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I've been thinking about potential NPC's for Black Marsh and although it's probably far too early to be doing this in great detail, I don't think it would hurt to begin to design the rough outlines for certain NPC's (I'm talking political leaders, military commanders, etc.). Argonians - and non argonians - who play an important role in the province. It would be especially helpful for when we begin to design the quests in greater detail. Anyway, just something that I came across in my head but it's certainly something to think about, if not now then in the future.
Covenant of Sithis: Location - LIke most tribes in Black Marsh, this faction is named after and centered around the Shadow Tree. Their village is very isolated and few ever make it there. Background: For generations since the raid on Oblivion the Shadowscales had been in preparation for events that had yet to take shape, the coming of Umbriel. Strengthend by the Hist, renewed in their resolve, the leaders of the Shadowscales eagerly sided with the An-Xileel and walked the front lines of a long awaited war. Through cunning, sabotage and strategic precision the Shadowscales became one of the key factions in ensuring as much of Morrowind was infiltrated as possible. Even beyond the scars of war and epic battle, silent campaigns and mysterious deaths proved invaluable to the An-Xileel cause, and with many Shadowscale members vigorously pursuing their hated rivals in the Morag Tong some came to call this time "The War that was not fought" for so few no its true history and depth. Yet their devotion, and their sacrifices, would prove destructive to the Shadowscales of legend. With deaths mounting and birth rates plumetting it was not long before many of their elite members had been lost and new recruits had suffered indescribable torment making them unfit to serve. As an honor for all they had done, many of the injured members of the Shadowscale were allowed to serve as royal guards in protection of the King. At first, few paid it little heed, for the Shadowscales had been heroes and even those who had not yet tasted their end had their purpose. With efforts in Morrowind raging to their peak, it was expected that soon the An-Xileel would begin to withdraw for they had no desire for conquest. More Shadowscales began to mature, and those who were not drawn to the greater battle in the North stayed in service of the King. When political rivalries and dissident groups vanished like whispers in a raging storm, the Shadowscales had been there. When foreign traders eager to establish new markets with the fledging nation were found skinned and hung from the gates of Gideon, their killers suffered a fate far worse that none ever saw. The power of the Shadowscales proved vital to ensuring the stability of the An-Xileel's nation and gave confidence to their King. And in the depths of the Marsh, the elders of the Shadowscales felt the first twangs of discord and the first hints of the Shadowscales demise. Anti-Lukiul sentiment continued to grow, pushing hardline believers to abuse and torment their own kind in ways even the Dunmer would have found barbaric. Eager youths who had little knowledge of things and less patience for ways they saw as ancient began to experiment, troubling strict An-Xileel councilors and priests so much that new laws and tradtions were laid down. Still the Shadowscales grew, and with so few caring to sacrifice their lives for the decaying Brotherhood, those in service of the King became a silent legion catering to cruel masters. No where in Black Marsh was this more apparent then the training facility of Archon. There, tutored more in methods of torturing their own kind than following the path of Sithis, an entire generation of Shadowscales was tainted by the An-Xileel forcing the elders to demand it's "closure". The excommunication of the Shadowscales had begun and by its end only a handful of both sides remained. Those who favored the An-Xileel and the King became the foundation for the Scaled Guard in service to the Royal Court. Those who still walked the path of Sithis faded from memory and formed the Covenant. Philosophy - While Death is certainly the core of this group, their relation to Sithis actually extends well beyond the rather macabre sideshow that was the Dark Brotherhood. Much of their basic beliefs are not all that different from those held by the Psijic Order and known as the Elder Way The Elder Way is a philosophy of meditation and study said to bind the forces of nature to the individual will. Specifically tho they focus on those forces of nature that will best aid them in their larger roles as Peacekeepers, Counselors and Assassins. This creates a more monastic order than the Shadowscales, one whose strength lies not simply in killing but in a system of belief that acknowledges the importance of ending lives that are a greater threat than can be allowed. Elders of the Covenant : "White Eyes" In their meditations, and through visions granted by the Hist, they came to see that the ways of the Dark Brotherhood and the Shadowscales had long been compromised. Not simply by "Imperialists" or the depravity of the Dunmer but at the core of their beliefs. To the White Eyes far too many of those who claimed to serve Sithis only truly served their own interests or killed without thought. Unlike other groups, they also quickly recognized that the attitudes towards the Lukiul was self defeating and would ultimately hurt the Argonians and the Hist. While many of their order were calling for a full withdraw from Argonian society and a return to hidden path they walked during the Era of the Shadowscales, a few organized their beliefs and approached the King. Through negotiation and diplomacy some strides were made, tho unfortunately for the persecuted Lukiul even the King had little sympathy. Instead he forced the Royal Court and the An-Xileel to relax their attitudes towards foreigner interests enough to allow outsiders some freedoms within the nation. While many of the Covenant are older Argonians, some are simply assassins that retired and devotees of Sithis, but all have spent years in silent meditation. Sitting alone outside, staring into the void, and "listening" to the Symphony of Silence they claim to find a sense of peace. It is their belief that once one hears the Symphony then one many find their way to it more easily after death. They may join with it and transcend the Argonian view of a soul to become part of the Hist. Symphony of Silence: Energy has a unique resonance as all physical and spiritual matter does, a song in the cosmos that has always existed and always will exist. Through deep meditation members of the Covenant of Sithis can learn to feel the energy of this Song as "vibrations", giving them a unique perspective of the events taking place around Black Marsh, and to a lesser extent all of Mundus. This also applies to direct interactions, making them very keen observers of those they deal with and what words they speak. The Symphony, however, means so much more than an early warning system. It is the voice of the Hist rising in glorious cadence, it is the hammering rhythm of Lorkhan's heart beating out the primal desires of all existence, it is the joyful song and haunting tragedy of all things that all strain so desperately to hear. There is perhaps no greater evidence of this than the Covenants sacred belief in a concept that best translates as "The Heart's Death". (Love) Current Enemies: Peace Keepers - The Shadowscales once functioned as a form of law enforcement for the King of Black Marsh, tho it is clear that at times they themselves were as much judge as they are executioner. When the King's illness began to steal his vitality and the members of the Royal Court forced the closure of their training facility in Archon it became standard practice to use the privately recruited members of the Scaled Guard to enfore their desires. Since that time something of a shadow war has started between the two groups and now with assassinations and retribution killings on the rise many quietly fear that the greatest threat to Black Marsh will come from within. The P.O. and the Morag Tong - I would hope to see at least a shadow of both these groups represented in Black marsh for their own reasons. The P.O. could have what would best be described as a "Listening post" in cities like Gideon or Soulrest and with the Velothi influences of Archon there is no doubt in my mind that there would be at least one Morag Tong hideout/base in that area.