Category Archives: Rallosians

Through the Rathe Mountains

In this book, we follow the adventures of Gerren from his outpost on Lake Rathetear through the Rathe Mountains which have been taken by the Rallosian Army.
Gerren dressed simply. His task would require stealth and speed, for the aviaks reported bands of ogres patrolling the familiar paths through the Rathe Mountains. If Gerren were to break through their lines, he would need to blaze his own trail. And Gerren definitely needed to make his way through — he and fellow Guardsman Ilkalla had been at the Qeynos’ outpost on Lake Rathetear for several months while the Rallosian Army crept closer. Now, the Rallosians were building an enormous barge to carry them across the water.

Ilkalla pressed a dried gnoll’s foot into Gerren’s hand. “For luck,” she said. “I don’t know why, but we’ve always had that in our family; I want you to carry it with you on this journey.” Neither of them said it, but they both knew it was true: the likelihood of his making it through was the equivalent of the aviaks and centaurs holding the Rallosians off. They did not expect to see each other again. After a quick meal, Gerren took a little-traveled way up the face of the slope along the edge of the Lake.

“I can see now why this is travelled so infrequently,” Gerren muttered, pausing for a moment to catch his breath. The rocky mountain face was so steep that in some points, Gerren would need to retrace his steps to consider the options from several angles. Once, a slice of rock upon which he was perched gave way and he slid down quite a distance before being able to stop himself.

Three-quarters of the way up was a cleft in the rocks through which this path passed. The splintered boulders forming the opening folded over on the side facing the Lake, making it impossible to peer around. Gerren knew that if the Rallosians were already on the pathway beyond the rocks, he was doomed. There was no quick escape route. He unsheathed his knife and the gnoll’s foot Ilkalla had given him tumbled out, bouncing off the rocks down the face of the mountain.

“There goes the lucky gnoll’s foot,” Gerren thought, with a smile. Somehow, the idea that the foot of a dead creature could be lucky was amusing. He slipped through the cleft and found the way clear. Tension released in his neck, although he was still wary as he felt his way to another cluster of granite boulders marking another turn in the path.

Hill giants! Gerren leaned back into the boulders, blending himself into the rocks. The Rallosian Army was not the only thing in the Rathe Mountains, but hill giants were not usually found near this forlorn area. Perhaps they, too, had been displaced by the invading ogres. Gerren watched them as they milled around for several minutes before striding off down the narrow, featureless road.

Gerren waited until the sun was directly overhead before moving. There was a stretch of the passage with no easy alternative route — not that the ways he had been traveling had been easy at all. Still, with the sun above he would cast no shadows and might be able to slip undetected across the roadway. Even covered by his superior camouflage, Gerren knew that there were things he could do to make himself even less visible to his enemies.

The roadway was clear and Gerren slipped into the shadows of another clutch of boulders. He paused there to listen for the sounds of pursuit, but there was only silence. That in itself was worrisome, as there were usually birds trilling or insects buzzing. Gerren would even welcome the wuffing sounds of the great bears. “Everything must be hiding from the Rallosians,” he thought, “Perhaps I should get lower to the ground myself.”

Calming himself, Gerren spent a moment recalling the spells of transformation. He remembered amusing Ilkalla on their watches by changing himself into a wolf and padding around, sniffing things. He said a quick prayer for her and the small force by Lake Rathetear, then cast his spell. Energy rippled within him and he shook himself to spread it through to the very tips of his dark fur.

Gerren set off through the rocks, keeping always to the shaded side of the paths. The club that hit him in the back of his head was so quick and brutal that he did not feel a thing as he slumped lifeless to the ground. “Found something for dinner!” yelled the troll that had killed him. The gleeful yelps greeting this cry echoed through the otherwise watchful Rathe Mountains.

The Valorous Tragedy of the Frogloks of Guk

The Valorous Tragedy of the Frogloks of Guk
The Abridged Recordings Of Hopton Braveheart City Guard to Upper Guk

And they march us to our fates,
Though their iron shod gates.

