, to meet with one of the Daughters of Kali, who would most certainly hear his request.....

The Black Goddess

In an Ancient Era, the Abyssal Lord Raktabija ascended to a power rarely known among the demonic. At the height of his reign he was said to control at least 8 Layers of the Abyss, and seemed likely to take more yet. For his army came from his own body; when struck by any weapon or magic, the blood that spilled forth turned into full legions of loyal tanar'ri, of a visage not unlike their father--a great Tigrish head, but with blue-green scales bursting through in pockets between the colored fur. They ran on four feline legs with two hands still to spare, and terrorized the worlds of the Vedic and Hindu powers, spreading disease as well as the sword to destroy whole villages and kingdoms.

The Gods tried to fight Raktabija, wounding him dozens, hundreds of times, but his armies grew even larger as the ichor in his droplets touched the Earth. In frustration, the Goddess Ushas knitted her brow in absolute fury and rage--and from this concentration of fury and hate came Kali the Terrible. The Black Goddess towered as a Mountain, a thunderous shriek emanating from her lips, teeth sharp as daggers and aching for flesh. Those offspring of Raktabija standing nearest the mighty Kali were consumed by the shockwave of the terrible cry, which reverberated across the Great Ring.

Those that remained looked on in terror at the Dark Mother. Her skin was black as night, hanging loose and gaunt upon her bones. Her three eyes pierced the souls of those who saw her, their dark red glower boding the Terror of the Ages. Long hair the color of the Raven flew wildly about her shoulders caught up in the swirling elements that mimicked Kali's rage. Staring at the horrifying vision, more tanar'ri armies fell lifeless from the terrible fix of her stare. With wild cackling and shrieks of bloodlust she advanced on the enemy, reaching out with hands like sharpened claws to grasp whole legions, dangling them before her hungry maw. The remaining children of Raktabija tired to escape, but the goddess merely unrolled a hideous and burning red tongue and swallowed them by the dozens, occasionally savoring the additional taste of an elephant that the demons had mounted. Nightmare-drawn chariots could not escape the ravenous hatred of the all-consuming Deity.

She then turned on Raktabija himself, piercing the Abyssal Lord in the side with her wide blade and lifting the impaled monster to her lips, draining his blood as an exotic wine, emptying his life-force into her body. When dry, the corpse of the great tanar'ri was torn asunder, limbs draped across the horrid goddess like finery, the skull and spine bent around her neck to fashion a necklace. She would use its flayed skin to drape her naked form. Drunk with victory and the blood of her enemy, Kali danced a dance of triumph, and the tremors of her feet shook the planes and the temples of the Gods. So fearful was this dancing that Indra, Ruler of his people's Gods, was implored to stop her destruction. The ferocity of the goddess' steps was such that the Lord of the Gods himself was injured, before Kali regained her senses. It is said that Kali waits for the Endtime, when she will dance upon the ashes of Creation...

CharacterAll is either purity or dark entropy...that which the Gods do not mark pure is to be destroyed, sacrificed, immolated, cast down and consumed. Let the darkness spread and the blood flow in a river, to feed and cleanse the body of the true warriors.

PowerKali, Lesser Goddess (Black Earth Mother), Kali is seen as both all-consuming destruction AND Mother/Protectress by her worshippers and those who follow the Vedic/Hindu Gods. In the former (and admittedly more common) role she is rage and unencumbered devastation, worshipped in blood sacrifice, war and the razing of existence itself. And yet Kali was derived from the Goddess Ushas (of the Dawn). And still respects and aids those of transcended purity, though this is a difficult distinction to reach in her eyes, or the eyes of those on this plane--those that have it AND can maintain it will be spared the ravages. Though chaotic evil and abiding in the Abyss, Kali maintains a loyalty to her pantheon and will occasionally lead it in an important crusade, especially if it involves the destruction of tanar'ri.

DescriptionThe Realm of Kali is largely underground in her Caverns of the Skulls, laced with the heads and bones of the innumerable opponents who have fallen in defeat before the goddess and her followers, including both the Thuggee Cult and other hideous beings who find beauty in destruction and death. Xaositects, Dustmen and of course the Doomguard maintain small contingents on the plane; they wisely stay hidden from high traffic regions, for although they are awed by and respect her power they know enough to stay a healthy distance from the consuming bloodlust. It is said the Doomguard relishes kidnapping Mercykillers and leaving them to fend for themselves in the caves, showing them the true definition of what it means to be without mercy.

In one large cavern the Great Tiger of Kali is chained to the wall, always ready for battle. It is 50 feet at the shoulders, and its handlers are charged with scouring the Planes for manes, Rutterkin and the occasional Glabrezu to feed the beast (not to mention foolhardy 'venturers with less than pure motives).

Charmed Immersion pools are quite popular spots in the caves. Filled with the blood of various beings as well as the potions and spellcraft of Kali's Priests, the pools are rumored to be burningly painful but also blessed--those who can withstand 30 minutes in the bath will find their flesh resistant to all weapons less than +2 for a weeks duration. Thuggee see it as a matter of honor to endure the pools; visitors usually find it a great deal more difficult.

Principal TownsThe largest Temple of the Realm is Khali-Ma-Ghatta, which actually rises out of the caves and into a great valley under a perpetual dark sky and full moon. All land rises away from the temple at a 30 degree incline, with the angle growing increasingly steeper until after many miles it is a vertical mountainous climb in all directions. BlackWater rushes down the hillsides in three rivers that meet and flow through the center of the temple and downwards into the caverns, deadly watersnakes and serpents racing through their currents---occasionally tigers and giant, ferocious mongoose which live in the Dark Valley will wander along the rivers and into the temples seeking food, whether snake or man. The Altars of the Temple are kept busy, blood sacrifices performed at least hourly, and on feast days hundreds of pulsing hearts have their drink poured into sacred skins to be passed among the followers of Kali.

Principal Nonplayer CharactersThe Eldest Daughter of Kali (who wasn't consumed out of the womb, as most of her siblings were) is Susulila the Blue (Pl/female/P10, F10/CE), named for the color of her skin. The size of a frost giant with the ferocity of a wolverine, she will at times start to drink the blood of still living victims, mimicking her Dread Mother. Yet she does see those seeking the aid that irresistible destruction can sometimes bring when directed against an enemy, and sits in a blood-soaked throne listening to those who brave the realms terrors with placidity, the truly fearless who understand Kali and her layer for what they are in the multiverse--though a hint of baseness is enough to bring her clawing at one's throat. It is said that the Infant Susulila ripped through the neck of the first cultist she fell onto after delivery from her mother, and the Laughing Black Goddess accepted her as worthy of continued existence.

ServicesOutside of the rare rendering of aid and the magical effects of the pools, this place is more nightmare than storeroom--though the Doomguard quarters in the caverns is said to offer quality weapons for trade, as well as a strong ale for those who need it after 15 minutes in the Layer...

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