The country of Sizhan is now populated by a people that were typically nomads for much of their history. These tribes were collectively referred to as the “Schlumetz” which roughly translates into “Strong Feet”.
The Schlumetz subsided by herding Chilltuk, a small bird that would appear to be the cross between an ostrich, and a lizard. This resilient being would allow the tribes to extend their travels far and wide, and due to the fact that the animal was generally promiscuous it was never in short supply. They settled in a region that is split up by dry deserts and cold glacial ranges, between these two climates exist a tropical environment where most of the population lives. The country’s hero, who gives the country its name, was “Joshua Sizahn”. He was the one that was able to make “crops grow from the dead earth”, to this day many in Sizhan believe he was sent from the gods.
The legend goes that Sizhan (who was on the run from the Hiburgian empire for political treason) lead his people into the desert to start anew. After many months his people were beaten, starving, and afraid, they did not know where to turn. In an act of desperation and avarice, Joshua offered to sacrifice his own son to appease the gods of dirt and soil. Many of his people threatened to rebel if he took this route, claiming that he was no better than the Hiburgian savages they had chosen to flee. Ignoring their petitions Joshua took his son Reitac to a shallow mound in the dessert and slit his throat. He buried the bloody corpse in the ground and said a prayer:
The cluttered environment of the afterlife soon found itself aware, and hungry for more blood. The decay of every cell posed no threat to its existence, and so this being blossomed the insidious notion of sacrifice. For only then would a mush appease it’s craving of immortality, as well as the desires of the god, who wanted nothing more than to feast. Scraping the soil off its bones it reassembled itself with disdain.
This put his people on the brink of mutiny, but when they awoke in the morning there was a large tree that had sprung where the bloodied corpse of Reitac had been buried. The tree bore large dark fruit that is rumored to have sustained the entire tribe. This tree was named the “Reitac Tree”.
The spiritual principles and guidelines for the nation for Sizhan were set into motion the next day as the people decided how best to prepare the fruit from the Reitac tree. More would need to be grown to continue to sustain the tribe. On that night five more were sacrificed, however instead of sacrificing those of mystical blood- such as Reitac- these new sacrifices were chosen from the lowest caste of society, enforcing the idea that in death anyone is helpful. An alternative thesis is that these individuals were to be sacrificed regardless, and it was beautiful happenstance that their blood could grow the trees as well.
Since ancient times modern technology has permitted us to learn how to grow the Reitac trees synthetically without the planting of human flesh, however some argue this has lead to “Turjal Plague”, and decreased the quality of the fruit that is grown.
Scientists have uncovered that the fungus that works as a messenger between the root system of these trees is especially good at extracting proteins from our muscles, many believe this is because traditionally the trees would get their proteins from clams under the earth, however the planting of human flesh has changed the taste, and morphology of the tree. Although Sizhan’s recollection of the details may be inflated, it is an unwavering belief in this nation that the sacrifice of the lesser elements makes the whole stronger.
In 7 35 37 the government was set up in such a way that if you wanted to have your political voice to be heard you had to caste your name into the sacrificial pool, if your performance, and morals became that of someone entirely undesirable you would be chosen by the populace for sacrifice. There is no shame in this sacrifice and turns the pariah into an honored who will live out the afterlife in the warm decorated caves with Reitac. There are many reasons that we sacrifice now. Hospitals need the limbs to save better people, for many festivals celebrating the creation of Sizhan we eat human flesh, many farms still use the traditional method of planting the flesh in the ground to grow Reitac trees. In 9 43 61 the use of flesh for weaponry was deemed horrendous and disrespectful to the deceased, and after the resurgence of Turjal plague after the Manseter Wars by use of bone spears the use of biological warfare was abolished.
Turjal Plague is notoriously difficult to diagnose, and the incubation period can be up to 3 years. The earlier signs of the disease consist of paranoia, anger, and horror, followed by the later stages of physically degenerative symptoms that one typically thinks of when Turjal Plague comes to mind. This disease has decimated the population and set the stage for a government with more absolute control. The people submitted to the quarantine camps and widespread executions for the greater good, however there is no honor in a death by Turjal plague, nor in an execution to prevent its spread. Typically most of the country believe that the Plague is Reitac’s way of deciding who should be sacrificed from his throne beyond the grave.
