Category Archives: Drachnid

Were-Hunter Ability Quest


This is a quest from EQOA and is archived here for potential lore information

Source: http://eqoa.allakhazam.com/forum.html?forum=18&mid=109844940087173749&h=50

Djivan wrote:
We gypsies do not let others have power over us through fear. Even here we stand in the shadow of great evil.

You! wrote:
I seek to uncover and slay the ancient one, Mayong Mistmoore!

Djivan wrote:
You have a fire that burns within you %4. Let us hope that fire does not fail you during the course of the task you desire to undertake. My fellow gypsies that have been watching Caer Sloth from a safe distance have learned much about the Siloth. With the aid of the ancient one and his brides their necromantic powers have grown immensely in a very short time. Several new minions of the Siloth have appeared at Caer Sloth, both the living and the cursed dead. However, no vampires other than one of the ancient one’s brides, Tserrina Syl’Tor have been seen entering or leaving the keep.I believe from the information that I have been provided that the ancient one lairs deep beneath the Siloth’s salt mines. I also believe that the Siloth did not originally intend to become servants of the ancient one, or be the ones to awaken him.

You! wrote:
Why do you believe they are unwilling servants?

Djivan wrote:
The Siloth are a little more than deviants that worships a triad of dark deities; Rallos Zek, Innoruuk, and Bertoxxulous. Using slave labor and the animated dead they built their fortress in hills rich with salt, and had slaves begin digging mines. The Siloth were attracted to the spot due to the desolateness caused by the high salt content in the rock and soil. The salt is also useful to the Siloth to preserve the undead and foul research materials of their necromancers. Deals struck with the river pirates of the region also made it easy for the Siloth to sell and smuggle the salts for a profit. As the slaves dug deeper in search of new salt deposits, they stumbled upon the ancient one’s tomb. A subterranean labyrinth guarded by the deadly drachnids, unnatural creatures reputedly created by the ancient one.

You wrote:
I will go to the ancient one’s lair and slay him.

Djivan wrote:
First you must better understand what it is that must be done in order to reach the ancient one and defeat him. The vampire lord’s coffin is said to be impervious to harm and is sealed by mystical wards that no magic can dispell. There are legends of a song that will counter the wards on the coffin and summon the ancient one. Speak with the gypsy minstrel Enrique Revnold, it was his ancestor who first discovered the song of which I speak. Enrique can usually be found at the crossroads east of Blakedown and north of Forkwatch.

Scene Two: Enrigue Revnold in Alseop’s Wall (SW)

Enrique wrote:
You are safe from the bandits here. They will not approach our camp so long as we keep the fires lit and song in the air.

You wrote:
Tell me about the Revnold that once fought the ancient one.

Enrique wrote:
So you have heard something of my lineage, have you? It is not a proud tale, for it ends in great sorrow. My ancestor Vedel Revnold was a bard of unparalleled skill and talent, and he also possessed immense courage. It is said that when he sang his words would form images that danced in the air before the eyes of the listeners. Vedel traveled the lands of Antonica that were then still new to even the gypsy clans. Wherever Vedel traveled he shared his songs and protected the innocent from the unspeakable horrors of the night. As a result, others wrote songs of Vedel in return. He had become a hero amongst all the gypsy clans. Thus, when the ancient one appeared to threaten those who Vedel cherished, he took it upon himself to face the vampire lord. The encounter would not bode well for Vefel Revnold, yet to some degree he would succeed.

You! wrote:
What happened when he faced the ancient one?

Enrique wrote:
Vedel and a handful of companions located the ancient one’s lair and defeated his guardians. The ancient one himself slumbered within an indestructable mithril coffin that no man could pry open. Vedel was determined to defeat the vampire lord, thus he fabricated a magical melody to cause pain to the vampire’s senses. The song worked, it resonated through the mithril coffin and the vampire lord emerged from his slumber. During the ensuing battle, tragedy befell Vedel Revnold as his companions were slain by the vampire lord. Vedel was among the last to fall. As the ancient one drained him of his life he thrust an eldarr wood stake through his heart. The ancient one dissipated into a haze of red mist, wrongfully believed to have been destroyed. Vedel was dead, but doomed to rise as a powerful vampire, his mind corrupted and his body without a soul. Vedel would then terrorize for many decades the innocents he once protected and cherished. Vedel Revnold became known to the gypsy clans as the dreaded Maestro of Rancor.

You wrote:
Do you know the song to call forth the ancient one?

Enrique wrote:
Yes, the song has been preserved. For the Maestro of Rancor loathed the very songs he created in life. Thus, Vedel’s songs were taught to our people as songs of protection against the creatures of the night. I will provide you with a copy of Vedel’s songs, but they are valuable and highly protected gypsy songs. I ask that you do me a favor in return, for I too seek a writing that is valuable and highly guarded. I seek a copy of the Writ of the Wild, the scriptures written by the wild elf Wegadas and handed down to the Unkempt. Perhaps within the pages of the Writ of the Wild I can discover new weaknesses of the lycanthropes, the heirs of Wegadas. If you provide me with a copy of the unkempt’s writ, I will provide you with a tome of Vedel’s songs.

Scene Three: Enrique Revnold in Alseop’s Wall (SW)

Enrique wrote:
As promised I shall give you this copy of Vedel’s songs in exchange for the Writ of the Wild. There is something I must tell you though. The song you seek to awaken is not within those pages. Only the Maestro of Rancor knows the last song that Vedel wrote before his demise.

You! wrote:
Where do I find the Maestro of Rancor?

Enrique wrote:
The Maestro of Rancor was banished from the realm of men long ago by the gypsy sorceress Yazmina. The Maestro may only return to Antonica if summoned by playing Vedel’s songs on an instrument crafted by a vampire. I do not know where you will find such an instrument, other than perhaps, in a vampire’s lair. I warn you though should you be fool enough to actually attempt summoning the Maestro. He is a powerful vampire, sired by the ancient one himself, thus will not return to death like other undead creatures. No stake through the heart will slay the Maestro of Rancor, but he can be defeated.
Source: http://eqoa.forumotion.com/t234-were-hunter-ability-quest

Additional info
Quest Name: Were-Hunter Ability Quest

Level: 46+
Class: All
Quest NPC: Djivan Mertshak
Location: Oasis

Note: to log this quest you need a minimum of +500 faction with the Gypsies of Tunaria (not the Tunarian Gypsies). To get faction, head to siloths and farm. The easier mobs at the top give +1 faction per kill, as get lower down, mobs give +5, while at the very bottom – each kill will give you +10 faction.

