Category Archives: Book

Myths of the Mephlin

I have collected a few tales from Norrathian bards and entertainers, involving the mephlin. They might prove helpful in understanding these creatures, or perhaps I will find that they are simply tales meant to delight or frighten with no basis in reality. Only time will tell!

Chief of the Tribe

“Long live the chief!” his fellow mephlin shouted, triumphantly, over and over again. It rang his ears and gnashed his teeth. Even if it hadn’t been echoing off the walls of the obsidian cave they marched through it would have felt just as oppressive to Hukt. “What has Resz done that is so great?” He mumbled to himself. “I am much smarter and would make a much better chief!” He knew not to voice this last statement, but it didn’t stop him from thinking it. They were just returning from a successful raid of a neighboring tribe, and Resz had once again walked away with the most impressive prize.

Sometimes the prize was a stolen weapon, ripped from the hand of the enemy, other times it was a totem revered by the enemy’s tribe, but usually it was a head, or horn, or wing. This is how Resz kept his figurative crown, of course, for this jopal tribe had long picked its leaders based upon their successes in war and trophy hunting. “How does Resz keep getting the good stuff?” he asked himself, while glaring at the ruby-handled dagger being flaunted about by Hukt. He brandished it, like a torch or a war banner, waving it about, while leading the tribe back to their lands.

Hukt went to his nest that night, unwilling to think of anything else. At some point during the night the answer came to him. Resz is lucky, but his luck will be no match for Hukt’s smarts during their next raid!
Weeks went by before Resz marched the tribe to their next raid, which gave Hukt plenty of time to prepare. He carried with him an inconspicuous pouch, nothing that would spark questions. During the heat of battle, while so many were distracted, he cast a spell upon an ordinary stone. Then he waited. He waited until Resz came out of the thick of the fight carrying a golden shield, eliciting the predictable “Ooohs” and “Aaahs” from his fellow jopal.

“Wait until they see this!” Hukt thought. He let out a scream of excitement that brought all eyes upon him, and as he lifted the luminous gemstone above his head, the din of his kin subsided. It had worked! The tribe was in awe of his trophy. The gem was bigger than his head, and dazzled with light reflected and focused by its exquisite cut. “Long live the chief!” they began to chant. Finally, Hukt was about to get the adoration he deserved!

Resz approached Hukt in shock. He dropped the shield that just a moment before had been the focus of all. “This is it! This is the moment I have long known would come!” Hukt thought, as a smile he could no longer contain, spread across his face. Resz stood before him now, and took the gem into his own hands with such care one would have thought it a hatchling. He examined the gem, looking deeply into it, turning it this way then that, dazzled by the display of light through it. Hukt looked up as this was happening, towards Resz’s towering figure. He was standing so close to Hukt as the light of the gem was shining in his eyes, Hukt never saw what happened.

Resz brought the gem down upon Hukt’s skull with such force, it split bone and flesh, killing him instantly. It was an easy enough feat for Resz, as he was the biggest, and strongest of the tribe. He wiped the gore from the coveted gem, and held it high for all to see. The shouts broke out immediately, “Long live the chief! Long live the chief!”

A Mother Earns Her Wings

Brena woke with a start. That sound wasn’t normal, and she knew it. The dwarven mother raced to her infant’s cradle. The babe didn’t look upset, and it was still wrapped in its blanket, but that sound… She hadn’t dreamt it! Should she call a healer? No, she knew what he would say. “You’re worrying over nothing. First-time mothers do that.” And admittedly the babe seemed fine. She took a breath, and felt a bit calmer as she looked upon her baby’s sweet face. She couldn’t have described the peace and hope that welled up inside her since this little one came into her life.

Maybe the babe didn’t need reassuring right now, but Brena did. She lifted the wrapped infant tenderly, but found that it took more of her strength than she remembered when she had put the babe to sleep. “Oi! I didn’a feed ya that much!” She adjusted her weight to accommodate, as she cradled the babe to her breast. “Or ‘ave ya been sappin’ me strength, my little stone?” That’s when she noticed a bit of moss in her baby’s hair. She looked down into the cradle and saw a few more strands glowing brightly, from within the shadowed bedding. “Lightmoss!? I haven’a been ta those caves in years.” What was going on!?

Brena looked at the near-by window of her hut. There she spotted more of the luminescent moss. She looked again at the babe in her arms. Its eyes opened and held hers for a moment. That was different. There was more to this baby dwarf than she could see. She felt her babe’s skin. A dwarf knows stone when they touch it. “Switched!” The thought struck her like Brell’s hammer! “Gods damn those green-winged beasts!” She cried. There wasn’t a moment to lose! Brena swaddled the heavy babe to her, like a bandolier, allowing her arms to remain free. She grabbed her axes and helm, and ran out the door toward the lightmoss caves.

