A strange country ruled over by the Supreme Sorcerer Hutar. This at first glance seems enlightened but beneath that there is a distrust of female mages, ever expecting the Witches of Brazene to invade and for some reason enslave them. They are ever on the watch for witches driving them out or even stoning them in the streets. Male magicians are taken to an academy of sorcerers at age 11 and separated from their families until they have finished their training at age 18 and thus tend to be very knowledgeable on the topics of magic and somewhat less wise to the real world.
Much like Brazene with the exception of the ever present concern regarding ‘Witches’ the sexes are fairly evenly treated in Hutar.
Mages and scholars safe in their academies and strongholds or so they think. Possibly to curious about the darkness and not afraid enough of it
Magic in Hutar is an odd beast. To an outsider, the sorcerers seem more interested in the mechanics and logistics of magical energy than they do actual results, however, their precision has a purpose. Hutari sorcerers have long believed that it is possible to negate the backlash associated with magic, lessening it if not avoiding it entirely. Their spells are defined by ritual, complete with designs chalked on the floor, candles, chanting, and regalia, they take many days to arrange and are to be performed within specially prepared spaces. Everything is written down, from minor variations in the colour of chalk used to what particular shape the tentacle writhing in someone’s nightmares was. Many of the techniques they employ in this effort to circumvent what is considered an inherent part of magical talent, involve hours of meditation, adding to the time taken to perform even the simplest of spells. Some schools accept that backlash is a necessary part of power usage and simply seek to catalogue which kind is most common and whether the same spell always garners the same backlash.
Sorcererous training progresses through a series of circles, each level grants a student more freedom to act alone and greater access to the knowledge already acquired by their elders.
Hutari rituals are not concerned with minor uses of magic such as healing, rather they aim to alter the world around them and uncover its secrets. Another common pursuit is that of creating magical artefacts, there is a strong belief that magic is the best way to defeat the Sidhe, fighting fire with fire. They believe that the power they harness comes from Outside and that the Sidhe draw their strength from the same place. In some towers, there are whispered theories that the power of the Sidhe might be stolen if the proper spell could only be unlocked.
Hutari culture is based around a principle of balance, for everything done there is a cost. Although it is rarely spoken of, one of the purposes of the sorcerer’s study is to find a way of minimising this cost while attaining the maximum power. The practice of magic involves opening one’s self up to the darker parts of the universe, if an error is made here, the cost is exceptionally high. To defend themselves from the entities in the darkness that they probe, Hutari sorcerers mark their faces with protective designs and symbols. In general, the more heavily decorated a sorcerer’s face is, the more powerful they are. These marks must be visible, both to ensure the requisite protection and to display their defence to those around them. A sorcerer who does not mark themselves immediately falls under suspicion – at best he is careless and ill educated, at worst he is a changeling or already possessed by one of the creatures of darkness.
There is a strong belief in Hutar that calling on the gods for assistance is a sign of weakness and that each individual is responsible for their own safety. In part this is related to the practice of sorcerers painting themselves but it applies to learning more mundane self defence techniques and ensuring that one is sufficiently knowledgeable to either avoid or overcome dangers. It is acceptable however, to call on one’s ancestors, asking them for inspiration, discipline or strength of will. Because of this, ancestor worship is as close to religion as most Hutari get, although there are some recognised deities. A person must be aware of them to ensure they are not invoked by accident.
Towns in Hutar have mostly grown up around the academies since the proximity of the sorcerers is considered a safety measure against the fae. Aside from male children travelling to their academy (always in a different town to their home), and traders, there is little movement between towns. The people live a relatively settled life style where routine is more important than excitement. Those with little talent for magic, or women, who do crave something more than safety, tend to gravitate towards martial professions or hunting. They are the individuals who patrol the boarders of the kingdom and bring back game from the deep forests.
Not all boys born in Hutar have the talent for magic, neither does it flow in the blood of girl children born in the kingdom. Alas, lacking the ability required to wield magic does not prevent the desire for adventure and knowledge flourishing. A roaring trade is done by those adventurous souls willing to explore locations long abandoned to the mists of time and the ravages of the forest. When a sorcerer stumbles across reference to some ancient ruin in his latest text and finds the merest hint that there may be some great enchanted treasure or book of lore left, he turns to these brave individuals for its recovery. There are some, very rare, men who deign to leave their ivory towers and seek out their own treasures but, more often, those who do travel do so in a purely advisory capacity, leaving their companions to go on ahead at the slightest whiff of danger. Treasure hunters come in two main varieties, those who ‘donate’ their hard won artefacts to the academies for the prestige that comes with it and who hunt for the thrill of adventure alone; and those who are in it for the money. Whatever their motivation, the trade requires fleetness of both foot and mind if a hunter’s career is to last beyond their first discovery. They do not paint their faces in the same way that sorcerers do, the danger facing them comes from traps, wards, and their proximity to the Sidhe. The preferred method of protection is several feet of solid steel or a staff that can be used for purposes beyond simple violence. Never the less, rare is the treasure hunter who does not carry at least a few good luck talismans about them, usually dedicated to Zhurong or Erlang Shen.
Recently the Chos Skyong Hutar, the order of elite militia, or enforcers, who operate on behalf of the office of the Sorcerer Supreme to protect the Hutari state have seen a increase in their size, these often heavily armoured crossbow wielding militiamen are the personal fist of the Sorcerer Supreme.