Talk to Djivan Mertshak in Oasis. Djivan tells you a long story about Mayong Mistmoore, a vampire who seeks control of the siloths. He asks for your help in defeating Mistmoore. Djivan tells you to see Enrique Revnold by the crossroads at Forkwatch.

Enrique talks about his ancestor, Vedel Revnold, a famous bard. Vedel crafted a song to rouse Mistmoore from his coffin, but Vedel was defeated and became the Maestro of Rancor. Enrique will give you a tome of Vedel’s songs but in exchange wants a Writ of the Wild from the Unkempt Druids. Farm rangers and druids in the Unkempt Village (where levandius is) [Unkempt North SW] to find your writ of the wild. Usually drops in about 15 minutes of farming.

Return to Enrique with the Writ of the Wild and receive Vedel’s songs in exchange. He tells you the Maestro can only be summoned by playing the songs on an intrument crafted by a vampire.

You are to look for the instrument in the vampire’s lair. Head to Saltmines (SW) – not the castle, the mines – find you way down the ramps several levels. Find Colen Ilbeth and enter the tunnel where he stands, go down some more ramps. Eventually, you find yourself entering a small room with 3 drachnids, clear them. Beyond that is a circular room with drachnids and a red spider graphic on the floor. Go to the second room on your right, clear the room, keep mobs down.

Approach the organ and get a popup, and Maestro of Rancor spawns in the middle of the carpet (CONs yel@lvl50). Kill the Maestro and loot a song page.
If more than one questor needs to kill the Maestro, you will have to wait on the respawn time, which can be more than 30 min (ie. this is not a group flag).

Now it’s time to find Mayong Mistmoore. Head back out to the central room, and again head to the second tunnel on your right. You’ll come across the room with the ‘drachnid body snatcher’; clear this room. Pass through this room and down a tunnel, turn right at the brick lined hallway, and STAY right. Follow the hall to the end, there will be a small room with two glyph familiars and a drachnid, clear the room and take the ramp down. In the large cavern down below you can clear mobs. You will be able to con ‘stone coffin’; there are several down there. Con around and see if you con the coffin of Mayong Mistmoore. He is a rare spawn and you won’t catch him here very often. If he is ‘up’, the assemble your team to take him down.

Note: you MUST be in the ks (kill group) group to advance your quest. Be in a group with 3 other DD’s and have everyone else ungroup (this mob is easily one groupable though). DON’T DIE – if you die you have to restart the quest.

2nd note: If more than one questor is at this exact spot in the quest (ie kill mayong), as long as all questors are in the killgroup, all will have their quest advanced.

Mistmoore has a AoE lifetap, so only the tank should face him head on; everyone else should hide from the AoE and pop out quickly to cast/melee etc. If he lifetaps you, it heals him and keeps the fight going longer. Kill Mayong Mistmoore, get the xp for the kill, and your quest log will advance.

Return to Djivan Mertshak in Oasis to get 1.4 million in xp and a reward (see below).

Rewards

Note on ability rewards: The ..stat buff for 80 and 40 is always the odd stat for that archtype that werehunter is trying to promote, or simply both tanks and melees get 80 int and both healers and casters get 80 str.

Melee: A necklace and a scroll.
*Troka’s Blessing (spell scroll, use it to put into your spell book)
The necklace (the talisman of Troka) must be in your inventory or bank for the ability to function. It is a +80 intel/+40 dex, stacks with other buffs.
*Talisman of Troka, necklace, NTL, Lvl50, Dex30, Int15

Tank: A necklace and a scroll.
*Blessing of Valentina (spell scroll, use it to put into your spell book)
Cast: 6 Recast: 60 Power: 25
Description: By invoking the spirit of the gypsy heroine Valentina your body and mind are strengthened.
This is a strength and intelligence buff +40 intel/+80 str
*Talisman of Valentina, necklace, NTL, Lvl50 str30 int15

Caster: A necklace and a scroll.
*Blessing of Yazmina
Cast: 6 Recast: 60 Pow: 25 Lvl:50
By invoking the spirit of the gypsy sorceress Yazmina your body and mind are one.
This is a strength and intelligence buff +40 intel/+80 str
*Talisman of Yazmina, necklace, NTL, Lvl50, str15, int30

Healer: A necklace and a scroll
*Blessing of Luludja
Lvl 50
Wisdom and Strength buff: str80 wis40
*Talisman of Luludja, necklace, NTL, Lvl 50, drd/sha/cl str15, wis30

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Into the Depths of: Firiona Vie


Overview

The elven outpost of Firiona Vie has endured constant assaults from the inhabitants of the surrounding lands. Frogloks from the Swamp of No Hope persist in their hatred of the elves for reasons not clear. Other creatures such as the Drolvargs and the Drachnids have also made their hostility recently known to the outpost’s settlers.

The outpost itself poses a major threat to any who have not earned the acceptance of the elves. Those of dark intent who venture foolishly into Firiona Vie will find themselves quickly dispatched at the end of an elvish blade if they are not wary of their actions.

Background Lore

Several centuries past, the first landing by elves was made at what is now Firiona Vie. However, the elven forces were slain within a single year of their arrival by froglok raids orchestrated by Venril Sathir. Two hundred years later, the elves landed again in the area. This time, they were able to resist the onslaught of froglok attacks. However, a new enemy reared its head in the form of the Forest Giants and the fledgling outpost was once again destroyed with the elven troops either slain or sent sailing back to Faydwer.

For another two decades, the elves would abandon their attempts to land and successfully establish an outpost on Kunark. When the kidnapping of Firiona Vie, heir to the throne of Felwithe and the champion of Tunare, reached the ears of King Tearis Thex, orders were issued for the elvish army to return. An army of immeasurable proportions arrived to fend off the frogloks, although the giants were no where to be found, due to their internal strife occupying the entirety of their meek attentions. The new wave of settlers erected a fort and named it in dedication of the champion who had inspired their success – Firiona Vie.

