Founded on the promise of prophecy, this fiefdom owes it success to its previously worthless amethyst deposits. And its very survival as well.
Swift and deadly as any Dunleoustous, the Anura remain a proud and free people, though outsiders have time and time again, imposed great cruelties on this race.
A dark shadow falls over the still waters of the swamp, and for a brief instant every sound made by a living creature ceases.
Unbeknown to them, the party of Brave People wading in the shallows in hot pursuit of a small band of defeated human soldiers, have themselves unwittingly become the prey.
‘‘By the strength in my sinews, I swear upon the spirits of my ancestors that this Curd will not forget the mate and children he has lost, nor find rest until his jaws have crushed the life out of the scum that dare to call themselves the Brave People!’’
And the Immortal Spirit shall unleash his wrath to strike down the maloveant forces that would seek to oppose the Chosen sons of Geshua..
-Fifth Verse from The Gospel Of Prophecies
Beware the old woman clutching at the folds of her clothing..
They say diamonds are a woman’s best friend.
But should she prove unfaithful, they can also be her worst enemy, the instrument of her utter destruction. The whore will pay a heavy price for her infidelity, I swear!
Gaze into her lovely eyes and and revel in your throes of passion as your flesh enters a most pleasurable state of union with hers..
Enjoy it well, for what comes after will not be as pleasant..
‘‘I am so very sorry to interupt your grand schemes for seizing control of the nether-realm, but I am afraid that my master, the Lord of the Desolate Shore, has raised some serious objections..’’
Sun haters and child snatchers they may be, but you can’t deny their fashion sense..
His breath faltering into a final rasping final gasp as the stone coils crushed his throat, these last words resonated through the fading mind of the would-be grave robber.
‘‘You dared to defile the tombs of the ancient kings, Lusoh scum, but die knowing that I will never allow once inch of this scared land to fall into the hands of those would seek to destroy the nation of my divine fathers. Long live the Shining One, Goya Varman. For I am him..’‘.
Man, too, is a primal creature, though he binds himself with the chains named Reason and Law, locked link by link from birth. Yet, those locks can be opened, the links broken, in both the savage world of the street-slum, and in the gilded cages of nobility.
One such creature is the petty pirate, Gurad Sorgon. Unknown to those that dismiss him as being merely an ugly face among the multitude of floating scoundrels that abound on the lawless seas, this marauder conceals within him the soul of a prehistoric terror.
Some see him as a loathesome reminder of their faliure to cow a race humanity deems unworthy of existence. Others deem him a noble hero and resistance-fighter, a beacon of hope and courage to all the downtrodden of the galaxy.
Regardless, you don’t want to smell his breath. Or ever see him up close.
Nestled between the towering cliffs of the Zorian plateau, lies a vast cavity that is wide enough to swallow an adult bull elephant with enough space to spare for a small herd of draft horses on either side. There you will find gold, an abundance of it. But what is that you say? That the natives tell you that it is a place of death and home to hideous monster that will devour you? Ignore the savages. They only seek to protect what they are too indolent to grab for themselves.
-A Khanate offical assuring a bunch of miners.
Have a family that is ever at odds with each other? Beware lest the Slurran comes for you..
Doom and hope, misery and joy, are but two sides of the same mirror to this ancient force that has withstood the annihlation of an entire culture..
‘‘A more abomnaible sight we could not have imagined! When all of their warriors had been slain by our valorous soldiers of God, the crazed priests rushed upon us from the summit of their temple, screaming their ghoulish war-cries as they rushed to do battle.
Our elation at the prospect of an easy slaughter before us soon turned into powerful horror as we beheld that these fiends were clad in the gore suffused hides of our fallen comrades! ‘’
-Taken from the writings on an obscure chronicler who accompanied the conquistors of Tahutol on their epic voyage of subjugation and empire.
‘‘There were five of them all together, these monstrous walking trees! Yep, trees that walked! By the look of those nasty things, they were probably trees that ate people as well. Tried to kill us with those giant rubber balls, they did, those hell-spawned overgrown bushes…
Cut that laughter out, damn you! We weren’t drinking salt-water when that happened! Those crazy things are real! And if you don’t believe me, sail there yourself, you lousy land lubber! Don’t tell me I didn’t say ‘‘I told you so!’‘, when those vicious monsters finally squish you with their roots’‘.
As the officer strides into the thick and oppresive pitch-black gloom of the jungle, he silently signals to his men to fan out in a classic Quarsooth battle-formation with a nervous hand-gesture. He is very tense, almost afraid. The soothing, omnipresent presence in his mind tells him that he has no reason to worry, assuring him that victory will belong to those noble warriors that carry the standard of the invincible race of Zor-Tanis.
But there is something else cutting through the easy promises offered by that pleasant, gently commanding entity in his mind, as if determined to seize all his attention and use it to torment his imagination until it begins to scream for mercy. This something he cannot define and put words to, but it makes his skin crawl nevertheless. Despite the heat of the jungle, his blazing gold body-armor had suddenly become a chill prison that raises uncomfortable goosebumps along his chest.
Woried muttering from the rear tell him that his men like him, are unsettled. Turning aound in irritation, he begins to hiss at them to remain silent, afraid of alerting the very band of murdering monstrosities they have finally tracked into this eerie wilderness. It would be a rather embarassing matter for their commander if the very quarry they had been relentlessly pursuing for the past week or so, were to suddenly turn around and massacre all of them.
Too late he feels a something slithering around his neck. Fearful that it might be a pyhton, he reackes for his massive ‘‘fire-bow’‘, determined to incinerate the scaled menace before it can crush his larynx. But before his fingers even have a chance to close around the handle of the weapon hanging from his belt, another coil slithers out of the darkness and out of the darkness and pinions his arm, holding it in a painful crushing crip. As agony swamps him, he can vaguely hear a grim sound of cracking bones through the pain-filled haze that now holds him. His arm is being crushed. And then so quickly that his stunned mind has no time to register this new fact, there is no time left for more thought. The coil looped around his throat begins to squeeze, suffocating him. As the officer’s head begins to swim in the final moments of his life, he finally gains an excellent look at the thing that is stealing his life.
It is not a snake, but a vine. As if in response to this discovery, a now terrifyingly familiar roar of bestial fury rings through the gloom of the jungle..
‘‘A thousand of the vile things we set alight, crying aloud the prayers of the Holy Redeemer as the demonic abombinations screamed in a chorus of almost human agony, utterly helpless against the flames that consumed their monstrous and deformed bodies. Never again will another human grace the banquet of these accursed fiends. But it pleases me even more to say that the gold which is so abundant in this heathen land, is now the sole propety of a nation blessed by the One God. No more will these repellent false deities lay claim to that which we have wrested from their worshippers’‘. -Corand Rogad, Conquerer of Tahutol
Mazetown stands right around the entrance to the Maze, and its whole economy depends on the people coming to visit the ever-changing and apparently sentient dungeon. They don't get all that many visitors, but the ones that do come tend to be rather generous in their spending; after all, if anything you take inside vanishes as soon as you go in, and everyone who manages to come out usually does so with fabulous treasures in tow, why not spend your coin on R&R before getting started?