Category Archives: The Northlands

The Blood of the Bear, Part Three

This brings to a close the Northland legend told of Kiva and Benno, who helped bring victory to the Northmen.
Once they reached the river, Benno picked Kiva up to carry her across the icy water. An arrow flew past them, then another. Without breaking stride, Benno retreated into the woods with Kiva still in his arms. He made an angry sound that reminded Kiva of a growl. The Horde had come to this part of the Northlands at last.

“We will cross lower down,” Benno said, his dark eyes glittering. “I will take you back to your village; they are here for me.” Kiva said, “The Horde care nothing for whom they kill.” Benno shook his head. “They have seen me and know where I am from.” He put Kiva gently on the ground and took her face into his hands. “I am not what I seem,” he said and Kiva gasped as she recognized him. He was of the bear people.

Benno nodded. “It is true; I am a bear. From the moment I first saw you, I knew that I must stay with you; that is why I am in this form. Now, we must hasten away. The Horde hunts me for my blood. They drink it, thinking it will give them my strength — but that is not how one becomes a bear.” Benno kissed her forehead and said, “You are now marked by a bear.”

Kiva listened intently; the mark Benno had placed on her forehead gave her the sharp hearing of the bear. She could hear the Horde cursing farther up the river. Staying close behind him, Kiva followed Benno as he loped through the woods until he came to a place where they could cross the river safely. Picking her up again, Benno crossed the river and they headed toward her village.

“Your people will be safe in my cave,” Benno said. Kiva shook her head. “No, we will not hide,” she said. “The Horde thinks to overrun all the Northland but we cannot let them. If we defeat them here, it will give strength to our people.” Benno nodded. “Then we will fight. I will go with you.” The pair ran swiftly back to Kiva’s village where they sounded the alert. The defenses were swung into motion while they made their plans.

“The Horde is at the river; orcs only and I sense they are afraid of something,” Benno told the village elders once Kiva introduced him. “I know not what. This is the time to push them back. Push them back beyond Halas.” The village leaders agreed. This time they would be the aggressors and slay the Horde. “I go with you; I must avenge my clan,” said Benno.

Kiva said, “We should drive them into the river and let them freeze. They will sink under the weight of their gear and be unable to reach the riverbank.” Benno added, “I will cross and attract their attention; while they are looking at me, push ahead.” After a quick debate, the elders agreed that this plan might work. If nothing else, it would reduce the numbers of orcs that they would need to fight hand-to-hand. The villagers set off for the river.

They found the Horde milling along the riverbank, obviously intending to cross it but unable to agree on how. Benno slipped away and soon enough, they saw him on the opposite bank near the woods. So did the orcs. Howling, they turned to face him, stringing arrows and aiming their spears. Benno stayed just out of reach, taunting them.

“Now!” cried Kiva. She and the villagers burst out from their hiding place. The surprised orcs did not know which way to turn. Some fled into the river. Some turned toward the villagers. There was enough confusion that the villagers pressed the orcs back until they were all in the icy waters. They were too heavy-laden to reach the riverbanks and either froze or drowned.

This victory marked a turning point against the Horde. The villagers spread the word as quickly as they could, heartening the clans and giving them the hope to take back their own towns. Then the clans united to take back Halas. Kiva and Benno married then and through their union, the strength of the bear still flows in the veins of the Northmen.

The Blood of the Bear, Part One

Legends are often told of ancient times. The storytellers of the Northlands tell this story as a legend, even though it is from a relatively recent past.
In the time of Growth, when the birds return to the trees and the sun rises higher in the sky, the children of the Northlands look to the awakening of the bears as the final signal that Growth is upon them. Hungry from their long sleep, the bears come closer to the villages and towns. Therefore, each village has a family whose duty is to ensure the bears do not come into the village and threaten them.

One day, young woman named Kiva went into the forest to gather firewood. As she turned to head home, her foot slipped on a patch of ice and she stumbled, scattering the firewood across the snow. Before she could stand again, a large hand reached toward her and she gasped, staring upward at the tallest man she had ever seen in her life.

