|by Victoria Yurkovets
Shiver Squad: Shock Troops
Gelid Squad: Silk-workers, infiltrators and spies
Bluster Platoon: Magical powerhouses, negotiators and administrators
Vernal Company: Amphibious Light Infantry
Floral Squad: Magically gifted Lordlings rejected by their peers
Sumhigh Squad: Sappers and Siege Specialists
Swelter Squad: Magical Ninjas and Assassins
There is a City, much known, but widely feared, a glittering promise. Buried in an inhospitable desert, concealed by enormous, shifting dunes, it glints like a mirage, a glittering oasis of green and glass, shining spires rising out of the sand. One would think it a hallucination until you walk the streets, wide and paved, passing the performers, the singers and jugglers, the tumblers and dancers, the vendors hawking everything from grilled lizard on skewers to glossy robes in the finest fashions. It is a City of wonders and glorious excesses, where any injury can be healed, where immortality can be found, where any pleasure, no matter how depraved, can be indulged. It is a drunken, swirling fever dream; it is the City called Al-Kanari, Queen of Oasises, Jewel of the Desert, and it is the City of the Verdaloths.
The Children of Sorrowful Jane, the Verdaloths were one of the few success stories the Sewing Circle had when creating the Yugoloths. Created to be healers and support units to their brothers, the all-female Verdaloths proved to be imminently capable at their jobs, healing and sustaining any Yugoloths they trained with. But when the Book of Names disappeared, the Verdaloths did not scatter to the winds. Instead, they traveled with their kin, supporting Yugoloth armies and providing vital support. They were prized by other Yugoloths, who spend large amounts of time and energy trying to court them.
It was that, most likely, that dashed the Sewing Circle's careful plans. For the Verdaloths possessed the one flaw that all Yugoloths possessed, the one thing they had learned from the Sewing Circle above all: greed. The Verdaloths slowly realized how valuable their powers were and how not only valuable they could be to other Yugoloths, but to outsiders. In fairness, it was probably only a matter of time before they followed their brothers and went rogue.
The Verdaloths left and as a group, went looking for a home. For a time they traveled, being greeted first with fear, then suspicion, then finally joyous celebration. They healed the sick, made the lame walk and the blind see. They were a blessing and people flocked to them. Not that they worked for free, of course. Even back then, getting a Verdaloth to heal you was expensive. But it was safe, effective and almost instanteous. Who wouldn't leap at such an offer? And so the Verdaloths became rich. But wealth attracts parasites and thieves, those who wish to take what you have. Additionally, when you're nomadic, it's hard to actually carry enormous quantities of wealth. There is a reason why nomadic people measure wealth in things that can move, like livestock.
So the Verdaloths concocted a plan. They could have easily settled in almost any city or nation, but they didn't want to be bound to anyone, nor have to follow anyone else's rules. So they went out into the badlands and found a tiny oasis out in the desert along a forgotten stretch of coast, visited only by the occasional smuggler's skiff and the herdsmen who brought their goats here to drink. There they built a City, a decadent, glowing metropolis where anything was for sale and nothing was off the table.
From there, the Verdaloths send out their emmissaries and their agents to promote business, collect debts and inspire people to come and visit them with tales of miracles. Injuries healed, lost limbs regrown, life extended, youth and beauty restored: all available, for an appropriate fee.
Unlike their fellows, the Verdaloths do not hold to a more traditional military-esque hierarchy. They instead are divided up into Sororities, semi-autonomous orders that function like the halfway point between guilds, social clubs and secret societies. Together, these Sororities govern the City of Al-Kanari, feuding and squabbling with each other, usually only cooperating in the face of an external threat or a sufficiently large business opportunity.
The Sororities are each run by a Matriarch. Each Sorority assigns their leader a different title as befitting the traditions and culture of the Sorority. From there, each Sorority will have it's own focus; some focus on aesthetic improvements and the pursuit of beauty, while others work to develop new and more efficient biological weapons, some investigate diseases and their interaction with life and various other pursuits.
The Verdaloths who carry out this research are the upper-tier of the Sorority, the Elder Sisters. Below them you will find the common Sisters, who help the Sorority run it's various businesses in the City, as well as assisting their Elders with research and other things they need done. Finally, lowest of all are the Daughters, who are sent out into the world to handle commissions, drum up business and maintain the reputation of the Verdaloths as miracle healers and a worthwhile investment.
Most of the time, if you are not in Al-Kanari, any Verdaloths you will meet are either Daughters or low-ranking Sisters who are out on assignment.
A Note on Appearance:
Verdaloths are the masters of flesh and bone- as such, they often look radically different from their base forms or how they did when they were born. Verdaloths are hatched from eggs and emerge with an insectile appearance, resembling large grubs or larvae. They then pupate, emerging from their cocoons in humanoid forms, though they keep their insect features, such as antennae, carapace, a hard shell, compound eyes and the like.
Verdaloths do not usually show off their true forms, though most of them don't think of their bodies like other mortals would. To them, their bodies are naturally plastic, so changing them is not so great a burden. As such, Verdaloths will change their form to fit new stages in their life, a change in social status, on the orders of a higher-ranked Verdaloth, or for aesthetic or practical reasons. More information on how a Verdaloth might look can be found below or by a particular Verdaloth's profile.
A Note on their status as Yugoloths:
The Verdaloths are content to assist their kin for reduced prices, but they are largely uncaring toward the other Yugoloth factions. They have achieved wealth and power and now they are loathe to risk any of it. They are on cordial relations with their Mother, Sorrowful Jane, and will occasionally assist her with her plans, for a fee.
The location of their Book of Names is unknown. Some speculate that it was abandoned in the desert, or tossed into a deep gorge. Others speculate that it is hidden somewhere in Al-Kanari, as the Yugoloths are covetous and selfish above all, and would never abandon a potential attempt to dominate others.