Mithaniel be praised! Though I am tired my spirit is cheered by the benevolence of Marr, he who gave us the strength to defeat the Rallosian assault on Guk. Their army was broken by the Greenmist thus we slew them with little difficulty. The High Constable now directs our full army’s attention to the reclamation of all of Guk. With the Rallosians defeated we should make quick work of it, Mithaniel willing.

The Curse of Ykesha is truly an aberration. I stay hopeful that we can cull the numbers of the cursed – though they are fierce fighters – and lay them to rest. We have lost barely a few froglok and have learnt to quickly burn the bodies of the fallen lest their bodies resurrect. While we mourn our deceased brethren I remain optimistic that Lower Guk can be reclaimed once we bolster our army now that the Rallosian threat is no more.

Mithaniel steels us with his light,
In the guidance of the right.

Forgive your captor, brother Froglok,
Though he may beat you til you bleed,
For he knows not the comforts of Mithaniel,
And will face great punishment for his deeds.

More of our ranks have fallen in battle. We fight for what little remains of Upper Guk. The undead and cursed pour out of Lower Guk and it is all we can do to keep them stemmed at the choke point. The sky is a constant black smudge from all of the soot and debris from the burning bodies.

We realize we can no longer contain the curse. Our ranks have lost many a good soldier and there can be no replacements. The horror of watching the fallen reanimate is enough to turn the stomach. To know that we share the same fate shakes me to the core.

And let our people’s suffering,
Drive our spirits to rise again

This is the right of the Froglok
This is the due of the brave
Though this day may end in misery
We will be free again!

We are overrun. This is the last battle for we have sealed off Guk from the rest of the Norrath. Our meager food supply is depleted and while our bodies are weak our souls are strong. My faith in Mithaniel Marr is unwavering for when I die this body may be reanimated as a vessel fo evil by my soul will never be ruled by Ykesha’s foul curse. If I am found in the future to be reanimated please dispose of my body using any means necessary. Tell our loved ones we did our best. May Mithaniel protect them from this horror.

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.”

Tales of the Alliz Ew

The ferocity of the lizardmen of the Feerrott is legendary, yet it seems there is another side to the stories told of them by outsiders. This is a collection of short stories written by lizardmen and translated from the Rallosian.
“Tales of the Alliz Ew,” translated by Pearl Honeywine — Being a collection of short stories by anonymous lizardmen of both the Alliz Evol Ew and the Alliz Tae Ew of the Feerrott. As these are translations, they can be somewhat difficult to grasp but are worth a look.

“Two Tales.” You speak of those with two minds, two hearts and I speak of the two tales. The first tale, my brethren, listen! For the ogres listened not and all that remains are our memories, longer than the tail of the Queen. Did they forget their promise? Yes, it seems that they did forget and will pay the price. The Temple of Cazic-Thule, set aside from them, yet they forgot. —

— In the long-ago did Rallos, the god of War and mighty Cazic-Thule cross hands and agree that the army of one would not defile the Temple of the other. Yet, the Rallosians forgot this and in they crossed the Temple’s threshhold to declare the Temple was theirs! —

— In the long-ago did this happen, where the Rallosians stood in the Temple and gloated over its treasures and put the blood of the Alliz Ew into the sacrificial vessels as should not have been done, no ritual or rite to purify. And yes, they later paid but in the hour of our need, we could do nothing but gnash our teeth and thrash our tails. —

— That is the first tale, the ending which I need not tell for all know how that vile army was destroyed. The second of my tales talks of the Alliz Tae Ew, those that now are found inside the Temple that remains. To the east, they are and inside the Temple itself, they are. They are strong of will and in their worship of the darkness, did participate in the rituals of darkness such that they now do not see. The weak, they will eat. So say I, and so it is.

“The Vessel.” Carved of stone, its surface is black from the years of use. Wide is the brim and it is shallow. Handles once it had that were defiled by the Rallosians, yet its purpose is not changed. In service will they offer their blood, whether willing or not. Stained it is, as are the Alliz Tae Ew, by the precious offerings made to the gods and the Queen. Shallow may be the vessel, but deep is the honor with which we use it.