She had heard the warnings, of course. “Keep an eye o’er your babes, lest vekerchiki come and take ’em!” The mephlin were real Brena knew, but she had always thought the stories of child abduction to be tall tales. Now she knew otherwise, and she wasn’t about to let those damned creatures take her wee one back to their earthen plane! She raced into the cave mouth, fueled by adrenaline and dwarven fortitude.

There she saw a group of vekerchiki, huddled together, as another waved its arms and chanted, opening a portal back to their realm. Brena had no time to spare, and no need for it. She continued barreling towards them, interrupting them with her axe heads. Their cries of pain and alarm were short, as was the battle.

She found her babe there, in the middle of the huddle, wrapped in large leaves and sound asleep. “Bless ya, Brell!” Tears rolled down her cheeks in sweet relief as she lifted her babe. Roused by its mother’s touch, the wee one woke, and reached towards her face. She couldn’t see much through the continuing tears, but she didn’t need to. She knew the feel of her child’s grip upon her beard. The babe curled her beard hair between its fingers and fell fast asleep.

Brena walked back to the village, her naturally born babe in one arm, asleep, holding tight to her beard, while a second babe, her adopted stone-golem child, remained swaddled tightly across her chest. From that day forward the two were raised as siblings, one of stone and one of flesh, warmed by a hearth over which hung a large pair of emerald wings.

Lessons of Flight

Not long ago now was a stormrider chick,
hatched in a high nest of vine and of pitch.

So jealous it was of all of its kin,
their feathers weren’t clotted, their wings frail nor thin.
They rode on the wind, through clouds in the sky.
It watched and it said, “I wanna’ do that! I too, want to fly!”

It took a deep breath. It took a big leap.
Nothing would stop it, it would accept no defeat.
But one cannot fly on hopes and a prayer,
It takes magic or ability to soar through the air.

So, down the chick fell, right down to its end.
Or it would have, if not for its strong gusted friend.
An elemental of air had noticed its plight,
had seen its struggle, when it attempted its flight.

It caught the poor chick in its swirling embrace,
and cleaned off its feathers, and tears from its face.
The pitch that had weighed its wings to the ground
was no more a problem. There was none to be found!

The chick stretched about, giving its limbs a good test.
Then lifted right off, to flit and flutter, right along with the rest.
The elemental took note of its friend’s pure delight,
doing something it had taken for granted, all day and all night.

It needed no thanks, expected no accolade,
If tables were turned, it would want just the same.
A boost from a friend, or even a stranger,
is all it might take to clear a path out of danger

Historic Article

Neh’Ashiir’s disappearance will always be cloaked in mystery. We of Torsis have a saying that goes “Neh’s chances.” We all know this is used to define an innumerable variable but not many know of its relation to the event in the early years of our fair city.

For as many people as there were in Torsis there were that many theories regarding Neh’Ashiir’s disappearance. Others say there were political tensions between the queen and her lord, so much so that she had to leave to escape death. And for good measure a few pointed to the stars and said that people from beyond the sky took her.

One thing all agreed upon however is that the relationship between the royal couple was decaying. Political scrutinizers noted small personal habits between the two that implied a separation of intimacy during their public appearances. Many even tie the highly publicized Crusade of Kirn into the disappearance of Neh as Kirn left the city only a few weeks before.

It is recorded in many texts that the visage of Rak’Ashiir reflected his despair over his wife’s vanishing although it is a well-known fact that it was mostly an act played by the King to keep up his illusion of nobility.
Perhaps one day we will find the truth but at this point it would mean little to the public

Crusades of the High Scale

Crusades of the High Scale

Throughout the history of the High Scale it was common for the knights to practice complete celibacy. It wasn’t until the controversial Kirn was given the hallowed title that contact between the sexes became tolerated. While Kirn wasn’t the mightiest of the High Scales he was able to achieve many great victories in the name of our Lord of Fear. One being the battle known as the Bone Rending when Kirn lost his fabled whip, Thriaxis’ Tail, and was still able to defeat scores of his enemies using his hands only. Before this battle many believed Kirn could not fulfill his duties as a leader and patriot for the people.

However Kirn’s might and his lecture on the use of females in religious crusade and duty convinced the public that celibacy had its place in divinity but non-celibacy also had a place and value within the church. A shrine depicting Kirn among many women was constructed in remembrance of his controversial reign although his corpse was never brought back for burial as it was lost far across the ocean among distant brothers in faith.

Dag the Blasphemer

Dag the Blasphemer

Author Unknown

Long ago in the time of Emperor Ganak, Scholar Dag served and studied with the great Master Atrebe Sathir, first-hatched son of Rile Sathir.
After the unfortunate demise of Atrebe, Scholar Dag begin his study of the forbidden circles, Wizardry, Enchantment and Magic. He soon began to specialize in the ways of Wizardry, in contravention of the Laws of Kotiz.

Scholar Dag kept his studies to himself. Most of his studies were held in private, only his Sarnak slave named Kly was allowed to assist in his blasphemous studies.

Hearing of Dag’s skills, Kurn Machta, the Dread Torturer and trusted general of Rile Sathir, secretly commissioned Dag to create a magical dagger for his personal use.

