Personal tools

Black Rock

From Mizahar Lore

Jump to: navigation, search
Black Rock
NotabilityCapital of the Dead
ImportsFruit, vegetables, grains, occasional lumber, glass
ExportsCraft goods, paper, fish

Black Rock is the city of Dira, Goddess of Death. The Black Isle was once a formidable volcano back in its day, but is long since inactive, a trait that most attest to a housewarming gift from Ivak and Semele to Dira when she was looking to settle down outside of the Ukalas. Now it is home of equal parts living and dead entities, including a smattering of all races Falyndar boasts and a lively grouping of Svefra that have made the isle their home. Outsiders may see Black Rock as a place steeped in death, but those that live there see their way of life as a blessing, for they have achieved a heightened understanding and acceptance of the natural end of one's own life, and those that wish to expand their knowledge and understanding of the topic are always welcome upon Black Rock.


The City

Some tales say that the island off of the coast of Falyndar is an uninhabited rock, and stories of its inhabitants are simply that - stories. Some say that the island is a mirage brought on by scurvy and time at sea.

Black Rock does exist, and is not so magical as the stories say, but there is a very eerie aura to the island that is often hard for newcomers to shake. The peak of Black Rock is often ensconced by clouds, while the lower regions of the island, either rocky coast or thickly choked marshlands are often covered in fog. This with the steady, but lessened rainfall that Falyndar gets on a regular basis makes the isle often invisible to those passing by upon ship, lending to its legends. For those that live upon the island, it simply takes practice and a keen eye to traverse the mist covered slopes of Black Rock, though the resident ghosts obviously have no problem with this, taking advantage of the environment more often than not.

It's not unusual, either, to see ghostly versions of animals roaming on Black Rock, as well as the real thing.


Since Black Rock is in the Southern Suvan Sea, the weather there is generally very pleasant and enjoyable, being in the perfect location where the sun's presence is powerful but no overbearing. However, it still receives similar whether patterns to the rest of Falyndar, thought often much milder than what hits the mainland. When hard storms pound the continent, Black Rock will merely experience lights showers of rain. If it is horribly humid and hot in the jungle, it will simply be warm in the city of the dead. While the dead are not as affected as the living there, all citizens appreciate the muting of the extreme weather by Dira.


No one knows when Black Rock was established by Dira. Standing on the borders of Suvan and Alahea, it was the home of a Watchtower and was a relatively small settlement. There was no flora or fauna there. Everything was black or muted, with sparse foliage usually only scrub brush and the ever pervasive reeds that take up the majority of the marshes dotted around the isle. It was a nearly lifeless, drab piece of land named only because of the watchtower that had been built there. The peak was simply there, and had been there for as long as any memory could recall.

The Valterrian divorced the settlement, if one could even call it that, from mainland, turning it into an island. Its reputation grew by whispers from the shadows, calling it a home of ghosts and the living that lived with them. None touched it with thoughts of war. Even the savage Myrians refused to touch it - Dira was one of their major goddesses; therefore it was not theirs for conquest. Those who have gone there and thought of taking advantage of it were never heard of again by the outside world. Some say they still dwell there... as Ashl coins.


For the most part, Black Rock is a peaceful haven. Dira, and by extension her Omens, make sure it stays that way. It is about balance and movement. The ghosts that reside in Black Rock, for the most part, understand that they are not to harm the living or ruin the peace.

Ultimate power in Black Rock indisputably belongs to Dira, but no one in living memory recalls a time when the Goddess had need of exacting punishment down upon an inhabitant of the island either living or dead. Most of the time the simple presence of her Omens is enough, and if not their retribution is swift, silent, and utterly merciless.

Despite this there are tensions across the isle due to the varied nature of the races that inhabit it. In a small bay on the east of the island reside the Charoda. In the rocky terrain around the peak of the isle live a few Myrian clans. The Sevfra take up the shoreline surrounding the Northern docks, while the largest marsh is inhabited by a small nest of Dhani Constrictors and Fresh Water Iyvess. Though the distinct hatred between Myrians and Dhani is dulled somewhat, both groups having lived on the isle exclusively for generations, it is still palpable when they come across one another. The Charoda tend to avoid the Myrians at all costs based on their reputation of killing and eating their brethren, while the Svefra don't seem to care about the racial politics at all. Though there is no immediate danger to any stranger, it is ill advised to be in Dhani or Myrian territory past dark as both races are defensive and hostile of outsiders unless they are ghosts.


