The Vah Shir
The Vah Shir are an offshoot of the kerran race that originated on the Norrathian continent of Odus. Legend holds that the kerrans were once bitterly divided and in the throes of a bloody civil war when a great leader, Kejaan Kerrath, emerged to unite the tribes into a single nation. A golden age followed, during which the kerrans became the dominant species on Odus.
Kejaan proved a wise and resourceful ruler, drawing his elite nobles from among the other kerran clans. From clan Shir came nobles, generals, and warriors. From Kajek came shamans and counselors. From the clan of Shahar, Kejaan drew his hunters and farmers, and from clan Karani, he selected his civil servants and bureaucrats. The so-called Komiyat Kerrath grew in strength and influence.
The coming of the Erudites proved catastrophic for the kerrans, even though relations between the two races were good. When a small number of Erudites first took up the practice of necromancy, however, the kerrans began to fall ill, and soon plague raged through their cities and villages. Convinced that the heretic Erudites and their dark magic were responsible, Kejaan himself went to treat with their leaders, but even he returned weak and sickly. He died soon thereafter, and his son Vah took the throne.
Vah gathered his elite forces in the Shir city of Shar Vahl, intending to join the Erudites in their war against the heretics. Before he could act, however, a great battle broke out between the heretics and Erudites, resulting in huge pieces of Norrath being flung into space — and among them the city of Shar Vahl.
The rogue Rejik tells the story of the Vah Shir and their arrival on Luclin. He was a scout and a spy of middle rank on the day of the great explosion. His account is a rare record from the early days of Shar Vahl, since written works have since been prohibited there.
Luclin is a jealous and somewhat petty deity, but she chose in this case not to punish the interlopers, for she knew that their coming was not by choice. Once more, she allowed Norrathian aliens to remain on her moon. Soon after arriving upon Luclin, the kerrans also discovered that their connection to the spirits of Norrath had been cut off. Only the great beast-spirit Sahteb Mahlni remained in contact with the Vah Shir, leading many of the
cat-folk to turn to agnosticism or to worship the mighty Sahteb exclusively.
The Vah Shir — now newly named for their ruler and clan — struggled to survive on the new world. Most of their great city had been devastated, and the survivors were plagued by predators such as the shik’nar. Scouts reported that there was game nearby, however, as well as edible fungus in the caves below the city. The fungus was distasteful to the carnivorous kerrans, but they made do with what they could find while rebuilding the city.
Scouts discovered several deposits of a phosphorescent mineral that they dubbed acrylia. Strong and durable, acrylia was used to make weapons and armor, and marble bearing veins of acrylia was found to glow softly in the darkness. Large quantities of acrylia-veined marble were used in the reconstruction of Shar Vahl, and to this day the city shines with a faint glow, illuminating the gloom on Luclin’s dark side. The greatest deposit of acrylia they discovered was in the Tenebrous Mountains, a journey of several perilous weeks from the growing city.
Acrylia caravans were forced to travel through the dangerous reaches of Hollowshade Moor, where the indigenous owlbears, sonic wolves, and shik’nar were a constant hazard. Beyond lay the Mushroom Forest, less dangerous in those days but still a challenge. Once the caravan routes were established, however, acrylia began to flow regularly into the city.
Elsewhere, kerran civilization spread into Shadeweaver’s Thicket, the forest adjacent to the new city. There, the native xakra silkworms were harvested, and sturdy cloth was crafted from their tough cocoons. After Vah Shir hunters became acclimated to their new environment, they began to bring back game more regularly, and slowly the city’s food shortage was eased.
All seemed well on the moon, for the Vah Shir were far from Luclin’s other new inhabitants. Occasionally, Loda’Kai poachers (an alliance of outlaws, exiles, and refugees from the human cities) plagued the kerrans, attacking hunters or robbing travelers, but Vah Kerrath periodically dispatched warriors to drive out the brigands, keeping the region relatively secure.