Dag traveled to Kurn’s outpost to begin his work. His slave Kly and some sarnak slaves answering to him followed, pulling behind them a special forge which belonged to Haggle Baron Dalnir.

During Dag’s absence, however, evidence of his blasphemous research was discovered, and his secret obsession was revealed to all. He became known as the Blasphemer of the Brood.

Word was sent from Cabilis to Kurn to have Dag executed. As Dag was in the final stage of enchantments, Kurn let him proceed and when the dagger was complete, Kurn shackled Dag and used the dagger upon the belly of the Blasphemer.

The Crusaders sent from Cabilis to bring back the body of Dag, the dagger, and the Sarnak slaves, all vanished without a trace. Only the Dalnir Forge remained. No trace of the others was ever found.

Assuming the disappearance was a sign the gods had cursed the blade and the Blasphemer, the Brood decreed that to avoid the wrath of the gods, all of Dag’s property and creations were burned, as were all records of his blasphemous studies.

The slave Kly was sought for many years, but never found. It was feared that the slave, in assisting his master, might have learned some of the blasphemous arts, and thus must be destroyed also.

The descriptions posted described Kly as a tall, relatively youthful Sarnak of a reddish skin tone, with some scars on his right arm and leg from early punishment. The slaves accompanying Kly and answering only to him were not known to have individual names or descriptions.

The leader among them, known only as the Kly’s Overseer, kept discipline over them and could be distinguised from the others only because he was permitted to use for this purpose a battered ferrite longsword and kite shield forged in the traditional style of the Ganak footsoldiers

After some decades, the search for the Kly and his followers was abandoned, and the mystery of their disappearance has vanished into the mists of time.

a scrawled note

Zekserabol –
This should be an excellent opportunity to break you into your new role as Assistant Cryptkeeper. Filthy mortals have defiled the Plaguebringer’s unholy sanctum and left quite the mess. It is my divine duty to oversee the restoration of the temple, and thus you will be performing the following tasks:

Disgusting carrion feeders have been ingesting the pieces of Bertoxxulous’ slain avatar, and have filled the main hall with their… excrement. Take the shovel from within this coffin and use it to remove the waste. Try not to get any on you; it contains potent pathogens, and we wouldn’t want you contracting an incurable disease during your first day on the job.

2) Your second, and most sacred, duty is to recover the essence of the avatar. As it has been consumed by the crawlers, you’ll need to recover it from within their gut. Luckily I have devised a plan that doesn’t involve you feeding them scraps and then following them around with a burlap bag at the ready. I’m sure you remember your apprenticeship in embalming? I’ve left a kit in the coffin for you; as you no doubt remember, you need only take hold of the kit and use it in close proximity to your target, and the fluids will do the rest. You’ll need to inject them multiple times in quick succession – this will cause the critter to explode, releasing the coveted protoplasm.

3) Your final task will be to collect the remains of the bone Amalgamations from His most-pestilent altar room. The foolish adventurers cracked their bones, exposing the blighted marrow within. We will recover these and use them to propagate a whole host of new golems. I warn you not to attempt to gnaw on said bones – despite what you may have heard, they will improve neither your charm nor your prowess.

Attend to these duties quickly. You would not wish to be present upon the Plaguebringer’s return…

  • Head Cryptkeeper Nar’Scabbrous

Coming to Kunark

A History of the Cae’Dal
by Merith Iliqirelle,

humble scribe and linguist

The First Exodus

Long, long ago, there was a huge elven society living within the Elddar Forest on the continent of Antonica. It was a magical, life-giving forest. They cared for it, and it cared for them. That is, until the land began to scorch and the woodlands began to wither and die. In time, the elves were forced to migrate in order to survive.

They left Antonica in search of forests in lands unnamed. One such group of Elddar elves, led by Valinor Tah’Re, found a lush woodland in a faraway land where they established a colony, by the name of Khalee’Sri. They met the challenges of living in a new land, and the new threats it contained, unflinchingly. Khalee’Sri grew strong.

Climate of Fear

Years had passed since establishing Khalee’Sri, by the time the elves began to notice the greater Khalee’Sri region was getting less rainfall, and the temperatures were consistently rising. The forest vegetation began to die as a result of the climate shift, and the fauna with it.

In their confusion and fear, the elves suspected each other as the cause of the dying forest, after all, it was not that long ago they had left a dying forest. This was all too familiar! Infighting and finger pointing ensued. They must have done something to cause Tunare to shun them like this!

Arid Enlightenment

The elves of Khalee’Sri were desperate and had lost their way. They cried out to Tunare, making sacrifices and pleading with their goddess for salvation. She answered their prayers in the form of a wizened master of the arcane, by the name of Xakartaz. He appeared to them and suggested they had not done anything to shun Tunare. This was her will!

Why else had she allowed this transformation of two forests? She was showing her children yet another aspect of nature. The desert may not look like it, but it is teeming with life!