Black Rock's economy relies fairly heavily on trade. Though the calm waters around the isle provide most of the living with ample aquatic sustenance, no fruit bearing trees or vegetables are grown on the island, and it lacks nearly all natural resources. Taloba and Charbosi are its two closest trade partners, Taloba bringing fruits, grains, vegtables and lumber, Charbosi providing crustaceans, seaweed, and many handmade goods. Wind Eagles bearing Inartan trader's tend to come once every other season to trade glass works. Even more rarely, Eypharian trade vessels will occasionally come trading cloth, spices, and other desert rarities. Despite Black Rock's lifeless looking environment it does have one plant in particular that encourages even far away cities to broker trade with the eerie isle, and this is the most prevalent plant in all of the isle: The Aenbult Reed. The reed is unremarkable save for the fact that it has a natural gum inside the plant, allowing it to be cut and flattened, wetted and multiple reeds combined without need for any other adhesive to seal the reeds together to form paper. Durable and long lasting the harvesting and making of paper on Black Rock is a small, but thriving industry. This combined with fishing, as well as sculptures and crafts made by both the Charoda and the Myrians create enough outflowing of trade goods to keep the supplies Black Rock needs flowing in. The inhabitants of the island are all productive individuals, keeping the industry of the island flowing smoothly, and most live in a state of relative affluence.


The currency used on Black Rock, and only on Black Rock, is the Ashl. An Ashl is a black coin made of a strange, smooth material that is always cool to the touch, no matter if it had been sitting by a fire, in the sun, or in a pocket. Ashl are about 1.5" in diameter, and have no markings on them whatever. An Ashl cannot be scratched, or otherwise damaged or broken. For some strange reason, an Ashl cannot be taken off of the island. Those that have tried have found the coins to not be in the pocket they were left in, but upon return, they mysteriously are with their rightful owner again.

No one truly knows exactly what an Ashl is made of, though rumours say that the Ashl coins are actually pieces of troublemakers or the irredeemably malevolent, and that is why the Ashl cannot be broken nor taken off of the island.


Industry on Black Rock is mostly limited to the paper trade and fishing. That being said you can find potters, carpenters, carvers of every kind, and various other artisans. Jewelry is very popular on the island, but is usually made from hemp, seaweed, and shells and bone rather than precious gems.


Unsurprisingly, most of Black Rock's living inhabitants are Dira's cultists and those who choose to live there. Some stay to study the dead, to interact with them, and they are tolerated - so long as they do not harass the ghostly citizens. The people who live there see Dira as less of a rampant psychopath who rejoices in wanton killing, and more of a balance-keeper. She does not rejoice in the senseless deaths, seeing them instead as a waste of Kihala's efforts.

Regardless, Black Rock is ultimately fixated on death - causes, effects, impacts, philosophy, the afterlife. Suicide, or self-sacrifice, is not unusual on Black Rock. For those off of the island, death is a tragedy. But here, death is something to be celebrated. Death is not the end, but a new experience and adventure. Most, if not all, of the inhabitants have morbid streaks, and are reverent of those that have died.

The living and the dead live side-by-side in Black Rock, sometimes with several generations of ancestors still living together. There are the ghosts that, for whatever reason, do not let go and decide to stick around - perhaps they are scared of letting go, of facing Lhex and the unknowns to come, and choose to stay on Black Rock because of its accepting atmosphere to the dead.


Black Rock's architecture is as varied as the races that live upon it. At the peak of the island lies Dira's Spire, the Watchtower, and a few other stone buildings that can serve as retreats to visitors, and house the Omens. Many homes are built into the rock of the island and spiral down from the peak. The homes are marked by odd and unique doors, sometimes metal, sometimes wood, all different from the one before. A few Svefra live in these types of homes, but most either live on their boats or in more odd buildings constructed from lumber and driftwood, often also possessing odd mismatched doors. Out in the largest of the marshes on the island live the Dhani whose homes look much like the Svefra's, made from amalgamations of found wood and the little lumber trickling in from Taloba, but they are set on stilts so the Dhani can reside within the marsh. Most of these home have wide open middles allowing the Dhani to slip in and out of the marshes with ease. The Charoda as a whole fashion their homes from coral in the bay, where no ships are allowed to traverse lest they disturb the intricate reef they have constructed.


Black Rock's fare is of less-varied supply than one might find otherwise. Fish and crustaceans are the main staple of those living on the island, save the Charoda, as are the maza flatbreads of the Myrians. Fruit drinks made from Myrian trades are popular around the island, the Svefra specializing in several fermented varieties. Chicken is less common, but it is not a rarity.

Great care is put into presentation and the mixture of tastes. Many chefs believe that the presentation and plating of the food enhances its appeal and therefore the taste of the dish. They also believe that the differing flavours should be in balance and complement each other. This way, the islanders make some interesting and appetizing dishes out of something as simple as fish, fruit, and vegetables.


