Category Archives: Karana

Order of the Storm Caller


You say, ‘Hail, Shayna Thunderhand’

Shayna Thunderhand gives a soft smile and delicate motion with her hand and bow of her head, ‘Greetings, Soandso. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I am Shayna Thunderhand — sorceress of The Rainkeeper and one of many ambassadors to the Jaggedpine. The recent events have yielded quite an interesting turn in our [organization’s] duties — and we are very excited to once again be reunited with our brethren and homeland.’

You say, ‘What is your organization’s duties?’

Shayna Thunderhand says ‘The Order of the Storm Caller is one whose roots are tied with the foundation of Qeynos and it’s establishments dedicated to the arcane sciences. When the Jaggedpine forest and it’s culture and people were still a part of the Qeynos kingdom, the wizards, magicians, and enchanters of Qeynos invited those from the Jaggedpine to partake in their fledgling studies. Gladly, our ancestors did so and returned to the forest with their newfound knowledge and passion in the art of the arcane. It was then that our elders felt that a new order must be established — the Order of the Storm Callers. As with all existing orders of The Rainkeeper, we had a [founding member] — one who made it possible for us to maintain our studies and interweave it into our everlasting faith in Karana.’

You say, ‘Who was your founding member?’

Shayna Thunderhand says ‘A wise and stoic woman by the name of Toliara Stormcaller was the first of our ancestors to master the art of wizardry. When she returned to the Jaggedpine with her newfound knowledge, the elders were very intrigued. She was asked to coordinate the efforts of all the Jaggedpine natives that had taken an interest and shown their adept talents in the ways of the arcane and form an opening ceremony to take place during the winter solstice celebration. Gladly and excitedly, she did so. The magicians, wizards, and enchanters loyal to The Rainkeeper met for several months, formulating [plans] and establishing [rituals] that would usher their order into the collective goal and cause of Karana’s faithful.’

You say, ‘What plans and rituals?’

Shayna Thunderhand says ‘The night before the sacred annual ritual and festival, the hierophant of Karana passed into the great Eye of Karana’s Storm. A new hierophant was to be named at the ceremony sited at the Throne of Karana’s Thunder. It is tradition that when a new hierophant is recognized, that the elders of each artisan, spiritual, and military order present the sacred item of their order that would then be wielded in the sacred ceremony — in this case, it was the winter solstice. Toliara called upon her brothers and sisters of the arcane sciences and together they forged an [item] of considerable power significant to that which The Rainkeeper sacredly represents.’

You say, ‘What item?’

Shayna Thunderhand says ‘The enchanters, who were also artisans highly skilled in the ways of jewel craft and even blacksmithing, were asked to forge a golden scepter with a hollow cradle at its peak. The magicians then conjured the elemental essences of the storm — water and air and sealed them in an azure sphere that was created from pure, enchanted elemental water. Toliara and her fellow wizards would spend days researching and creating a spell and rune of their own with which they would fulfill the purpose of the item. She etched the sacred runes upon the base of the scepter and sealed the separate items into one whole. Upon the dawn of the winter solstice, the fledgling order met at the Shrine of Karana where they would then [firmly establish themselves] among Karana’s most faithful.’

You say, ‘How did they establish themselves?’

Shayna Thunderhand says ‘The new hierophant was named and it was he that would lead the opening ceremonies of the solstice dawn. Tradition dictates that the head of each of The Rainkeeper’s order would come forward, bearing their sacred item to the hierophant and each in their own way, respectfully representing their order and its foundation, aid the hierophant in the ceremony. Toliara, representing the fledgling arcane order, was last to present her order’s item to the new hierophant — whose curiosity was piqued by the beautiful and most apparently powerful item. The ceremony began and each item was used in the [conjuration of a great storm].’

You say, ‘How did they conjure a great storm?’

Shayna Thunderhand says ‘The druids chanted around their hierophant, who held their order’s sacred item. As they chanted, they brought forth the great blanket of silver clouds upon the horizon. The rangers, rogues, and bards in their musical chant ushered in the raging winds that guided the druids’ clouds over the forest. It was the duty of the veterans, the warriors and knights, to call forth the thunder and begin the broiling of the storm. Toliara and her order then began an arcane chant. She raised the scepter upwards to the sky and collectively, the small order wove a single spell that arched from the scepter and struck the center of the tempest that responded in a great display of lightening and rain. Until the rise of the next dawn, the ceremonies continued — each order respectively praising Karana. By the rise of second dawn and the end of the solstice celebrations, the [Order of the Storm Caller] was inducted into the ranks of Karana’s faithful.’

You say, ‘What is the Order of the Storm Caller?’

Shayna Thunderhand says ‘That is the name that was bestowed to the arcane order of Karana’s faithful, led by Toliara. For several generations the order would thrive and become the primary ambassadors between the city proper of Qeynos and the forest. Eventually, when corruption threatened the land, it would be the Order of the Storm Caller that would act as the messengers and mediators between the political and spiritual interests of the Jaggedpine and ultimately, it would be their direct ties to the city that would influence the [decision] of Antonious III.’

You say, ‘What decision?’

Shayna Thunderhand says ‘All wished to spare the Jaggedpine from corruption for it was the sacred homeland of one of the city’s largest and most prosperous religious and cultural foundations. The Order of the Storm Caller knew that separation was the only way to assure the forest’s safety, for Qeynos would need all of its resources to defend against the approaching venomous shadow. However, not all were in favor of this decision. One known as Urwenae, an enchantress and at the time second to only the order’s arch mage in power and influence, held strong opposition to removing themselves indefinitely from their sacred lands. However, she was overruled by the decision of her superiors and the majority of the Jaggedpine Orders, thus the forest was sealed. The Order of the Storm Caller, along with the Veterans of the Storm, would [retreat] fully from the forest to aid the inevitable battles in defending Qeynos and its kingdom from threat.’