“The Vines.” The vines hang low to tangle those who do not look. Mists that thicken the air swirl around to cloak us in grey. Look! You are in the path and see me not. I raise my spear — the spear of my forefathers, cut at the right time of the old moon and dipped in bitter juices. Up I raise my arm, slowly. Listen! The whistle of the spear slicing the air. You hear it not in time to move, only in time to fear. Over and again, I raise my spear! The fallen see me not, just as they see not the vines.

“The Hand.” In the long-ago, He walked among us and reaching out His hand, touched one or another, beckoning. They could not but bend to His will and He caused them to begin the crafting of His statue. Always they would start with His hands, shaping them from wrist to fingertip. Yet when He would return to His other charges, they would cease to carve, and so upon His return, they began again. At His wrist. And so we say, that is why that is what is left.

“Green Dawn.” They trampled us and defiled the Temple. Then they moved onward, slaying all those in their path and we watched. We felt it from the distance, eating what we could and waiting. They pressed onward and thought everyone would fall before them. Until the day of the Green Dawn, when we felt the cloud fall upon the Rallosian Army like thick mist. Their cries we heard and heeded not and in the dawn of the next day, they lay defeated and inedible.

“Waterfall.” The river flows through the valley, mist curling from the surface in the heat. The darkness is great, broad leaves keeping out the light and trapping the sounds. We took the captives to the river to purify them and one worked free from his bindings and jumped into the river, seeking to hide beneath the vapors on its surface. We found some the next day on the shore where the waterfall meets the sea.

Not all lizardmen are literate, or even capable of speaking anything but their own language. It is fascinating to see something of their thoughts from stories written in their own language and translated. To know more about them would be very interesting, indeed.

Splitpaw Down Under, Part Two

The Splitpaw gnolls proved to be a more dangerous adversary than the Rallosians had suspected, although not exactly for the reasons one might suppose. In Part Two, Gippy tries to play both sides.
“So General Urduuk arranged a guide through Splitpaw, eh?” The Rallosian lieutenant considered this thoughtfully and for so long that Gippy thought the trick was up for sure. Then the lieutenant nodded and yelled, “The General provides for us! All hail Urduuk, the Arm of the Avatar!” The Rallosians took up the cry and Gippy joined them wondering whether he’d ever get his hearing back and what the General was doing with the arm of the…what was it?

The Rallosians outfitted Gippy in better armor. It was still a cast-off piece from a fallen foe, but at least this time there wasn’t a gaping hole to leave his chest exposed. Gippy was liking the ogres better and better already. They invited him to play a game of thrown bones, but Gippy declined. “I need to go back to Splitpaw; keep them off their guard,” he told the lieutenant. “You know how some gnolls are.” The lieutenant didn’t, but he wasn’t going to gainsay someone working for the General.

Gippy walked slowly away from the Rallosian camp until he was out of arrow range, then ran toward Splitpaw as though the entire Army were at his heels. “What have you gone and done now, Gippy?” he asked himself over and over again as he ran. He tried out various ways out of the mess as he scampered along but they all had the same unfortunate ending — Gippy with his throat slit, or Gippy burnt at the stake, or Gippy for dinner.

As soon as he reached the lair, Gippy headed for his room. He’d best pack up now before anyone knew he was there. Unfortunately, Muddy had known Gippy from the time Gippy was a pup and he knew all of Gippy’s tricks. When Gippy flung open the door, two gnoll guards were waiting for him and they marched him back through the winding halls to meet with Muddy.

“Well? What are them ogres up to, Gippy?” demanded Muddy rather sourly. “They’ve destroyed the aviak town,” Gippy said, adding, “They’re heading this way next. We’d best pack up and leave.” Muddy curled his lips back, baring his fangs. “Why are you in those clothes, Gippy? You’re wearing the enemy’s colors!” Gippy glanced down and shrugged, “I’m a scout, sir…it was the easiest way to slip in amongst the troops. Camouflage, you know.”

