A Little Piece of Home
Scroll I and Introduction
Scrolls of the Legend Bearers
Compiled in faith by: Speaker of the Thousand Tongues, humble Brother of the Sacred Monastic Order of the Fighting Word.
Herein, I set to volume all the legend and lore gathered by my father, Master Seer of a Thousand Eyes, whose recent passing has caused to fall into my possession, several of his field notes on his travel throughout Creation. Though not of a particular leaning in the petty political squabbles of a missing Empress, my father had more leaning to the more primal Exalts, being the Lunars and Solars.
His notes tell of the formation of the Island of Roads and the legendary city of Carsaeus, where it is said many aspects of Creation were formed in the primal days. Such volumes defy the very Lore set down by the scholastics of the Realm and perhaps they hold a hidden truth. My Father spoke not of how he came across such legends or fireside tales. His notes speak of such unknown figures as Father Bear and the Mother Wolf. They seem to tie into the very creation of the Divines! I am skeptical but for the order’s want of information on this subject, I transcribe dutifully. May the Divines bless each pen stroke with even ink and untold truth..
Scroll: I, the Island Whale and the Summoner King’s Folly
To tell this tale, I must first reach to plane not of our own making, not to be walked by people of our creation. Of walls, the fourth one breaking. I had envisioned the location of the first scroll whilst traipsing the abandoned under-city. Though not near enough the Necropolis to bring regard of the hungry dead or, Divines forbid, the Death Knights. The glowing Fungi made for sustenance and helped to open my eyes to the Ethereal winds that howled through the ruins. Behind a crumbling wall of some ancient temple I found the scroll, yellowing and cracked. It was not a work of our world and the symbology was alien, however I was able to discern several pictographs played out upon the parchment.
The story told of a great king, a ruler of many. Though known as Balok Pendragon to his people, he was formally inscribed in our realm’s Lore as the Half Elven High King Wizard Cursed Of Golden Lycanthropy. He had walked many planar realms and taken to the summoning of great creatures to do his bidding. Not always to greatest of success, Lord Balok was beset by a massive sea serpent aptly named the Thing That Should not Be.
To dispatch this foe, whilst saving his sailing vessel, Balok summoned for a gigantic whale. Thragmar was the eldest and wisest of the Giant Whales and sped towards his master’s calling. To further the impact of Thragmar’s prowess in naval combat, Balok laid an Enchantment upon the Giant Whale. The Blessings of Giant Growth caused Thragmar to grow far beyond colossal size. In an attempted exchange with the Thing That Should Not Be, the Giant Whale devoured his foe in one gulp, but its proximity to the ship caused it to be swallowed as well. It is there Balok made the grievous error of ordering Thragmar to dive. Perhaps it was in order to continue the battle with the crippled serpent, but it is unknown. As the Great Whale dove deeper into the dark depths of the green ocean, Balok, through loss of magic or loss of good sense, chose to unsummon Thragmar while underwater…
It takes a moment’s pause to weigh the gravity of this situation, but for Balok’s fate, the scroll shows no more. Thragmar, on the other hand was whisked away on the sea of time and space and the land of his banishing was this, our Realm of Creation. The Giant whale was present for the first days of the birthing of Creation and given life otherworldly to remain for eternity. Weary from his trans-dimensional journey, Thragmar rested for what was many millennium, adrift in the warm seas of the great ocean.
Birds nested upon his island-like body, bringing seeds and plants as the lapping waves crusted silt and salt upon his body. He became a living island. The taxing journey took its toll on the poor beast as Thragmar sank into a deep slumber, nestled by the warm waters of creation. Creation at this point was a mass of thought and dream beyond reckoning, no sun nor moon nor star to grace its heavens. The divines would be brought forth later to shape the mass as Thragmar slept, unnoticed.
In time, others came to the island. There were the wolves and bears, which shared the peace of the island albeit uneasily. With them came the man-shifters who wore the faces of the animals the worshipped. The forests and jungles teamed with life and resources and the people of the island knew peace away from their violent lands. A great city arose around Thragmar’s blowhole, the warmest place on the island as his sleeping breath misted steam upon the rocky expanses of his head. The people came t call this city Carsaeus, city of the Animal Gods. Here, the reverent spirits of the wandering animals were worshipped, for they were followed to the great land that mankind would know peace.
The animals became haughty with pride with the adulation mortals gave them. The boasting was heard no greater than that of the howl of Mother Wolf and the calls of Father Bear. Their rivalry as masters of the island were known by all who had ears to hear. Father Bear boasted of his great family, his seven sons and loving wife. Mother Wolf howled the long chorus of the night with her pack. The rivalry was carefully observed in the town of Carsaeus, with equal shrines to both animals placed carefully throughout the city and meticulously maintained with daily prayers and offerings.
