Zoleth, The Herald of Scars

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Ta’Akaix’Zoleth’akeh Zo’ra
The Herald of Scars
Zolethhive.png
Identified by their scent and exoskeleton color:
Unbound: (RGB 101, 0, 21)
Bound Warriors: (RGB 121, 0, 21)
Bound Workers: (RGB 111, 21, 21)
Bulwarks and Breeders: (RGB 115, 0, 21)
Bound Bulwarks: (RGB 97, 0, 21)
Notable locations: Caprice, Tau Ceti

The proclaimed ‘Warrior’ Lesser Queen of the Zo’ra, she embodies the Zo’ra ideals of warfare and has stylized herself as one of the Hive’s greatest commanders. She is known by many names: The Queen of Warfare, The Herald of Scars, Mother of Victories. Stories are told of how other Lesser Queens are often aloof and untouchable, but Zoleth’akeh is on the front, calling for war.

She has been labeled a warmonger by some because of this. Indeed to the galaxy at large, it may seem that way, but Zoleth’akeh does not hate peace. She is just not stymied by its disruption. To her, it is the height of wisdom to make war when it is needed and to make peace when it is not, to not cling to idealistic notions that cannot exist. Even before the Exodus, Zoleth’akeh was legendary among the Court of Queens, one of the only cross-hive diplomatic bodies to exist upon old Sedantis.

Her Realm

The Virtual Reality Zoleth hosts glorifies the victories of the past. It is described as an enormous monolithic cavern with countless stories of tall moving bas-reliefs, depicting the mighty struggles from Zo’ra past. Throughout it, Vaurcae of old, and those few yet to be born, constantly train for their roles within the Hive. Training can take countless forms, from modern battle tactics to espionage, to molecular biology, and solely depends on what the Hive determines is needed for the Unbound. The few Workers within this VR often maintain vast historical records of the battles of yore, raising important figures in those conflicts up as heroes to be idolized. They have also been pouring over the countless new weapons introduced to them since their contact with humanity, documenting their form and function.

The dead warriors of the Zo’ra often choose to remain here, in their virtual afterlife, continuing their service in perpetuity. One of the most striking features of this Virtual landscape is its center, a massive scale representation of the known galaxy. At the will of those given access to it, It can zoom into any sector of the galaxy, and model that location if the hive has access to the information needed. In a great circle around it, the repeated phrase in ancient Vaurcese Li’etak Vak’klaztoz T’akilozk’iek, which translates roughly into basic as ‘The Everchanging Battlefield.’

Her Brood

Composed mostly by Warriors, Zoleth’s brood has been the most negatively affected since their arrival to Tau Ceti, with nearly half the Bound Warrior forms having been culled for either diplomatic purposes or lack of resources.

As of now, most of her remaining brood reside upon scorching Caprice, with all of the remaining bound warrior forms under close supervision by Biesel officials within a large surface garrison that humans have called Dis. The Bound and Unbound of Caprice have often focused upon cavern excavation and k’ois production, and their efforts were fundamental to ease the k’ois famine of the Hive. Architectural feats such as the construction of New Sedantis are reminiscent of the old Zo’rane glory of the past, with thick layers of regolith shielding from the surface heat and radiation.

Warriors that are meant for active combat are particularly tested. More than any other brood, the training they undergo is brutal, with multiple deaths in Virtual Reality being commonplace for each Za. Organized battles that require a Warrior to survive are common, as death means redoing the entire simulation again. The result of this training is a brutally effective fighting force, one that commands respect among the Hives and beyond. Even when not on duty, Zoleth’s Warriors may bring themselves to participate in other violent simulations or blood sports, with ‘deathmatches’ in the Realm a fairly common activity, particularly with those that follow The Method. Plenty of them serve or have served at the Tau Ceti Foreign Legion, being one of the broods with the most presence in terms of active legionnaires.

Workers are not always meant to keep archives of the Hive and the battles, but are also known to be spiritual guides, with Shapers not being uncommon. Perhaps because of Zoleth’s own ambitions, the Modern Pantheon is a widespread religion, and one of the biggest breeding grounds for new priests is located inside her Virtual Reality. Many of Zoleth’s Workers are now also participating in engineering and architectural feats across Tau Ceti, as the complex tunnels of Caprice are mostly done. Though Vaurcesian architecture is often seen as strange and alien to humans, it has been regarded as practical and some projects have shown interest in incorporating some of their design philosophy elements.

Bulwarks of her brood are probably the most abundant in Bound populations. While traditionally a brood of warriors, Caprice has required a lot of construction work and thus a demand for heavy lifters arose. The Unbound Bulwarks are usually engineers, assisting in public works for New Sedantis or the other cities of the Zo’rane capital colony.