“All right, we pack up and leave. Gippy, I don’t know what you’re trying to pull off or what sort of scam you’ve got going now. You’re not telling us everything, or I’m a goblin,” Muddy snapped. “You can stay behind with the rear guard and make sure the ogres get a traditional gnoll welcome.” Gippy stretched his lips back into a smile. “Yes, sir!” he said with a crisp salute. What, he wondered, was a traditional gnoll welcome?

“Wait, what’s that?” Muddy asked suddenly, his ears twitching and his tongue tasting the air. Gippy heard something, too, a faint, rhythmic thrumming sound that rose out of the lair’s floor and into his paws. “I’m not sure,” Gippy said, “but it sure is catchy!” Muddy thwapped Gippy on the back of the head and snarled, “You idiot, them’s war drums! Those ogres are coming!”

The gnolls were not known for keeping their heads in the best of circumstances. With the ogres’ drums getting louder by the minute, the lair was thrown into complete chaos. Gippy managed to pick quite a few pockets as gnolls rushed hither and yon, trying to figure out the best way to save their skins. With the pockets of his new armor filled with silvers, Gippy headed out of the lair’s unguarded entrance and watched the Rallosian Army advance.

At this distance, all the ogre units looked the same. Gippy furrowed his brow, wondering how he would locate the lieutenant who’d bought into his story about being their guide. Perhaps returning to the lair had been a bad idea. Gippy decided not to run through different plans in his mind; they always ended unhappily and he wanted to face this crisis a little more optimistically.

To the Rallosians, all gnolls looked alike. It wasn’t until after the Army had ransacked the lair and slapped all the gnolls they found (including Flemm, who’d fallen asleep in the kitchens) in irons that they realized their guide was missing. They found Gippy’s body later, still wearing his Rallosian armor and as full of arrows as a pincushion, beside the entrance to the Lair.

Splitpaw Down Under, Part One

The Splitpaw gnolls proved to be a more dangerous adversary than the Rallosians had suspected, although not exactly for the reasons one might suppose. In Part One, we meet Gippy, a Splitpaw gnoll scout. Sort of.
It was Gippy’s turn to watch that day. Gippy had paid Flemm to take his shift. Flemm forgot. And so the Rallosian Army was within a day’s march before the gnolls of the Splitpaw Lair were aware of them. Over the years, the name of the den changed constantly depending on which gnoll clan was in the ascendancy; this season, the Splitpaws were in charge and they were not happy with Gippy.

“Look at them, there are rows after rows of them in armor and with weapons,” grumbled Muddy, the current Splitpaw chief. “No thanks to you, Gippy.” Gippy kicked Flemm, who said nothing. Muddy continued, “We can’t trust you father than we can throw you, but we can throw you to the ogres now. Gippy, your job is head on out there and find out where the ogres are going. They best be going elsewhere, if you know what’s good for you.”

Grumbling the entire way, Gippy went to the armory and selected some gear. Many gnolls owned their own armor, but Gippy never saved enough to buy some and he was too lazy to make his own. Fortunately, the gnolls hoarded what they found through the Plains of Karana and lent it generously to its soldiers. “Can I get one without a hole in the chest?” Gippy asked the armorer. “You’re just lucky I don’t give you one with a target on it,” the armorer grumbled. “Now git!”

Gippy felt the other gnolls did not appreciate his abilities. There was not a single copper that Gippy could not find a way to increase somehow and use to his benefit. Sure, he had nothing saved up, but he was generous. Why, half the gnolls on the scout team were on his payroll with tasks such as responding to his name during roll call or standing watch. Although, Gippy reflected, now he would need to find someone to replace the irresponsible Flemm who had let them all down.

The ogres were making no secret of their progress. Gippy watched in a fascinated horror as they circled the aviak town and razed it to the ground. He was so busy watching them and fretting that he did not see the Rallosian scout until the scout had him by one of his ears. “Ow! Ow! Let me go!” Gippy yelped in anguish. The Rallosian laughed, “No, you come with me and we’ll see what you know.”

“This doesn’t look good,” thought Gippy miserably as he and the Rallosian scout marched toward the Rallosian Army. For one thing, Gippy knew there weren’t enough coppers clinking in his pockets to pay off anyone, let alone an ogre. He turned over scenarios in his mind and each of them had the same unfortunate endings — Gippy on a stick, or Gippy roasting on an open fire, or Gippy for dinner. It was a sobering walk.