Deep within the bowels of Thragmar, the remnants of the Thing That Should Not Be festered and stirred. It was not of this world, much as the island had become part of Creation. The dark serpent’s body had long melted away and the form it now took was a mass of darkness. When shadows crept across the land, the creature walked the island. It heard all tales and whisperings on the island for the creature had worked its way into every corner and every shadow. It heard of the playful rivalry between Bear and Wolf and thought to bring into being the Chaos of its own world. One night it crept into Carsaeus, taking the form of Wolf and stole the trinkets off of all the altars of Father Bear. These, the shadow cast into the inky blackness of the night sky to form the stars, showing all in creation what the Mother Wolf had falsely done.
Later, the Thing That Should Not Be took shape of the Bear and slew many of the sleeping pack of Mother Wolf. This is why wolves no longer sleep, remembering the first great treachery. The monster took the skins of the Wolf-kin and made many islands in the sea, forever befuddling fish and sea creatures.
Come the next morning, Wolf and Bear were enraged with each other. Father Bear swore vengeance against his stolen treasures and Mother Wolf cried endlessly for equal blood to avenge her kin. In a fury, Father Bear climbed the great mountain of Carsaeus that led to Thragmar’s blowhole. With his massive rump, he plugged the geyser and sat as immovable as stone. As time would pass, trees and moss grew upon him and it was as if he became one with the mountain itself. Mother Bear and the Seven Sons of Father Bear departed towards the heavens to collect the uncountable treasure in hopes of swaying the rage of their father.
The seven sons were Mismar, Kochab, Pherkad, Urodelus, Ahfa al Farkadain, Yildun, and Anwar al Farkadain. They climbed into the heavens to form Ursa Minor, forever keeping the land of Creation beneath them in sight. Mother Bear climbed after her young, weeping as left her husband behind. The tears she shed became as stars and also formed Ursa Major. This debacle is why father bears are forced from the den of the mother bears, for the sadness of losing their great matron was too great for the others of Bear’s ilk.
The Wolves themselves were not without grievance, for their wronging by the darkness gave rise to new furies and vengeance buried deep within the hearts of all wolves. Many had gone feral with grief and shunned the presence of man and other animal. Wolves became as the hunters they are known for today. It is sad indeed.
Mankind saw its peace with the great animal spirits being undone. Tragedy after tragedy befell Carsaeus, as the loss of the warmth of steam brought cold for the first time. Winter was hard upon the people and much of their city crumbled into ruins as Thragmar stirred in his slumber. He did not care much for his blowhole to be choked up by the rump of an obstinate Bear. Mankind could only turn to those who shared in both their sufferings and the pains of their Lords. They turned to the shifters.
Lord Ursa was massive in his form of Man, his arms as thick as tree trunks and his shoulders as wide as a river bank. His laugh was like thunder and his growl an earthquake. He held the sword Ursa’s Claw, a gift from his Lord Father before he passed into stone. The blade was as tall as Lord Ursa himself and was a massive curved Shamshir, enlaced with golden rings of flame. The weapon danced in his hands and could be tamed by no other, save his Father.
The people sought Lord Ursa to beseech his father to move.
“I will not go alone, though I am no coward,” remarked Lord Ursa, “the wolves are just as in fault as my kin.”
Grieved, the people sought Mother Wolf’s last child, spared the slaughter of her kin, as she was a walker in the night. Eyes of Midnight, supple and slender as Lord Ursa was massive, she walked softer than the wind and saw from one end of the island to the other. She was so agile as to be said to dance between the drops of rain. Always at her side were the twin fangs of her brothers, Geri and Freki, killed by the shadow of Ursa. They were the “ravenous” and “greedy one” who glowed dim crimson when blood was spilled.The people sought Eyes of Midnight to journey with Lord Ursa,
“I will not go with that beast, though I am no coward,” whispered Eyes of Midnight,” would that he blame my kind for the desertion of his matron. Our packs stay united and never separate, the weakness lies in him.”
The people wept and feared the winter and land about them would crumble and the darkness would grow and swallow them. In truth their fears were well founded, as the Thing That Should Not Be feasted upon the nightmares and bad feelings of the people, growing ever stronger. Soon, it sought to extinguish all light and make the world as it imprisonment had been. Bitter was this spirit.
All was a feared, save one lake. The lake was known as the lake of Still Waters. Forever was it calm and all who drank from it felt peace and wisdom. Many went to the lake to contemplate its waters and pray for some miracle that would save them. The old hermit who took his name from the waters, stepped forward and bade the people to listen to his council.
“Seek the Toad Sage, for he knows everything of wolves and bears and men. Seek then to find the Stone Buddha, for he may know to wake the Stone Father. Mark well the weapons your patrons carry for I have trained both Lord Ursa and Eyes of Midnight in their use. Your world may banish should the Storm of Still Waters find no way to break this curse of darkness.”