There are a number of holidays throughout the year to celebrate death and to honor the fortunate dead. "Deathdays" are as celebrated as birthdays in Black Rock. Not all of the events described below are celebrated by all the races of the island, many are carried over from their individual cultures and celebrated in private, however, many holidays do act to fuse together the many cultures of the island under the wholesome relationship the island's inhabitants have with death.

  • The Day of Balance: Celebrated twice a year on each equinox, this is a holiday to remember the balance of all things. Most use it as another opportunity to celebrate the balance between life and death, but its true purpose is to celebrate the Goddess of the Sun and the God of the Moon on the two times each year where day and night exist in perfect equality. For the entire extent of the day and night, all twenty-four bells, the observers of this holiday remain awake to observe the extent of this balance.


  • The Day of Spirits is a holiday aimed towards the deceased and lingering—the ethereal and bound souls known as ghost. This holiday begins on the first day of Spring, and ends on the second. Day of spirits celebrates the presences of ghosts and their place, as souls, within the cycle. Soulmist is offered to ghosts partaking in the event as a show of appreciation to their perseverance that lasts even in death. Delicacies known to Black Rock are offered to the living as well to thank them for their appreciation and love for the dead.
  • The Rain Festival is held in the early stages of Spring, despite Black Rock's more mild rains, the island still gets a lot of precipitation and the Myrians especially celebrate Makutsi around this time.
  • At the end of Spring a festival in honor of Siku is held usually quite privately within the marshes the Dhani call home. To be invited is a great honor, though ghosts are obviously allowed to come and go as they please. Though this celebration is not as gory as the sacrifices that take place deep within Zinrah, the ghosts that have seen the proceedings say it still honors the Goddess greatly.


  • The Ishta'ar (Char) or The Welcoming of the Cycle, is a celebration the Charodae of the Western Bay hold on the 35th of Summer. It is nearly always on a rainy day (due to the Summer Monsoons of Falyndar being carried over to the island) and consists of seahorse racing, and aquatic games played in the morning and a more somber performance of the graceful underwater dances the Charodae are able to do in the evening. Though hard for most land dwellers to participate, they are always invited.
  • U'luia is a celebration of the beauty of the ocean and all that inhabit it, it is celebrated on the 56th of Summer, and this is highly celebrated by both Charoda and Svefra


  • Kihala Day: As any true worshiper of death knows, death would impossible without first being alive. To this end, a holiday was created to celebrate Kihala and the part she plays in the balance of the cycle of life and death, it is celebrated on the first of Fall.
  • Paean to the Eiyon: The living and dead may bring gifts of appreciation to the Eiyon on this day. This holiday is dedicated the observant guardians of Black Rock for their undying love and devotion to the cycle. In the form of music, and dance the living and dead show their thanks to the Eiyon, who are more than welcome to partake. Food is offered during this event, of course. This holiday begins on the fifty-first of Fall, and ends on the fifty-second.
  • The Svefra have a few days of celebration in the end of the Fall season in honor Laviku, Dira, and the island as a whole and its connection with the ocean and what it has taught them about death and the circle of life. All races and any ghosts are invited and many spirits are imbibed and songs sung on Svefra flotillas not far from the docks


  • The Arriving Night: During the first new moon of Winter, it is rumored that the blue flame atop the Tower of the Dead in Black Rock burns brighter than usual to the souls that are no longer living. This supernatural light seems to call to the spirits of the dead, and without the natural light of the moon, the Watchtower's light is even better appreciated by both the living and the dead. Every year, this occasion marks the arrival of the most new ghosts to Black Rock, giving some credit to the rumors.

That being the case, this holiday is most widely recognized by spiritists, Cicerones, and ghosts, though many others join in as well. The most fervent followers of the holiday spend the day time in silence in preparation for the darkness. Other observers will only whisper for the extent of the day while others do not see the day preceding the Arriving Night to have any significance at all.

As Syna’s work for the day draws to a close, those who are observing the holiday gather at the base of the Tower of the Dead. The holiday is not a celebration. Rather, it is a time of meditation and prayer for the lost souls in the world. Some will write letters with prayers for those souls, some will pray in whispers for them, and others will maintain their silence. Due to the dangerous nature of the Watchtowers, the usual guard of two Omens is increased to two dozen to ensure the safety of all who come to the Tower of the Dead to await the arrival of the spirits.