The scout pushed Gippy to the ground before the ogre lieutenant. “What’s this? Who brought their pet dog to war?” laughed the lieutenant with a snarl. The ogres laughed with him and Gippy tried to laugh as well, but it came out as a nervous, high-pitched whimper instead. “What were you doing looking at us, dog?” snapped the lieutenant, yanking Gippy closer. So close that the ogre’s most unpleasant breath wafted over Gippy in a suffocating cloud.

“Why, I’ve been waiting for you! You’re late! The boss said you’d be here two days ago,” Gippy said, throwing as much anger into his voice as possible. The ogre curled his fist and asked menacingly, “What do you mean, the boss? Do you speak of General Urduuk, dog?” “He’s the chief, ain’t he?” said Gippy saucily. “You’re lucky he’s not here or he’d flay you alive for the way you’re treating me. I’ll be sure he hears about this!”

The ogres glanced uneasily at one another. They knew that General Urduuk had made contacts and advances with various folk to speed the Army’s advance…but a gnoll? A gnoll wearing an ill-fitting old hauberk with an enormous hole in the chest? “You don’t seriously mean you don’t know about me?” Gippy said, seizing their moment of confusion. “I guess General Urduuk doesn’t trust you. Ah, me.” He heaved a dramatic sigh and gave the lieutenant a pitying glance.

“Of course he trusts me!” shouted the lieutenant so that all his men could hear. “We’ve been at war and I…I forgot for a moment. We were just having sport with you, fuzzy face.” The lieutenant gave another laugh, this one more cautious. “So why were you waiting for us?” Gippy brushed off his legs and straightened the old hauberk before responding with a haughty look, “I’m your guide.”

Servant of the Temple

This is a cautionary tale, although it is difficult to determine what is being discouraged. Does it refer to keeping one’s word? Or is it that the bearer of bad news must be prepared for anything?
In the long-ago, the Temple of Cazic-Thule stood mighty among all the temples to the lesser gods. For many long years, it was the focal point of worship of and sacrifice to the god of fear. Many were the servants of this Temple, for Cazic-Thule was worthy of worship and praise. All who belonged to the Alliz Ew provided for the Temple’s maintenance, including lesser beings and unwanted hatchlings to serve as either servants or sacrifices — sometimes both.

Now, in this time the Alliz Ew did also worship Alliz Onu, She Who Creates, but being endowed with high intelligence they also knew that Cazic-Thule and his ilk would not play second best to Her. So they worshipped Her and made offerings to Her, but they build the Temple so that Cazic-Thule would see their faith and leave them to worship as they saw fit.

Each servant in the Temple served a particular purpose and when that purpose was completed, so was their service. At that time, they would be sacrificed. Vashahkti, the youngest hatchling of his family, was not like the other servants. His job was to wash the vessel into which the sacrificial liquors were poured and while this purpose was completed each day, Vashahkti was filled with such reverence for his task that the priests of the Temple kept him.

In many ways, Vashahkti was fortunate for though the Alliz Ew were harsh masters, beyond the Temple doors were encamped the army of Rallos Zek. Vashahkti knew that the Rallosians were building their empire anew and that they were subjugating all the Alliz Ew they found in the Feerrott. He also knew that they were bound by ancient custom: the followers of Rallos Zek were not to defile the Temple of Cazic-Thule, nor could the followers of Cazic-Thule defile a temple to Rallos Zek.

Beyond the Temple’s walls, the ogres of the Rallosian Army celebrated each victory by feasting on the stores of food raided from those they had conquered. They roasted birds by the hundreds, ate unhatched Alliz Ew eggs and drank a vile and quickly brewed ale of substandard quality. As every day brought news of another victory, the ogres surrounding the Temple celebrated each day.

It happened that one day, when Vashahkti went outside the Temple one day on an errand, he found himself surrounded by Rallosians. They pushed him this way and that and made sport with him. Vashahkti said nothing. Tiring of their play, the ogres kicked Vashahkti and sent him on his way. As he walked off, he heard one of them say, “Did you see the gemstones glittering on that one’s vest? They say the whole Temple is filled with treasures like that.”

