Category Archives: The Temple of Cazic Thule

The Minions of the Mighty Creature Catalog

The Minions of the Mighty Creature Catalog
by Pearl Honeywine

Throughout Norrath there are regions which seem a wellspring of hidden power. Three such areas have been uncovered by travellers thus far: Permafrost, Cazic Thule and Solusek’s Eye. Fortunately for the living, they are scattered, which likely helps keep the sources of their strengths from joining together.

Of course, no one knows from what source each of these regions derives its energy. Permafrost is within Everfrost to the far north. Within the forbidding boundaries of Lavastorm, one can find Solusek’s Eye. Cazic Thule, named for the ancient god of Fear, is entered through his ancient Temple within the jungles of the Feerrott.

Take into account the weather for the region in which these focal points is located to know what to expect. Permafrost is aptly named, as no thaw reaches this icy realm. Solusek’s Eye takes the traveller into the fiery abyss of Mount Solusek. The Temple of Cazic Thule is well-known to trap the unwary and fill even the stout-hearted with dread. Walk carefully in these realms, should you decide to see them for yourself.

It is an unusual twist of the god’ humor that of old, there is but one plant in common to all three realms: the death’s head lichen. It endures heat, cold, damp, and desert conditions to thrive practically unseen on the bones of the fallen. The death’s head lichen can only be seen using a gnomish scope on harvested skulls or other large bone fragments.

Centers of concentrated energy are often filled with golems that feed on that power. In addition to these magical protectors, some living and some not, who see it as their purpose to protect that region from all who dare intrude.

History of Frogloks

We are the children of Mithaniel Marr, god of valor. He has given unto us a greater share of honor than was given to any other creature. We would rather die with honor than extend our lives through deception of any kind.

This can be challenging for others–the concept that laws are not meant for the breaking. While we try to be understanding that not everyone shares our belief, it is still distressing to see rules bent and broken. The laws of the land are not simply suggestions, as some seem to think.

Such is the way of the troll. After many attempts to peacefully coexist with them in the Innothule Swamp, their utter disregard for protocol finally provoked us to battle. The blessing of Mithaniel Marr was with us as we drove them from their filthy city of Grobb. In His honor, we renamed it Gukta, Outpost of Marr.

Some may wonder why we contented ourselves with a simple home like Gukta, when our obvious intelligence indicates we might prefer plush surroundings. That is not our way, you see. It seems those whose skin is laced with hair need warmth and softness in their surroundings. We are comforted in other ways.

Others have said that we frogloks are too proud and that we deserve the challenges that have been our lot through the Ages. We do not deny the pride we feel in our heritage. We were created by Mithaniel Marr, after all. Through his grace, we have overcome many adversities that would have brought others to the brink of despair.

When the ogres of Rallos Zek began their reign of terror, they tried to start with Gukta. They thought they knew all the deepest reaches of our territory, thinking that we had not changed or developed it after wresting the city from the trolls. The ogres fought without honor, to their own detriment.

We are not taken unawares with ease. The foul ogres thought to destroy us, but we were guided by the Hand of Marr. Our eggs were carried deep into the tunnels, followed by elite forces to guard them. Deep beneath the marshes we went. We sent emissaries to Freeport to advise the Overlord of the rise of the Rallosians.

The Overlord brushed our concerns aside and so, with barely three days’ rest, our emissaries headed to Qeynos to warn the Bayles. Though sympathetic, they chose only to increase their watches rather than advancing to attack before the Rallosians expanded their reach. How we wished they had listened! The Rallosian Army grew in strength and power until the cities of Freeport and Qeynos were besieged.

The blessings of Mithaniel Marr still protected the faithful. The honorless ogres broke faith with their own allies, defiling the Temple of Cazic-Thule. And so, in the darkest hours when it appeared that the Rallosians would conquer all, the Green Mist covered the battlefields, slaying our enemies. However, not all our enemies were destroyed.

Though many of our adversaries perished in the time of the Green Mist, some escaped by continuing to pursue us. Deeper into the marshes we fled, and still they followed. It was then that we felt the rage of the gods.

By failing to stand our ground and hold back the tide of the enemy, we disappointed the gods who had held us high in their trust and esteem. Punishment was both swift and severe.

Though we had escaped the Rallosians, we could not escape the torments to follow. The Rending kept those of us who had scattered apart. Separated from any other honorable race, we drifted into oblivion.

And yet, oblivion would have been more kind than that which we endured. For those of us who found our way to the Feerrott were taken prisoner by the Tae’Ew, who fed us to their god.