You say, ‘Why did they retreat?’

Shayna Thunderhand says ‘Collectively, the council at Qeynos and the orders of Karana’s faithful knew that it was best for the forest to have only the bare minimum of necessary inhabitants needed to preserve the culture and ancient ways remain behind. The shadow of corruption and turmoil was inevitable and Qeynos could not afford to spare these resources in such great quantity and the Orders agreed. The Veterans of the Storm, the knights and warriors of the Jaggedpine, and the Order of the Storm Caller were asked to relocate fully to Qeynos. There was little opposition to this decision, although the fanatical Urwenae [would never forgive her superiors and brethren] for allowing them to become separated from their homeland.’

You say, ‘Why would she would never forgive her superiors and brethren?’

Shayna Thunderhand says ‘She felt that all of Karana’s Orders should remain in the forest — that Qeynos’ resources were plenty and that the threat of the shadow would surely call the aid of nearby Erudin and perhaps even Rivervale if Qeynos were to fall into such dire jeopardy. Despite her zealous and near-fanatical opposition to the ruling, she was a well-respected member of the Order and was in-line to inherent the position of arch-mage when her mentor and the current ranking member of the Order passed into the great Eye of Karana’s Storm. For nearly a decade she waited in silence — her disapproval of the decision a constant, although she cooperated with her Order, she rarely left the Orders’ library. Eventually, she ascended to the roll of arch-mage over the Order of the Storm Caller and it was then that she had the opportunity to exact her vengeance against [those whom she thought as traitorous] heretics against Karana and their ancient, sacred path.’

You say, ‘Who did she think was traitorous?’

Shayna Thunderhand says ‘Ultimately, she blamed everyone who had voluntarily and without opposition agreed to the ruling made ten years prior with the sealing of the Jaggedpine forest. Urwenae despised both her fellow members of the Order of the Storm Caller as well as the Veterans of the Storm — viewing both groups as traitors. Ten years of reclusive behavior had given the necessary time for her planning to blossom and the death of her mentor and her ascension granted the perfect opportunity to execute her [revenge]. Upon the tenth anniversary of the Jaggedpine being sealed, a mere fortnight into her reign as arch-mage, Urwenae disbanded the Order in a violent display. A massacre was committed in the sacred halls of Qeynos’ arcane studies — an incident that was cleverly covered-up by the political council of Qeynos to keep the citizens from unnecessary worry regarding an external threat.’

You say, ‘What was her revenge?’

Shayna Thunderhand says ‘She had gathered a small group of like-minded followers — mainly, her most adept pupils that trusted her explicitly and were thus easily manipulated by her. The Order met in the cellar level of the arcane hall in Qeynos and there, Urwenae and her pupils destroyed all but a select few members of the arcane order. Many of the elders survived — escaping through portals of their own creation, although we lost many brave souls who attempted to remain behind and see their would-be executioners rightfully abolished. Urwenae and the two pupils, one being a powerful wizard that survived the encounter escaped through a portal when all that remained in the hall were dead. It is said that Urwenae then destroyed the sacred item that Toliara had forged all those centuries before, splitting the item into several pieces. As they are indestructible by design, Urwenae instructed her pupils to scatter the [pieces] throughout Norrath, while she herself would hide the scepter deep in the bowels of the Hole.’

You say, ‘What pieces?’

Shayna Thunderhand says ‘I cannot say for certain how Urwenae divided the scepter for the only documentation we possess was written in an ancient dialect that until recently, none could translate. The dialect is one of an ancient human tongue that dates centuries before the foundation of Qeynos — even before the foundation of the Throne of Karana’s Thunder. Of course this particular incident occurred in a more recent time, but Urwenae was well-versed in the ancient tongues of Norrath and knew well that her journal would be legible only by the most learned of Qeynos’ scholars or the forest’s elders, and even then her words would seem the fanciful tale of a madwoman — for there never was a massacre in the arcane hall in Qeynos, or so was the common belief until now. Those of us who are descendants of the few survivors that preserved the order knew of the truth and until recently, we had in our possession [Urwenae’s Tome].’

You say, ‘What is Urwenae’s tome?’

Shayna Thunderhand says ‘Urwenae’s tome, an Ancient Ashwood Tome granted to her by her late mentor, detailed Urwenae’s plans and what exactly she had done with the pieces of the scepter. You must understand, Urwenae was an arcane scientist — and a brilliant one at that. However, she was fanatically organized and required documentation of everything — a trait that was considered a merit before her madness had been discovered. The tome will likely detail where the missing pieces of the scepter lies and it may also copies of the lost, ancient scrolls scribed by Toliara and the first members of the order — scrolls that detail the exact runes and arcane chants to re-create the enchantment of the scepter, which was likely broken when Urwenae dismantled it. Unfortunately, the tome was [stolen] by one of the bandits that have recently inhabited our forest.’

You say, ‘Why was it stolen?’

Shayna Thunderhand says ‘I’m not entirely certain, although I doubt it was done for any purpose regarding the Order, our history, or any of the specific arcane knowledge contained within. Likely, the thief thought that it might fetch a price on the underground market of Norrath. The scouts have been able to identify the individual as Vranol Blackguard, the second eldest of the Blackguard family and one of its most dangerous members. We believe him to already be in High Pass. If [you can retrieve the Ancient Ashwood Tome] from him, if he still has it within his possession of course, then I would be more than willing to impart unto you our ancient arcane lore. However, this reward can only be wielded by one whose heart and faith belongs fervently to The Rainkeeper and their profession is of one of the three acceptable schools of magic. If you are unable to wield what reward I can provide, then I shall not bear ill will if you turn away, my friend.’

You say, ‘I will retrieve the Ancient Ashwood Tome.’