Vashahkti slipped into the woods to listen to the Rallosians. Another ogre gave a great belch and said, “Those weren’t no gemstones; they looked like rocks.” Still another ogre slapped the first one on his helmet and said, “If they was gemstones, why didn’t we pinch them when we had that lizard in our grasp?” The first ogre snarled, “You are all as stupid as they day you were born. I tell you, the whole Temple is filled with gemstones, and I’m going to get me some.”

Returning to the Temple, Vashahkti at once told the head priest all he had overheard. The head priest snapped, “They will not dare cross into the Temple, for that will be the last action they take.” The words had no sooner left his mouth when the Temple’s doors flew open and in rushed a band of ogres. Vashahkti knew all the secret ways of the Temple as he had lived there now for many years. In the confusion, he slipped down a black corridor and listened to the chaos and mayhem behind him, cursing the Rallosians as he ran.

Vashahkti made for an inner sanctum of the Temple. He was Alliz Ew; he was not running from battle. No, his purpose was a greater one: to sound the alarm through all Feerrott and alert the Sleeping Watcher whose presence the Alliz Ew felt, but never saw. He struck the iron gong so vigorously that it shattered, piercing him with its shards. Vashahkti knew no pain; he only knew he must raise the Watcher.

Behind Vashahkti, the Watcher stretched, unfurling after years of hidden slumber. It knew instantly that the Temple had been defiled and that it would need to act. “You have done well,” hissed the Watcher, standing now at its full height. Vashahkti turned and stared in awe, then prostrated himself to worship it. The Watcher, Avatar of Fear, yawned and stretched again before seizing Vashahkti and allowing him to be the first sacrifice toward the ultimate defeat of the Rallosian Army.

Rise of the Orcs – The Ascension

“Rise of the Orcs – The Ascension”
Second Edition

This book details how the orcs would organize into armies the likes of which had not been seen on Norrath for millennia.

The following historical account details what stories would describe as the main turning point in the rise of the orcs. No longer primal savages, the orcs would organize into armies the like that hadn’t been seen on Norrath for millennia. Several accounts of thus time period still exist in varying forms, which have been condensed together within this volume.

Snow Orcs: Launching a surprise attack on both Surefall Glade and Qeynos at the same time, the Snow Orcs would attempt to divide the two cities. Sending wave after wave of gnoll suicide squads against the two people, the orcs directed the attack against the humans. Employing frighteningly effective tactics, the destruction caused by the orcs would seem to be amplified by the man leading them – a being engulfed in fire.

As the invasion would wear on, the gnoll’s numbers would be decimated – leaving behind only women and children in Blackburrow. The Avatar of Flame would ultimately send the signal that would spell the doom for Qeynos. Having suffered major losses to the gnolls, the human city would stand no chance against the orcish hordes marching straight for them. Were it not for a miracle that happened that day, Qeynos would not be standing.

As the Snow Orc horde began their charge, a great rumbling was felt in the earth. It intensified to the point of toppling many of the nearby towers. When the dust settled, the armies of Qeynos gazed upon a huge hole in the land where the hordes once stood. Slowly they realized that the very earth had swallowed the entire orc army. They watched in amazement as the ground began to reform, leaving no trace that there was ever a rift in the earth. Even with this turn of events, the war was far from over.

The Avatar of Flame, somehow avoiding the great sinkhole, still stood with only a few remaining orcish troops. The Qeynosians, having suffered severe losses from the invasion, would then see their second miracle that day. Approaching from the north, the combined forces of the Knights of Thunder and the Druids of Surefall were riding to join the ranks of Qeynos – being led by the Avatar of Storms. Unbeknownst to the human forces, however, was that the Avatar of Flame had reinforcements of his own. And they, too, had just arrived.

