- "We are Magisters of Stygia, boy,” the woman who’d just spoken, a cold smile on her face. “Even heroes kneel before us."
- ―Heroic Interlude: Injunction
Their banner is gold and grey, set with two pure white cranes, known as Redress and Retribution, the patron spirits of Stygia. They are Lesser gods that had settled in the heart of the city when it was first built, millennia ago. This was established as fact by Hanno, who Recalled a hero present at the battle against these lesser gods.
Back in ancient times, Stygia took half of the infant Free Cities by force since they were the only force on Calernia that had standing army. They occupied them for decades until their army tried to force a general on the throne. This lead to rebellion and eventually a law that forbade all freeborn Stygians to take arms.
The Black Knight, with the help from Assassin, overthrew the government by killing key figures and playing opposite factions against each other. In the end, he installed a Magister most favorable to Praesi interests - roughly forty to twenty years before the story began.
Prior to Tyrant coming to power, Helike would occasionally engage in skirmishes against the Stygians and the Atalante. The Exiled Prince (Shining Prince at the time) was leading some of them. When Kairos declared war on the other Free Cities, Magister Zoe was the Stygian delegate. In the end, the Stygians allied with the Tyrant and sent their slave armies in a joined assault on Nicae.
Its slave phalanxes, the Spears of Stygia, were famous on the continent for unflinching obedience and having had fear scoured out of them by the concoctions and sorceries of the Magisters. They are some of the finest infantry on Calernia. The Stygians did not retreat or hesitate, for the leather cord around their neck could choke them in an instant should the person owning them wish it.
The Speas or Stygia have closely shaved hair. They are branded with Miezan numerals to denote their rank. The higher officers are called the First Spears. Most of the older slaves are schooled in the matters of strategy and tactics.
The Magisters themselves are capable of sorcery, used to fighting against heroes and capable of repelling an assault. While they were ultimately defeated by the White Knight’s group a dozen of them managed to hold the Knight himself and almost defeated him.
People & Culture
The Stygians have a talent for condescension. They worship the lesser gods known as Redress and Retribution. The patron spirits of the city speak in the dreams of those they deem worthy though a slave has never been graced with such favor. Nonetheless, all men of Stygia live with that hope – even those who are not men at all, by the laws of the city.
All of the Stygian spears were in a constant state of wonder around children. They were made magically sterile during their conditioning, for their masters believe that while sex was a useful reward their soldier-slaves should never have their loyalties split by families of their own.
Their governing body is known as the Magisterium. All Magisters are mages, and only gained the title by showing power and ruthlessness.
Stygia has a twenty year cycle at the end of which the old soldier slaves get discreetly butchered and the new ones finish their training. According to Cordelia, the Empire owns the ruling coalition of the Magisters, body and soul. Literally, in some cases.
- There’s a running rumor that the Black Knight once toppled the Stygian government while drunk.