Xakartaz showed the elves how to live in an arid climate and began to teach them geomancy, the magic of commanding rock and soil. Over the years, punctuated by births and deaths, they began calling themselves Cae’Dal, elves of the stone. They had become proficient geomancers, animating the soil in battle, construction, and conveyance.

Visions of Calamity

Then came the first warnings. Cae’Dal geo oracles had begun having visions of a great calamity coming, one that would surely mean the end of Khalee’Sri! Xakartaz refused to heed their warnings. He thought the visions a deception by some unknown threat, or an enemy of Tunare’s.

The Cae’Dal did not understand. Why would he rather they all stay in this doomed land?

Norrath began to moan loud enough for all to feel and hear. Its complaints rose from far below. How could they deny this any longer?

The Cae’Dal began to construct sailing vessels, believing that Xakartaz would come to realize the dire situation. But when he learned of their plans, he called them traitors and destroyed the vessels!

The Second Exodus

Xakartaz’s stubbornness did not stop the rending of the land, nor did it stop the Cae’Dal. The quakes were sudden, and building in ferocity. The Cae’Dal knew if they were to survive they would have to do so on their own, and in secret. They worked hard, constructing vessels in secret, separate locations.

Then came the dark day, Xakartaz followed a group of provision suppliers to one of the sailing vessels. His anger burned upon sight of their rebellious action. He lashed out, destroying both vessel and Cae’Dal, alike. Word spread quickly of his wrath, forcing other Cae’Dal to board the other vessel and flee Khalee’Sri for stable lands unknown.

A New Land

The elves who sailed away from Khalee’Sri found the waters treacherous and barely passable. The seas were growing as unstable as the land! When a lush land was finally spotted, they counted their blessings and steered toward the rugged coastline. They found themselves in a forested land, inhabited by threatening goblins and iksar, but this did not deter them. They could not face the seas, once more!

Perhaps one day, the Cae’Dal may return to Khalee’Sri. Perhaps, Xakartaz was right, and the land did not succumb to the great quakes, or the rising waves, but for now they live on Kunark, in a region known as Obulus Frontier, in the city of Nye’Caelona, overlooking Warslik’s Wood.

Elements of Devotion

Sister, you’ve been encouraging me to journal a bit of my life, ever since I left home. Better late than never, right?

Master Devianni woke me this morning, telling me to help her pack up for a field trip, which, in and of itself was not something extraordinary. Blurry-eyed and groggy, I asked where this particular field trip would take us. That’s when I noted the excitement that she was barely keeping in check, as she exclaimed, “The Planes of Order!” And with that, she ran out of the room with an armload of items, leaving me flabbergasted.

I’ve been serving Master Devianni for three years now. She’s always been eccentric, what summoner isn’t, right? But she’s not inclined to be hyperbolic or to have any humor, I’ve ever found. And yet, I still couldn’t believe what I had just heard. The Planes of Order!? “What? Fire, Water, Air, Earth? THE planes!?” I called after her.

“The very same!” she called back to me, with a slam of a chest lid.

I started looking around the room, at the articles of clothing I would have to pack. “Beg my pardon, Master, but which one?”

“All of them! Well, hopefully all of them! After a bit of Magic, but yeah, all of them!”

So here I am, sitting at the ancient Combine Spires. No wait, what had Master Devianni called them? Quadroliths? It sounds like a really old word. She knows a bunch of stuff like that. Anyway, I’m waiting here for her. She had to stop off to acquire some spell components. I figured this would be a good time to journal, as I am not sure how often I’m going to get the opportunity in the coming days.

Huh. It turned out that when Master Devianni said, we had a bit of Magic ahead of us first, she didn’t mean a spell or an incantation. Nope. She meant THE Plane of Magic! It’s breathtaking here! Everything here is abuzz with magical energy, even the air! But of course, that’s not why we’re here. Master Devianni had heard of some very strong elementals encountered here, and not just of one type, either.

I’m still not sure what she has in mind, but she is rather hopeful about it. She’s speaking with some of the local inhabitants here about the elementals now. Here’s hoping she’ll get whatever information she’s looking for.

Today Master Devianni and I found a small island floating in the Plane of Magic populated by some the impressively strong elementals she had heard tales of. There was one of fire and at least two of air. Seemed the advice she got from the lovely locals was dependable! Upon seeing the hardy elementals she ordered me to crouch down, behind a boulder.

After rummaging around in one of the packs I held, she took a calm, deep breath, smiled at me, then ran toward one of the air elementals, and out of my eyesight.

I sat there, on the ground, the weight of my many packs being supported by the boulder that offered me protection and respite. After what seemed like an eternity, Master Devianni returned. She held two enchanted pouches. One was obviously very heavy, and smoking, while the other might have flown off, if she hadn’t been holding it tightly. We returned to our camp, near the spires that could have taken us back to Norrath, back to hearth and home, but that’s not what she had in mind! I bet she has her eyes fixed on the other two element types.