The belief that Reitac is deciding the sacrifices through this disease has opened a dogmatic debate between his followers. Many believe that because this is a divine decision of who should be sacrificed, that it is the most honorable death that one could attain. This has lead to the creation of many cults within Sizhan that intentionally spread the plague in claiming that they are fulfilling god (Reitac’s) will. Those who are worshipers of Sizahn rebut by saying that this act does not fulfill the greater good and only works to disgrace the act of sacrifice.
Because the earlier symptoms of Turjal Plague consist of paranoia and anger many claim that the government has used this as a tool to imprison Political dissenters, there are also those who believe that the disease was manufactured by the government to weed out the population after the Chilltuk shortage of 9 47 61. However there have been historical cases of this disease even in Sizhan’s time, when it was referred to as “Limes Law”.
The leadership in the country is based on the lineage of Sizhan, however due to the fact Sizhan was rumored to have had thousands of children roughly 63% of the population can trace their lineage back to him. This has recently been confirmed by the presence of certain genetic markers that draw a correlation to the claims, although genealogical records in the country have been kept in triplicate ever since the inception of the Sacrificial pool. This meticulous record system was set in place to better understand the social classes and to maintain a balance between castes. Due to this fact roughly 63% of the country is qualified to run for office, and it is still a semi-democratic election, where instead of a president being elected, a new King or Queen is appointed by choice. Currently the most recently appointed Queen -Velecia Bents- has moved to remove this law of the electoral process, in a process to blur the lines between social classes and create a more socially uniform country. This has been fought with much opposition, many claiming that it is within these lower classes that Cultists plot to bring equilibrium through the spread of “Reitacs Will”.
The main export of the country is the fruit of the Reitac tree, which is roughly the size of a mango. In the center of these fruits are calcium deposits, which generally have grown due to the overabundance of bones used in the planting of the tree. The fruit is called appropriately – the muscle fruit. The taste is sweet and sour like that of licorice and and a green apple, however the flesh is strong like that of a tendon, allowing it to be cooked, and allowing it to be stored for a long time without spoiling (if the skin is not punctured). Because of these reasons it has been a staple crop in Sizhan for hundreds of years. While many botanists have tried to plant the tree in other regions of the world they have only have limited success, which the natives attribute to the fact that the trees abundance is a gift from god to the people of Sizhan.
The economy of Sizhan has been at risk due to the problems spread by the synthetically grown muscle fruit. The way in which it is synthetically grown is that the cells of the deceased are cloned in a lab and used to feed the trees, however many claim that this practice has allowed Turjal Plague to mutate. The ritualistic practice of sacrifice to produce food for these trees has high emphasis on hygiene and prayer, asking Sizhan to forgive the soul for their misdeeds and to transfer them into energy for the tree, and the people. This practice has been undermined in the lab setting, however many scientists say this is not the problem at all.
Sizhan exists as one of the 3 superpowers of the planet. It maintains a variety of colonies across the globe for the purpose of military strategy. The military exists as another form of sacrifice which indirectly claims to elevate the caste of the individual who bests its trials and tribulations. Due to the fact that sacrifice is so integral to the country of Sizhan the most honorable thing that any individual can do is to submit, both literally and metaphorically to the vice of the law. This is heavily pushed by the “Tultoc” who act as the police, marines, and coast guard for the nation. The culture of the Tultoc is one filled with paranoia, they are encouraged to turn over friends who may try and escape the sacrificial system, or who undermine the government. Citizens are encouraged to do the same, and often pushed to do so by the vigorous propaganda network that exists in the country.