Shayna Thunderhand says ‘Marvelous! However, for me to reward you properly, you must seek our the tormented spirit of Urwenae. It is rumored that when she went into the depths of the erudite hereitcs’ former home, that she was cursed by one of the ancient spirits there — her mind and spirit forever trapped within the boundaries of the ruins. As the magic of the scepter was tied to its bearer, it is likely that the essence of the Gleaming Crystal Scepter remains with her, so long as her essence resides on the prime plane of Norrath. If you can find her, retrieve the scepter, and return it to me with the recovered tome, I shall be better able to properly reward you for your services to us.’

Shayna Thunderhand says ”Aaah. . . yes. Well done. Well done, indeed, my friend. The tome still contains the Toliara’s ancient notes and we shall be able to restore the lost magic to the scepter.” Shayna holds the scepter firmly in one hand and the opened tome in the other. In a powerful voice, she recites several arcane words. As she speaks in the magical rhythm of the spell, the scepter in her hand begins to faintly glow and seems almost to haze as if enshrouded in a blanket of dense fog for but a moment. Shayna reaches the last word of her spell and extends the misted scepter to you, ”This is the Scepter of Storms. It is not yet complete and requires its original pieces to be whole once again. If you wish to continue to [aid the Order of the Storm Caller], I shall be more than willing to complete the scepter for you — as your worth to us shall be proven in the task.’

You say, ‘I will aid the Order of the Storm Caller.’

Shayna Thunderhand says ‘Very well, my friend, and may Karana guide you through this path. There is one known as D’mitrious Irska, a powerful magician who can be found at the arcane hall in Qeynos. He is currently the senior member of our order and will be able to further aid you than I, for most unfortunately, many pages of the tome have been damaged by Vranol when he stole it. D’mitrious is more wise in this matter than myself and his willingness to aid you should be more than overwhelming once the scepter has been presented to him. However, he will require one [further component] with the scepter to secure his aid.’

You say, ‘What further components?’

Shayna Thunderhand says ‘The Scroll of the Tempest Eye, one scribed by Toliara herself as she completed her portion of the item, has been lost to us for some time. Urwenae tore the scroll from the pages of the tome and gave it to her pupil, Lazara, and instructed her to take them into Permafrost with the hopes that the threat of the great ice dragon that dwells there to ward any would-be heroes away. Like Urwenae, Lazara fell to an unknown, although dark fate and it is likely that the twisted impression of her former existence remains — guarding the scroll with its unlife.’

D`mitrious Irska says ‘The Scepter of Storms. . . but how could this be? You have spoken with Shayna, yes? I see that she has found one to retrieve the stolen tome. But what is even more intriguing is the acquisition of the scepter itself. I am impressed and these items represent your deeds better than any arrogant boasting that I hear day in and day out from the other youths of the order. Aaaah and yes, you have the scroll! Well then, we cannot let an opportunity like this slip through our fingers, now can we?” The mage quickly eyes the scroll before closing his eyes and beginning an arcane chant. The scroll in his hand begins to smolder, although the page is not damaged. A glowing silver image of a swirling storm seems to reflect off the surface of the parchment. Then, the scepter begins to slightly chime and runes begin to magically imbed themselves into the scepter’s base. The mage opens his eyes and extends the scepter to you, ”Now then, [shall we continue]?’

D`mitrious Irska says ‘Now that the scepter has been properly modified for the task, you must keep it safe for now. Your next task will be to seek out two more components, for the original components and the spells describing how they were forged are lost forever — destroyed by Urwenae’s second and final pupil who went mad while attempting to fulfill his duty. The Essence of Storms must be retrieved, and there is only one place within the whole of Norrath’s prime or astral realms that it can be found — the Plane of Sky. There is a being known as The Storm Mistress who dwells there. Seek her out and retrieve the Essence of Storms from her ethereal being. Do not worry yourself over what seems to be a gruesome murder and thieving, for she will coalesce again as all immortal, planar beings do in time. The second item that you must retrieve is the Cloudy Azure Sphere, which lies in the hands of [Priestess Auraia] in the depths of Kedge Keep.’

You say, ‘Who is Priestess Auraia?’

D`mitrious Irska says ‘Auraia was once a priestess of the Prime Healer. Upon her travels throughout the world of Norrath, she stumbled blindly into the castle grounds of Mistmoore. Fortunately, it was during the daylight hours and she did not need to wander far before discovering the error of their ways. Quickly, she attempted to turn back, fearfully respecting the wish for privacy that is heavily guarded and ferociously enforced by the vampire lord’s undead servants. As she made her way out of the castle grounds and returned to the boundaries of the Lesser Faydark forest, Auraia happened upon a recently discarded azure sphere. She had no idea what the sphere was intended for – at first likely thinking it the lost toy of some Koada’Dal or gnomish child. However, she was intrigued by it and threw it in her pack for a later inquiry and inspection. Eventually, Auraia heard tales of the ancient underwater city known as Kedge Keep from her Koada’Dal hosts in Felwithe. The intrigue was too much for this young adventurer to bear and so ‘

D`mitrious Irska studies both items intently, muttering softly to himself at an inaudible tone. Eventually, the mage closes his eyes and begins to chant, the melodic weave of arcane words causing the essence to shimmer with the brilliance of an electrical storm. Slowly, he brings both hands together, sealing the ethereal essence within the magical sphere — a union that forces a loud boom, the voice of thunder, to echo throughout the hall. D’mitrious opens his eyes and examines the completed orb and nods to himself, ”This should be sufficient. Take it and place it within the scepter. When the two enchanted items are united, the Orb of the Storm Caller will be forged.”

Treants


The woodlands are filled with a mysterious beauty. Some of that beauty is due to the unseen influence of mana. Infused with mana, sentient beings known as treants are the guardians of the woods. This is their story.

“Treants,” by various authors — Being a collection of the thoughts and feelings evoked by these fascinating forest creatures.