It’s been a few days since my last entry, but let’s just say, I was right! Master Devianni was determined to encounter water and earth elementals, and acquire pieces of both, and after she did so, she was so thrilled she began casting a spell on them, right then and there! I had no idea what to expect. “Master, what are you doing? Maybe you should rest first.”

“No time, my dear,” she said while repeatedly drawing a complex pattern in the air with her fingers. “There’s no telling when the connection to the Planes of Order might decay from these samples!”
Right then, the ground that had been solid beneath our feet not a moment before, disappeared. The dazzling sights of Magic that had surrounded us, were transformed into a landscape of flame and smoke. The invigorating air we had been breathing was replaced by choking, caustic fumes. We had been transported to the Plane of Fire! “Please tell me, you meant to do that,” I said, between coughs.
“Didn’t I warn you of that? No? Sorry,” she said with a wince.

“Damnit, Devianni,” she chided herself, “Say the things you’re thinking.”

“And make sure I’m within earshot, eh?” I added.

She looked at me, her eyes a bit wider than normal, despite the soot in the air. My response must have surprised her. Thankfully, she then smiled. It was an amused, wry curl of her lips, punctuated with an approving nod. I could have sworn I even saw a bit of a dimple!
“Shall I ready more fire sample pouches?” I asked, suddenly feeling a bit exposed, and wanting to focus on something else.

“No need. That’s not what we’re here for.”

Now it was my turn to be surprised!

Devianni then revealed she was intent on making a binding rune from planar material! We set to work immediately, unsure how long we would last in such a lethal environment.

I can only assume Devianni was guided by some sort of summoner’s art. She moved across the treacherous landscape as if pulled by instinct. A step this way, to then spin on her heel and turn the opposite direction. I learned quickly to give her space. Suddenly, she stopped. She bent over, gingerly touching the ground with her slender fingers. I felt gooseflesh prickle my skin, and a chill run up my spine, despite our blistering surroundings.

Devianni turned her wrist, and the blackened ground beneath her hand shifted, radiating hairline cracks from the spot she had just touched. She lifted her hand and the clump of ground followed. It hovered between the hole it left behind and her hand, as if she was pulling it up by invisible strings. I was so amazed by what I was witness to, I had nearly forgotten my role! I ran to her side, offering the ensorcelled rune blade.

Devianni made short work of the carving. Her expertise and practiced skills made it look easy! She pocketed the planar fire elemental binding rune, then began to cast another spell. I recognized the motions, but she stopped mid-cast anyway. “I, uh… We can go now. Ready?”

“Absolutely!” I answered, looking over my shoulder.

She continued her casting, and we were soon transported back to the Plane of Magic.

Over the next few days we repeated these steps, entering the Planes of Air, Water, and Earth to create binding runes of each of the planar materials. Some were easier than others, but we did succeed. And now, here I sit back at our home, safe on Norrath, writing these notes, while Devianni practices with her binding runes. She’s gotten really good at being able to call forth planar elementals of air and fire, but the water and earth seem to be less responsive. But I’m not worried about it. She’ll master each of them, just as she has my heart. Hopefully, I’ll have the gumption to tell her how I feel one of these days.

I hope these scrolls find you well, dear sister.


A Testimony of Tranquility

A Testimony of Tranquility
by Wurgoz

Acolyte of Peace

Now, let me tell you that little tale — short and sweet it is, though dark and terrible in truth.

I committed a terrible crime many years ago against my own people an. . . Innocent people. I regret my actions, I regret them dearly, but there is nothing I can do to make right out of my ancient crimes from here.

Long, long ago my people came upon a swampland perfect for our habitation. Unfortunately, it was also the perfect habitation for the trolls — the vile, horrible, maniacal creations of The Faceless. We wanted only peace and to inhabit a piece of that fertile swampland without confronting the trolls directly.

However, the trolls did not feel the same as we. The trolls began to capture and use our people as slaves or consume them as food! We were horrified and took immediate action against them.

We came together in massive force and struck at the heart of the troll civilization to dominate the swampland. We prepared an invasion of their city that dwelled deep beneath the soggy earth of the swamp. The battle seemed to sway to the trolls’ favor. I, a shaman general and advisor to our leaders, felt the pain of our people as we fell by the hundreds to troll armies.

I could not stand to see our people suffer so, for we had come seeking peace. War — all war — hurts us most deeply within.

I pleaded with our leaders to find another swampland; to leave this place to the trolls who rightfully had claimed the land before us. Their ears were deaf to me, for they saw a great evil in these lands. It had gone beyond a desire for a new homeland for our people. It had become a crusade.

Our elders sought to purge the swamplands of the trolls. We knew they were vile and truly evil in every recess of their beings, but still I could not stand by and watch a war engage. We were creatures of peace who sought only the betterment of our own people. War was not our way.

A troll shaman by the name of Gkerzha approached me one eve whilst I was alone, scouting the swampland.