Generation upon generation of froglok has been subjugated by the Alliz Tae’Ew. They demanded service and, weakened by the calamities that had befallen us, we were in no position to rebel. Until now.

In secret, several of our strongest broke free and are repeating the journey made so long ago when we first sent word to Freeport and Qeynos that the Rallosians were on the move. Surely we have atoned for our offenses against the gods and will be saved.

"Bloodstained Journal, Vol 1"

“22nd July, 3222 Good grief. Just as one pointless expedition into the backside of civilisation finishes, another begins. I always knew that cursed Provost Tredore was jealous of my studies and the success of my experiments. Why else would he send me, Derion Livingstone, on these Gods-forsaken errands, and not one of the seemingly endless supply of novices that he foolishly admits to our dear Academy of Arcane Sciences? Jealousy, simple jealously. We’ll see who it is that has the last laugh when I return. I have plans for our Provost. 23rd July, 3222 It seems that we’re destined for the Feerrott; if there were a more dingy and unsanitary place, then I am quite certain that I’ve not heard of it. Between the stench of Oggok, the Gypsy-infested Mountains of Rathe and Innothule Swamp, I cannot imagine a place I’d rather be less. Even the blasted druids threw cabbage at us as we passed the Old Rings. Provost Tredore claims that the filthy Tae Ew lizards are stirring up trouble, something to do with a breach into an alter plane. I don’t believe it for a moment. 24th July, 3222 Curiouser and curiouser. We reached the outskirts of the Tae Ew temple this morning; it certainly appears.. different. There is a distinct taint in the balance of the planar forces here, emanating from the temple itself. Could that fool Tredor have been correct? My faithful servant, Kinopio, is setting up the tents. The juniors assigned to me – Scrapsnatcher, Aluram, Morkul and Felwah – have asked leave for the evening. I am not a cruel man, we shall begin in earnest tomorrow. Besides, Kinopio has some rather decent pipeweed. 25th July, 3222 Felwah seems to have a touch of madness this morning, blathering about monsters in her dreams. Arcane Sciences cannot depend on the ramblings of the weak-willed. I have ordered the doors to the temple to be forced open – let us see what these scienceless heathens are up to! Onwards!”

"Bloodstained Journal, Vol 4"

“Day 11 The day went slowly. Kinopio and I discussed possible uses for this cured hide. He seems to think that one could fashion an entire suit of armour from it, simply using sections of the cured hide in various quantity with an appropriate pattern. I slept most of the day. Day 12 Woke in the middle of the night to Kinopio screaming. I must admit that my dreams have not been too pleasant lately either. In a fit of creativity, Kinopio created us a crude pie made from the now-festering lizard meat and a little dough, in his pie tin. Day 13 Kinopio tells me that he used to be a smith of some reknown in his youth. I find it easy to believe. He spent all afternoon laying out plans for a set of chain-mail: a mold, a vial of the distilled blood, and several sheets of metal. If only we had sheets of metal! Day 14 What a day. It started so well – from a scale temper and a vial of the lizard’s blood (thankfully still in good condition after all this time due to my preservations), I created a lizard blood temper. Then Kinopio passed out. He shows no signs of consciousness. Day 15 We have survived two weeks. The runtling was rotting so severely that I had to vapourise it – hopefully my magics kept the sound contained. Kinopio still lies comatose, as if in a state of near-death. I wish that Felwah were here to cure him. Day 16 Kinopio awakened! His eyes are bloodshot, he does not look well even to my limited medical knowledge. The stirrings outside the door have become more pronounced over the last days, since Kinopio was unconscious, as if hundreds of rats were out there. Day 17 Though ill, Kinopio has gone to work with a will. Using my lizard-blood temper, he hammered two pristine lizard scales together to form a larger plate – it looks exceptionally tough, perhaps we can use it to escape. I cooked lizard in a little frosting, with spice – superb. Day 18 The noises outside are more evident than ever. Kinopio keeps wanting to open the door.”

