Sagas of the New Urth

Enemies Unmasked

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From Sunshine Mine to the Twisted Woods

From the journal of LĂșthien the Exile
34rd Day of Spring, Kalendir Year 1085

It is a universally acknowledged truth that a dwarf in possession of dirt will be in want of more dirt. Or so I have ascertained from our brief time among them here in the Sunshine Mine. Malesevo acquired supplies sufficient for the journey ahead through a rather ingenious trade.

However, it was the path ahead that truly became interesting—at least from my point of view. We encountered sprites, cousins to my own people who were greatly attuned to nature. They tested us to see if we were sorcerors, but doubt fell upon Malesevo rather than myself. The shaman, bedecked in a feather cloak with a great bird skull on his head and an ancient silver staff in hand, led us to a hut built into the earth at the base of a great and immeasurably old tree to “consult the roots”. They administered some manner of drug to Malesevo and he fell into a slumber so deep it was almost death.

I have it upon good accord that he spoke to the spirit of the Mother Tree. I wonder now if it might not have been a work of sorcery itself, but I dared not say so. In exchange for information too personal to Malesevo for him to tell us, we were honor-bound to destroy a golem tearing apart the forests. But not before Ikki introduced the culinary arts to the natives, who misunderstood precisely what “cooking” actually means. Still, it did provide everyone with a great amusement. The forest surrounding their home is like nothing I can recall seeing, so rich with edible things that even as wild things they were never in want for food. The sprites shaped their structures and tools to fit the nature around them with a grace I find enviable.

Of course, we could not remain forever with a demon’s appointment hanging over our heads. Instead we found ourselves on the great trail of broken trees that lead to a motionless golem and a bickering man and woman.

“This is the giant thing all over again!” she accused.

His reply was, “That was…unfortunate. How was I to know giants are allergic to cinnamon.” The loquacious and puff-breasted Lorenzo the Magnificent claimed to have bound the creature to his will when we confronted him. The reality was somewhat different. Through trickery, we lured the would-be magister and his highly irritated assistant away. The woman left with much of his money after Malesevo plied him with enough liquor to drop an elephant. In Lorenzo’s profession was a partially burned elven book on demons, which I took for safekeeping. Meanwhile, the ever resourceful pair of Ikki and Rakmash destroyed the golem by sending it careening over the edge into a ravine. In exchange, the shaman communed again with the Mother Tree and was able to provide us with a crude map to Mircum.

Travel continued on, of course. With dire wolves passing us in the night as we drew closer to the town, we sought refuge at the campfire of charcoal-makers. It was there I learned a little more of Rakmash—he hails from the Red Bone Clan. In Mircum itself, we had the dubious pleasure of meeting a zizzicks hunter named Krogar who derives his pleasure from killing anything that moves, it would seem. Even the illusive “Sasquatch”, a fabrication of imagination from the villagers and my companions alike.

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The Beginning

From the journal of LĂșthien the Exile
31st Day of Spring, Kalendir Year 1085

I am no longer alone. It is a strange, yet welcome feeling.

The caravan we travel with departed Guelden for the circuit of faires that come in spring. I joined it late in the night only a few days from the city, but I was not the first stranger to join. A Faelex claiming to be a scholar, named Ikki, slipped into the ranks in the dead of night. Another numen with the features of a raccoon took him in: Malesevo, who is a fine actor and notorious playwright. But it was one of the kindred who adopted me, a wild hunter named Rakmash. Pure chance has thrown us together, but at the moment we get along quite well.

It was inevitable, truly, that we found ourselves in the Comte’s tent, considering the way Malesevo extolled the prowess of Rakmash as a hunter. A nobleman of Orlesian descent, he of course suggested that we depart the caravan and join him in a hunt of the greatest beast known to prowl the woods in the area: the Leviathan. It is difficult to refuse a gentleman of such import, so we joined him with varying degrees of reluctance. We were justified in our fear, we learned, but not in what we feared. The Leviathan was not the only creature stalking the forests between Guelden and Orlais.

We found a great track of broken trees and bushes, a game trail of a sort from a creature of immense size. The Comte, bearing his enchanted spear with its head of white glass, charged in ahead of our party with his many guards. We followed swiftly upon his heels to break from the trees and see the great Leviathan cropping for browse. It wore a saddle and indeed had a rider of equally great size, a colossus of the ancient metals that the fallen gods of Before-Time imbued with life and thought. It was a true demon, no mere mindless golem.

The Comte and his men fled, leaving us to face the potent creature. I scrambled to sift through the shattered fragments of the life before this one, starting a chant of ancient elven incantations. Rakmash sought combat with it, only to be struck back and high into the treetops by the swing of one giant arm. Whatever I had babbled in my fear seemed to have caught its attention, for the creature leaned down and spoke in a grating, terrible voice. “You will go ten days to the east, between the twins, beneath Eagle’s crest. I have forseen it,” the creature said.

Then it turned and departed, which I will be forever grateful for. Had it come to combat, the demon would have bested us.

The Comte returned and seemed to believe I was some manner of magister because I could consult with demons. I attempted to brush it off, to little success, for apparently I once had some contact with or at least knowledge of the monstrous creatures as I could speak a tongue they recognized—the Black Speech. He was shamed by his cowardice and left his spear in our keeping, giving up everything for the life of a monk. We gave the weapon to Rakmash for safekeeping and took horses east.

We encountered a scholar of great knowledge who was studying ancient texts buried in the rock itself. I will not list in detail his studies, for I could spend a great many days detailing all of the aspects of his amazing work. But of most interest was a great tome he had compiled regarding demons. In it, I identified the one who had given us the message: Zorcha, servant of Thangren. The name of the Deciever, the Arch-fiend, chilled my blood.

Over the next few days we continued until we came to the foothills of the Iron Mountains and a mining camp of dwarves. It is here that I now write this in preparation for our journey forward. Malesevo has become something of a celebrity with his stories and acting, and is suffering from a particularly nasty hangover after his consumption of vast quantities of potent liquor. I hope to come by my companions’ histories and motivations to elaborate this tale. Writing down our misadventures amuses me greatly, as do their interactions.

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