Throughout the night, a vigil is kept, and there is always at least one person waiting at the base of the Tower to greet any spirit that arrives. Usually though, there are many people and spirits waiting at any given time throughout the night. For the truest observers of the holiday, the vigil is kept by an individual all night long, and sleep is forsaken until the following night. Others will take shifts, and friends and family will ensure that someone in their circle is there to greet any newcomers. Dira herself will come hold the vigil on occasion, and when She does, She is there before any other and stays long after everyone has left.

When souls finally do arrive, they are greeted warmly. Ghosts will often take new ghosts under their wings and teach them the finer aspects of being an incorporeal being while spiritists gift the newcomers with vials of Soulmist. As the first souls begin to arrive, the silence is broken, and the night becomes livelier. The conversations are still usually held in whispers but are excited and friendly. If ever a malevolent spirit comes, it usually leaves of its own accord, realizing that the ghosts, the spiritists, and the Cicerones have little patience for evil, especially on this night of all nights. However, if a soul is heartbroken or scared, the gathering at the Watchtower becomes a beacon of hope, and many find a home and the beginning of their answers on this night.

On the years where the new moon lands on the final night of autumn, the Arriving Night is celebrated then. The red flame seems to burn brighter, and at the changing of the season, it is rumored that there is a flash of purple light that extends around the world, affecting even the great northern auroras, though this lasts for only an instant. When the Arriving Night falls on the turning of the season, there is a much higher immigration of ghosts than on other Arriving Nights.

  • Myri's Birthday - the first week of Winter is as it is in Taloba a celebration of Myri's birth and their race as a whole
  • Dira’s Eve: A holiday dedicated to the Goddess of Death. It begins on the 70th of Winter and ends the dawning of the next day. Rather than dance, sing, and feast—those participating may write a poem to Dira; one displaying affection, and deep understanding to death. It is said that Death awards an individual, whose poem she chooses. Yet no one knows when she appears, or what she awards.”
  • The anniversary of the Valterrian is marked on the last day of winter into the first day of Spring.


Black Rock has no organized military, nor does it have a need of one. Many of Dira's champions, alive and dead, reside in Black Rock, and should the need arise, would defend the city-island.

Besides... who in their right mind would attack Dira's Citadel?

Nonetheless, there are different units, if you would call them that, that work within the city and could be considered its military.

  • The Omens: The Omens are the city guardians of Black Rock. Wearing the masks of jackals, the Omens communicate through gestures only, they make no sound, nor give any impression of whether they are alive or dead, or male or female. After all, death is no respecter of persons - their faces and identities are known to Dira, but to no one else. They carry long staffs, with one end hooked like a shepherd's crook.
  • The Cicerone: are spiritists and wanderers that act as guides to newcomers to the island and mediums that seek to help ghosts pass fully into the next life. Marked by the distinctive cattle that they bond with and use in their work, it is easy to pick a Cicerone out of a crowd.

Locations of Interest

  • Dira's Spire: Located in the center of Black Rock, this is the tallest tower on the island, and it is where Dira takes up residence. It is made of black and white rock, some smooth, some rough, in a dizzying pattern that makes the tower seem even taller. Near the middle of the monolith is a large clock that signals the time and warns of the canal changes. The face of the clock is visible at all times, from any side of the tower.
  • The Watchtower: The second and last functioning Watchtower in Falyndar. It is unchanged since the Valterrian, made of black stones with veins of white throughout. It acts as a lighthouse, a timepiece, and a beacon... to the living and the dead.


The society of Black Rock is one that is extremely comfortable with issues of mortality, death, and the departed. It is somewhat religious, although Dira, Kihala, and Tanroa are sometimes considered above followers. Myri is generally respected as a close ally of Dira, and Laviku is highly worshipped as well.

For the most part, the living citizens are not a bunch of fanatics who hold routine suicide festivals, although there are such people. The dead have their own society, including, interestingly enough, counseling. The dead are gently encouraged to move on, or at least see about completing any unfinished business they may have left behind with their bodies. Both living and the dead interact easily with each other, and great respect is had for those who have passed on.

Almost all races who come in peace are welcome in Black Rock, but one exception are the Nuit. Dira's Harbingers seek to eliminate them from the Citadel, and anyone caught producing more is dealt with under the harshest extent of Dira's punishment... life as an Ashl.

People of Black Rock

Part of a series of articles on Death, undeath and the dead
Concepts Afterlife · Soul
Gods Dira, goddess of death · Uldr, god of the undead
Ghosts Spiritism · Possession · Materialization · Soulmist Projection · Black Rock
Nuit Daek-nuit · Sahova · Zarik Mashaen
Other undead Chained One · Wretched One · Desolate One
Factions Returned
Other Embalming