“It nearly ripped my arms off.” — Griffon Barkstripper, Baubbleshire, after mistaking a drowsy treant for a willow and attempting to remove its bark to brew some tea. Lesson: A treant’s bite is worse than its bark.

“Are those…eyes?” — overheard in the Orcish Wastes, followed by a high-pitched scream. The Orcish Wastes are the known habitat of a darker form of treant that is preoccupied with exterminating any other being in its path. They apparently view everyone else as the cause of the decay in their lands. Lesson: If it has eyes, it can see you.

“A single treant can breathe life into a forest,” Daryann Stormrider, wood elf of the Willow Wood. The breath of the treant may be a source of renewing the concentration of mana within a forest, although this is not proven. Lesson: Wood elves know the woods.

“Arbos is father and mother to all trees,” anonymous dryad, Oakmyst Forest. In mythology, Arbos is often cited as the tree from which all other trees sprung. Apparently, this relationship extends to the sentient treants as well. Lesson: Even a potential enemy has parents.

“Put that out!” an elderly treant to a camper lighting an improper campfire. Treants may be living beings, but they are still made of the same fibers as other trees. Generally, if you are in a deciduous forest, the treants there will appear as deciduous trees rather than coniferous trees. Lesson: Make sure your fires are completely out before abandoning a campsite.

“It’s magic!” a Runnyeye goblin surprised by a treant, immediately before being crushed by its roots. Treants are very strong physically, however they are also well-known magic users. In some areas, magic-wielding treants outnumber other treants three to one. Lesson: This could be magic!

“Mmm. Jumjum juice,” Xanuusus, a treant in the old Northern Karana Plains. As with most sentient creatures (and some that are not), jumjum is an excellent way to make friends. There is no guarantee that this will work with all treants, but it could be worth a try. Lesson: Sometimes, it is better to give than to hoard but it may be impossible to tell when.

“Zzzzzzz…” a sleeping treant in Nektulos Forest. As they age, treants tend to become less mobile. It could be the result of their sap flow slowing, making them more sleepy. Eventually, treants pause for longer and longer naps, finally losing all mobility and turning into regular trees. Lesson: Not every great oak sprang from a normal acorn.

“Sharp axes make for small treants,” a Bloodskull lumberjack battling treants in the Orcish Wastes. Sadly, many treants have been turned into kindling by the orcs who continue to clear large swaths of land. While a lone orc is no match for a healthy treant, the orcs send in vast numbers of lumberjacks when they suspect a treant is living amongst the trees in their way. Lesson: Even the oldest and strongest can be felled by strategic planning.

I hope this information provides you with enough basic information about treants that you will be able to learn more about them on your own. Remember to walk carefully through the forests and beware of all big sticks!

The Trials of Sir Morgan


This book is of an ornate Old Antonican design. A crest appears on the cover depicting images of a sword, a long mountain trail, a storm cloud and a bridge made of titanic timbers. There is a title, “The Trials of Sir Morgan.”
Once many quatrains ago there lived a brave knight named Sir Morgan. Mighty was his blade and fearless was his soul. Along with his noble friend and squire they traveled the wilds of Old Antonica defending the helpless and defeating the evil.

One day the gods of valor spoke to noble Sir Morgan and told him to go to the great and stormy plains of the Storm Lord, Karana. There in the vastness of green and wind travelers were being assaulted by giantkin and gnollkin. Many brave knights fell to the evil in the plains, but Sir Morgan rode to the rescue.

Sir Morgan and his faithful squire set foot near the edge of a mighty bridge of timber only the giants could have built. There at the bridge he repelled wave after wave of evil making the roads safe for travelers. His reputation grew and the residents of Karana came to love him and hold celebrations in his name.

But the seeds of evil were planted. Gods of hatred and envy whispered to his foes and the brave and mighty Sir Morgan was soon to stand alone. The faithful squire was kidnapped and taken away from Sir Morgan. The humble servant of the brave knight was no where to be seen. In the squire’s tent all that remained was a note written in blood.

The note was addressed to Sir Morgan and it was a challenge to him. “Defeat each of the trials and you shall see your squire alive again.” Sir Morgan spared no time. His faithful squire was in need of rescue. With exquisite armor donned and the greatest blade in hand Sir Morgan set foot towards the trials ahead.

Sir Morgan raced to meet his first challenge at the Fields of the Corrupted, home of farmers in league with the coalition of evil that wished for the knight’s demise. There, amidst the field he arrived knowing full well that no pitchfork could dare challenge the strength of his armor, but upon arrival his true challenge lumbered forth- scarecrows! One after the other the ten effigies fell to his blade. Sticks and hay were no match for he. He then rode to his next challenge.

On thundering hooves Sir Morgan rode, racing onward to the ancient pyramid and evil uncertain. Having to dismount his steed the knight was faced with an obstacle unbecoming, the pyramid had slipped into the sea. A beguiling sextet called to him in hopes of leading him to the Hold of Prexus. Grabbing soft clay from the shoreline the knight filled his ears. He removed his armor and fearlessly swam into battle. Yet again, against odds meant to cause him defeat, Sir Morgan was victorious. And on he rode.

Sir Morgan rode across the south bridge spanning the Plaincutter River when he found himself trapped by his next trial. There on either side were Bloodsaber knights, worshipers of death and decay. The commander and his platoon marched forward, weapons drawn. In a flurry and charge Sir Morgan began to dispatch of the evil knights, tossing of them into the unyielding grasp of the river below. Surely such vile men shall rise again as a horde of revenants, but not this day. He won this battle, but with each battle his strength dwindled. Still, onward he rode.

When the brave Sir Morgan arrived at Deadview Pass the ground began to quake. He was met by hill giants whose rumble arrived before their gaze. Trapped with the Plaincutter to his back he was forced to charge upon his steed. Galloping around and around the gallant knight caused the giants to lose their balance, many fell into the river never to rise. With but one to go he was tossed from his saddle by a club made of whole timber. Lumbering closer and closer came the last giant surely to crush the disoriented knight.

