This week, in my “editing and going over older articles phase” of doing things, I am revisiting one of, if not my #1 favourite article, about the nation of sentient-magic items, Corlak – Which is set in my rpg campaign world of Easthalen. When I first made the article, I had not decided much else about the people who was there, but knew they were not like the others of the world, for multiple reasons. Eventually, in a true shower-thought moment, inspiration hit me – Giants! After much thinking, this made more and more sense – even with the power the Transformation gave them, using Giants, with the various sub types as clans and duties, such as the fire giants typicaly being security and protection (but not forced into, just encouraged), the storm giants the leaders and politicians etc.
Corlak, land of the sentient items
At the time of writing, there are, in the land known as Easthalen, 12 Great Houses. All but one House is in control of a particular nation. Some are large, some are magically advanced. The 12th “House” is the Archivers, officially they have no control over any nation, their only land that of the area called in the common tongue the Vault, which holds the most potent of magical artifacts, knowledge, and technology. The other 11 house-nations, whilst not in outright war, are involved in covert activities, spying, and espionage with each other. Minor skirmishes do occur, but full-blown war is extremely rare since the Great Barrier was raised. One of the reasons for this is that the last war almost wiped out one of the Great houses and threatened to do the same to many of the others. If it was not for the house-nation of Corlak, in effect, sacrificing their bodies to contain the magical energy of a spell going wild, it would have spread far and wide, destroying organic sentient life of all types wherever it encountered them. The house-nation of Corlak is a strange one today. Its “native” population is, for the most part, in-organic. In fact, every native of the house-nation is a sentient item, each with their own personality, goals, hopes and fears etc. Its soldiers are weapons and armor, it’s scholars are books and tomes, the miners are tools and so on. Exactly how Corlak figured out what needed to be done and how they managed to transform its entire population overnight into sentient items is not 100% understood, but has been confirmed by the Archiver Inquisitors that the Spell Cascade (as the runaway wild spell is officially known) was what provided the power to do so.
It is believed that the population of Corlak, who was considered to be one of the most generous nations before the Transformation, choose with an almost 100% of the population voting yes to the act that would forever change them. Before the Transformation, Corlak was a relatively small nation, but potent in both power and diplomacy – There was a saying at the time that if your diplomat or negotiator wasn’t from Corlak, they were not worth using. The fact they are a nation of Giants of Easthalen was also very helpful. It was put to the population that the Wild Surge sweeping around the world was growing in strength and needed containing. A few naturally abstained. This was to be expected and they were charged with rebuilding the nation afterward, if possible, and to look after the children and those who were not able to vote, for various reasons, such as the ill and mentally broken. When the ritual was activated, it drew in all the power of arcane energy of the Wild Surge, drawing it into the willing participants. In a matter of seconds, their bodies were disintegrated and their souls left adrift. The next part changes depending on who you ask. Clerics say the Gods took pity on the nation and gave them new bodies. Other say it was part of the spell from the start, a few that it was a lucky roll of the cosmic dice. Whatever the reason, the next part surprised the rest of the world. Each lost-soul had an item they used most in life. As mentioned before, the soldiers had swords, the scholars had books and so-on. The first few days after the Transformation was of chaos for Corlak. Every lost soul found themselves in a new body, with new abilities and powers they had to learn. Some items could move through a form of flight, others could not. Only a few could speak or communicate with the outside world and some were driven mad by the loss of their organic bodies. The Survivors, as the ones who didn’t get transformed were called, became the items caretakers. Those who could not move, they moved, they counseled the ones who needed it and helped the Transformed into controlling their new powers. Soon afterward, the neighboring nations found out about what happened to Corlak. Aid was sent to help the survivors and the newly awakened sentient items. They provided aid where they could and sent scholars and sages and their own magic users to study what had happened and if it could be reversed. About a month after the Transformation, a few overconfident barons thought they could just waltz in and claim the land as their own, banding together to form a large army of several thousand troops. This in itself was rather brazen due to Corlak being surrounded on almost all sides by mountains, with few natural entrances. They received a very rude awakening when a small army of a hundred or so Survivors turned up, each of them wielding several potent and sentient magic items and weapons and armor and more. It was one of the few times in recorded history that Corlak fought in combat. The battle lasted less than 10 mins and every one of the attackers was killed in a rather messy fashion when several of the more potent sentient items lost control of their powers. Luckily, the Survivors, who were starting to call themselves Caretakers were able to direct the power surges towards their enemies. Since then Corlak has never been attacked overtly by an outside force. The Caretakers look after the land and the items, treating them as if they were still alive. Each Item-Person that can’t move or requires assistance is assigned a Caretaker, with many of them looking after more than one Item-Person at a time. The goal is to have each Item-Person assigned their own Caretaker. Some do not require this, but for those who want it, the help is there and there is no shame in asking for help. Each Item-Person tries to live their “life” as much as their current form allows. Weapons act to defend and attack, books research and so on. In many ways, nothing has changed, just the form of the citizens who live within the nation.