Adventurers, mercenaries, and frontiersmen arrived on the shores of the new outpost, led by Galeth Veredeth, Firiona’s mentor and a seasoned knight of great prowess. The growing town was fortified further and began to trade with a more peaceful Forest Giant tribe in the Dreadlands. A grand, enormous statue of the outpost’s namesake stands in the center of the octagonal courtyard – a gift made of mithril and white marble from the dwarven sympathizers of Kaladim. However, the outpost lacked completion due to the continuing froglok raids.

Sir Galeth Veredeth

In his youth, Galeth Veredeth was a knight of unsurpassed skill and he was unrivaled in his devotion to the hierarchy of Felwithe and the grace of Tunare. Galeth was knighted when his blade and leadership proved instrumental in the success of the elven king’s forces during a heated confrontation with the despised orcs of Crushbone. Years would pass and Galeth’s prowess upon the battlefield and his loyalty to Felwithe would earn him a seat among King Tearis Thex’s advisors and closest guardians.

Source: http://eqplayers.station.sony.com/news_article.vm?id=52022&month=092010

Depths of Darkhollow, Part II


History of the Shiliskin Empire

The shiliskin first began to record their history around the year 2000, although at the time they were spread throughout Darkhollow in a network of warring nationstates. One prophet, a withered shiliskin named Jarzarrad, appeared early in shiliskin recorded history and was thought to have been granted immortality by the Korlach, a mighty leviathan beneath Darkhollow’s great lake, so he might serve as the creature’s speaker. Near 4000, Jarzarrad, in his thousandth year of life, came to serve as the personal advisor for a war chief known as Vogan Sillgar. Jarzarrad prophesized that Vogan’s primary general, Jayan, would betray the war chief by spawning a child, a young warrior who would eventually kill Vogan and take his place.

Although Jayan vowed to never betray Vogan in such a way, the war chief remained impassive. In an effort to prevent Jarzarrad’s prophesy from coming to pass, Vogan condemned Jayan to death by sacrificing him to the Korlach. Unfortunately for Vogan, Jayan was swallowed whole by the Korlach only to be belched out on a deserted beach to the west. While in the Korlach’s hollow stomach, Jayan spawned an offspring, a young shiliskin named Illsalin.

Knowing they could never return to their old nation-state, Jayan fled with Illsalin to a neighboring shiliskin kingdom. There they were taken in as slaves and sold to a gladiator broker. Illsalin grew up in the arenas, miraculously surviving battle after battle until he became a young adult and managed to organize a revolt and attempt a daring escape. Through his strategies and success, slaves rallied around Illsalin and he soon became their leader. Indeed, the mere presence of his army would often cripple any opposing force that stood against him, as most slave conscripts quickly fled to his side of the battle line.

After years of struggle, Illsalin did fulfill Jarzarrad’s prophesy and defeated Vogan and his army. Illsalin then succeeded in uniting the shiliskin nation-states, proclaiming the outpost south of the Corathus Creep to be their new home. The outpost grew into a capital city and soon the city itself became synonymous with its ruler and was simply named “Illsalin.”

The Reign of Illsalin, the Gladiator King

Illsalin prolonged his life with dark magic and an unnatural thirst for conquest, enabling him to lead the newly formed Shiliskin Empire for the first few hundred years of its existence. During this time, the shiliskin displaced many of the other races. The werewolf clans were driven back into their old ancestral territories west of Lake Korlach.

Jarzarrad, the prophet who foretold Illsalin’s rise to power, was exiled for his loyalty to Vogan. Normally Jarzarrad would have been executed outright, but he was spared due to the truth of his prophesies and that he had ironically made Illsalin’s birth possible. After his exile, Jarzarrad traveled to the east of Lake Korlach and has remained there in relative seclusion ever since.

As Illsalin grew and prospered, the shiliskin deathshed priests learned to use the local underwater life, called nargilor coral, to fuel their incantations and augment their rituals. With this newfound power, they were able to venture into the Korlach’s lair and lull the beast into submission. The Korlach, previously thought to be an uncontrollable force of nature, became the personal guardian of the Shiliskin Empire. Even as the Shiliskin Empire grew more technologically advanced, the shamanistic deathshed priests retained their place in society as the keepers of the Korlach.

With the Korlach now under control, the shiliskin were free to colonize the lake’s edge without fear of retribution. Lake districts such as Malgrinnor and Xill appeared and prospered during this time, fueling the spread of the Shiliskin Empire. Illsalin died in 4812 and three emperors followed before Draygun ascended to rule Illsalin.

The Fall of Xill

Many years into Emperor Draygun’s rule, the shiliskin began to grow suspicious of the lights appearing in the great spire above the lake. They could faintly see a building carved into the stone at the cavern’s height and it appeared to be near completion. Draygun organized a battalion to crush whoever had arrived to take residence in Darkhollow. The battalion never returned.

More angered than afraid, Draygun amassed an army to rush the unknown interlopers once and for all. While the army gathered outside the gates of Illsalin, a horde of drachnids burrowed into the nearby and undefended lake city of Xill. A bloodbath ensued. Every shiliskin in Xill was slain, drained, or dragged back to the drachnid hive to be cocooned for “later.”

The War of Four Crests

The Fall of Xill sparked the War of Four Crests, so named because it eventually involved four armies. With the shiliskin armies assembled and fully aware of the drachnid menace, the shiliskin generals took a much more cautious approach toward the new forces that threatened their home.

For the next hundred years a long series of skirmishes unfolded between the Agents of Dreadspire and the Shiliskin Empire. The werewolves, always eager for war, joined the struggle with the Shadowmane Clan aligning with drachnids under the command of Master Vule the Silent Tear and the Ragepaw Clan moving behind the shiliskin ranks. Even after years of struggle, the conflict yielded no decisive victor.

About twenty-five years into the War of the Four Crests, a charismatic advisor rose to power in Illsalin. This advisor, a crippled sage named Bodrak, spread the belief that the key to defeating the drachnid hordes was to master their own necromantic magic and use it against them. Draygun, the current shiliskin emperor, followed this advice and began a fervent study of necromancy. Shortly after Draygun founded a school dedicated to drachnid necromancy, Bodrak disappeared from Illsalin. Although Bodrak was never seen again, his skin was found draped in a crumpled pile on the shores of Lake Korlach.