Doom was upon him, he could not gain his ground. Just when all hope seemed for naught his noble steed charged forward with great speed and great might. The steed pounced upon the barrel chested giant and forced him into the river, but the steed too followed both never to rise. The great steed gave his life for the valorous knight. With his spirit nearly crushed and a long march ahead, the knight put one foot in front of the other going forward to the final trial.

In a field of ancient ruins Sir Morgan arrived. The stench of undeath permeated the rubble. Here he stepped trampling upon toppled stone and crushed bones. This was once the place of ancient magic the ruins of the Keep of Immortality, all that is left of the evil mage Varsoon. The silence was broken when a figure arose and called forth familiars of two. The arcane creature ripped and tore at even metal armor. Sir Morgan fought on despite his dwindling strength.

As all seemed to get dark a ray of blessing beamed down upon the knight. The gaze of the Twin Deities gave him great might. Sir Morgan arose from near death and slew the familiars with ease. He spied the dark shadow that let them lose darting to the hills. He gave chase.

His chase was long and his prey would not tire. When it seemed as though the chase would never end it began to slow. The figure of evil step foot upon a mound surrounded by titanic thorns, like talons or a great maw rising from the ground. The shadowy figure stood quiet and waited for Sir Morgan and the final battle.

To great shock the evil behind the trials removed the veil of secrecy. The light of dusk gave way his features, it was Squire Wimbley, his faithful servant. “Why?” the knight asked. “I tire of being the servant.” He said with an evil bellow. “Now I see the truth of your arrogance and selfish ways. I wish to be the hero, but I cannot be the hero until Sir Morgan dies!” The squire was not himself.

Unknown to the knight, the squire was possessed by the evil of an ancient amulet he procured from the remnants of a place called the Keep of Immortality. The powers of envy and hate slowly overtook him. It lead to this battle to the death. The brave knight tried to suppress the advances of his once faithful squire. He did not want to harm him, but he was forced to or his own life would have been taken. Squire Wimbley fell to his blade. Sir Morgan freed the squire from his madness and all was well once again.

The Tale of Brother Qwinn


by Brother Nusad, Clan Historian
Another member of the Whistling Fists Clan who became known to outsiders during the Age of Turmoil was the brave and just Brother Qwinn. He traveled the lands in search of the Code of the Whistling Fists, a tome that was taken from him during his journeys.

One of the regions where Brother Qwinn made his home for a time was the Southern Plains of Karana. This sprawling expanse was the home of many dangers, from the horrific outpost of Lord Grimrot to the ominous entrance of the deadly Lair of Splitpaw. Brother Qwinn roamed the area and assisted those who were beset by the forces of darkness. Many tales were told about the mysterious monk in the dark crimson drape who kept the plains safe for wayward travelers.

One of Brother Qwinn’s most epic battles was against the mighty beast known as Cracktusk. This huge bull elephant had once been docile, but it was driven to a great rage after poachers attacked him and injured one of his great tusks. The pain was so intense that the massive animal fell into madness and seemed to increase tenfold in both strength and speed.

Cracktusk was known to appear as but a speck on the horizon, only to suddenly charge toward unsuspecting travelers and gore them with his mighty tusks. Though Brother Qwinn had no desire to harm a wounded animal, he could not allow this beast’s misery to endanger innocent lives. The monk tracked the great beast for many days until he found it charging toward a group of farmers headed to trade their grain with the nearby aviaks.

As he engaged his opponent, Brother Qwinn was seized by the animal’s massive trunk and thrown high into the air, but the skilled monk landed safely. He tried to stun the animal in hopes of finding some way to relieve its pain, but the beast had descended too far into madness for there to be any hope of saving him. The kind-hearted monk summoned forth all his skill to strike with blinding speed and end Cracktusk’s suffering as quickly and mercifully as he could.

Though he had saved the lives of the farmers, Brother Qwinn felt no pride in his victory. His only solace was that he had at last ended the mighty elephant’s pain. To honor the heart of this great beast, Brother Qwinn buried him and set the massive cracked tusk into the earth to serve as a memorial to the animal’s life. Then the monk tracked down the unscrupulous poachers who had caused the elephant’s suffering and laid waste to their camp. The fate of the poachers themselves is unknown; Brother Qwinn never spoke of it.

Even for many years after the great monk recovered his tome and departed the Plains of Karana, no one dared disturb the massive ivory tusk that marked Cracktusk’s grave. Poachers whispered tales of the mighty Brother Qwinn who had vowed to return and take revenge upon any who would dare desecrate the tomb of the noble elephant whose spirit he honored.

The Storm Shepherds – The Downpour


This book is one of the Storm Shepherd series titled “The Downpour”. It is the story of how three people had come together to fight the darkness encroaching upon an enchanted land.
The three heroes, having come together at last, proceeded to detail all of the events that led them to meet that day. The halfling druid learned much about the faith of the Storm Father from Danalithenis, who called him by his old name, Karana. Throughout their discussions, something came over Gremius. As he listened to the stories of faiths gone by, he realized that what was missing from his life. Belief.

When Danalithenis was done telling his tales, Gremius stood up and drew his sword. They looked at him and saw a single teardrop fall from his eyes, falling into a stone beneath his feet. He threw his sword down and repented for everything he had done in his life, asking Karana for forgiveness. What he was especially sorry for was those worshipers he tortured and killed. At the moment he finished confessing, his sword changed into a shepherd’s crook… but one made of glowing steel, and with a pointed blade extending from the bottom of the staff.

When Danalithenis heard everything Gremius confessed, he realized that he had befriended an evil man. Even now, after all these hundreds of years, the corruption of civilization still followed him. In anger, he threw down his bow on the same stone and proclaimed that he would rather die than let the shadow of corruption taint the world any longer. At that moment, his bow changed into a small glass sphere.