He claimed to approach in peace and we spoke. Gkerzha claimed he wanted the same as I — for the frogloks to leave the swampland and let the trolls alone. He seemed sincere and regretful for the loss and turmoil that infected his people as it did my own. We parted ways shortly thereafter, but he claimed he wished to make a bargain with me that would end the war peacefully.

Gkerzha and I met several times to discuss plans to bring peace to both races, for frogloks to move to another region of the swamp and for trolls to return to their lives before froglok presence.

I was foolish enough to trust him, but he was cunning and knew how to invoke my sense of sorrow and yearning for peace. He brought to me three of my kin, who had been taken prisoner and were used as slaves.
They were in bad health, due to abuse and lack of nutrition. Gkerzha could have cast some healing spells upon them, but knew how we feared troll magic. Instead, he brought them to me for healing. His gesture was clever. I healed the slaves and returned them to our camp, where they recovered.

I met Gkerzha again the next eve, and he brought two more slaves and an ancient trollic dagger.

After releasing the slaves into my care, Gkerzha placed the dagger on the ground, in an obvious gesture of peace. He identified the dagger as an ancient trollic weapon of legend — initially belonging to the troll hero, Tjarduugh, who saved their swampland from invasion, centuries earlier, but now an instrument of darker use.

The blade had not only killed many of my kin, but had made them the undead that accompanied their forces! He was presenting me with the very weapon that had brought great suffering to many of my people.

He said that my taking of the dagger would assure that no more frogloks would be cursed to walk as the undead servants of the trolls. This was his way of proving his desire for peace. He left quickly without further explanation, fearful of being caught by his own people, the dagger still on the ground. I picked up the dagger with a cloth, too aware of its previous use, and put it safe in my pack. I and my newly freed kin, set out to return to camp.

Once there I had council with the arch magi and high shaman. I wanted to show them the dagger, proof of this great gesture of peace, but as soon as it touched my skin, something changed in me. I brought the dagger to the arch magi and high shaman, and before they could act, I killed them with it! I remember going out into the camp and killing more of my people there.

I had murdered almost all of them before I was subdued and the dagger rent from me. I felt, as soon as the dagger left my hand, regret for what I had consciously done. I was taken prisoner before the council of generals and our leader. As the hearing was held, news of a greater and unforeseen devastation resulting in my foolishly placed trust reached us.

All that I had killed, including the arch magi and high shaman, had arisen as undead and were being commanded by a troll shaman. I immediately knew it to be Gkerzha. The scout said they were heading to the very camp where I was currently held. I pleaded with the council to destroy the dagger, or take it far, far away for it will cause them more suffering if they did not.

They did not listen to me.

I was caged and thrown into the deepest pool of the swamp, where I would either meet my fate or wait for the trial to continue. Days passed before the council returned and retrieved me from my swampy prison. They said that Gkerzha committed suicide — invoking the dark power of Innoruuk to destroy hundreds of froglok legions.

It was my fault that so many died, they said, and my judgment was beyond their abilities. I was sacrificed and my spirit sent to stand trial before The Tribunal.

It was there, within the prison cells of the Plane of Justice, where I was visited by the occasional traveler.

Several times, I had distracted myself by sharing my tale with those who would listen. It provided me some relief from my suffering and eased my conscience, if only for a moment. Each time, I was thankful for their patience and expected no more to come of it.

I had never dreamt one of those travelers would be instrumental in securing my release! I never held any such hopes, and yet that is exactly what happened!

One of those fateful travelers was a devoted Priest of Tranquility. I learned this only after she appeared before me. Though she had taken the form of a child, she was bathed in radiance and serenity. Beside her stood one of the eternal jailors. I had been awestruck and could find no air to speak.

As soon as my shackles were unlocked, I fell at her feet.

“Rise, Wurgoz. You have been locked away here for far too long, there is no need to linger on my account.” She took my arm and helped me stand. “One of my devoted priests has been praying to me on your behalf.”

“Why? What of my terrible life is worth your attention?” I offered to tell her my tale, certain she had been told lies about my innocence. She smiled, and looked at me with unflinching compassion.

She assured me, “I do not stand before you as a result of the duplicitous actions of your foe. I am here on account of your motivations. My priest was inspired by your desire for peace, not just for yourself but for your enemies too. You had sought to know the trolls and share the swamp with them.”

“But I failed!” I cried. The vision of the cursed dagger, coated with my kin’s blood from blade to handle, flashed before my mind’s eye. The memory was as fresh as the day it happened.

“They were unwilling to follow the path of enlightenment. That is not your failure to bear for eternity. Not all have the strength to walk the path to tranquility, as you have.” I could hardly believe her words! “I plead your case before the Tribunal and have won your release, Wurgoz. You are to be welcomed in my paradise, if you so wish.”

I thanked her profusely. I lavished her with adulation. I wept with relief!
“Forgive me, Tranquil One, but might I delay my travels long enough to perform one last task?” I asked.