Around this time, the Korlach leviathan turned on Illsalin, smashing through the city’s walls and carving a wake of destruction through the city itself. Although it remains unclear why exactly the Korlach leviathan turned on its former masters, many believe that it became angered by the shiliskin priests’ slow gravitation towards the drachnid school of necromancy. Others believe that the creature in the spire may have promised the beast freedom if it turned on its shiliskin captors. And still others believe that the Korlach is simply a force of nature that was never meant to be controlled.

The Fall of Illsalin

As the drachnids spilled over the walls of Illsalin, Draygun turned to the city’s last resort, a powerful artifact known as Shadowspine. Shadowspine was an ancient spell book recovered from a raid on the drachnid hive. The book contained powerful spells and Draygun believed it held the key to turning back the drachnid invasion. Unbeknownst to Draygun however, the book was a twisted entity capable of pulling those who opened it into its pages.

When Draygun opened the book, its power spread throughout the city and cursed Illsalin’s defenders and the drachnids to undeath. Draygun was strong enough to achieve rudimentary control of the book, and he used it to raise himself as a lich and command the other undead throughout the city.

Despite this control, the book is now slowly bending Draygun to its will. With each spell that Draygun casts from Shadowspine, he slides closer and closer to insanity and servitude. For now however, Draygun retains his free will and continues to defend Illsalin against invaders. He lords over the undead city with Shadowspine close by his side.

The surviving shiliskin forces fell back to Malgrinnor, the empire’s last standing fortress in the east of Lake Korlach. Although the shiliskin are far from extinct, their armies are scattered and demoralized to the point that they no longer pose an obstacle to the evil master in the great Dreadspire Keep above the lake.

Werewolves and Norrath

Werewolf Origins

The werewolf has existed in Norrath as long as most other races have, but was found only in Darkhollow for some time. These first feral werewolves, called wurines, credit the Great Wuria with their creation — the mother of all werewolves. She is considered a spirit of the dark wilds and less of a god. She is the provider of the beasts they hunt and feed on and the source of their strengths.

The werewolves learned to grow and survive in the dark and dangerous underground world around them. They have the gift of intelligence, are motivated and social, but not all equal. They are feral creatures with finely honed instincts and survival skills.

For several hundred years, no one on the surface of Norrath had ever seen a werewolf. It wasn’t until an expedition of Qeynosian miners breached the barrier of Darkhollow that the first werewolf was seen and the first human bitten.

The werewolves attacked the foreign expedition party and killed all but three who suffered near lethal bites — Patrim Gallowtrow, Brendin Fardon, and Wendal Meen were their names. They manage to survive the bites and flee to the surface to later become the kinsfolk of the werewolves of Darkhollow, the half-human, half-werewolf breed that transformed under the light of the moon. It was only a matter of days before they all went through the first transformation.

This new breed of werewolf became known as the Clan of the White Fangs. They considered themselves closest in blood to a true werewolf through the father’s bloodlines.

It was Patrim Gallowtrow who bit Sentry Alchin, the friend of Sentry Joanna in Rathe Mountains, who became one of the White Fangs. The White Fangs were arrogant, aristocratic, and were somewhat consumed with their power and gifts.

Later, the generations of White Fangs in Norrath became muddied with mixed blood of the various races of Norrath as they mated in human form. This third breed or tribe of werewolf became known as the Dusk Leapers — the mutts of the werewolves. They lived on the fringes of civilization and often plotted against it to rule over it and their cousins, the White Fangs.

Meanwhile, among the wurines down below, social conflicts that have lasted thousands of years continue unresolved.

As with any intelligent creature with a measure of individuality and the capacity for ideas, the werewolves do not always agree or follow the same path. There are two tribes in Darkhollow:

Shadowmanes

Created by Matriarch Shyra, the Shadowmanes prefer a more matriarchal social structure. They believe the females have the closest spiritual ties to the Great Wuria and seek the matriarch’s guidance and approval. The Shadowmanes can be characterized as a more spiritual and intellectual clan. While they have a matriarch, there are internal politics that dictate what each member of the clan must accomplish in their commune. They struggle against their innate primal instincts as they have some desire for peace and tranquility, even though they live in such a volatile region. They want to find a balance that allows them some sophistication and spirituality.

They abhor the purely uncivilized animalistic ways of the Ragepaws, finding them base and disgusting.

Ragepaws

The Ragepaws believe in the predatory nature of being a wurine and organize themselves by the strength of the alpha male of the group. They shun and hold contempt for any political or high-level social musings that their counterparts have. Their lives are fairly simple — to survive and not allow the Shadowmanes to overcome their ideals or get in the way of their chief philosophy: kill or be killed. They have been led for hundreds of years by the brute strength and will of Bloodeye.

The Norrathian Perspective on Werewolves

When the first werewolves that were created by wurine-bitten humans began to walk the lands of Norrath, new conflicts arose. By day, the werewolf could comfortably walk among humans in human form. At night, they could transform into a fearsome creature, half-human, half-wolf, with an unnatural destructive rage and strength. They prowled the wilds and hunted, killing anything in their path. These werewolves roamed the wilds of the Karanas, the Faydarks, or wherever they felt free.

A few Norrathians, touched by the terror of werewolves, chose to band together to thwart the danger and protect their families. They call themselves the Fangbreakers, a relatively quiet society that spans several generations and reaches far across the lands of Norrath. The Fangbreakers recognize each other quietly and trust very few. For centuries they have protected their organization from being infiltrated by werewolves posing as concerned citizens and they prefer to keep it that way.

Nul Aleswiller has been the leader of the Fangbreakers for 500 years. They were originally employed by the people of the Plains of the Karanas to protect the farms and lands from the threat of werewolf attacks.

Bunu Stoutheart, Fixxin Followig, and Cory Bumbleye can be considered the coleaders of the Fangbreakers, having also lived in the Karanas for hundreds of years, keeping the werewolves at bay.

Wurines’ Conflicts and Civil War

Until Matriarch Shyra claimed to have spoken to the Great Wuria, their great mother, through divination, each pack of wurine lived separately. But this matriarch preached a new way of life — one of spiritual fulfillment, order, and worship to their mother. Many joined together to follow Matriarch Shyra, becoming members of the Shadowmane clan. The feral wurines then banded together and formed the Ragepaw Clan. Soon after, Matriarch Shyra created the Lodge of the Fangs, a rudimentary court for all wurines.