“I did not mean to frighten you,” he said, his rich voice lilting with an odd tone Kiva had never heard before. He pulled her easily to her feet and helped gather the scattered wood. He carried the wood for her to the edge of her camp and smiled at her. “Who are you?” she asked. “My name is Benno,” he replied. “I am glad to be of service.” Benno bowed low, then slipped away into the woods as silently as he had appeared.

Kiva belonged to the family of bear watchers of her village. She looked forward to sitting the long watches of the night with her spear by her side, guarding the village. Kiva loved sitting just outside the edge of the camp fire’s light to gaze upon the stars. Though Growth was upon them, the nights were still long, crisp and clear and the stars so bright she felt as though she could reach out her hand to touch them.

One night as she sat watch, she heard a rustling sound in the nearby brush and stood, gripping her spear. “Who is there?” she called, cautiously approaching the area, but she saw nothing but the tracks of a bear in the light crust formed on the top of the snow. Furrowing her brow, she resolved to keep a closer eye on the village and not on the skies.

During her watches now, Kiva thought about Benno. He was not of her village; his voice had an odd inflection she could not place. But he spoke Halasian as did she and he was very handsome. Gazing upwards into the stars, Kiva wondered where he came from and whether she might see him again. At that moment, she heard the rustling in the woods again where the bear had left its tracks. Kiva grabbed her spear and edged her way toward the noise, careful not to make any sounds

Benno stood at the edge of the woods. He smiled at her, “I hope you do not mind; I wanted to see you again.” Kiva blushed and Benno stepped closer. “When first I saw you sitting here beside your fire and looking to the sky, I knew you are a dreamer, as am I,” he said. Suddenly, they heard a bear in the undergrowth nearby.

Kiva gripped her spear and looked toward the noise, but Benno put his hand on her arm. “The bears do not come to kill; they come to look,” he said softly. “Some say the bears come to find a mate among the Northmen, so they may share their strength.” A large, shaggy bear emerged from the woods, looked at Kiva and Benno, then lumbered away again.

“You see? He did not come to harm you,” Benno smiled, then slipped into the woods with a quick wave. Though she looked for him again over the next few days, Kiva did not see him. Kiva began to think she had hit her head that day she fell with her firewood and had imagined him into being.

Though Growth was upon the Northlands, the changes were not as sweeping as they are in the distant south. Snow and ice still cover the ground, but the lands feel more awake to those who know them best. The children of the Northlands, scattered by the invasion of the Horde, looked to each new season with hope in their hearts that this season, they would retake their homes. The Horde had not come yet to Kiva’s village.

Remembering Rivervale

Many brave halflings fell defending Rivervale and the Misty Thicket during the Age of War. This is the story of the defense of the Misty Thicket.
The sight of the orcs reminded Gemma of the talk in Rivervale the previous week, that goblins and orcs had teamed up in the Northlands as the “Horde of the Inferno.” Watching the tide of invaders pouring into the Misty Thicket through the breached wall, Gemma realized that the Northlands weren’t the only place where such coordination had been happening. She turned resolutely and headed to Rivervale. Someone had to warn them!

Arrows whistled past her but Gemma ran swifter than she ever had in her entire life, ducking into the trees to dodge anything aimed her way. The sound of the battle, while fainter, still rang in her ears. How had they kept the orcs a secret for so long? When she reached the outskirts of Rivervale, Gemma paused to catch her breath, her eyes darting from one familiar, beloved landmark to another, in a sorrowful farewell.

Running up and down the streets, Gemma cried out the news of the breach in the wall. The Leatherfoot Brigade units that were still in Rivervale ran past her toward the Misty Thicket. Gemma reached the doorstep of her own home and paused. She’d left it in such disarray this morning; could she bear to have some filthy orc pawing through her treasures? With a quick shake, she said angrily, “They’ll have to come through Gemma Pathfinder first.”

There was no time to dawdle. Emma burst into the house, yelling for her mother to get the younger children and head to Freeport. “Gemma! What’s the matter?” her mother asked, but it was clear from the frightened look on her face that she already knew. They hugged quickly. Gemma kissed the tops of the youngsters’ heads. She jerked open the trunk in which they kept their family’s prized possessions and pulled out an ivy-etched leather jerkin. She would wear it into battle.