“I will leave a portal to the Plane of Tranquility here. Step through it once you have conducted your final business. Take the time you need, my precious one. I will see you basking in peace upon the other side.”

And with that, she exited, leaving me to pen these words, my testimony. I don’t know who you are, dear reader, but I hope these words help to ease your burdens, and provide some guidance towards the path of enlightenment for you.

As she said, may we meet one another basking in peace upon the other side!

Wurgoz, Acolyte of Peace

Deadtime Stories of Bertoxxulous

Of Detrioxx Inhabitants: Origin Myths or Histories

Long ago in the Kingdom of Skaxron lived two childhood friends, Raex, and Vindor. The friends played, fought, competed and grew up together in their lawful kingdom. As they matured both young men proved to be the greatest warriors of their generation. They became pledged as knights in service to their good King Randall.

Two years after the knighting of Raex and Vindor, the War of Ages engulfed their continent, separating the friends as they fought to save their beloved kingdom. War raged for many years, their good King Randall was slain, and all the lands were put under the rule of an iron fisted dark emperor. Raex and Vindor survived these lean years as mercenaries and swore complete and utter vengeance upon the dark emperor that ruled the land. They did not have long to wait, for a great and ancient evil was listening.

Bertoxxulous, Lord of Decay, heard the plea and offered to assist Raex and Vindor for their permanent indentured servitude. For the Plague Lord knew they were among the greatest of warriors, and would aid him greatly in his rise to power. Blinded by vengeance Raex and Vindor immediately agreed to the deal. With a snap of his fingers, Bertoxxulous banished his servant, the dark emperor, to another realm and accepted the two great warriors into his service, for they did not know Bertoxxulous had conquered their world just to bring them into the ranks of his minions.

Carprin Deatharn

Long ago on the continent of Antonica, within the world of Norrath, there existed a small village known as Yawnwater. The village of Yawnwater was a typical village, with happy villagers and flowers that grew all about the town. In the middle of the village stood a small shrine dedicated to the goddess of love, Erollisi Marr, located right off of a small river that flowed down into a great lake. However all did not remain right within the happy little village of Yawnwater.

On a dark night when the moon was just a sliver in the night sky, terror and destruction came down upon the happy little village of Yawnwater. The dark knight, Carprin Deatharn, determined to prove to his god, Bertoxxulous, Lord of Decay, that he was an exalted spreader of corruption and decay that none could match, came upon the village set to destroy it.

Caprin killed off what resistance the village had to offer and then gathered around the shine to Erollisi Marr, the elderly, the women, and the children, who were too weak to defend themselves from the dark knight. Carprin then set to systematically desecrating the temple by performing a dark sacrifice on its altar. After the sacrifice he infected the rest of the survivors with an incurable malady that left them slowly wasting away and dying. When Bertoxxulous saw all that his servant did in his name he was pleased and raised him to new and untold levels of power. It was not long after that Caprin Deatharn would join his master in the Plane of Disease.

The Tale of Toluwon

In the Plains of Karana in a time not so long ago, the clergy of Karana erected a small temple in honor of The Rainkeeper. Among those present at the building of this temple was Young Toluwon, a promising cleric that had recently been raised up from the position of Acolyte. Young Toluwon was one of the most promising clerics to come in years. He had shown wisdom beyond his years, mastered the honored rituals of Karana in a short time, and performed the extremely difficult Ritual of Thunder and Lightning for the first time in centuries.

However, all this was soon to come to an end for Young Toluwon for he had a different path to walk. Young Toluwon returned home soon after helping finish up the final building stages of the temple. He had to visit his love in the nearby city of Qeynos. When he arrived at his lover’s house, he found a small note asking him to meet her at a private locale. Concerned, Toluwon made his way immediately to the locale, to find something he could not believe; his lover was a worshipper of the dark god Bertoxxulous!

She was with a group of people in brown robes muttering chants to the Lord of Decay. Once he overcame his disbelief he knew what he must do. He would join her, for she was more important to him than anything else. When the decision was made, the worshipers of Bertoxxulous immediately sent Toluwon out to prove his faith. They sent him against his old brethren at the newly built temple in the Plains of Karana.

When he arrived the priests were surprised to see him back so early for they knew he loved his woman dearly. He assured them everything was all right, and told them that he needed to get some rest. Little did they know what dark plans were about to unfold. In the dead of night Toluwon crept around and slit the throats of each priest within the temple. Then performing a dark ritual told to him by the priests of Bertoxxulous he desecrated the newly erected temple. Toluwon had now become a full-fledged member of Bertoxxulous’ clergy. This is how Bishop Toluwon came to join the legions of corruption.

Rise of Avhi Escron

Thousands of years ago in lands long gone there was a prophecy of power. It said ‘One shall be born perched between light and darkness. They will grow and one day shroud the world in golden light or encompassing darkness. For they will choose.’ Avhi Escron was born shortly thereafter. She was the child foretold in the prophecy and the forces of light and dark waged war over her. As time passed Avhi began to show signs of extreme magical power, unmatched by any ever known to the world. The time for her to choose was fast approaching.