The departure from the old ways incensed the feral wurine, the Ragepaws, and a civil war ensued — The War of the West Tunnels — over philosophy and territory that lasted 20 years, until the wurines accepted that they would never agree, and instead would learn to coexist to survive Darkhollow. Ragepaw Clan elders were added to the Lodge of the Fangs, which made larger rulings and decisions for both clans when necessary.

The Choice

About 200 years ago, a dark master that threatened the lives of all the wurines offered a grim proposal to Matriarch Shyra. Align with him in his great castle above the lake, or die. In exchange for their loyalty and service, the master would spare the Ragepaws their annihilation as well. There would be benefits to their service — material wealth, comforts, and protection from the shiliskin, sporali and the other elements of Darkhollow.

Shyra took the proposal to the Lodge of the Fangs and they discussed the matter. It wasn’t long before the notion of safe haven and access to surface-world comforts won them over. They agreed. The Lodge of the Fangs summoned the alphas of the Ragepaws and they were told the news of the decision to preserve the wurine race and serve the lord of the keep.

The Ragepaws were chagrinned and refused to exist in servitude in any way to the master whom they believed intended to deceive and exploit the pride and strength of the wurines. This master who never showed his face represented everything that was dark in their world, and they would not succumb. But they would not fight against it out of fear. They remain in the Snarlstone Dens in the West Lake Korlach region.

Today, the Shadowmanes still serve the master, building and guarding his fortress above the waters of Lake Korlach. They accept this duty to preserve and advance their place in the world of Darkhollow. The Ragepaws remain in the darkness and continue to do what they have done for much of their lives — survive and preserve the true feral ways of the wurine.

Genesis of the Sporali

Around 4900, a sentient fungus spore settled into the groundwater through a pool in the Clan Runnyeye goblin lair before it eventually found its way through some cracks into Darkhollow. The spore was greatly affected by the tainted waters of Darkhollow and evolved in strange and fantastic ways to become a sporali. It grew and spread over 200 years until the first sporali colonies were formed. The colonies began to harvest corathus, a strange resource secreted by the corathus worms which they learned had caused the sporali to grow and evolve at an accelerated rate. The shiliskin also harvested corathus and viewed the sporali as a threat to their supplies.

Before the shiliskin could drive the sporali into extinction, the sporali shamans pooled their corathus stocks and fed it to a single spore king. Thus, Antraygus was born. The corathus made Antraygus near invulnerable, and any sporelings he created were also unnaturally resilient. Antraygus and his offspring lead a fierce resistance against the shiliskin raiders who eventually forewent corathus altogether and turned their attention to gathering nargilor, the coral with magical properties that grows below Illsalin. During the Shiliskin-Sporali wars, the sporali bred many plants to use against the shiliskin, including mindspore and retch weed. They still exist today.

Ak’Anon Expedition 328

About a century and half ago, King Ak’Anon sponsored a drill expedition to seek out mithril deep below the Steamfont mines. Unfortunately, Mithril Expedition 328 was fraught with disaster. They were the first to use the great new invention, the Burrownizer, a powerful drill that could dig deep into the earth<, carrying gnomes and clockworks within it. During the expedition, far below the surface the Burrownizer’s rubble-sweeping mechanism jammed, leaving the craft unable to maintain a usable tunnel in its wake. The gnomish engineers soon realized that the only way to go was down, so that’s where the drill expedition went. The gnomes traveled for two and half years at a fifteen-degree downward angle before eventually crashing into Corathus Creep in Darkhollow.

The gnomes calculated that they were somewhere under Antonica, likely beneath the Nektulos forest. Their drill was hopelessly smashed and they had no way to contact the surface. Soon the gnomish scientists began their lives as castaways. One by one, they fell victim to the various hazards of Darkhollow. Those that survived were forced to augment their failing bodies with salvaged clockwork parts until the gnomes were almost completely mechanical. Through the magic of tinkering, most of them managed to retain some of their personality and memory in Fibblebrap gems, named after the gnome that invented them. These gems, placed into the heart of the clockwork, served to keep the gnomes’ souls alive as they waited for word, existing as what they call gnomeworks. But as can happen when toying with tinkering, it wasn’t perfect.

The miners of the Expedition began to show strange behaviors after some time. These miners, called the Creep Reapers, have all but forgotten its gnomish heritage, and have instead focused on mining corathus. Perhaps it was the influence of the corathus mineral, or perhaps it was their willingness to surrender their biological parts so quickly, but the Creep Reapers have adopted a somewhat relentless and remorseless approach to mining. They attack anything that enters their mines and often work themselves to malfunction. The Creep Reapers detest the other survivors of Expedition 328 who have chosen not to help toil in the mines.

A Rime of War


A Rime of War
A dirge’s personal tale by Elna Tsernin

The waves rocking this vessel as we cross the Timorous Deep should be lulling me into a deep sleep, instead I find myself examining my actions and the tide of events that swept me here. I had been a successful dirge, and a beautiful one at that, I had always been proud of my unblemished scales and frills. A young Iksar blessed with talent beyond her years known throughout the Sebilisian Empire. I had been entertaining barons and officers with the same old collection of historical songs and tales of the Iksar nation for years; from Sebilis to Jinisk, Torsis to Charasis. When I had grown tired of those tales I looked toward the rest of Kunark. Over the next several years I trekked from one end of our isolated continent to the other learning tales of other societies and their myths. My native tongue was Sebilisian, like anyone born within the empire, but I learned enough common in these years in order to unlock stories from other cultures. But I was still young. A few stories of the drachnid learned here, a song about Chelsith there. I grew bored quickly, too quickly. Always believing the big song eluded me. Skorpikis, burynai, sarnak, Yha-Lei, even goblins. I was certain that I had heard all there was to hear and my catalog of songs and stories had become rather impressive, but I had been arrogant and foolish.

And fate was about to point this out to me. I had decided to embark upon a voyage the likes of which would enlighten me beyond my expectations. The seas surrounding the continent had calmed enough that a few ships were preparing to leave on exploring missions. They were hoping to reestablish the legendary trade routes that had existed prior to The Shattering. Upon hearing this, I raced to the docks of Danak, quick to volunteer my services as deckhand, lookout, whatever and wherever they might find me useful. It was not that I longed to be away from my hatch-mates or countrymen. Quite the opposite, I liked my place within society and had a great many lovers spread across the inns and guild houses of the empire. And I would miss them all, but the siren call of the unknown had called my name. I was powerless to avoid it. No, that’s not entirely true. I always tend to overstate the romantic. Truth is, I could have stayed in the lands of my ancestors, I just didn’t want to. There were new and exciting tales to sing across the great expanse of the Timorous Deep and I was determined to find them.