“I will meet you in Freeport. Gemma, be careful!” her mother said, joining the throngs of families heading toward the Kithicor Forest. “And Bristlebane hope there are no orcs in there yet,” Gemma said under her breath. She took one last look around the disordered room where she’d lived all her life. Chairs were overturned, breakfast on the table spilled and uneaten. “Good bye,” she said softly, shutting the door and for the first time, locking it behind her.

It seemed that all of Rivervale was running someplace. Gemma joined a group of soldiers heading back toward the Misty Thicket, although from the sounds of it, they might as well stand still — the battle was coming to Rivervale. Thick black smoke rose into the air; the invaders had set fire to the Misty Thicket. Once again the desire to run — she should go with the families and protect them! — came into Gemma’s mind. She stopped running.

The sound of heartbroken crying caught her ear over the din. Gemma followed the sound to the doorway of the Rivervale schoolhouse. She found the school mistress sitting on the doorstep, shaking from the force of her tears. “Get up,” Gemma said somewhat crossly. “Get up, Winda…you’ve got to get the children and get out of here.” Winda shook her head, “They’ve all gone; they’re safe. But I’m so scared, Gemma!”

Gemma pulled Winda to her feet and took her hands. “It’ll be fine, Winda. You just head over to Freeport now with the rest of the families. They’ll need a school teacher, you know.” Chatting as cheerfully as possible, Gemma got the school teacher walking away from town. “Maybe you can get the older ones into a different room now,” Gemma said, bringing up a subject dear to Winda’s heart. Winda hated having the older children disrupting the younger ones at their lessons.

“That would be…good,” Winda sniffed. “Oh, Gemma, thank you!” Winda smiled. The battle sounds returned even louder. “I can’t go out there, I just can’t,” Gemma thought, fighting the desperate urge to run. She grabbed Winda’s hand and pulled her along the nearly deserted streets along the road to the Kithicor Forest. “The families aren’t much ahead, Winda, you just got to….” The halflings stopped running; on the road before them stood a half dozen orcs.

“Run, Winda!” Gemma pushed the school teacher back the way they’d just come. She pulled out her short swords again and faced the invaders, her feet planted firmly apart. Winda screamed and took off, shrieking as she made her escape. The orcs hadn’t seen them until then, but now they jogged purposefully up the road. One of them threw a javelin at Gemma, catching her in the shoulder. She fell, thinking, “It’s like falling asleep.”

Over Halas

“Over Halas” by Nicholl Silverfrost of Clan MacNeacail, bard. This is an excerpt from a much larger poem that describes the Shattering, its impact on the Northlands and how even after living in the south for generations, the Northmen dream of returning home.
Though snow fell soft as silk
Upon stone and street, now silent
Flames and fire finished Halas
Stone rains falling from the sky
My father’s fathers were there
My mother’s mothers as well
Standing uncertain, outside the walls
Across the sky, the moons aglow
Gazing upwards, seeing the stars
Breathing in the beauty of the night
Then in silence, a shining spark
A streak through Luclin’s side
Stars are simply ice in the sky
Snow and ice surround Halas
The lake’s icy surface gleams
In the reflected light of stars
Across the silent, snowy hills
Snow sparkles in the sun
And under the stars as well
The sky, streaked with silver
And so they stared upwards
The father of my fathers
And mother of my mothers
Stars across the moon like tears
All now look towards Luclin
Packs on shoulders strapped
Sledges pulled along the trails
In splendor and silence, Luclin falls
Falls now on Halas stone rains
Fires feasting upon our fortress
Streets of stone burst beneath
The fiery tears of the falling moon
Orcs could not crumble her
Nor gnolls gnaw at her bones
Over Halas, Luclin shattered
Into silver stars across the sky
Sons of the fathers before us
And Northland daughters wait as well
For day we find our way northward
For the day we rebuild our home

In Search of the Wooly Mammoth

In Search of the Wooly Mammoth
Second Edition

This is a story about the unnamed author;s quest to find the Wooly Mammoths of the Everfrost Peaks.

Ever since I was a child, I remember hearing stories of great beasts that would plod across the snowy plains of the northlands. These large beasts were very similar to the ones found in the southern plains of the Karanas, but covered in a great mass of shaggy hair. I vowed that one day I would see these great beasts.

