In Nomine Revisited: Fort Kanaloa

Fort Kanaloa

There is a section of Hades that was clearly designed and laid out to be a seaport, complete with an artificial harbor and coastal fortifications.  There is, of course, no ocean in the celestial plane – at least, no ocean now – so the Port District instead looms over a barren plane of rock, stretching all the way to the metaphorical horizon.  This being Hell, any useful equipment or materials were carted off long ago; but the buildings themselves remain. And of them, Fort Kanaloa is easily the most important.

It is not a particularly well-favored building, seeing as it was clearly designed to be the primary defense of the port in case of a seaborne invasion by Heaven*.  The fort stretches for easily several miles, taking up the entirety of what was once a breakwater and is now a sheer cliff, and its dirty grey stone barely contrasts against Hades’ ever-present smog.  There are no real windows, only narrow gaps in the walls where unknown weapons presumably were once kept.  

Inside is an almost endless grid of rooms, stairways, internal fortifications, all lined in the same dirty grey stone that almost seems to suck up what light there is.  All the senses, in fact, seem muted.  Even smells attenuate quickly over distance, here.

As the above suggests, Fort Kanaloa is still in use. It is the place where the Game puts what prisoners they have that they might find a need for later.  The system is very basic: a prisoner is brought to a cell, walled inside, and then abandoned.  If the prisoner stays put, nothing further happens.  If the prisoner decides to break out, then Fort Kanaloa’s special Rules come into play.

The first thing that the prisoner will discover is that there are no visible guards.  No visible guards, no obvious security systems, no paperwork:  being sent to the Fort is apparently the Asmodean equivalent of being tossed in storage, and forgotten.  The prisoner will have the run of the place, subject of course to the opinions of the other inmates. Their interactions with the others will quickly lead to the second thing that gets discovered, often painfully: there are Three Rules.

  1. No stripping of Forces.  Fighting is permitted; ripping off pieces of souls is not.
  2.  Do not leave.  There really aren’t any doors, anyway – but there are places where an exit could be fashioned.
  3.  Do not gather in groups of more than twenty.  This is possibly the most viciously enforced Rule of them all.

The Three Rules are posted in every room of Fort Kanaloa, and failure to follow any of them even once results in what appears to be a savage beating the next time that a demon is alone.  The demon will have no memory of the actual beating, but will feel the aftereffects for quite some time.  A second failure? Nobody knows what happens to the now-missing demon, but it probably wasn’t nice.  

However, aside from these Rules, nothing else seems to be forbidden.  Song use – although there seems to be a potent metaphysical block on communication in or out of Fort Kanaloa – sedition, treason, thoughtcrime, punning: the Game doesn’t punish it, and there may even be some demons at Fort Kanaloa that might actually believe that they don’t write down infractions, either.

The inmates have, of course, banded together in a nigh-infinite number of gangs, organizations, and cliques: while death or maiming is actually quite rare at the Fort, mere violence is not, and having an extra pair of eyes can be helpful.  Besides, there’s not much else to do except indulge in factionalism, as resources are rare (although the occasional storeroom of junk is still found, even today).  Inmate groups usually either coalesce around those with powerful Band, Word, or skills / Songs / attunements: those with useful tricks can do reasonably well for themselves.  It should also be noted that roughly 15% of the inmates at the Fort are actually damned souls: the Rules do not make any exceptions for them, which means, freakishly enough, that Fort Kanaloa is one of the few places in Hell where mortals and celestials can deal with each other on terms that are not entirely unequal.

So what’s going on?

It’s half efficiency and/or laziness, and half sociological experiment.  The Game doesn’t really do much in the way of imprisonment – they certainly don’t care much about rehabilitation – so they tend to take a minimalist approach to the process.  If they don’t leave, don’t destroy each other, and don’t violate an arbitrary directive chosen because three Rules has a better look to it than two Rules, who cares what they do? Let them commit treason all they like, inside: they’re the Game’s to do with any which way, and their bad example won’t affect anyone else.  This last would not be enough to buy tolerance from Asmodeans, but there’s the “sociological experiment” to consider: the Game is quite keen to see what self-created Rules arise when external ones are lacking.  

Besides, some of the tricks and makeshifts created by the inmates to make up for the lack of resources sometimes end up being of interest to those on the outside.

*Try not to think about that too much. As a mortal, you not only don’t have the right kind of brain to comprehend the nature of the celestial plane; you don’t even have the right kind of physics.

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One thought on “In Nomine Revisited: Fort Kanaloa”

  1. Reply to Footnote: Agreed! When contemplating the question of a naval invasion from Heaven my puny mortal mind didn’t even stop to think about the question of physics but merely started chanting, “Boondoggle! Boondoggle!”. Obviously, I have underestimated the honesty of infernal bureaucracy. ^_~

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