They did end up taking me on board and to my relief, it was not as anything so physically demanding as other jobs upon the Empress’ Journey. I had been taken aboard as the official recorder and map maker for the voyage. The task suited my talents rather naturally and the first few days upon the waves were exhilarating ones. I sung and played songs of travel upon my dulcimer to entertain my fellow shipmates. I even wrote a few, inspired as I was sailing upon Prexus’ ancient kingdom.

Several days out the waves proved to be quite a bit stronger than we expected. The ship was being battered from all sides, and many of us had become quite ashen, the color of our scales having been flushed from our bodies, along with our last few meals. The storm was tremendous, striking fear into some, determination into others. We lost the first few crewmen to Prexus’ wrath that day, but they would not be the last. The skies grew increasingly darker as the clouds piled upon one another, robbing us of Solus’ setting beauty as it tore mast from deck. Not even the glittering remains of Luclin were allowed to stand witness to our final moments as port and stern were torn asunder under the immense powers of the crashing waves. I remember the confusion and shock as I hit the frigid waters. Then as my body struggled to right itself, to find the sweet air to soothe my gasping lungs, my mind had been freed. It started to sing.

O bury me not in the deep, deep sea,
Where the billowing shroud will swell o’er me,
Where no light will break through the dark cold wave,
And no sun beam rest upon my grave,
It matters not, I have often been told
Where the body shall lie when the heart is cold,
Yet grant, Oh grant this boon to me,
Oh bury me not in the deep deep sea.

I fully expected to find the wonders of The Ethernere surrounding me when next I regained some semblance of consciousness, instead my drenched clothes clung to my burning muscles, my chilled and aching bones, and my head was beating rhythmically, like someone was smashing a rock upon it. In the eternity between regaining consciousness and opening my eyes I wondered why life in Ethernere would not have granted me asylum from the physical pain now racking my body. The answer was quite clear – I was not dead. I opened my eyes to find my head had indeed been knocking against a rock. Here, I lay upon an unknown beach amongst other wreckage from the Empress’ Journey. As the waves pushed up the shore I was lifted slightly to be brought back down when it rushed back out to sea, smacking me against the stone pillow below my head. No wonder the world was ringing and the light intensity was unmatched by any spell or natural phenomena I had ever known.

Surprised by my own survival, I spit out the accursed salt water from my mouth and stumbled into the jungle flora, determined to find fresh water, food and shelter. Instead, a tribe of humans found me stumbling within their foraging party. I had not given mind to it then, but it must have frightened them something fierce to have had a half clothed, bruised and bleeding Iksar standing a good head and shoulders above them come bumbling within their midst. They scattered to the winds, screaming their tongues, quickly swallowed by the unfamiliar jungle that surrounded me. I collapsed there out of exhaustion, only to be woken by spears prodding me sometime later. My hands and feet had been bound and I was now surrounded by the warriors of the tribe. It was obvious due to their body language and further poking that they wanted me to stand up, and after a few choice words, I obliged. Of course, I didn’t just leave it at a few words, but by the time we had arrived at their village I was singing. I don’t even recall the ditty that saved my life, but it was enough to entertain the warriors that walked along side me and the leaders who they brought me before.

Over the next few weeks I slowly gained their trust and to my surprise they continued to keep me alive. They even tended to the injuries I had sustained in the wreck. I repaid them with song and word, song of which they seemed to grasp. And although this wasn’t the best of situations or what I had imagined, I was alive. I was appreciating that as I had never before.

So, how did I end up on the boat I am writing this from? The fates had more in store for this Iksar dirge than being marooned upon an island in the Timorous Deep. I was eating a midday meal and entertaining the small group of villagers around me with a tale about the fateful battle of Ganak and Jaled Dar. I had by this time realized that their language was close enough to common for us to communicate.

That’s when they attacked the village – the outsiders! A wave of swift aggression came barreling out of the lush jungle that surrounded the village. Men and women; gnomes, ratongas, humans, dwarves and barbarians – and dressed in an armor unlike anything I had ever witnessed. The warriors came hacking through the village and villagers wearing blackened plate with blue glowing runes upon the bands. Strapped to their chests was an aggressive ram head design mirrored by the ram horns that protruded from their emotionless helmets. Out of this terrorizing uniform protruded their deadly blades, like a glowing ember of cerulean sky upon a black canvas until they wet them on the blood of the islanders. The mages, shrouded behind blue, shimmering robes, adorned with bones and runes, had upon their shoulders the familiar ram head design. They unleashed frozen beasts upon us! Those that were not cut down by the glistening blades or crushed by ice hammers were now fighting for their lives against elemental wolves and boars. The village was in chaos! Huts were ransacked then burned. Those that took arm against the invaders were cut down by man or beast swiftly. The entire village was overwhelmed. Those of us that saw the futility of fighting such a devastating force along with those who were too shocked to draw their weapons were rounded up and forced to march beach ward as the pillaging continued.

This was an efficient military force, but their undeniable strength was in their overwhelming numbers, that much was evident very quickly. A fact made even more obvious when we emerged from the lush jungle to an utterly shocking sight. The sand covered tropical beach that had received my unconscious body, not so long ago was now covered by immense sheets of ice, that even stretched out into the waters beyond! The ice spread out from land to sea and showed no sign of weakness or melting. Men brandishing flags and wearing armor similar to those that pillaged and burned the village were packed so tight upon the ice that they blended into one mass resting upon the frozen sheets. No, not just sheets of ice – barges of ice! The biggest of which being a massive two story vessel pulled by two mammoth creatures my eyes would see, but my mind would fail to comprehend, neither dragon nor sea turtle, but both as one. The magics and power of this army was overwhelming.