As I grew older, I would venture out to the plains to see these beasts. I was shocked to see they were even larger than the picture my mind had painted. Standing twice as tall as a man, they had enormous ears that flapped down around their faces. Thrilled at seeing an elephant for the first time, my mind raced at the thoughts of what a Wooly Mammoth could possibly look like.

My experience encouraged me to make the dangerous trek to the snowy northlands to find these beasts. I visited every tavern in all of Qeynos and sought out brave adventurers that would accompany me on my journey. For you see, the only way to breach the frozen tundra was to travel through the lair of the gnolls – Blackburrow.

Gathering together several brave souls, including a barbarian native to the snowy town of Halas, we began hiking northwards through the Qeynos Hills. Being careful to heed the advice of the Windstalkers, we deftly avoided all of the bears and the wolves that made these foothills their home. Eventually, we found ourselves standing before the maw of the gnoll’s den.

My companions showed much bravery and skills in the combat arts by fending off the attacks of numerous hungry gnolls. The barbarian, Narmat MacTargle, pointed out the winding tunnel that led to the snowy tundra of the north. Lighting our torches we continued our journey through this lightless cave. Soon enough, I could feel the air getting cold.

Eventually we would reach the mouth of the tunnel, depositing us within the cold wastes of the north. All around us were snow covered mountains and icy ground. Narmat told us that we would first want to journey to Halas to replenish our supplies. Fortunately, as with Blackburrow, he knew the way.

Greeted by burly guards as large as my barbarian friends, we were allowed into the town just so long as we agreed to cause no harm. When I told the guards about my quest to see the Wooly Mammoths, they just snorted and suggested I speak with Old Hemma. Asking around, I eventually found where this ancient alder was found.

Blind for as many years as I was old, Old Hemma described in great detail the mighty Mammoths. The part that I was interested in the most was the great tusks that protruded from their mouths. Pointing to large spears, cups, plates, wall hangings and even the knob on the front door, Old Hemma told me that these were all carved from the teeth.

Telling me exactly how to find the breeding grounds of these magnificent beasts, he gave me a cryptic warning. Saying that my quest would come to an end only when I found the cost of greed, he escorted me out of his house. Looking around, I noticed that every household had some adornment crafted from the teeth of Mammoths, just as Old Hemma had within his house. My companions left the town at once, seeking a delta to the far northwest of the town.

The journey was long and hard, but we eventually found the delta as Old Hemma had described. And this is when I understood what the old sage meant by finding the cost of greed. For all throughout the delta were the intact corpses of these once magnificent beasts, frozen to the ground. Intact save for one small detail – all of the Mammoths had their tusks removed. In the end, I started my quest too late, for the Mammoths were driven to extinction for no reason other than their two front teeth.

Brien – Clan Icereaver

Brien – Clan Icereaver
Second Edition

This is a journal kept by a wild barbarian of the northlands who was instrumental at taking back Halas. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end on a pleasant note.

Excerpt: For fifteen years, I have been a babe. Today, on my Woading Day, I have been told why we struggle within the cold. We once had a home, but it was taken from us. Our people come from the orc city of Halas. I am so filled with rage I am crying because there is nothing to kill in front of me. I vow upon my ancestor’s spirits that I will not die until I see Halas as our home again.

Excerpt: My axe has been blessed with the blood of an orc chief today.
I want to keep his head as a reminder of my victory, but the elders know what is wise. I took his blood and washed my weapon with it. This was but one chief. There are many more. And all of them will pay ten times over for what they have done to my people.

Excerpt: Our clan has become much larger, and this is good. If Halas is to be ours, we cannot keep the clans separated. Though we have no chieftains, we all know our part and what we have to do. When we take Halas back from those murderous monsters, then the chieftains will be chosen. I hope we choose strong leaders that will lead us to our former glory.

Excerpt: It has been twenty years since I vowed to take back Halas, and today my oath has been fulfilled. The orcs have been driven out of our home and scattered to the four corners of the wastelands. This is no time to rest, though. Halas is within hands of its true people. but the orcs still lurk out there in the shadows.

