Serenity lives and breathes the ancient superstitions of the Bayou. They adorn their walls and doors with voodoo trinkets and other items of irrationality. They have been taught by the forerunners of Serenity that only their faith in these traditions shall gird them from the dark reach of The Black Dream. And so it is no surprise that Lt. Col. Stryker and his Honor Guard stand at the pulpit of authority of this haven. They are the living embodiment of the collective fears and beliefs of the citizen population. Stryker and his guardsmen care not for the mundane challenges of surviving a large population of survivors through the Dystopia. Important issues like procuring food and water or improving the quality of life for Serenity citizens is left to the people. His only concern is The Sickness—keeping it out of the haven and expelling it when it does slip through. Stryker’s rule is modeled heavily around the zealous (and sometimes monstrous) practices of the CDC Witch Hunters. The ends always justify the means to the CDC, and they always tie their agenda to a religious ideal to foster dogged loyalty. In this case, Stryker’s brutal authority has been sanctioned by the people who hold to the belief that the “1000 count” is sacred and must be protected at all cost.
There are three major citadel towers in Serenity surrounded bound to one another by walkways over a hundred feet in the sky. Each citadel is surrounded by lesser buildings that connect at lower levels. Each citadel is governed by a different House of affluence. The lesser buildings are inhabited by lesser live cells who have sworn fealty to these reigning powers. Each House has one person appointed Cabal by Stryker. These Cabals (another position influenced by the CDC hierarchy) have been vested with the power to rule their respective citadels as they see fit, provided that they always report to Stryker and ultimately serve his will. These Cabals are responsible for handling the daily challenges of life in the Dystopia—food, protection, quality of life, etc. And each Cabal has his own way of tackling these unique challenges.
The Citadels are generally a refined and cultured place to live. The citizens of Serenity have put much work into making the upper floors something akin to a dystopian paradise, for whatever that’s worth. They have salvaged some of the lost wealth of New Orleans and adorned the top levels with pictures, statues, lavish drapes, and other items of affluence. They have planted rooftop gardens and raise small animals (though such things come nowhere close to being able to feed the entire population of Serenity). However, as you descend to the lower levels, the luxuries fall away like a distant dream, and the nightmare of the Dystopia begins to take root once more.
Each citadel has its first two floors completely submerged in black waters. Radiation has tapped into the swamp and breathed new life into a number of horrific abominations. The Sickness breeds and multiplies in the waters and that has become a very real threat to Serenity. The most prominent citizens of Serenity live above the squalor, but the lesser cells in the smaller buildings are daily faced with the growing ranks of the “Bayou-born.” They cling to a strange power to protect them—an offshoot of magic born from the some of the lost Voodoo traditions that sleep in the watery grave of New Orleans. These are not the traditions that have been passed down by Magi elders, but there is strength in it nonetheless. The denizens of these sub-levels are also teaching these rites to the refugee camps on the outskirts of Serenity to help gird them against the dangers of The Sickness as well. As the voodoo tradition continues to gain influence, the citadel folk continue to speak about their growing fears in hushed whispers. While they hold some of the same superstitions, they cannot find the will to summon power from it, and so they are afraid. The talk in the skyline is that the denizens below use these powers to commune and mate with the radioactive monsters lurking below. Perhaps they hope to entice Stryker to bring down his wrath and condemnation on them.
There is one power that Stryker exercises that we have not yet discussed yet. When a citizen of Serenity perishes, it is Stryker who decides which House will be allowed to increase its population to account for the loss. As you can imagine, there is much political posturing and bribing in this process, for numbers equate to power. In perhaps the most uncomfortable (but necessary according to Stryker) is the Rebirth Ceremony. Once a House is chosen, that Cabal must call forth the man and woman who will deliver this new child into the world and they’re required to consummate Stryker’s will before him, his Honor Guard, and the Cabals. If the woman is not with child by a month’s time, a new House may be chosen.
More questions… these are getting a little more specific… so again, be as detailed as you like!
- Who are these three Houses?
What are their names? How do their beliefs and traditions differ? What are areas in which all three agree? Where do their differences cause bitter enmity?
- Who are these Scavengers and Traders?
In the last post the idea was suggested that certain gladiator-like champions would be called to go out and acquire food and other necessities for the citizens of Serenity. I rather like this idea, but is this something that a specific House does, or do all three practice this? Is it a collective effort between all three Houses, or do these champions compete with each other? What are these individuals called? How are they chosen? Are the “best” chosen, or as suggested last time, is it the criminals and those who have fallen out of favor that are chosen as an act of redemption?
- How does Stryker rule?
Stryker’s paramount concern is the Sickness and the 1000 person superstition. So… does he take some kind of daily census? Who makes up this Honor Guard? For that matter, do they count towards the 1000 person population limit? Basically… what is a day in the life of Stryker?