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Items
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Cursed
4.38
8 Votes

48xp


Hits: 4770
Comments: 13
Ideas: 0
Rating: 4.375
Condition: Normal
ID: 3425

Submitted:

Updated:
November 22, 2009, 6:34 pm

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Cheka Man
axlerowes

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Boots of the Asrok

By:

Ruan was the first of Tarak’s troops to disappear. When it was time for him to take a turn at watch, his bedroll was empty, and tracks led away from the campsite.

Full Item Description

This item appears as a sturdy pair of knee length white furred boots.  Although well made, there is a certain blandness to their design.

If subjected to detailed magical investigation, wards against cold and transformational magics can be detected.

History

“Thoes be flamed!” Tarak cursed as he slogged through the heavy snow.  For days he and his fellow soldiers have been walking behind the convoy of cage-laden wagons.  All the while the the damn Snow Monkeys (“Asrok, Sargent, they are called Asrok”) howled and threw excrement.  Feeding time was the worst.  It completely escaped him why they had to bring the blasted creatures back alive.  If all they wanted was the skins, then just kill em and skin them.

Asrok
A species of white-furred, nearly-human primates who called the Garen’s Teeth mountain range home. Sages speculate that they originally ranged far further, but human encroachment drove them into the mountains.  The species seems to have a special tie to the element of fire that allowed them to live easily in even the coldest of regions.

But no, the trice cursed mages wanted them alive.  “They lose the power when they’re dead!” they said.  Well, you don’t see the mages here guarding the stupid caravan.  They just showed up long enough to support the assault on the Asrok village.  While Tarak’s troops kept the yammering hordes of snow monkeys away from the mages, they cast spells to incapacitate and stun the beasts so other troops could snatch them up.  It was a well organized assault, the third in as many days.  Even then, several of Tarak’s men would never see their homeland again, buried in shallow graves in that nameless village. 

Now, with their cages full, they were trodding back to the kingdom of Theos.

Theos

A medieval Theocracy ruled by a council of Dukes.  They all claim fealty to Theos, hailed as both King and Deity of the kingdom.  Each of the Dukes is a powerful priest of Theos.

At one time, the pantheon of this people included numerous gods, but the worship of Theos has superseded all others to the point that they are now considered monotheistic.

Kazuung the elder lay under the smoldering debris of his home.  The heavy beam that laid across him still showed the rough adz-marks he left when he built this building, so many seasons ago.  Now it, like the rest of his village, was destroyed.  The invaders with their shining steel weapons and powerful magics had descended on them like an avalanch, capturing or killing all they found.  They took the able-bodied, but slew all the others.  Kazuung and his children had held out in the strongly built meeting hall, but sorcerous magic threw it to the ground, killing all save Kazuung.  Dying, Kazuung cursed the human invaders and then closed his eyes.


“Ridiculous!” shouted Vasil, the hairless, craggy headed High Mage of the Theosian Mage Guild, “We cannot waste time and money to cast the calming rituals on all of these boots!  The Asrok are nothing more then animals - their spirits will not remain to haunt us!”.

Murduk, the head alchemist cut in, “Animals don’t build villages!”  

“Even ants build homes,” replied Vasil,” and apart from some inferior stone implements, they use no artifacts, they leave no writings, no temples or artwork.  They are animals - nothing more!”

Additional points were scored by either side, but in the end, economics ruled, and the rituals were not performed, to their eventual sorrow…


A couple of months later, Tarak and his men were again on the march, back to the bloody cold mountains that they had so recently traversed. This time there were no cages, no wagons.  Instead Tarak and all of the men in his company had been outfitted by odd, magical boots.  When the boots were brought forth by the quartermaster, Tarak immediately recognized the fur used to trim the knee-high boots. So thats what they wanted those stinking monkeys for…

His force was given a week to train with the new boots - a long and hard week in the icy foothills of the Garons’ Teeth mountains.  The boots made travel through snow a breeze.  Those wearing them could either walk as if on a beach, with their feet sinking no more then a coin’s thickness into the snow, or slide along the surface at rapid speed as if skiing. In addition, even lightly dressed the cold did not bite the wearer. 

For as long as could be remembered, there existing strong emnity between the kingdom of Theos and Seradard.  The Garons teeth mountains blocked the most direct route between the two kingdoms, and numerous strong kingdoms blocked pretty much all land routes as well.

Tarak’s company was one of a dozen being sent through the Teeth into the kingdom of Seradard.  Not a huge force, but the Dukes of Theos counted instead on overwhelming surprise to make this stroke effective. 

Once through,the plan was to converge on the Tower of Sharm and take it by surprise - that Seradardians would not expect an attack this far from the border.  However, the plans did not take everything into account.