With that enigmatic advice, Still Waters vanished as if upon the wind and the villagers of Carsaeus set about their work.
Toad Sage was lazily bathing in Mud Pond when the villagers came upon him for advice. They brought him ingots of gold and maidens. Though gracious was the offering, Toad Sage croaked indignantly.
“Have you all come before me so humbly to master the ten-point-tongue technique? Bah! Your tongues are not the sort for catching flies, you are of no use, away, away with you, my lily pad beckons and my mud grows cloudy with all your traipsing about!”
Many of the villagers turned in dismay, all except the Vagrant.
“Lo, Great Master Toad Sage,” the lay about spoke flatteringly,” I have about my head flies aplenty and my soiled garments may filter the clods from your great mud pool.”
Toad Sage hopped about excitedly, croaking with glee.
“Ah, Vagrant, proving that amongst your kind, all have their place, yes, yes. Please come closer and let me leap upon your head as a lily pad. Toad Sage has never sat so high!”
So Toad Sage ate his fill of the Vagrant’s flies and whispered to him the secrets of all wolves, bears and men. Vagrant went to his people and shared the secret of making the two heralds of Wolf and Bear work together. He kept the secrets of Man to himself.
“Wolves fear fire, Bears fear Ice. That is why wolves run from blazes and bears seek caves in the cold. Use each bane as a boon to the other and they will follow each other to reckless abandon.”
So it came to pass that scrolls and missives were quickly sped off from Mud Pond and brought to Eyes of Midnight and Lord Ursa. To She-Wolf was given the promise to slay the fire spirit that once was the life force of Father Bear. To Lord Ursa, the chance to end the long winter and bring forth a season in which his kind would flourish was given. Thus, the once bitter rivals set aside their bitter feud in search of Stone Buddha.
Long they searched, and many were the conflicts they faced. As the land was ravaged by winter, the Thing That Should Not Be sent forth his corrupted spies and minions to thwart those who undo the Dark One’s craftwork. To compound troubles, Thragmar stirred in restless slumber and caused much damage to island’s mountain range. Fortunately the two paragons fought well together, as their kindred had in days past. In time in their journey, they shared many close moments gracing death. Such trials brought them closer together and as is inevitable, they became lovers.
Long they searched the depths of Thragmar’s body, the great inner cavity of his mouth a now twisted network of tunnels. After a long journey, they came to the largest cavern housing the largest tooth of Thragmar. The Great Whale then spoke to them in his twilight before waking and bid them in the name of Stone Buddha.
“Stone asks for no greater gift than to touch the sky and feel the wind through its crags. Father bear sits in a seat undeserving and higher than older stone. Take a sliver of my ancient stone and bless your weapons.”
It took a full day and night to pass before the speech was broken in full, and after Thragmar gave a mighty yawn. The tremor shook from the Stone Buddha statue the two diamond-like eyes. These were hearth stones of great and ancient power and would be enough to undo the curse self-inflicted be Father Bear. With unified purpose, the pair set forth from the depths of the under caves and made for the apex of the island.
The journey was long and perilous, but soon they reached the top of the mountain. They stood before the massive rock formation that was Father Bear.
“Great Father,” pleaded Lord Ursa,” take back this wretched winter and prove to the other great spirits we are above the loss of such petty treasures. Give back life and hope to the people, so they may worship you in love and not fear!”
“Good Cousin, please let this cycle of hatred end between our clans, both sides have lost too much,” Eyes of Midnight begged.
“Gwo ho ho ho,” mocked the earthshaking voice of Father Bear,” What you speak of loss and tragedy you cannot fathom, I will make this world to understand. The world will be swallowed in darkness and all will be made to feel as I do, cold alone, bereft of love of wife and kin. Suffer with me, Lord of Bears, though not their master, and wretched she-wolf, thief of dreams and praise.”
The statue of Father Bear stirred and Lord Ursa knew at once that it was not the voice of his noble father. Eyes of Midnight likened the dark echo and rhetoric of this beast to the minions of the under caves they had faced on the ascension of the mountain.
“It speaks of Darkness and Shadow as the formless monsters of the caves, Love Ursa, we are not beset by your father, but a creature of great peril and evil,” she hissed.
“Indeed,” he agreed,” Father’s heart would never weigh so heavy in anger and sadness as this, what black face do we do battle with? For it is no Bear!”
Thus the truth was revealed. All to the Thing That Should Not Be and its dark plan. While Father Bear slept and the long winter crept into the lands of Carsaeus, the monster wormed its way into the shell of Father Bear’s resting place and devoured him whilst he slumbered. Now the dark beast took the form of Father Bear, twisted and vile like the creature’s heart. It burst forth from the shell of Father Bear’s rest like a shower of shadow and a rain of tarry tears. It pulled itself into a horrid form and faced the paragons of Wold and Bear.
