Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Accursed: Sycorax the Sea Hag

You thought I was going to use a Doctor Who still, didn't you?
 
At the end of the Bane War, five of the thirteen Witches of the Grand Coven retreated beyond the boundaries of Morden.  It was assumed by most inhabitants of the continent that these Witches had lost interest in the war and returned to their own domains.  While several of the five have indeed returned to their own domains, none of them have forgiven or forgotten the people of Morden.
 
Sycorax the Sea Hag is able to continue her dreams of conquest in anonymity.  Her domain is the sea and all that dwells within it, and so she has retreated to her underwater cavern deep beneath the Discordian Sea.  In drowned darkness she dwells, dreaming dire nightmares of plunder and madness.  She sends her Calibanoid servants to infiltrate coastal communities, her re-animated pirates to pillage, and her shark monsters to eliminate the recalcitrant.  What she cannot have, she will destroy.
 
The Sea Hag’s natural appearance is a tall and gaunt human woman of advanced years.  Her skin is a waxy green, but a simple glamour allows her to adopt normal human skin tones.  She can adopt the appearance of anyone who has died at sea; these disguises carry visible marks of their deaths (the drowned are bloated or have clothes that constantly drip water, the devoured bear the bite that killed them) and so she resorts to them with caution.  She can also adopt the form of any sea creature, though always with her own hook-nosed visage.
 
Goals
Sycorax is a creature of avarice who desires the wealth of the surface world.  What she intends to do with the gold and jewels she amasses is a mystery.  It is possible that – like an octopus – she simply hoards shiny things, but it seems more likely she has some long-term plan.  Perhaps the gems and coins are intended as a sacrifice for mystical power, or perhaps her insidious plan is to simply buy the power that conquest could not achieve.
 
Style of Magic
Command of wind and wave, power over fish and fowl and sea-beast, and the ability to enact terrible “sea-changes” on men and objects alike summarize the most commonly-seen powers of the Sea Hag.
 
Sycorax, unlike the Morrigan, cannot revive the dead, but she can achieve a similar effect by infecting bodies with the eggs and larvae of hideous crustaceans and mollusks that can animate the dead as a hive mind.  This is how she animates her zombie pirates and rot sharks.  Corrupting symbiosis between fish and human also seems to be the secret behind her deathly mermaids.
 
Those unfortunate few who have witnessed Sycorax conjuring her magic report that she invokes strange alien entities with irreproducible names – names that were not meant to be pronounced by a human throat but which flow from Sycorax’s mouth as if they were her native tongue.  King Caliban, first and greatest of the Calibanoids, is said to be her spawn from a union with these dwellers in darkness.  The Sea Hag weaves a treacherous web in attempting to command and use these alien devils; a single misstep and she might become the prey instead of the master. 
 
 


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