Ruan was the first of Tarak’s troops to disappear. When it was time for him to take a turn at watch, his bedroll was empty, and tracks led away from the campsite. 

Tarak was baffled - the boots did make it easier to move through the mountains, but Ruan was not a skilled outdoorsman, and they were days away from any depots.

Tarak doubled the number of people on guard, but people still continued to drift off.  One night two full shifts disappeared, including his most reliable lieutenant.  Eventually, Tarak found himself with only a handful of men, far too few to complete his mission.  Forced to turn back, Tarak led his pathetic unit back to Thoes.  The thoughts of returning to the bustling cities held no appeal to him. The other thought in his mind, the fate that awaited him for the failed mission hung heavy.  He stopped the squad, looked at each of them, then stepped off the trail, back into the mountains.  The other soldiers watched their leader disappear into the snow, and then each went their own way.

The Theosian master-stroke had failed.

Magic/Cursed Properties

These enchanted boots provide the wearer with the ability to move through snow as if wearing snowshoes or skies (wearers choice - can shift modes with a thought), as well as resistance to cold.

A side-effect of the boots is a strong desire to experience the great outdoors which gradually overrides other interests.  Other interests, such as ongoing missions, are forgotten. The wearer also becomes very much adverse to being in ‘civilized’ areas.

If the wearer is skilled in survival, then at worst if they submit to the draw of the wilderness, the wearer becomes a hermit or mountain man.  If unskilled, the wearer will likely perish as the boots only provide protection from the elements, but no skill in finding food.
No force compels the wearer from removing the boots, but it will not occur to them (and since they ease survival and the effects of the weather, requests from others to remove them will not seem logical.)

Garens's Fang copy



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Comments ( 13 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Scrasamax
December 11, 2006, 12:33
0xp
An interesting read with a variety of elements, economics of proper enchantment of the boots to the modern idea of humanity forcing other species out of their home ranges, and then taking them for their base components. i would like to see a submission about the Asrok themselves, and possibly this Theos Theocracy.

Unfortunaltey, the inclusion of symbols to sidestep the profanity filters is unappealing to the eye. for that I have to dock 1/2 a point.
valadaar
December 11, 2006, 12:41
0xp
I'm planning on adding more - this post was a leaf with no branches (yet).

Docking half a point for a couple of odd characters seems a bit extreme, given how many other posts are filled with enough accent characters to choke a horse.

But then again, I'm not supposed to comment on how people vote, considering how mad I get when someone does that to me. So, lesson learned. I will substitute acceptable words for profanity (even though I think it has it's place). Already done on this post.
Voted manfred
December 11, 2006, 13:01
0xp
In other incarnations, the boots may not even be cursed, the unlucky spirits merely wanting to be free in a place they know to be home. But as a cursed item, they are equally fine, teaching the lesson of gaining power on the expense of somebody else. Didn't notice any symbols, it is a great item.


Completely aside, I just thought of a computer game featuring these useful boots... with NPCs occasionally disappearing from a party if wearing them in wilderness. Would make a little mystery if the probability was low enough. ;)
valadaar
December 11, 2006, 13:04
0xp
I removed them as soon as I got Scrasamax's comment.
Voted Cheka Man
December 11, 2006, 13:25
0xp
These will get my HOH today.
Voted Murometz
December 11, 2006, 21:23
0xp
what manfred said, and I love them!
Cheka Man
December 11, 2006, 22:11
0xp
sings *Dem boots are made for walking*
Voted the Wanderer
December 12, 2006, 20:02
0xp
Nicely done! I like the presentation almost as much as I like the item itself.
Can't wait to see the "branch"...
Voted kamina
December 12, 2006, 23:44
0xp
I find the style of the submission very appealing and entertaining. The boots themselves are well thought out and very usable.

I also think Tarak would make a great NPC sub. I can quite easily see him as an interesting encounter or even a plot hook.
Voted MoonHunter
December 13, 2006, 11:21
0xp
A nice solid item, with a nice twist in the back story. A balanced item that makes good sense.

Dodging the filter is not that bad, though one should find more creative means to express the same ideas.

You should of made both of those "quoted materials" submissions in their own right, or make them shortly.
valadaar
December 13, 2006, 12:51
0xp
They are currently implemented as a form of stub - the targets are public in work.
And they will be filled out more as time allows.

Edit- The Asrok have now been detailed.
valadaar
December 20, 2006, 14:32
0xp
Updated: Added freetext
Voted axlerowes
March 22, 2014, 12:07
0xp
Call of the Wild Boots!

I never saw the original but I respect and admire every choice you made in the write up as it stands now. The boots could be written up and used in a game with just the first and the last section. But instead you took a relatively minor magical item, all be it a dangerous one, and used it to tell a story. Nice.

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