Discount plus was a child to a Toltoc officer, and born during the “Second Transition of Submission”. This was a time period of uniformity in emotional and mental states, there were minimal crime rates of treason, and in the decade following the birth of Discount a record 4.62% of the population offered themselves up for sacrifice. Many dissenting countries tried to spin this negatively, many papers read “SUICIDE RATES IN SIZHAN REACH RECORD HIGHS”. Most of the planet does not hold Sizhan in high regard, due to the fact that they seemingly hoard resources such as Teldem Ore, Pharmaceutical Supplies, and technology. Sizhan has minimal interaction with the outside world, and this technique has allowed them to advance at an exponential rate in comparison to the rest of the world. The process of entering the country often takes 4 human years, and those born in Sizhan are not permitted to leave unless they are on a military venture.
There is no record of the given name of Discount Plus, Discount Plus of course is a rough translation of a Stage name the Performer chose while living in Sizhan. “Itzme Taizte” literally translates into “Relinquishing Comes Easily to Me”, once Discount fled to earth the name “Discount Plus” was chosen due to his belief that consumerist culture on earth was much like the sacrificial system on his home planet. Discount seemed to believe that vicious consumption was akin to submitting to the will of invisible system that dictated ones behavior. A discounted item is easier to buy, and is part of what Discount describes as a “Larger Submission.” “Discount Plus” then means an amplified submission to the passive consumerist state that exists on earth. This submission allows the individual to have their will taken from them, thus “Relinquishing comes easily to me”. Many of the words that Discount uses to describe his analogy of our earth systems have not been thoroughly translated, and it is entirely possible that this has been wholeheartedly misinterpreted.
Initially Discount was utilized to manipulate the populace. His popularity was inflated by the office of Positive Design (the administration in charge of Propaganda in Sizhan). As Discount grew older his father took on a larger role in the military, and he was able to pull strings to bring Itzme exposure. The office realized that they needed a youthful figurehead to inflate the number of bureaucratic roles in the future, Discount was considered to be trustworthy due to the high stature of his family – it seemed there was nothing that Itzme could gain from speaking out against the regime. What the office did not consider was the motivation behind Itzme’s music.
As revealed in interviews which were later granted on earth, Discount revealed that the authoritative lifestyle at home was terrifying. Discount believed that Reitac could hear his thoughts, and that he would often coax young Itzme to “Sacrifice himself”. Military procedure was imbedded into his household, if respect was not paid to Joshua and Reitac physical punishment was inevitable. Itzme’s younger sister lost use of her left eye after his father beat her within an inch of her life after she failed to recite the “doctrine of submission” correctly one morning. Music became the only place that Itzme was safely able to vent his confusion and fear. Initially no lyrics were applied to the compositions, they were passive and only secretly expressive. The government began to utilize these compositions to augment the public service announcements that served as propaganda for the country. Slowly Discount was given more freedom, the new adaptation of the National Anthem was composed by Discount. Discount continued to submit in an appropriate manner, all the while seeing the people of his country abused into thinking that this submission was some sort of mandate from heaven.
Starvation became widespread, and the government refused to open the borders. A state of inflation hit Sizhan to a point where individuals were paying thousands of reward points for a loaf of bread. It was at this time Itzme witnessed his his younger sister stabbed to death in a riot over food shortages. This became a turning point in his ideology, and Discount came to understand that his submission to god did not mean apathy, but a contract to fufill Reitacs Will. Discount worked with a group of dissenters working in the office of Positive Design to release the single “Reward points”, a song which discusses the price of ones soul, the true nature of sacrifice, and a general anger toward the current regime.
This was the first song in 97 years that featured lyrics, and a direct indisputable message. Discount was sentenced to death. before his public execution a group of rogue scientist were able to get him off-world in a shuttle to a exoplanet that could theoretically sustain life. That planet is known to us as Earth.
As a direct result of Discounts escape 317 public officials were publicly executed. One of these figures was Discount’s father, who had actually invested much of his energy into tracking Itzme down. The government on Sizhan has vowed to find Discount Plus and sacrifice him with no honor, in he meantime Discount is seeking asylum on planet earth, awaiting their inevitable arrival.