Deathfist Orcs: Though they had just traveled many leagues to join with their Rallosian brethren, the Deathfist orcs would find that the war in the south had changed since they were called. Already controlling the Innothule swamp, the Rallosian Army had now set their sights on new targets. Splitting the forces into two armies, one would sweep to the west being led by the Rallosian Warlord. The other, being led by Emperor Gash and the Avatar of War, would return to the north. Rather than being upset by the change in direction, the orcs were looking forward to what was to come.

Traveling back through the desert wasteland the orcs had just devastated, the Rallosians would remark upon the efficiency of the orcs’ work. Sometime during the march, Emperor Gash would send several platoons towards the hills, but not offering to explain why. When questioned, he would reply that the ogres needn’t worry about having enough troops when they reached their destination.

Though working together as allies, the orcs and the ogres would maintain wide berths during the march. This would prove a stroke of luck for the Rallosians, but not for the Deathfists. As they the armies passed into an open stretch of desert, the Rallosians would watch as tens of thousands of orcs would instantly be swallowed by the sand in one fell swoop. Though a devastating loss to the Deathfist Empire, Emperor Gash informed the Rallosians and the Avatar of War that all was not lost. For, he claimed, the orcs he brought with him were only one half of the Empire. The other half were already waiting at their destination.

Finally reaching their destination, the remaining orcs and the Rallosians joined with the other half of the Deathfist Empire. Employing the tactics of the orcs and the unstoppable might of the Rallosians, the Avatar of War began preparing for battle against their target – the great city of Freeport. When the assault was set to begin, the Avatar of War gazed upon Freeport and watched as thousands of Militia gathered to defend the walls. The battle was about to begin.

The orcs, once viewed as a petty annoyance, would rise from primitive savagery to tactical genius. Ancient tales that told of their former greatness were oft overlooked as being nothing more than fairy tales. Norrath would come to know that the stories were actually true, and were more attention paid to them, they would have known that the orcs had “returned” to Norrath. And their “return” would be forever burned into the memory by the part they played in the War of Defiance.

Red Lake

In this book, we see the Rallosian Army’s advance through the eyes of Ilkalla, a Qeynosian Guard at an outpost on Lake Rathetear.
For as long as she could, Ilkalla watched Gerren’s progress up the steep cliffs bordering Lake Rathetear. Even when she could no longer pick him out among the shadows cast by the jagged rocks, she fancied she could see him making his way cautiously along. Finally, she crept into the hut she and Gerren had shared beside their outpost and slept. The Rallosian Army would launch its barges across the Lake and she would need her strength to meet them.
The sun was high overhead when Ilkalla awoke. Her dreams were troubled by the thrumming of the ogres’ victory drums which had started up again while she slept. “Why couldn’t they use a victory flute instead?” she grumbled, latching on to the least of the concerns this day would bring. She had been able to cross the Lake on a coracle twice in one night, but she had been pulling only herself. She was not sure how long the massive, heavy Rallosians barges would take to make the same crossing.
There were very few humans around Lake Rathetear. Ilkalla was the only one present at the strategy meeting, where the aviak and centaur leaders stood before parchment maps, marking off the approaches across the Lake and the defensive positions available. The wide arrows indicating the ways the Rallosian Army could attack were wide swathes of red ochre compared to the tiny ash grey lines for defense. To Ilkalla, the ochre marks looked like dried blood.
“The best course of action is to stop them before they cross,” said Khaza, an aviak general. “The aqua goblins will join with the ogres, not with us. We have fought them too long for them to suddenly consider us their allies,” responded Errod of the centaurs. “Perhaps we could put our defense in two zones, rather than hoping to defend across the entire shore,” said Ilkalla. She pointed to the most likely site where the Rallosian barges would land. “Aviaks in front over the water and the rest of us on the shore.”
“With some aviaks in the flanks to keep the Rallosians from spreading our front lines too thin,” agreed Khaza. “We might not survive for long against the entire Rallosian Army, but we can pick them off and lessen their numbers.” The aviak and centaur leaders sent word to their gathered forces. Ilkalla (a “non-flier” as the aviaks called them) would join a centaur unit held in a third tier reserve.
Mixed now with the steady beat of the victory drums was the sound of chanting. The Rallosians were crossing the Lake, chanting to keep their oarsmen in rhythm and their deep voices carried across the water, bouncing off the mountains. No doubt their ruckus was designed to inspire fear amongst the defenders waiting for their approach. Instead, it filled them with anger and purpose. They might die this day, but they were taking as many ogres with them as they could.
Ilkalla chafed at being assigned to the third tier, but she knew her strengths did not include hand-to-hand combat. She gathered beside her all her own arrows plus the quivers Gerren had left behind. She looked toward the Rathe Mountains again, wondering how he was faring and praying that Tunare — wherever she may be — would guide him. Ilkalla had never been one of the faithful, praying to the gods at every rainbow or stubbed toe, but somehow it seemed fitting to pray today.
The chanting grew louder along with sound of vigorous splashing from the ogre paddlers. They were not skilled watersmen, but they were strong. As the first barge approached, the aviaks went into motion, throwing themselves into the faces of the Rallosians. The ogres’ chanting was now disrupted by the fighting calls of the aviaks — shrill, piercing and challenging. The barges did not halt with this interference; they continued their slow progress forward.
Thanks to the aviaks’ efforts and the skills of the archers in the second tier, the first barge to hit the shore came in at an awkward angle. The spiked boards scraped heavily into the loose gravel shore with enough force that many of the ogres standing ready for battle were set off balance. The centaurs charged in to take advantage of the moment, but another barge gliding in set loose a volley of arrows that tore into the second tier. All too soon, the third tier moved forward.
At the far end of her line, Ilkalla took careful but quick aim at the ogres, trying to avoid the remaining aviaks and centaurs at the front of the line. From the corner of her eye she caught a movement, but was unable to stop the blow. Sinking to the rocky shore, Ilkalla’s mind drifted like the waters surrounding her. “I always thought that water was blue,” she murmured dazedly. As the final blow struck, a shriveled gnoll’s paw floated up beside her on the waves of the red lake.