We soon found ourselves being led upon the sheets of ice that occupied the beach, some of which still held the wooden remnants of boats long since destroyed. My mind wondered for a moment to the Empress’ Journey and the fateful night that brought me to this isle, but my mind was snapped back to the here and now when I was hit in the back of the head. A quick look to my fellow prisoners explained why. They were all kneeling on the ice in a row. I had been the only one still standing. I too kneeled upon the unforgiving ice. There we knelt, waiting, some shaking with grief or terror, others from the biting chill of the ice. No, wait. There was more to the tremors I was feeling than just that. The ice was being shaken! Something big was walking toward us on it. At first I thought of the Turgans, those shelled dragons that were tethered to the large ice vessel. But it was worse than that! I looked up to find that I could see the metal giant lumbering toward us, towering over the army that surrounded us, despite being upon my knees. His body was made of metal, similar to the plate armor that the invaders wore in work and styling, but it was far more detailed and embellished. With each unfaltering step I watched it take, a tremor was released upon the ice. I was reminded of the jade constructs hiding amongst the City of Mist, and had assumed it too was a construct of some type. A chill struck my spine as I watched vapors waft off of the frigid body. The metal pulsated with arcane power freezing the armor with an undying teal radiance. But it was the spikes and skulls upon his shoulders and head, which froze my blood! His face was a blank mask of undying terror – A metal skull with blades and tusks protruding menacingly. There were two pits of icy power pulsating where the eyes of a man should have been, the same radiance emanating from his open maw.

The crowd parted for this behemoth. It stopped before us. There it stood for a moment, cultivating the growing fear and desperation within us. Then the spiked hands reached up and grasped its head, removing it, revealing it to have been a helmet! This was no arcane construct. This was a man of towering proportions. And this was their leader! His skin had a blue hue to it, perhaps naturally or perhaps as a side affect of the frigid armor that he wore, making his red hair and beard even more striking.

The cold and imposing voice that bellowed from within this giant of a man matched the frigid vessel upon which he sailed. “Join us or die. The choice is yours.”

Had I known of any magic to do so, I would have thought it was his stone cold nature alone that manifested the unmelting troopmovers we now knelt upon. I could already hear several fellow prisoners giving their allegiance. Then when one, two down from me chose service, the leader responded, “No. This one is too old and weak to serve.” At which point he was run through by an ice blade from behind. His body was kicked forward to lie upon the ice, spilling his blood upon the glistening surface. The next prisoner spat upon the leaders’ plate boots as his response and soon was lain out next to the other dead prisoner.

It was now my turn. I said, “Serve.” The mountainous man stood before me. I could feel his cold eyes taking me in.

“What are you?”

“I’m an Iksar. I’m unlike the others on this island, as I was shipwrecked here.”

“Interesting,” was all he uttered before he continued down the line. I had somehow survived the first test, but I held no illusions. If I was to continue to survive I had to prove my worth somehow.

These forces did not seem the type to be entertained by ditties and historical tales, but as we stayed upon the ice over the next few days, being used as little more than slave labor during the day and held under guard at night, I saw the boredom of the troops and realized that they were once just like us, prisoners of a battle recruited by their captors. And if my talents had saved me before, why not now, too?

I was right. When I would begin a song or start reciting a myth I gained the attention of our captors. Then came a night I will never forget. The crowd around me had grown rather large, but I couldn’t make out any details of those past the light of the immediate torches. I had just finished singing one of the silly ditties that use to be sung by the skeletal jesters of the Bone Field, when a dwarven inquisitor stepped forward.

“I am Lingwal,” he said, “And you will follow me, now!”

I obeyed the commanding dwarf, who led me upon the two story vessel and the cold eyes of the towering leader. I had since learned that he called his force the Order of Rime, but I had not yet learned his name. He was simply referred to as “The Warlord.”

“What is it, Lingwal?”

“Repeat the song, lizard woman.” Bellowed the dwarf.

I was in shock, but repeat it, I did.

“Troll, men, elf and gnome. None of them wish to be dust and bone.

Long they’ve tried and far they’ve seeked all to stop being turned to meat.

Life they desire for eternity, control of their own mortal destiny.

Undeath, uncorked is all they find, unless you believe the burynai.”

“Sing more of these burn-eye!”

“I have no more songs of them, my lord. But I do know one of their most revered myths. Shall I recite it for you?”

“Get on with it!”

“Stealing the Sun –an ancient tale of the burynai.

Long ago, Norrath’s days were warmed by the Heart of Ro and its nights were watched by the sisters Drinal and Luclin. And long had the creatures known as the burynai been burrowing in the Underfoot -digging and finding gems and stones of rare beauty. These were the rewards Brell provided to them for their work. Gifts that he left them buried deep within the world. Upon breaking through to the surface of Norrath, they were enwrapped by the brilliance of the Heart hanging in the sky, warming their fur. They coveted it just as they had all things glittery and golden. It was the biggest treasure they had ever spotted and they believed the surface dwellers worshipped it. And so a plan they hatched to take it for themselves. They had noticed that the sun always rested in the same den when the eyes of night opened in the sky. There they laid a trap for it and when it came back to its den tired and at half wick after a day’s burning, they captured it. The Heart of Ro was now within the hands of the burynai deep within the Underfoot! The following morning the eyes of night stayed open and unthreatened. The blinding light of the Heart did not force them to shut against it. There they remained, in the sky looking down upon Norrath. For many cycles the burynai tried to unlock the secrets of the Heart of Ro. But no matter what they tried it only cried and burned them. After an ill fated attempt at cracking it open had only caused a piece of its shell to break off, they decided to return the Heart to the surface world. The Heart of Ro had given the burynai nothing and they realized that it was not a great power provided to them by Brell. Brell’s power is within the rocks and soil of Norrath and the Underfoot. “Power does not come from the sky,” they said. They continue to search for that panicle of power that Brell promised them, but to this day they have kept the piece of sun in a bottle just so the sun remembers the burynai were once its masters.”

That wasn’t the only song that was to be sung that night. Many more followed but no others appeared to have piqued the Warlord’s interest. I was escorted back and kept shackled that night only to be returned to the Warlord’s presence the next day. This was to be the cycle of my days; entertain the Warlord and whomever from his inner circle. Lingwal was there regularly, as were three other mountainous men of the same mysterious blood as the Warlord. I had not realized it at the time, but they were all paying more attention to the songs then I had assumed. And when my catalog of songs had been exhausted, some of which multiple times, I turned to the myths, tales and histories of my home land in an attempt stave off my death with their entertainment.

One day, I began reciting the tale of the Torturer’s Tower.