Xakat’kl’atan

One can argue that Zoleth has one of the highest rates of Xakat’kl’atan in the Zo’ra Hive, and two have been celebrated for their teachings even amongst other broods, even with their names having caught the interest of human researchers too.

Ka’Akaix’Iotiex Zo’ra

Ka’Akaix’Iotiex Zo’ra, Zoleth’s personal Archivist, is famous for memorizing the living history of the Hive. It is known for its acumen in recalling even the most trivial of details from the long history of Sedantis and the Zo’ra Hive. Iotiex has been said to pour over the lives and deaths of every single soldier of every single battle it can get its hands on. It achieved its title of Xakat'kl'atan this way, offering a ‘Totality of War’ experience to the Queen, and those few Za or Ka taken as its pupils.

The most famous battle that it has totalled would be the decisive conflict at the Ryitu’kya Abyss, the turning battle of the Great Hive War. Still a young queen then, Zoleth and her forces had marshalled a force a million strong and held to reinforce the natural subterranean land bridge between the Zo’rane Continental plate and the shared plates of several other hives, already consumed by the Lii’dra menace. Outnumbered and outgunned, this conflict is still studied to this day as a masterclass in critical thinking, and strategic warfare. As loss here would herald the beginning of the end for the Zo’ra hive, Zoleth herself was present in the fight, at one point engaging two enemy bound warforms at once. From the cavern ceiling to the air, to the bloody ground conflict itself, Iotiex left nothing out of its recalling, painting a bloody picture of war that continues to mesmerize and horrify to this day. Iotex disciples are known for sharing the Hive War Myth with human researchers, and are able to recite it in Basic, even if they prefer not to profane it by doing so.

Za’Akaix’Morz Zo’ra

Za’Akaix’Morz Zo’ra is a renowned warrior for its incredible ability to adapt immediately to rapidly changing situations. Whether this ability stems from the motto of ‘The Everchanging Battlefield’ or caused it is a topic of debate. Morz contributed to the development of The Method, a martial art employed by Vaurca warriors. Aptly named, this is a method for disabling and killing opponents with brutal natural savagery, employing rapid shredding with use of the Vaurca’s powerful mandibles, causing severe lacerations and penetrating aggressive strikes.

Za that follow Morz are often subjected to incredibly large-scale tournament stages inside VR named Reacting Crucible. Similar to human video games, the Za in question must face a simulated, fake ‘enemy’ Za in an arena that changes shape, size and environment at random intervals. One particular stage can last between a split second and thirty, but the fight ever continues. These tournaments can last long periods of time depending on how many make it through each round. Every consecutive round, the difficulty increases through the ‘enemy Za’. What was once a small group of lumbering, slow pawns can transition into a brutal horde or a squad of lightning-fast assassins. At the later rounds, mimicries of the Za would serve as opponents. The purpose of this is not to test or contest or compare warriors, but instead to provide a method of fun, both in spectating and participating, and serve as a method of tutelage. There is always a logical and easy method of defeating opponents —commonly, use of the changing environment—, a point encouraged by the fact that the high-scorers often got cheap wins by kiting enemies into dangers, be it pits, spikes, molten rock, or even a simulated precise orbital bombardment.

Recent Events

The attack of the Lii’dra has caused Zoleth to redouble her efforts in the construction of their new home. Caprice, despite its relative population in comparison to the other planets of Tau Ceti, imports more steel and glass than any other world, except for Biesel. Massive amounts of capital are spent, with this economic boom being felt across many of the smaller businesses and private shipping enterprises across Tau Ceti that can afford good heat shielding.

Separate from this, the brood have taken it upon themselves to also resolve the domestic issues that plague Vaurcesian life within Tau Ceti. Opting to have no confidence in the legal systems, Zoleth’akeh ordered the creation of kill teams to assassinate the leadership of several notable gangs upon Mendell. These attacks were seemingly successful in stopping an extremely bloody gang war, but with the assassinations revealed by a fellow Queen, the revelation has caused Tau Ceti’s legal and political leaders to question whether or not a Vaurca Queen could be held accountable for crimes even as a citizen. As of today, no charges or crimes have been brought against Queen Zoleth’akeh.

Vaurca broods
Zo'ra Zoleth, The Herald of Scars · Scay, The Hidden Queen · Vaur, The Liminal Queen · Xakt, Queen of Corpses · Athvur, The New Goddess
K'lax Zkaii, The Sleepwalker · Vetju, Iron Queen · Leto, The Seeker · Vedhra, Princess of Configurations · Tupii, The Surrogate Queen
C'thur C'thur, Queen of Masques · Mouv, The Recondite Queen · Vytel, The Just Queen · Xetl, The Voracious Queen