Gremius recognized that sphere as the one from his dream that brought him here. As he stood up from his crouched prayers, Danalithenis could see that his blackened Freeport Militia armor was gleaming silver, like the sheen from a newly fallen rain. Tammin, the old druid, said that the time has come to pass. Now is when they would fight the darkness. She explained her full vision to the pair. When she was done, they knew they were all tied together stronger than any friends could possibly be.

Thus, the Storm Shepherds, as they called themselves, worked to push back the blight that was tainting the lands. Danalithenis used his skills as a tracker to find all of the creatures that had been afflicted, allowing Tammin to cure them – or in the case of those who were too far gone – for Gremius to put them out of their misery. As a team, they were able to prevent the ever encroaching darkness from spreading across the land

For the next several years, they would win victories against the darkness that would begin to taint the land. They soon enough realized they would not be able to do it alone, so they recruited followers. They found a small village of shipwrecked refugees living along the coast and talked with them. Many of these people, elves just like Danalithenis, joined them in their battle

The elves would tell Danalithenis of the sad fate of Faydwer and how they came to live in this enchanted isle. This would have normally crushed Danalithenis, but he now had a new cause – to fight the blight. Holding his newly crafted bow and the clear crystal sphere, he vowed that if he could not save the Greater Faydark, then he would save this enchanted forest.

In addition to the elves, the Storm Shepherds gathered a group of followers from the village of Rivervale. With everyone working so well together, it wasn’t long before the Storm Shepherds attracted the attention of those responsible for the blight. Soon enough, creatures of darkness would begin to pursue the three companions, seeking to ensure the Shepherds would not destroy all of their hard work. Many battles were fought against these fiends, and most of them were won.

As battle after battle passed, the years began carrying on. Soon enough, Tammin would succumb to one enemy she could not fight – Time. One night as she lay in her bed, too weak to stand anymore, she asked to see both Danalithenis and Gremius. She told them of one final vision the forest, screaming in agony, had given her. She patted them on the hands, told them they knew what had to be done, and closed her eyes.

On one fateful day, the followers of the Storm Shepherds found the bodies of Danalithenis and Gremius in a small clearing in the forest. Clutched in the dead elf’s hand was a black sphere that swirled with a frightening darkness. The followers would later take up the name of their leaders and keep fighting the darkness as the Storm Shepherds. To this day, they continue to protect both their enchanted lands and that mysterious black sphere.

The Storm Shepherds – Gremius Hazzengrav


This book is one of the Storm Shepherd series titled “Gremius Hazzengrav”. It is the story of a man raised on the streets of Freeport, his rise to notoriety, and his quest for atonement.
Gremius Hazzengrav was born the son of simple bandage merchant in the city of Freeport. When he was only a boy of seven years, he witnessed an exchange between his father and a member of the Freeport Militia. He watched as the militiaman insisted that his father needed to pay more protection money. When his father insisted that he didn’t have any more money, the militiaman ran a sword through him and left his corpse for the ratonga to loot.

Not having any other family, Gremius nearly starved on the streets. He was taken in by a ratonga who taught him how to pick people’s pockets as they passed by. Gremius was forced to give his guardian all of the coin he earned in exchange for a place to sleep at night. Ten years would go by with Gremius forced to steal for food, while the ratonga did nothing and became rich. The day he turned seventeen, Gremius walked into the sleeping ratonga’s room and slid a dagger into his throat. The next morning, he enlisted in the Militia.

While he was training to be a member of the city’s law enforcement, he received constant praise for his dedication to the job. The most praise would come from his drill instructor, and took Gremius under his wing. On the final training day, the soldier with the best scores would be made into an officer and the one with worst would be lowered into a pit of hungry, rabid hyenas. As the ceremony began, Gremius was made into an officer and an unfortunate ogre was chosen to feed the hyenas.

As the drill commander put all of his weight into pushing the lever that held the victim suspended over the pit, something unexpected happened. Instead of pushing the lever, he stumbled over it and clumsily fell over into the pit, just barely catching the lip with one hand. For you see, someone had greased the lever. The commander screamed for Gremius to help him up before he fell in. Officer Gremius walked over to the pit, looked down and said, “You killed my father ten years ago” — and then crushed the commander’s fingers with his foot. Gremius didn’t leave until the commander finally stopped screaming.

Gremius would become notorious throughout Freeport for his merciless enforcement of the law. If a merchant tried to bluff his way out of protection payment, Gremius would kill them. If a soldier forgot to salute the image of the Overlord whenever they passed one, Gremius would kill them. If a citizen walked within the city without proper papers, he would kill them. This would continue until the day that he tortured and killed some worshippers of a long forgotten god, Karana.

For the next several weeks, he would wake up screaming from horrible nightmares. He would dream of a wizened old man who stood in the center of a massive rainstorm. The winds would begin to tear Gremius apart until he would plead for the man to stop the rains. When the rains stopped, Gremius could see a broken crystal sphere that floated above a pool of darkness that was slowly seeping into the ground. All around him, endless trees would turn black and the darkness would spread, moving towards the ocean. Eventually, the darkness would surround him and finally eat his soul.

Gremius finally realized that the dreams were a vision. Not only did the darkness represent what he had become, but within them were a clue on how he could atone for all of his past rimes. He began searching throughout the Nektulos Forest for answers, but found nothing to give him insight on how he could “clean” the taint on his soul. Then he remembered the pirate’s stories of countless islands out within the ocean. He knew what he had to do.

Gremius began constructing a sailing vessel from the trees in the Nektulos Forest. He spent the next year trying to build a boat to take him to the island that he saw in his vision. Having left Freeport, he was now an outlaw and would be killed on sight, or else he would have just stolen a boat from the harbor. During the construction, he had much time to contemplate what he could to change his life around, but could never come about to a clear answer.

