These are the words of Nerlug, Ogre, Gullybasher. I sit atop a tree, taking in the view, hoping that while I can see out of my leafy sanctuary, the Horde cannot see their way in. I put these words to paper because this place bears witnessing, and perhaps by organizing my though., I can find a way of truly escaping my pursuers. If I cannot, then at least I can rest knowing that someone is reading my words at this very moment. Rallos may get his due, but I will not be forgotten.This Horde. They are aggressive, single minded, and for every one I slay, I find two more on my trail. Here in Ethernere, I should not be. The Horde do not want me in this place. In my death, I should go home, to the Plane of War, to Rallos’ side. But forgive me, I fear. I am as terrifying in battle as my brothers, I have crushed skulls with my bare hands, but war for war’s sake I cannot understand. I argued with my brothers. I used reason when they would use a blade. And for this lapse of faith I will pay. It seems that this Horde will not stop until I go home. Until I meet my maker.
I will not go willingly.
The orafik seem to be key. They sit there, motionless. They blink from time to time. They are always watching, these floating monstrosities of an eye. If I can evade them I can escape. I throw a rock, off to the side, away from my position. The three who float there pivot and scream. Oh do they scream. My ears bleed, and I try to sneak away during their distraction. I can hear the patter of the Skirth’s violence through the underbrush. I move quickly, soft as my form will let me.
I am safe.They have no language I can discern. Except for the screaming. The eyes scream and the others come running. That scream unnerves me. My heart beats too fast and I fear. Rallos must weep for me. They act in concert, as one. A single being, but multiple. They are organized, each has its role. Like an army, they have scouts and shock troopers and infantry and cavalry. I can fight one, two, three. I can smash them, and dismember them, and make them bleed.
But still. They come. Rallos may get his due.
Those dead at my feet, there are those who call them skirth. I do not know if they call themselves skirth. It is an appropriate name, for if you saw them move, if you heard them move, you might call them skirth too. Not quite quadruped, their limbs are ungainly, as much spider as ape. They are the footsoldiers of the Horde, but each has their specialty.
They are legion.There are beings who are not the Horde here. They are passersby, they are those who have not moved on yet, they are those like me. No one here is permanent, save for the Horde. While I can talk with these folk, and reason with them, and ask them questions, the Horde who Harrows indulge in no such thing. While these folk are transient, aimless, wandering, the Horde is purpose in the flesh, principal personified.
These folk do not want me here. I bring unwanted attention. The Horde has my scent, they can *feel* me, and the folk do not want me here. I leave. I do not want them to suffer my fate, for I begin to believe I cannot win. There is no loophole. The laws here are inevitable.
I am alone.But that is a lie. I have forgotten what it means to be truly alone. How I long for it. Instead, they follow me, relentless. Always present, shadowy, as much there as not there. My recent follower; the tirun. They are the enforcers of the Horde, the two handed claymore, their machine of war. One of them is a match for me. Two can back me into a corner. At three, I run.
I can find no weakness in the Horde. I wonder if these are Rallos’ true children. He would be as proud of them as he must be disappointed in me. If someone could harness them, remove them from Ethernere, they could trample the world. And yet, I do not think they hate. I simply should not be here, and so they will not stop until I am not here. It is not malice in their eye, it is determination.A new one follows. This one is… familiar. It has arms, legs. It is more… formed. It could be described as humanoid. I am humanoid. It puts words into my head. It is like a general. It is like the Horde’s head. It feels… sympathy? It makes it difficult to think. I may have fought him. Did I win?
Again, I run.
How long have I been here: My name… it is Nelug. I write it so I will not forget. I will not be forgotten. That name, is it still mine? No one calls it. It does not feel as if it belongs to me. I am Nerlug, but that is not me. I am hollow.They follow now, but do not pursue. I am no longer whole. I grasp this book, and yet it falls through my hands. Writing is difficult. Thinking is moreso. I want to sleep. To rest. I wonder why they do not come.
The eyes no longer scream, at least.
I have read this book. I have read that my name was Nerlug. I have read that I was afraid.
Dear readers, know that this is no longer so. I have found my place. Know that Ethernere is not your home. You may rest here a while, but do not tarry. Continue on your journey or I will come for you. I will find you.
And if you will not go, we will take you.