“There’s much mystery surrounding the Cursed Tower of Kurn. We all know that Kurn Machta, the Dread Torturer, was the trusted general of Emperor Rile Sathir and the construction of the Tower began under his reign. But what is not often told is the tale of how Kurn became Rile’s most trusted general or whatever became of him. Kurn Machta had been an up and coming field officer under Venril Sathir’s reign. Ever obsessed with returning his lost lover, Drusella, to life Venril had sent out innumerable campaigns to find items, potions, and spells that may bring her soul back from Ethernere and restore her body. Kurn had just returned from one such campaign when Venril was overthrown by his son, Rile Sathir. Some dismiss the timing of the events and his subsequent promotion as mere coincidence. Others have been more suspicious.”

Crack!

The sound of the Warlord’s fist smashing against the ice counter he had been leaning upon echoed over the vessel, interrupting the tale. “Continue, my dirge pet!” he exclaimed. His eyes held an energy that I had not seen before, and when I looked over at Lingwal I saw the same intensity. I continued the recitation as if my life depended upon it, as it may very well have.

“What had made Kurn so trusted in the eyes of Rile? Had he found something in this last search? Is this when Kurn took on the mantle of the Dread Torturer? We may never know, but soon after, during the great expansion of the Sebilisian Empire, construction of a tower stronghold in the Field of Bone began. Named after Rile’s trusted general, Kurn Machta, the tower housed an immense collection of torture devices, which Kurn took sadistic delight in personally using against enemies. Several of which he had captured during his bloody campaign in Warslik’s Wood. He may have lived to regret this decision, but not for long. It seems one of his prisoners escaped to the nethermost depths of the dungeon. It was an area of the tower that had been sealed off long before, said to have held plundered treasures and torture devices, alike.

From there, the prisoner managed to dig a tunnel, escaping the confines of the nightmarish tower. Unfortunately, the route the prisoner carved dropped him within the burynai burrows that had existed below the Field of Bone. The escapee died quickly at the claws of the burynai treasure defenders, but he was not to be the last. Believing this to be an attack by the surface races, and an attempt to steal all of their treasures, they retaliated. It was not long before the burynai took Kurn’s Tower, and later killed the Dread Torturer, himself, with his own devices of torment. But it would appear that this is not where his story ends, as even before the Shattering, during the Age of Turmoil, rumors of his undead remnants persisted. He was said to have lurked within the innermost depths of his dungeon, existing only with the savage will to torment any that enter the confines of his chamber, but none of the unfortunate souls to have ever broke free of the cursed tower encountered the Dread Torturer.

Were these tales of his death and undeath an exaggeration? Are they to be believed at all? What ghouls and treasures may the bold hearted find if they should ever enter the sealed tower, now? We may never know the truth, which only adds to the allure of this tale.”

“Kreegar, we leave at first light tomorrow. Lingwal, ensure all is prepared.”

“Aye,” they responded, followed by their hasty retreat.

I turned, expecting to be escorted away, but instead I was told, “You have not been dismissed! Speak more of your land, lizard woman. Tell me more of this necrotic emperor.”

And so I did. But now he was listening to my stories with a new intensity. I could see him scouring my words for something, a prize I could not grasp.

“Venril Sathir became chief to the mightiest of all Iksar tribes, the Kunzar, upon committing patricide – an act that his son would later repeat, but not before he would leave his indelible mark upon Kunark. His reign began when he forced the other four Iksar tribes to unite under him, thus creating a single empire out of five tribes –The Sebilisian Empire. No longer warring amongst them selves, the great empire concentrated the efforts of the Iksar and unleashed a wave of terror and domination over all of Kunark. Later, after Venril Sathir wed the eldest daughter of the Obulus wizards, Drusella, the empire would grow even further. Drusella ruled alongside her mate, having control over the Eastern half of Kunark, and Venril the Western. Great monuments were built during these prosperous times, embedding a great pride in all the Iksar and inspiring fear in all those who would oppose the huge empire. Cities of grand scale were built by the Iksar’s goblin and giant slaves, including Sebilis and Charasis. At some point, Venril discovered the Unholy Writ of War, a dark tome of heretical arts in the library of Kotiz. It was one of the original texts left from the Shissar! But these texts did not satiate his curiosity for the necrotic arts -It fueled it! Venril began seeking rituals and items to grant him and his mate immortality. Unfortunately, his beloved Drusella would not live to see the day, as she died suddenly before Venril could unlock all of the secrets of the tome. After her funeral rituals and burial within the depths of the city of Charasis, Emperor Sathir cast all citizens from the city.

Only the royal Iksar guard and servants where allowed to remain. They were to serve their empress, eternally. Never again would they know the warmth of the sun or bask in the moonlight. The haunting howls of the damned were to be heard echoing off the stones of the canyon for years. Venril would visit the cliff city frequently, but he had crafted a spell to hide the entrance of Charasis from raiders and those who dared to steal his knowledge or defile his beloved Drusella’s grand crypt. What he would do inside is not known. What we do know is he became increasingly possessed by the necromantic arts during this time, seeking within it a way to restore his mate’s life. Learning of this dark corruption, Venril’s eldest son, Rile Sathir, went to confront him over the herasy, and interrupted one such dark ritual being performed by the Emperor, killing him. Rile destroyed his body, burying all evidence in the tomb of Charasis. And thus Rile succeeded his father though the same violent act which his father had performed to attain his first seat of power.

Dominus Rile continued to expand the empire established by his father. He was responsible for the creation of the Sebilisian Navy, the largest navy ever upon the seas of Norrath, and the Crusaders of Greenmist, a massive army of Sebilisian Knights. But Venril would not be defeated so easily, and these forces would not save Rile’s life, just as death would not release Rile or his brothers from the Tyranny of their father or his necrotic spells. Returned to life by the very arts they opposed, the sons of Venril are kept in line by an unknown power he wields over them. How long will they remain this way? Will Venril ever find a way to grant his beloved Drusella with true life again? Perhaps, an oracle can see the answers, but the rest of us will just have to wait and see.”

“Do you miss your land, my singing pet?” he asked with a devious grin.

“Yes, my lord.”

“Then rejoice, for you have just convinced me of the powers that lie there in wait for me!”

And so, here I lay, a single dirge amongst hundreds of skilled warriors, and mages – all of whom are armed to the frills with impressive weaponry and magic, upon the frozen war vessel dubbed Spinebreaker, pulled by two turgan, headed toward the shores of Kunark. I can only feel nauseous and ask myself the same question, over and over:

“What have I brought upon Kunark? What have I done?”