The battle was fierce. It was said that no thunder clap nor earthquake nor absolute silence was as loud as the rage and melee heard from atop the mountain that day. Long they battled, for decades, cutting the mountains and trenching the seas across Creation. The world was thrown into true Chaos as dreams were cut from reality and nightmares pored into the realm of the waking. Sparks of life were struck into being and extinguished at a parry and turn of the blade. A thousand thousand souls were formed and shot into the heavens to join the sparks and constellations that grace the sky.
Ursa’s Claw struck true a thousand times over and held the shadow beast at bay. Geri and Freki cut deep rents as well into the shadow monster’s flesh, but great wealds of poison spat from the wounds and saturated the lands with mires and swamps as the poison burned into creation.
Blades crossed and it was as if Creation itself would be undone. Then Thragmar awoke.
Atop the geyser, the shadow beast made its terrible assault, but Thragmar had had enough of being choked in his sleep, he launched the torpid beast into the heavens, splashing its inky blackness across the expanse of the sky. Only now in the far north of the poles could the lights of night be seen. All that shown through the inky curtain were the treasures of Ursa and the souls cast into the heavens, the great stars. Though the beast seemed cast away and vanquished, Lord Ursa and Eyes of Midnight were cast into the heavens as well.
Lord Ursa threw his golden blade, Ursa’s Claw to the earth, exploding the 300 hundred golden rings along the spine of the blade to the far corners of creation. His kindred, the Exalted, born of those rings forever bathed in his light became the Solars. Unconquered, Lord Ursa ascended to the heavens and became the Unconquered Sun.
Eyes of Midnight became known as Luna, and she stalked across the heavens nightly, chasing after her beloved. When his presence waned in the winter months, the land grew cold and she grew sad. The darkness would gain in winter and soon reach to swallow the world below. Those on the surface of Creation prayed and lit lights to push back the darkness until the beasts powers were weakened and the battle began anew. The time when the darkness was as its greatest was Calibration, and thus all things in the Universe were in flux.
So it came to pass, the heavens were spun upon their paths and the Divines moved about Creation forming the world as it was taught generation to generation. Each myth changed just slightly to fit the political views of the playthings upon the face of Creation.
The story did not end there though, for the Long Winter had come to an end and Carsaeus knew prosperity again. The villagers gathered after the epoch of the battle had died away and only the bravest amongst them dared to ascend the mountain to see who had claimed victory. Those amongst the brave were the Old Hermit, Still Waters and the ornery Toad Sage. When they reached the apex of the mountain, they found no survivors. All that was left lay in the weapons cast about.
Ursa’s Claw, forged of Orichalcum, glowed with the light of the Sun. It had lost its rings of power in forging the Solars and thus became simply a blunt tool of destruction, Edgecrusher, a rival for all swords. Freki and Geri were forged of Moonsilver, two halves of a whole, which showed the phases of the Luna. The Beast itself left behind a corroded and dark sliver of its true essence, Soul Steel. The weapon was a screaming blade of all the souls devoured and corrupted by the Thing That Should not Be, it was named Demon’s Mirror and would fade from history only to resurface again to torment Creation again.
Star Metal was cast back down from the heavens as Mother Bear and her Seven Sons cast bits of Father Bear’s treasure back down to earth. Of these, the Star Metal Chakras Ascendance and Aurora lay amongst the last remnants of Father Bear’s earthly Cairn. The shattered remnants of the crystallized stone formed deep within Thragmar’s Geyser had spat forth five of each Jade color and a weapon of each type. Most numerous of the blessed weapons, they were also the weakest hading been the youngest by millennium’s formation.
A single Adamant slab was formed when the darkness and light clashed and reasoning was borne in an instant and cast into the clouded remnants of understanding. Upon the slab was written the single most sacred prayer of Algorithm and hidden therein, the secrets of technology honed by the first age.
Still Waters stood amongst the gifts and pondered the heavens with Toad Sage.
“So it is over then,” chided Toad Sage, “the Storm of Still Waters wasn’t so bad, you old goat.”
“Harumph,” laughed Still Waters, “ That was no storm, Toad Sage, for mine will be much longer in arriving in Creation. This is only the calm before the storm when we have been given the Pieces of Destiny. These weapons will forge the paths of Creation for good or ill. We will have to wait and see.”
So taken aback was Toad Sage that he choked up a fly and to this day can only manage to speak his hoarse croak.
So the weapons were gathered and taken back to the Still Waters. Time faded into memory and all occurred as perceived by all….
Thus ends my Father’s first scroll… Maddened ramblings of an insane mind? I know not, for only the notes returned to my possession and there is no trace of this supposed scroll from which it was transcribed…