"Bloodstained Journal, Vol 3"

“Day 4 The enchanted ore seems to bond well with certain jewels that I have with me: diamonds, blue diamonds, sapphires, black sapphires and rubies. I shall remember to note these for further investigation on our return to the Academy. Day 5 Our rations are low. Kinopio, bless his brave Gnomish soul, dared to step outside the room today. He was gone for some time, and came back with – well, with a dead Tae Ew runtling. The door is secured again. I wonder if we dare cook this lizard? Day 6 Hunger is a cruel thing. Kinopio went to work on cooking the runtling this morning. It tastes so good! Cooked on a skewer, with a little spice and some sauce, this lizard meat is most pleasing. Kinopio ate meat rolled in batwing – such an odd gnome. Day 7 Gods, a week has passed. Kinopio’s nightmares are worse, they are effecting his judgement. My day was spent curing the hide of the runtling – a long process, using a vial of the poor creature’s blood. The result is a hard leather – perhaps I can put it to use. Day 8 Kinopio is restless, so I put him to work with the cured hide. He has hidden talents: from one section of hide he created a tough belt for himself, and from another section of hide he produced a gorget. Amazing. Today’s meal consisted of raw lizard sandwich. Revolting. Day 9 Kinopio discovered a barrel, suitable for brewing, in one of the piles that line the walls. Using two vials of the runtlings blood and a single vial of distilled mana, I managed to distill the substance into a thick, viscous fluid. I shall investigate tomorrow. Day 10 Kinopio’s skills know no bound. Using the distilled blood and two sections of the hardened hide, he created a backpack the likes of which I have never seen before. From two portions of the distilled blood, a section of hide and a whip pattern of his own he even made a rudimentary weapon. Our meal today consisted of a soup – lizard meat in water from the drain, with a little sauce, in Kinopio’s pot. Ugh.”

"Bloodstained Journal, Vol 2"

“Gods help us, we’re trapped. Trapped in some small chamber deep within the temple – we ran, Gods know we ran. My magics of concealment should hide Kinopio and myself from the searches of the cursed lizards for a while. I get ahead of myself, it is unlike me to be irrational. I shall recount the events. The main temple door led into a deserted courtyard, absent of all sound except the incessant chirp of crickets in the plants that sprouted from most of the temple’s oddly regular sandstone buildings. As our party stood in the centre of this courtyard, the huge wooden doors through which we came slammed shut. I don’t know how, but they were on us instantly – jumping out of windows and bushes, pouring from doors and alcoves, even dropping out of the trees. I’ve never seen such an attack, I pray that I never do again. It was all that I could do to protect Kinopio and myself with my enchantments – many of the lizards fell to us but their numbers were.. overwhelming, without end. They have been breeding in incredible quantity. We found ourselves separated from the juniors – fleeing for a door that led along countless corridors into the temple depths. Here we remain – for how long I cannot say. Day 1 Our tiny room appears to have been used as a storage area, there are many materials here. Perhaps some will come in useful in our escape. My wards of protection are about the room, it should remain soundproof for some time. The door looks strong. We both need rest. Day 2 Within the mounds of jumble, I found a strange ore. It seems local to this area’s geology – and has fascinating properties. Using my firestaff as a makeshift forge, I found that two lumps of this ore could be enchanted with a vial of distilled mana – interesting. Day 3 Kinopio is keeping me awake with his nightmares. Thankfully, we appear to be undiscovered. I hear female screams after dark.”

Tome of Destiny – Chapter VIII – Gathering Storms

Urduuk stood atop the crest of the hill and gazed out across the grasslands to the south. The scattered orc villages that dotted the landscape were completely obscured by the legions of ogres and orcs that made up the Rallosian Army. As far as his eye could see were soldiers awaiting his command. This pleased him.

“They are ready, Lieutenant Ignara. Tomorrow we begin the march across the sands that lead us to Freeport. And when we arrive, we will burn it to the ground.”

“Aye, General,” she replied. “Spies sent by the Rujarkian Orcs tell us that Freeport is ill prepared for our arrival and will fall quickly. Still, I think it unlikely that Lucan knows nothing of our army’s approach. He may be baiting a trap.”

“Ridiculous!” Urduuk growled through bared teeth. “D’Lere is a fool, and his city will crumble as easily as Gukta did. I will defile his throne just as I desecrated the Temple of Cazic-Thule. Rallos Zek has ordained our victory and promised this world to me. I will rule over the ashes of Norrath until my father returns.”

“Your… father?” she asked hesitantly.

“Of course. I am the son and heir of Zek, given the unholy blade Vel’Arek as a symbol of my power. Do you doubt my lineage and birthright, Ignara?” Urduuk drew the sword and locked his burning eyes on hers.

Ignara watched him breathlessly. She knew what fate befell those who disagreed with Urduuk.

“I have no doubt, my lord and master,” she said, bowing her head. “You are the true son of Zek.”

He gripped the dark blade tightly in his hand. She believed he might swing it at any moment, leaving her head on display to show how he rewarded those who failed him. Instead, he sheathed the sword.