As the time came upon her Avhi was tempted by the forces of dark with images of unseen power, wealth beyond imagining, and endless lands to rule. With these images in her mind, Avhi chose the side of evil, and the world fell into an encompassing darkness. The ancient evil, known today as Bertoxxulous, was among the powers that she now served.
Decay and corruption became a daily part of Avhi’s life as she explored the dark arts of necromancy, creating new dark rituals, and spells became commonplace as she reached the pinnacle of her power.

Eventually Avhi declared herself fully in the service of the Lord of Decay. Soon after she brought down a mighty spell of foul corruption upon the kingdoms, laying waste to huge tracts of land. And so Avhi continued until one day she was raised to the side of her lord in the Plane of Disease.

Fall of the Wemmal Royal Family

The Wemmal Family had ruled their small island in the middle of the endless sea for years. Not knowing of the other continents and lands of their world, it was a self-contained island filled with peace. One day that changed, for chance brought the sole survivor of a shipwreck to a beach on their land. The survivor was Banford Paffa a cook from a pirate ship that had been wrecked in a nasty storm. The islanders discovered him on one of the beautiful beaches and brought him to the royal family.

The Wemmal’s were taken with this seemingly charming pirate from lands unknown. They offered him a position on the cooking staff for he knew many exotic dishes previously unknown to the islanders. However, the Wemmal’s would soon learn that their new cook had a dark secret. Banford was a worshipper of Bertoxxulous, the Lord of Decay. He set to slowly poisoning the food he served to the royal family. Soon after all of the royal family became sick and dying.

It was discovered that Banford had been poisoning them, but by then it was to late, and the Wemmals were dead. The islanders maddened by grief for their beloved royals lynched Banford and hung his corpse from the islands tallest tree. Bertoxxulous pleased with what Banford accomplished gave him a new form in the Plane of Disease, where he now serves his lord for eternity.

Origins of the Bubonians

In the deepest depths of some forgotten tomb, Tarkon Praez, a necromancer in service to Bertoxxulous, was performing experiments on a tribe of rat men that he had previously enslaved. During this time he bred a variety of rat men, but none of them were what he wanted. Tarkon wanted a ravenous, festering, and foul breed that would strike terror and fear into the hearts of the pure. Tarkon decided to pray one day to his dark god for guidance.

After many hours of prayers, foul rituals and sacrifices, Bertoxxulous enlightened Tarkon with a vision of what he must do. He would travel to the farthest reaches and find the necessary components to perform a ritual of the darkest evil. The four components Tarkon was to gather were a unicorn heart, tail of a phoenix, tears of a virgin, and the blood of a faerie. After many trials and tribulations he had gathered the necessary components and began the dark ritual.

What took form was more than he expected. An extremely evil crazed race of rat men that carried a foul plague in their blood and minds. He dubbed them the Bubonians and set them on the land. The Bubonians tore apart the lands near the tomb of their creation, spreading disease, death, and destruction wherever they went. They continued unhindered for a time, until they were banished from the world by a good and noble order of knights. Bertoxxulous took the Bubonians into the Crypt of Decay and that is where they have festered ever since, waiting to lay waste to the world once again.

After The Shifting

This is the tale of the time that followed the Shifting. Our people had been thrown into darkness with only a handful of heroes to guide us. Perhaps it was fate that brought us here… or maybe the spirits are calling us to their aid.

When the magic ripped us from our realm, we found ourselves within a strange land. We could no longer sense our guiding spirits around us, and fear began to overtake our kin. Fortunately, our king Vah Kerrath was quick to see this, and so he began to give us tasks to help our people regain their sanity and stability. He sent his greatest warriors under the leadership of the great explorer Khati Sha to the north to find out more about these strange lands. King Vah Kerrath then sent another army of brave men to the west under the leadership of Dar Khura.

The citizens that marched into the darkness in those days were responsible for the security that we now enjoy. The bravery of Vah’s leaders and our ability to come together as a people secured our sanctuary here in the darkness. Those days were full of turmoil and conflict… much like they are now.

Before the time of the Shifting we had the spirits to guide us, but their guidance seemed to be blocked from us by the darkness, much like the sun. We had no voices to follow and no light to warm our spirits. Our shaman tried to find the spirits but they could only sense a distant creature lurking as if it was of the shadow itself. Without the will of Vah to guide us through those desolate years, we might have lost everything.

Our people feared that we were the only of our kind left alive and to give up would have meant that the honor of our ancestors would have surely been lost to the ages.

When our king passed on, we took his name as our own to show that we are strong, for he was a strong king. Under the leadership of Vah Kerrath, we survived. We survived the loss of our ancestral spirits and we survived the loss of our home and our people. We stood firm against the lurking shadows and roared the name of Vah as a challenge to all who would stand against our will to live.

That is how we survived the Shifting.