The Second Miracle
Over time, a few curious things began to be noticed about the Item-Persons. The first was that for many of the items, the more they used their powers, the stronger they got – If this was noticed in a “normal” person you would say they had been training and so on. The next curious thing, one that shocked the nation and the world, was when a new item-person was “born”. It started when two IPs were used to make, what they believed at the time to be a new, yet mundane item. Within seconds of the item being finished, it began to display all the hallmarks and symptoms that were displayed when the Transformation originally occurred. The Archiver-Inquisitors, with their potent magic and psionic powers, were able to discover that the soul in the new item was not damaged, nor was it one of the Transformed. It was a new soul, previously unseen. Without realizing it, they had created a new life, a new Item-person. They had created a child-item. This new development both delight and shocked the world. Luckily, the new soul matured quickly, in a matter of weeks what would take years before. Those first few days were dangerous as the new sword had no control over its abilities. Soon afterward another child was born, then another, then another. Each in a different form, but each having two “parent” items. If two, or more, Item-persons were used to make another item there was a chance for a child-item to be created. The more potent the parent-items, the greater the chance of this occurring.
These new child-items were the same as their parents, in terms of the souls within (with the exception of the accelerated maturing) When news of this process reached the outside world, there was some panic, some delight and some indifference, in almost equal measures. Then came the horror stories. These new child-items were being kidnapped, stolen, treated as if they were nothing more than potent items, rather than what had generally been agreed by the Conclave of the Great Houses (CoGH) that the sentient items were , in essence, people in a new form. The Rulers of Corlak, A collection of item-persons that were almost on artifact levels of power, made a statement “Return our children….or else we will take them back…by force…” The Conclave of Great-Houses , both out of historical respect for Corlak, sympathy for their plight and a bit scared of what a population of upset giants backed up by sentient and powerful items could do, did everything they could to help return their children. Some of the Lost were mentally permanently damaged.For them, being treated like an item damaged their psyche beyond repair. Many recovered but still had , what in others would be psychological problems. A few of the Lost have never been recovered to this day.
The Great Edict
After the horror stories of the Lost had surfaced many people changed their opinion of the Transformed. Social pressure grew, anyone caught using a Item-person without the IPs permission was treated as slavers would be in other countries. The Archiver-Inquisitors developed new spells to help in this task. The CoGH, laid down a new law, one of the few times in history that all have agreed, although there was some resistance from a couple of the houses, but they eventually relented. The nation of Corlak would be re-recognized as a Great House. The Item-Persons would be treated as in the same way as other non-items. Being in possession of one and not being a Caretaker, or having the item-persons permission would be a high-crime, which in some places means death.
In the current times, the nation-house of Corlak has grown in strength. They have managed to perfect the birth-creation process, even though it is much slower when compared to the , lets say, orginal method. Items-Persons are not automatically immortal or indestructible. A few of the original items are now classed as Artifact-Persons. When someone ascends to this level, there is a great celebration held throughout the land. This happens roughly once every 100 years or so, although in one year it happened twice when a pair of bonded-daggers achieved this feat. Corlak still continues to be a nation loved and respected by others. They have no desires of expansion and still assist others in matters of diplomacy and negotiations. To have an Item person and their Caretaker in your court is a sign of high status in many courts – a few conflicts have been stopped by the mere presence of an Artifact-Person. As part of the Great Edict, Corlaks’ Items-persons can never be officially used against another item-person, without the express permission of both Corlak and the Item-Person in question. Some items have registered themselves as mercenaries or privateers, but for the most part, if they encounter another item-person in the field they will attempt to not damage each other. Accidents and so on do occur and when an item-person is killed or destroyed, it is a time of great sorrow, for as was discovered, they cannot be resurrected or reincarnated in any way. With potent powers, the Great Edict and the Archiver-Inquisitors on their side, the small-population of Corlak is one of great power. Yet, in the back of everyone’s mind is one recurring thought.. What do we do if they decide to go to war…
My World Anvil page/game world, Easthalen, can be found HERE. It is updated often , as and when I can.