Paying Homage to the Past

Untold ages ago, the Faceless One, Cazic-Thule, placed us upon the lands of Kunark. Scattered and unlearned, we were enslaved by the terrible snake-like Shissar with their curses and wicked enchantments! At last one day the skies opened up and the sacred Green Mist delivered us from our enemies. Unaffected by the mist, we watched as our captors melted away. In the midst of a cacophony of screams of terror and anguish the iksar were freed. Today we remember the destruction of our oppressors by desecrating an article of their creation.

Over the centuries, many tribal states were established as we spread across Kunark. It was one iksar, Venril Sathir, whose knowledge of battle and necromancy allowed him to conquer and annex all the tribe-states. Using the might of the united tribes and the slaves of conquered lesser races, the mighty fortress of Sebilis was built. Imposing and beautiful, Sebilis was a place of learning and lore where for many long years we honed our skills and thrived. Under Sathir’s rule as the first King of Sebilis, he established the great Sebilisian Empire. The jealous dragons, however, saw our greatness and knew we posed a threat to them.

The meddling dragon known as Trakanon was not content to leave us alone. Through his treachery, he turned our servants against us and led a group of his kind to Sebilis and destroyed it! Many iksar were slain then and we honor them by lighting a funeral pyre from the remains of iksar slain in these times.

During the time of the Rending our beloved Kunark was beset by terrible earthquakes and the Lake of Ill Omen flooded the city of Cabilis. It was during these times that a large sailing vessel carrying many of our kind to lands far away was smashed by a massive wave. Many survived this tragedy by swimming to the shores of a nearby island.

For nearly a year the survivors lived on that island until the Overlord caught wind of their presence. After a series of fierce battles he captured the survivors, brought them back to Freeport and tried to enslave them! Years passed, but despite the Overlord’s best efforts, he could not break their spirits.

As the Rallosian army spread across all of Norrath, the Overlord knew he could not repel these aggressors without our help. In exchange for our freedom, we fought valiantly alongside Freeport’s own army and crushed the Rallosians with the help of the same Green Mist that had killed our former oppressors, the Shissar! Today we remember our brief captivity and toss the Overlord’s tools of oppression to the bottom of the sea, where they can never be used to hinder the mighty iksar.