Excerpt: I have been chosen by my people to be one of the six chieftains. This honor is only matched by the day I slaughtered my first orc chief. The people have chosen well, for we six chieftains will guide the True Men back to the life we once had. And I vow that I will never see Halas destroyed again. Never.

Excerpt: My first act as chieftain was to declare the defenses of our city are to be rebuilt. The great crevice that opens the way to the frozen lands will be filled with oil. Were the orcs to dare breach our defenses by rafting across the gully, they will be in store for a nasty treat. Those that manage to struggle past the fiery inferno will then have to survive the axes being lobbed at them from the two great towers. Finally, they will face us. They should pray to the Tribunal they don’t make it past the flames.

Excerpt: A gifted shaman came to the council and warned us of a terrible prophecy. She claimed, “On the night of fire, Halas shall be consumed by earth. Blood shall flow like water, for death travels through the air.” At that, she collapsed and died. We have written her words, and we dread what the night of fire may signify. Whatever it means, I have doubled the defenses so that we are prepared.

Excerpt: My bones are weary, and my beard is as white as a bear’s, but I am still young enough to stand up to a whippersnapper. Kurg Dunnbrow has been exiled from Halas for daring to usurp the council. He can flee the prophecy all he likes. We are the True Men, not savage beasts like the orcs. He can take anyone with him that also has conquest in their heart, for they have obviously turned their back on the Tribunal.

Excerpt: My fingers do not hold a quill as steady as they once did. This does not matter. When I look to the night sky and I see the shattered moon, I realize that there are worse things that can happen to a person. We have Halas. I have a clan. I am still a chieftain. And even though my joints do not bend as well as they did when I was young, my vow still remains as strong as ever. I will not see Halas destroyed again! Never!

Excerpt: It is hard to see what I write, for everything is much darker then it used to be. Even with sky aflame with streaks of fire, I still only see darkness. As all the great-grandchildren walk around, pointing to the pretty rocks falling from the sky, I write my last entry. It is the night of fire, yet no one understands what that means. They do not see what is about to happen. I am too frail to warn them. I am glad I cannot see far anymore so that I can keep my vow. I will not see Halas destroyed again.

A Chaotic History: The Story of the Chaos Orchestra

A Chaotic History: The Story of the chaos Orchestra – By Vhalen Nostrolo

The Crimson Conductor Within the Age of Enlightenment the seeds of chaotic compositions were sown. The first human clans began to settle within the Plains of Karana, far south from the bloody tundras of the Northlands, former homeland to all humans. It was at this time that the Chaos Orchestra came into existence. Early humans held a violent nature in their hearts, a gift from their barbarian cousins in the Northlands. One band of bards, former war drummers of the barbarians, had hoped to tap into the violent nature. Through this exploration of chaos they hoped to compose music like never heard before. The Chaos Orchestra was formed. Long did the Chaos Orchestra delve into chaotic compositions. Many songs were created that employed rhythms and beats that were never explored by other composers. Unfortunately, they were never able to create any meaningful composition that even they approved of. According to history, this all changed on a trip to the village of Katta Grove.

Ancient songs that tell the tale of the Chaos Orchestra being attacked by a rabid pack of gnolls while en route to Katta Gove, the village of the chieftain of the Plains of Karana. Surviving this violent onslaught, the bards did find a magic lute that was being carried by the gnolls. Reclaiming this grand bard instrument from the savage gnolls, the Chaos Orchestra dubbed it the Ayonic Lute. This magic lute would help them break their musical plateaus and play a final infamous concert that would place them in the annals of bard history.

The Ayonic Lute was of unknown origin, but to the Chaos Orchestra, it was a gift from Ayonae Ro. In their minds, it was goddess’ way of choosing them as the evolution of music and the harbingers of a bold age of compositions. Before they could explore the arcane forces behind the lute, they decided to use it in their next concert at Katta Grove.

Little is known about the secret concert in Katta Grove. The only person alive was the owner of the small stage they performed on. This owner returned towards the end of the concert only to find a blood bath had occured. He screamed for the milita and the Chaos Orchestra fled the village. Every spectator was found dead, seemingly slain by one another. It was dubbed the Rabid Dance after the only clue left in the massacre, a blood stained composition of the same name.