When he finally completed the boat, he sailed off into the Neriuss Flow. His plan was to sail upon the turbulent ocean, stopping at island after island, until he finally found the one in his dream. He spent many months searching island after island. On one desert isle he found to be inhabited by nothing more than numerous cyclopses, he stopped to refresh his water supplies. As he carefully looked for water, wanting not to disturb the natives, he came across an interesting sight.

A cyclops was about to kill what appeared to be a High Elf, sharing the same physical traits as many of his countless victims. Believing this to be his chance to atone for his past sins, he came up behind the cyclops and slew it before it could kill the elf. Not feeling the expected sense of absolution, Gremius looked at the elf and prepared to kill him in anger. Seeing the helpless person in front of him caused Gremius to remember the heinous actions he performed upon the worshipers in Freeport. For the first time since the day he saw his father killed, Gremius felt a long-forgotten emotion. Pity.

The Nightblood


Some of my students are less inclined to take their research seriously. What follows is an example of the most poorly written report I have ever seen in my years as an instructor. Miss Mellosius is not only a half-elf but evidently a half-wit. Please consider this more of a paper on how not to write an in-depth study.
“The Nightblood,” by Trinni Mellosius. My teacher told me to write a research paper about Nightbloods, as if I’ve ever seen one! Anyway, this is my research into the nightblood.

Nightbloods are really very unfortunate and misunderstood. A lot of people think they are manifestations of evil and get very scared thinking about them, but I like to think of your average nightblood as a big, overgrown bull. That kind of breathes flames, but not really. There! Doesn’t that make you think of them differently all ready?

Well, all right, maybe that was a bit much. Nightbloods are pretty creepy. They aren’t from our world at all, so that makes them doubly creepy! It’s as if somewhere, there’s a something that we can’t see, but the nightbloods can and they are taking advantage of this to travel around. If that doesn’t give you the creeps, I don’t know what will!

The first confirmed sighting of a nightblood was only about fifty or three hundred years ago or so, give or take. These paladins were locked in battle with some kind of elemental when suddenly, poof! Right out of the air came these big, broad-shouldered beasts with horns curving around the tops of their heads. It must have been a pretty scary sight!

Anyway, so one paladin turns to one of the others and says, “Lo! Run to Lord Bayle and tell him of this fell beast we have awoken from its foul sleep!” I guess they talked like that a lot back then. The other paladins didn’t want to run, they wanted to stay and fight! They could feel what the only survivor later said was something like waves of heat and evil from this creature.

These paladins had with them a squire, or a knight, or something else and so they told him to get away and tell Lord Bayle while they stayed to fight this thing. So the squire or whatever took off running. He stopped at the top of a hill, or the end of a bridge (depending on where you’ve heard the story), only to see the beast totally wipe out the paladins with a pretty awesome incantation.

The squire ran and ran back to Qeynos and did not stop till he got to tell his story directly to Lord Bayle. In fact, this kind of long distance run turned into a big annual event across Karana to commemorate this event, so that means this had to have happened a very long time ago. Anyway, Lord Bayle sent out fifty of his bravest warriors, who found the beast and slew it before it could regain its strength and cast anymore spells.

If you ask me, that’s putting a lot of weight to that one story, but that’s what I learned as the origin of the nightblood. Only it’s not really about the nightblood, is it? Let me see, I’m sure there’s more. Oh! Did I mention it’s evil?

Since that first nightblood however many years ago, there have certainly been a lot more of them in Norrath. No one knows if this is because of all the unrest after the Shattering that made more of these hidden paths that the nightbloods travel through, or if there is something else that’s stirring them up. These things apparently aren’t afraid of anything and will attack whatever they find in their way.

If you are unfortunate enough to get close to one, listen to its voice. It has a really odd way of speaking, almost as though it doesn’t know how to talk at all. Now, that means to me that it’s stupid, but my teacher says that it means instead that we simply do not know what language it is using. Whatever. In any case, some of these things do learn to speak properly and carry on a good conversation before they rip the person they’re speaking with to shreds.

So, that’s all there is to know about nightbloods. I guess the main thing to remember is, you don’t want to meet up with one! If you see one, don’t stop to talk with it! Run! The End. — Teacher’s note: Trinni, come see me immediately about this paper!

The Lady of the Lake


Waiting for an inevitable war is never easy. In this book, we meet two Qeynosian Guards at an outpost on Lake Rathetear who find themselves on the edge of war and far from home.

The drums echoed in the Rathe Mountains and reverberated through the deep waters of Lake Rathetear. They were victory drums, sounded by the ogres of the new Rallosian Army. They had taken the mountains and now their drums warned of their advance to the Lake itself. Aviak scouts reported their progress and numbers. There were so many ogres and trolls, it was said that the road was blackened by their shadows as far as the aviak eye could see.

“Why do they come here?” asked Ilkalla, one of the Qeynosian guards stationed at the Lake. “Because they can,” responded Gerren, the other guard. “And here we are, unable to send word to Qeynos. We will die fighting alongside these savages.” “Do not say such a thing,” Ilkalla said uncomfortably. “They have treated us very kindly since word of the Rallosian Army reached them. You may not like them, but the aviaks have offered us shelter in these uncertain times.?

Smoke curled on the opposite shore of the Lake Rathetear, which obscured whatever the Rallosian Army was doing. The drums in the mountains had stopped. Other than the acrid tang of smoke drifting across the water, one might forget that the ogres were there. A squadron of aviaks swooped low into the smoke to get a closer look; their report was not encouraging. The ogres were apparently cutting down massive numbers of trees, stripping their bark and sharpening their ends into spikes.