“Order the troops to camp. We leave at first light and make our way across the Desert of Ro.”

“By your order, General,” she replied. “Do we march on T’Narev?”

“No,” Urduuk replied. “Laying siege to the Ashen Order’s mountain fortress would be a waste of time and resources. Let the Rujarkians take them when Freeport smolders in ruins.”

Ignara dared not question him again, even if she thought it unwise to ignore the threat posed by the monks. “It will be as you command, my lord.” She saluted and headed down the hill.

Urduuk surveyed his army again. He knew the others in the west were ready as well. “Mine,” he told himself. “Soon it will all be mine.”

“They’re coming!” Niffet cried as he approached the gates. “They’re coming!”

His horse was still at a gallop as he rode in, but the halfling pulled hard at the reigns to bring her to a quick stop. He jumped off the horse’s back and yelled again. “The Rallosians are coming!”

The city guards circled him. “Identify yourself!” the captain ordered.

“I am Niffet of Surefall, commanded to stand watch over the plains. I was ordered to bring word when the armies of darkness approached.”

“Ordered by whom?” the captain asked.

“By me,” a voice replied.

The captain turned and saw the ranger standing before him. He was dressed in dark green chain mail, a longbow of ornate wood slung on his back. The buckle on his belt bore the symbol of the Rainkeeper.

“Avatar,” Niffet said, kneeling, “it has come to pass, just as you said it would.”

“Arise, Niffet,” the ranger said. “Tell me what you saw.”

The halfling stood. “I was camped in one of the old guard towers, watching. I saw dark shapes lurking on the horizon. It was as if the mountains themselves were drawing closer, but it was not mountains. It was a wall of giants coming from the east, and from the south came ogres with their gnoll slaves. There were so many, so very many.”

“You have done well. My watchers to the north have informed me that the orcs control Blackburrow and are starting to come through. The Rallosians have begun their march toward Qeynos.”

The guard captain nodded. “Lord Bayle told us you would come to lead us, Avatar. Our forces stand ready to defend the city.”

“Good,” said the ranger. “Seal the gates and put all your troops on alert. I will attempt to give us some more time.”

“How?” asked the captain.

The ranger reached up and took hold of a pendant around his neck. He whispered an incantation and the blue gem began to glow. In the distance, thunder rumbled across the plains.

“The storms will slow them down, but not for long. We must prepare.”

“Seal the gate!” ordered the captain. The giant doors of wood and steel began to slowly draw closed. The captain turned and gave instructions to his men.

“There were so many of them, Avatar,” Niffet said to the ranger. “How can we hold them back?”

The ranger said nothing, listening as the thunder drew nearer.

Betrayed! it hissed. Betrayed!

It stirred in the darkness, locked away for so long. Shapeless. Lingering. Cold. Alone.

You have forgotten. You shall be made to remember. You will be taught just like the others who harmed his children.

The ritual was complete. The gift was unsealed. The lesson was coming.

Defiler! You will know Fear until the end of time!

It seeped out. Billowing. Rolling. Moving. Growing.

His gift will find you. His gift will find you all.

The green cloud arose in the temple’s stale air. It moved through the corridors, slowly at first, then faster. It would touch the first of them soon.

Betrayed! it hissed again. But now you will learn.

It would have smiled, if only it had a face.

Tome of Destiny – Chapter VI – The Fall of Gukta

“By the sacred name of Marr… there are so many of them!”

Kyruk stood atop the gate and surveyed the carnage below. The Rallosian Army seemed endless, extending as far into the swamp as his eyes could see. Over the last few years the ogres had sent many raiding parties into Innothule, but nothing close to this.

Captain Gormuk signaled his archers to fire another volley at the Rallosian cavalry and turned to his friend. “Numbers do not matter, for these devils have no honor in their hearts. They will fall as other invaders have.”

Kyruk shook his head. “I do not think honor will be enough this day. They will soon breach the walls of Gukta and enter the city. If they reach the hatchery?”

“No!” croaked Gormuk, firing an arrow of his own. “Do not think such things! Marr will preserve us as he always has!”

Kyruk chanted an incantation and gestured. Comets of ice rained down from his webbed fingers onto the ogres below. But for every ogre that fell, it seemed three more took its place.

“The tunnels, Gormuk! You must order the constables to gather the eggs and take the civilians into the tunnels, or all will be lost.”