Maestro Konic Nostrolo of the League of Antonican Bards was charged with the task of tracking down the Chaos Orchestra and seizing them before their next violent concert could begin. Konic was able to find the trail of the fugitive Chaos Orchestra, a trail spotted with blood. It led to the Serpent’s Spine and the last person to meet the bards, a fortune teller named Hagralazoo. Through her fortunes, she told Konic that she read theirs and found no future beyond a day. They vanished never to be seen again.

Maestro Konic continued his investigation of the Chaos Orchestra long after they vanished. He would later come to realize that the orchestra was not in full blame for the Rabid Dance in Katta Grove. The powers behind this Ayonic Lute held much of the blame. On his death bed, Maestro Konic was noted saying, the Ayonic Lute holds great power, but along with that comes a great curse… a curse tht can be removed. Look to the belly of a giggling fish…

To this day, there are those that delve into chaotic compositions. To me, this isn’t a problem. The exploration of music is as grand as the exploration of Norrath. the chaos Orchestra was correct that beauty can be found within discord. It is unfortunate that their expedition into the compositions of chaos had to end with the cursed Ayonic Lute.

A note by an acolyte

This appears to be a note written by an acolyte in service of a Gindan Warpriest.

Your Eminence, The ritual to bind the spirits of fallen Sullonite Champions to statues is now complete. With the Warlord’s adopted daughter now imprisoned, She will be unable to object if we add the spirits of her fallen allies to the ranks of the Warlord’s invasion force.

These orc warriors were in the Mistress’ army during her campaign across the Northlands. I trust you will be most impressed with their battle prowess.

– In your service, always. –


You make a note in your journal.

LDON 13 – Search for Lost Lands

In the warm air of the Commonlands tunnel, Calliav closed his eyes and began running through the countless images and visions filling his mind.

“I see snow, ice, and a great mobilemagic with no face. There may have been a face once, but it is gone now,” he whispered. “There is little more to that, I’m afraid.”

Nedaria stood close and kept her hand on his forehead, helping him slow the rush of thoughts. Morden took notes in a code only the most trusted Wayfarers Brotherhood could understand.

“Now I see blood. Lots of blood. The dead are walking, breathing, reanimating. They are unholy and feed in the most despicable ways. I see a castle . . . but there is much underground. Much more,” Calliav said.

There was a pause as Calliav searched his thoughts. Suddenly, he winced and his face lengthened.

“Confusion, fear. The walls are collapsing and sand is rushing in. Half blood, half sand. Now they are all in sand. They do not know that the wrath of Solusek Ro has passed,” he said in low tones. His cheeks glistened with tears of sadness.

Calliav’s chest heaved as he took a deep breath. He paused again. Under his eyelids, his eyes fluttered wildly.

The hush around them was broken as Calliav gasped so suddenly that air whistled through his teeth.

“Oh my, the paladins are lost. I see the frogloks blessed by Mithaniel Marr are transformed. A curse holds their souls. I feel the burning hate of a god,” Calliav panted. “And the orcs. The orcs have risen. Goblins have been overrun and enslaved.”

Morden and Tondal looked to Nedaria. In both of their eyes, Nedaria read the need for confirmation of Calliav’s ramblings. In many ways, the possibility of undiscovered lands felt too good to be true. Morden also had trouble believing that he could have ever missed such places in his travels.

Nedaria looked at both of them and nodded.

“These visions he is sharing are not fantasy. They are real. There is much strife deep within the earth . . . and darkness,” she said.

Morden turned around to see proud members of the Wayfarers Brotherhood sharing past adventurers and creating new stories as they ambled about. He cleared his throat.

“Listen up brothers and sisters. Our time has come. Pack your goods and be prepared to travel. Nedaria will lead a camp to the Frigid Planes and Northlands on Antonica. Tondal will lead some of our brethren across the Ocean of Tears to the Butcherblock Mountains on Faydwer,” Morden said. “I will remain here with Calliav and a greater compliment of the Wayfarers Brotherhood. We are about to open the doors to the future of all Norrathians, I expect. Off with ye!”