Churmish

Type: Warehouse

Entrances: Churmish is one of America’s most accessible domains. Stable cherries leading to Churmish are well-established and easily accessed in locations such as Lincoln Nebraska, Coeur d’ Alene Idaho, Waterville Ohio, Lewisburg Pennsylvania and Elizabethtown Kentucky to name the most popular. As a result, Churmish is one of the most explored and studied domains; cherries leading to it are considered much less valuable than any other cherries.

Transit Access: The Absear Train lines and Route 616 both connect into and out of Churmish. On rare occasions Empty Breath has been recorded to “bleed” into Churmish. Legend Kligrapp believes this occurs according to astrological underlaws while Dough Boy Roy hypothesizes a misaligned echo of Route 616’s transit properties. Both the Shuddering Storm and the Creeping Dollhouse also make appearances.

The Place: Once in Chumish, there were cities. There were skyscrapers with mirrored windows and bullet-shaped cars and smooth roads tattooed with signs and guidelines hinting at driving laws alien to every country topside. Now those cities lie in ruins. The skyscrapers are smoldering husks, home to terrifying creatures and the roads are the cracked corpses of giant serpents. Swollen rivers of brackish water literally boil. The sky is black and ash falls continually. Often those crashing for more than a few hours will leave covered in pitch-black soot and ash. It is a world destroyed. No one has yet found a witness to this catastrophe, but everyone seems to have a theory.

Outside the cities, a feudal society now exists. Shacks made from the litter of a modern metropolis are clumped into villages spouting massive statues, or cyclopean obelisks. The damned survive, but just. The damned toil and the screws scheme and fight amongst themselves. Most crashers find navigating the intrigues of this society as challenging as facing a stream of superheated ash and grit fired from the bladder of a trislather.

Monsters slink and stomp from the cities, belching steam and embers. Some are fearsome when they are stumbled upon like the Trislather, while others, such as the Soot Horse hunt and kill the damned. Some, like the Hammerhead Messiah have been studied by dozens and has never yet acted in a hostile or dangerous manner. The study of the “wildlife” of Chumish is considered important work, not only to those dedicated to scholarship, but also to anyone that has met the the Matchstick Ogre or Beautiful Larry.

Citizens: The peasants of Churmish are tough. They do not really sleep, though throughout a day, they will take several “standing naps” which their fellow villagers will interrupt after a minute or two. They are more resilient than normal humans, but can still be wounded and killed. While there are two examples of lost being killed in Churmish appearing in other domains, both accounts are from the same source, which is considered highly dubious by most crashers. The peasants of Churmish bury the dead if a body remains. If a soot horse carries one off, they will still make a tombstone or place an empty, but labeled pot in their doorless, burning mausoleums.

The peasants gather in villages to serve under one of many “Lords”. They farm the dying soil and wage war on rival villages, but mostly they build great monuments to their masters. In this, the citizens of Churmish are quite impressive. With primitive tools and without outside oversight or direction they build towering needles of stone and carve portraits of their demon masters in 20 foot of black glass. These monuments are central to Churmish culture and the focus of any pride or satisfaction – a luxury absent in almost every other domain. Usually, the peasants that survive find a place for themselves and a goal. Some are given over to the weird new religions, some sublimate themselves completely to their lord and many find an obsession in the constant constructions. The building becomes the goal in and of itself.

Most of the citizenry dislike crashers. Newer arrivals may still dream of being rescued, but once a citizen has assimilated into the culture and been repeatedly exposed to the lords propaganda concerning trespassing kidnappers with nefarious motives, hostility becomes the most likely response to inquiring armed outsiders. Few will resort to violence, unless their master offers rewards for captured crashers or if crashers start abusing the community.

Shackles: One thing dominates everything nuance of existence in Churmish, making it likely the most productive place to ever exist. Churmish is hot, in some places unbearable and surprisingly similar to many people’s idea of what Damnation should, but as a whole, just very uncomfortable until you stop. Any damned or crasher that sleeps or rests or even just stops to catch a breath starts heating up. First they sweat, then their hair singes. Clothes smolder and held papers curl and darken. Eventually breathing becomes more difficult and skin darkens and cracks. Many have been surprised and confused enough to slowly burn to death without ever knowing why. While this affects crashers, damned and even monsters alike, the damned of Churmish are able to endure the burn much longer than visitors, staying inactive for as much as minute or two. Crashers must be in excellent physical condition and limit their visit to hours at most is they wish to survive. Those in Churmish move at a deliberate pace, sometimes slowing, but never really stopping, because a flaming death is only a short rest away.

Screws: The nobility is notable for their protective attitude towards the damned. The lords value their peasantry not only as servants and soldiers, but truly show a sense of obligation and duty for their well-being, as far as that can go within the brutal landscape. In fact, the peasantry seems to be the only affection the nobility has. They hate each other. They vie for land, power, prestige and the damned themselves. They usually hate crashers as trespassers, agitators and thieves, but they can on occasion find use or delight in interactions with crashers. Lord Listrell of the Grey Reach still keeps an open invitation to Hagen McClelland or anyone that can get his E-meter working again. Most lords publicly express hostility towards crashers and ask that any crashers be ignored, captured or killed.

The Lord’s animosity to their own kind can be used to a crasher’s advantage, but not clumsily. These are not cartoonish thugs that jump at any fabrication that implies their enemy’s misfortune. These are the kind of guys that sup with their enemies. They respect diplomacy, etiquette and grace. Intimidation and threats have proven to be disadvantageous. Not surprising, considering many abilities have been attributed to the Lords, including the ability to set a person ablaze from a distance, rupture bullets still within a gun and render water undrinkable.

The lords are diverse in appearance and structure, but of the 43 verified and studied, all have been moderately humanoid in silhouette, if not actual structure. Additional limbs and facial features are common as are thick, black skin, inhuman stature (8.1 foot average) and wreaths of flame around their heads. The lords dress lavishly in elegant silks and most wear a crown or carry a scepter to symbolize their authority.

The Lords do appear to be the only creatures with the ability to rest without harm. They accommodate others by using transportation when leaving their castles. Some riding minimalist steeds without head or other biological characteristics; just slabs of featureless torso with varying numbers of stilt-like legs.

Landmarks:
The Burning Graves are the only place shared by all the lords. A graveyard of mausoleums without doors filled with ceremonial jars to honor the bodiless dead. Firestorms meander continually across the these hills burning nothing but visitors.

Notable Demons:
The President is thought dead. This demon once ruled Chumish and was thought a fool by most lords. Little else about him is known.

The Man of Dogs is a savior figure among the damned. He travels the land with guardian dog-angels, punishing the disloyal and carrying, for a time, the righteous in his arms, where they can sleep without pain or harm.

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