The captain fired more arrows, muttering a prayer with each. The ogres brought catapults to the front of their ranks as their mages summoned huge spheres of flame to launch at the walls. Gormuk could see the fight slipping away from them. “We have fought long and hard for this place. So many battles with the trolls… so much bloodshed. How can we just abandon it? How can we do that to the one who gave us his sacred blessing?”

Kyruk cast bolts of lightning at the ogre wizards, but they were shielded from his attack. “This is just a place, Gormuk. The swamp will preserve us and we will grow strong again. But to stay would be prideful, and such pride brings dishonor. If they stay in the upper tunnels the civilians can safely reach Guk, and the Rallosians will not be able to bring their war machines inside its narrow passageways. There we can make a stand.”

Gormuk shot more arrows, but his efforts were futile. The ogres kept coming, and more and more fallen frogloks lined the battlefield. The catapults fired, sending huge globes of flame crashing into the city walls, setting them ablaze.

The captain turned and shouted to the guards below. “Go to the council and tell them that we cannot hold the wall! You must take the eggs and hatchlings into the tunnels. Gather all the civilians and guide them to Guk. We’ll seal the tunnels behind you.”

The guards saluted and rushed to obey the captain. Gormuk turned to Kyruk. “The elders say some dark power has arisen in the depths of Guk. I pray they are wrong, and that the ancient citadel will protect our people.”

“It’s the right thing to do, Gormuk. On my oath to Marr, we will hold these monsters back and give our people the time they need to escape.”

“We will do more than that!” shouted Gormuk. “The swamp will flow with ogre blood this day!”

Gormuk fired more arrows down at the Rallosians, then dropped his bow and unsheathed his sword. “Make sure the tunnels are sealed, my friend!” With one mighty leap he jumped from the top of the wall down to the battlefield below. He threw back his head and let loose a mighty croak. “For Marr!” He charged into the fray and swung his blade back and forth, cutting a swath into the ogre battle line.

“Gormuk, fall back!” cried Kyruk, casting a protective spell upon the captain. But Gormuk charged into the endless ranks of the ogres and disappeared from view.

“Your sacrifice will not be in vain, old friend.” Kyruk wove his strongest spell and unleashed all his power onto the ogres below. The Rallosians drew closer to the wall as the catapults launched again. Kyruk gasped and whispered a swift, fleeting prayer.

“Where are the rest of them?”

“We are not sure, General. The hatchery has been emptied, and we can find no trace of the civilians. They just seem to be? gone.”

Urduuk dismounted and walked over to the sergeant, fixing his gaze upon him. “Gone? Gone?” Urduuk clenched his mailed fist and shot it forward, crushing into the jaw of his subordinate. The ogre crumpled to the ground, as much from intimidation as from the blow itself.

The general turned and surveyed the burning rubble that had been Gukta. “I ordered you to wipe all trace of these abominations from this wretched swamp, and yet somehow they managed to escape. How? And more importantly, to where?”

A burly ogre stepped forward and saluted the general. “I swear to you that they did not break our line, sir. But whether through magic or some form of trickery, I believe there is only one place they would go. Back to Guk, to the ancient tunnels they once called home.”

Urduuk considered the junior officer’s words a moment. “Yes, of course. The frogloks would seek the only safety they could find. You, lieutenant, what is your name?”

“Danarg, my lord.”

“Lieutenant Danarg, gather your soldiers and go to the mouth of Guk. Take them into the tunnels and cleanse that cursed place of the froglok pestilence once and for all. Do not emerge until this duty is done. Am I clear?”

Danarg saluted again. “I will not fail you, General.” He turned and motioned for others to follow him.

Urduuk climbed atop his steed and addressed his troops. “As planned, the rest of you shall divide into two wings. Those of you who bear the mark of Tallon will secure Innothule and move northward to rendezvous with our orc allies in Southern Ro. Those of you who bear the mark of Vallon will ride with me to the Feerrott and prepare to take the Mountains of Rathe.”

One of Urduuk’s advisors drew close to him. “General, the Arm of Vallon incurred heavy losses in the taking of Gukta. They need reinforcements.”

Urduuk nodded. “We will enter the Temple of Thule and add the forces of Fear to our ranks. They will make a useful addition to our army.”

“But General, the Amygdalan were unwilling to join with us before. What will change their minds now?”

“Their minds are irrelevant, for they serve a weak and silent god. They will join us or I will destroy their crumbling temple and shatter the Fear gate.”

Urduuk signaled his legion to march westward. He knew his troops had a taste for conquest and they would quickly grow hungry for more. “The Avatar was right,” he said to himself as he rode toward the Feerrott. “This world will soon be ours.”