Tianzun – Hutari scholars of such things state that Tianzun is the ultimate ancestor of all humanity (or at least of all Hutar). He created the world in a time lost to the mists of the past and considered it his crowning achievement in understanding all things. He has since withdrawn from his creation and, according to the latest theories, contemplates how he might raise humanity to the next level. He has no interest in what humans can achieve for themselves and has never been known to answer prayers. Some have suggested that he is dead, or at least moved on to some other project.
Erlang Shen – Legend states that Erlang has a third eye in the centre of his forehead. Most consider this to be a merely symbolic affectation however. Such mutation would put him as something far too similar to the Sidhe for comfort. He is said to be able to see the truth no matter what, piercing through to the heart of a riddle or puzzle. He finds the correct path and is not fooled by illusion. Although there are no records of Erlang Shen intervening directly in the affairs of mortals, he is called upon when translation or interpretation of a particularly tricky document is required…Or when an explorer thinks they might be facing a number of traps. Some also sacrifice to him before going into battle against the Sidhe, hoping that he will assist them in seeing through any illusion they bring to the battle field with them.
Meng Po – The goddess of forgetfulness. Meng Po is revered as the one who receives souls on death, she brews a tea that wipes clean all memories of past lives before the soul is reborn. Her presence is not considered to be a particularly comforting one however, she is fond of knowledge but hordes it for herself. It is said that she knows the secrets of every soul who has passed through her parlour. There are those who fear Meng Po, tales claim that she has been known to walk the earth and give her tea to scholars who have offended her or who know something she feels they should not. No one knows what she looks like when she makes these visits, tales have been told but they are considered to be lies since anyone who has met her is unlikely to remember what she looked like.
Zhurong – As a god of fire, Zhurong is considered an important warrior in the war against the Sidhe. However, to a nation obsessed with knowledge in its written form, his potential for destruction makes him a deity to be placated rather than worshipped. In as much as the Hutari worship any of their gods. Those of a more adventurous nature are more apt to call on Zhurong as a remover of barriers. Less subtle in his methods than Erlang Shen, he is never the less, effective in the extreme.
Wenchang – A god of learning, wisdom and scholars, Wenchang is a favourite among the sorcerers of Hutar who tend to keep at least a small shrine to him wherever they happen to be living at the time. Some legends say that Wenchang is brother to Tianzun and assisted him in the creation of the world, still others claim that Wenchang is the elder and proposed the project. Fragments of legends and stories passed down through the generations suggest that Wenchang has a library hidden away somewhere in his own realm, containing every word ever written.
The current Sorcerer Supreme is Lord Sullivan
The Sorcerer Supreme is elected by the heads of each academy. As far as the populous are aware, he is chosen for his power after some kind of trial. Of course, since those present at an ‘election’ are sworn to secrecy, nothing is really known and a lot of rumours have grown up around the position and the qualifications required for it.
Lord Sullivan himself is not exactly the expected image of a great scholar. He adventured in his younger days and bears several scars from exploits which did not quite go to plan. He spends little time outside of his own academy, although most point to this solitude as being a part of his sorcerous mystique, it is mostly due to the entirely unglamorous administration requirements attached to his position.
Hutar is a mountainous region with some of the highest peaks in the world, several major rivers also have their sources in the ranges of this kingdom. Although most of these rivers flow out of Hutar to irrigate the lands surrounding the major mountain ranges, the tributary springs also form three major rivers feeding a lake situated close to the centre of the kingdom.
The weather in Hutar is mild even in the winter, especially in the south of the kingdom, the passes remain open all year round and there is little snow. Although the mountains fend off most harsh weather systems, the high altitude prevents the humidity found in Brazene’s valleys.
“I am sure that the document says that the lost Kingdoms all worshipped Daemons however I can’t quite make out this last symbol here what do you think? “
Looks and Feel
Hutari clothing is based around a two piece set of a fitted top and either loose trousers or a skirt. Over this is a robe, or at least a length of fabric wrapped around the body to provide an additional layer. Amongst the warriors and treasure hunters of Hutar, the fabric covers the top half of the body, leaving freedom of movement for walking, climbing, fighting, and potentially running away. An over robe is added in colder weather, the fabric depends on both the preferences and status of the wearer, ranging from velvet, to silk, to fine wool, to simple felt, and even cotton thickened and stiffened with embroidery.
Favoured colours are shades of red and orange, often produced through the use of natural dyes. While the under layers are plain, the robe or fabric wrap (known as a sangha) is more heavily decorated. For magicians, the designs are important, reflecting the marks on their faces while others take patterns from nature; leaves, flowers, flames, and geometric designs representing the mountains of Hutar are all common. There are also family designs, motifs or patterns passed down from one generation to the next, a nod to the otherwise scattered Hutari approach to family.
For those who plan on going into dangerous situations, either ancient monuments or battles with the fae, the sangha is wrapped in such a fashion as to cross over the chest, this adds extra layers but also gives some padding for rigid leather or scale armour. War skirts and greaves are favoured for the lower body, offering some protection without reducing mobility.
In terms of weapons, simple and elegant is the mantra of the Hutari warrior, in fact, of any Hutari. Even the Sorcerer Supreme carries a staff that is more than a badge of office. It is said that he has not yet forgotten all he learned in his younger days and that the carved and polished branch is an effective weapon in his hands. Blades are unadorned and most often single edged. Their beauty is in the skill of their crafting. Most Hutari carry a small knife for practical purposes but concealed weapons are generally considered to be the sign of an untrustworthy individual, at least in the areas under the safety of an Academy. It is felt that someone who does not trust those around them to the extent that they carry a hidden weapon, must, by extension, be someone who is willing to use that weapon for nefarious purposes. Many consider the logic to be circular but the tradition still holds.