Ilkalla wondered what the ogres would do with spikes the size of trees. It seemed unlikely they would build a fortification; they were on the offense not defense. “We must get closer…but so far the aqua goblins in the Lake are not cooperating with us. I must make them understand the danger to us all. If I can get safe passage, I could find out what the Rallosians are planning.” The aqua goblins had for the most part retreated to their lairs in the midst of the Lake, trusting its deep waters to keep them safe.

One of the aviaks that Ilkalla had befriended went with her to the aqua goblins’ chief. The discussion was disappointing to some extent, as the chief was more interested in the baubles Ilkalla had brought as gifts than he was in the danger posed by the Rallosians. It took the better part of the morning before he agreed to allow her safe conduct through the Lake. “I don’t speak for them sharks, though,” the chief said with a snicker. Ilkalla was a strong swimmer though and knew how to deal with the sharks.

Under cover of darkness, Ilkalla slipped off through the black water. She opted for a small coracle and paddled silently across the Lake. The smoke that drifted across the water may have hidden the ogres’ activities but it also provided Ilkalla with excellent concealment from any watching eyes. She soon found out that if anyone were watching her, it wasn’t the ogres. They were apparently so confident of victory that they set no watch along the shore.

Though she was tired from her trip across the Lake, Ilkalla knew she could not stop to rest. She must find out what the ogres were doing and then paddle back across the Lake without being caught. Pausing to listen for indications that she had been seen, Ilkalla methodically investigated the narrow beach until she found what she was seeking. The ogres were not using the sharpened tree trunks to build a fort; they were building a raft.

Quickly, Ilkalla returned to the coracle and paddled quickly back where Gerren and the aviak leaders waited for her. “They’re planning to transport themselves across the Lake,” Ilkalla panted as soon as she stepped ashore. “They are building a raft, a barge of immense size to carry their troops. It is nearly done.” She sank to the shore and inhaled deeply. “We need help.”

Gerren pushed back his hair and said, “The time to send for help is long past. The aqua goblins may have let you pass once, but they will surely side with the ogres and trolls.” Ilkalla nodded, adding, “We must make for Karana and thence to Qeynos.” Gerren laughed, “I would not let you take all the glory, my friend. You crossed the Lake; I will cross the mountains. The aviaks will not be able to stand alone.”

“They stand not alone,” said a deep, rumbling voice nearby. Ilkalla and Gerren turned, startled to see a centaur. He bowed and said, “The aviaks sent word to us. While we have not always agreed on things, this is different. This is war.” Ilkalla slowly stood, looking over her shoulder across the dark water. “Yes,” she said softly, “This is definitely war.”

The Journal of Samantha Rageshree


The Journal of Samantha Rageshree

Winday 14th, Warmstill 5405
Crops continue to wither and fail at an alarming rate, the cause still unknown. More and more townsfolk continue to grow ill. Mayor Yuntson sent a brigade of militiamen into the nearby hills to investigate. May Karana shed some light on this increasingly dire situation that threatons to destroy our entire village!

Steelday 15th, Warmstill 5405
Only a single survivor has returned from the group of men sent to investigate the strange happenings outside Everling Village. A young man named Beck hobbled back to town, his face covered with pustules. Not wanting to place the entire village in a panic, I brought the boy back to my home, out of the public’s sight. The boy told me the militia encountered a man whose touch withered trees and scorched grass. When approached by the militia he unleashed a sickening flurry of locust (sic) that furiously gnawed at the men, tearing their flesh away as they floundered about helplessly. A warlock no doubt. The boy did not get a good look at the face of the man who had attacked them but noted that in his hand he held a heinous looking dagger which dripped with some strange ichor. Gods help us all.

Feastday 3rd, Lastleaf 5405
Severeal would-be heroes have come and gone from our little town. Each claim that they will be the one to slay the warlock who preys upon our town for no reason. We threw celebrations for the first few to take up the cause but, as time went on and not a single one of the adventurers returned, the townsfolk grew despondent. The sense of hope that we all once held was gone. Can no one help us?

Soulday 18th, Firstchill 5405
May the name of Ritter Shortshank always be remembered! Finally a hero has saved us from the plague spewing villain who seemed wholly dedicated to seeing our town’s demise. I can’t believe it has already been a week since Ritter appeared at the Muddy Boot Inn. In his hand he carried the hilt of the warlock’s dagger and an urn containing the ashes of our now vanquished foe. “For fear of spreading more disease to you fine folk, I’ve gone ahead and cremated his body.” He told us. “Who knows what sort of nasty afflictions the man had on him!” Such a fine man, and handsome too!

Steppes Creature Catalog


The Thundering Steppes is an area that is at once familiar and strange. Wide, shallow valleys recall the Plains of Karana while lakes formed in the meteor strikes during the Shattering serve as a reminder that nothing is permanent, not even the shape of the lands.
The Thundering Steppes shares the continent of Karan with Antonica, separated by the high peaks of the Phantom Mountains. Jutting southward like a sheathed dagger, the shores of the Steppes are formed by the waters of the Seafury. Hills are steeper near the mountains and more gently sloped as they near the sea.

Wind and rain sweep across the rugged terrain and while the intensity may vary, the changing weather remains constant. In the course of a day, one can see raging thunderstorms, bright sunny skies and light drizzles. It pays to keep one’s gear in good repair as the weather can take its toll on both metal and leather goods.

Pale green and gold, wild grass is plentiful across the plains. It is particularly fascinating to stand (under some cover of course) and watch a wind storm sweep through the area, rolling the fine blades like waves on the sea. Trees, though sparse, grow here as well, particularly acacia trees with their tiny leaves that let the winds blow through them without ripping them apart.

Many inhabitants from Ages past remain in the Steppes. Centaurs form raiding parties and descend upon travellers, so it is wise to keep one’s guard up. The hill giants can be particularly aggressive, although the centaurs work to keep them in check. The proximity to the sea brings an enchantment of sirens to the shore; beware the sound of their voices!