But greater disaster was yet to come. Within a decade of their arrival, the Vah Shir had rebuilt their city into a thriving and beautiful metropolis, well supplied and defended both by its isolation and the brave, honor-bound warriors who served Vah Kerrath and his family.
One fateful day, however, an entire shift of Vah Shir miners disappeared mysteriously, followed by the squad of warriors sent to find them. As the kerrans debated what to do, the mines suddenly erupted with diminutive humanoids, ferocious, merciless beasts possessed of a wicked cunning and an apparent hatred for all other life forms. The Vah Shir were driven from the mines, retreating back into the Mushroom Forest before the enemy’s onslaught.
The humanoids — dubbed grimlings for their dark, hostile expression and character — completely overran the mines, and retook the Mushroom Forest save for a small Vah Shir outpost. The Mushroom Forest was renamed the Grimling Forest, and became a place of danger and violent death for the kerrans.
The struggle against the grimlings and their mysterious ruler began in earnest. Their master was an individual known only as Master Tashakhi, rumored to be a powerful undead creature of some kind (possibly even an undead Vah Shir). The grimlings continued to raid into Vah Shir territory, while the cat-folk resisted ferociously.
In the midst of these terrible events, further tragedy struck Shar Vahl. Dar Khura, King Vah Kerrath’s chief shaman, told him that he had discovered a strange race dwelling on Luclin, a race known as the Akheva. Immortal, the Akheva were resurrected when slain, but in the process they destroyed vital members of the spirit world. Dar Khura and a band of warriors ventured into the darkness in the south, seeking out these Akheva. When Dar Khura did not return, King Vah Kerrath himself followed, though his advisors begged him not to. The king did not return from his quest, and to this day none knows what became of him. Similarly, the great beastlord and
explorer Khati Sha had also disappeared while exploring the region known as the Grey.
Today, the kerrans’ struggle with the grimlings continues. The Vah Shir outpost in the Grimling Forest comes under attack regularly, but the cat-folk launch attacks of their own, raiding into the Acrylia Caverns and returning with enough of the precious stone to keep their city and their craftsfolk in good supply. King Raja Kerrath, direct descendant of the great King Vah, actively plans a campaign to attack the caverns and take them back, possibly defeating Tashakhi once and for all.
For their part, the grimlings have spread throughout the regions surrounding Shar Val. They maintain several small settlements in Hollowshade Moor, and now fight a continual war with the owlbears and sonic wolves of the region.
The Vah Shir have emerged as the most vital and culturally active race on the moon. Since the written word had such a great role in the creation of Erudite magic and because the cat-folk blame the Erudites for their exile, written records are banned among the Vah Shir, and knowledge is passed from generation to generation purely through verbal means.”Scribes” of a sort still exist among them, but they are now specially kerrans who store valuable information in their memory using an array of mnemonic devices and sheer strength of will, and pass information to their successors. The great history of the Vah Shir is maintained by a group of elite kerran bards called hymnists.
The kerrans patrol surrounding lands such as Hollowshade Moor and Shadeweaver’s Thicket, fighting a continual battle with poachers, bandits, tegi and galorian tribesmen, insectoids, and fungus fiends. Vah Shir beastlords wander the moon of Luclin seeking knowledge regarding the other races and factions of the world. So far, these agents have remained aloof in the various conflicts of Luclin, though it is known that King Raja is known to favor the Combine Loyalists in their conflict with the Inquisitors, and that he hates the cruelty of the shissar.
As with the other lunar races, the Vah Shir were changed irrevocably by the arrival of outsiders from Norrath. Realizing that their old homeland was once more accessible from Norrath, some cat-folk began to discuss returning.
This debate continues to rage, and a number of Vah Shir have traveled to Norrath and returned to report that the place is a virtual paradise compared to the dark, barren landscape of the moon. Some of these Vah Shir have even chosen to stay on Norrath, dwelling among their kerran cousins and winning great fame. So far, however, there is no great movement from the city that the cat-folk have labored so hard to rebuild.
Source: EQRPG – Luclin page 11