The Earthen Titans of the White Sky Mountains
The Earthen Titans of the White Sky Mountains
Centuries ago, the White Sky mountain range was the site of a full scale war between two great and powerful empires. The valleys and passages that mark the only safe routes through the mighty white tips were fiercely contested. Both sides knew the obvious strategic importance of the range. Whoever controlled the mountains controlled a vital line of defence and offence against the other nation, along with the ability to access several other nations that share their borders with the region. With this in the minds of both their strategists, great care, sacrifice and effort were taken in every manner and opportunity possible to attempt total conquest. The blood of thousands were spilt over multiple encounters, yet neither gained any notable ground to claim victory.
It was their fifth year at war when an unexpected event occurred. Soldiers from both sides began claiming that the mountains were 'moving'. Initially, their commanders and fellow soldiers dismissed their claims as superstitious drivel, until they began to feel it as well. In several locations around the range, faint tremors were reported, some in places where terrain was too rocky and inclined to traverse unaided. Sages predict the coming of planar earthquakes and instructed the generals to entrench themselves, yet no shaking of the ground beneath them indicated a shifting of the Planes. The tremors persisted and only escalated as months of conflict passed. Morale dropped as soldiers began to claim that the tremors sounded much more like 'footsteps' as the rumbling grew louder each passing day, the distinct sound of slow rhythmic thunder echoing across the vast expanse of wilderness. From that point on, all fighting grinded to a halt, as each side was thrown into a state of chaos from wild speculation, unbelievable rumors, divine superstition and even mass desertion. Each day that passed was another day of drama and suspense, as each day the tremors would grow more frequent, uneasing the veterans and frightening the newly enlisted. Everyone was afraid of the 'mountain people', as the soldiers came to call the phantom menace, and neither side moved even with the imperial edicts of their respected emperors.
An early morning of summer of that year came. It was unusually quiet for the two armies and their commanders seized the moment to inspire the men by turning them against their hated enemies. By mid afternoon, they had marched into Lakespring Valley, one of the major arteries that run straight through the range. Victory here would mean that the tides would be turned in favor of the victor and conquest of the rest of the region would be more plausible. The two armies stood ready, weapons, catapults and ballistae trained towards their foes as their respective commanders gave their grand battle speeches.
They were cut off when the tremors suddenly struck, the rhythmic thunder that all feared returning in full force, much louder and seemed much closer for comfort than any other in the past year. Before the commanders could rally to calm down the ranks of their armies, large portions of each side broke rank and were in hysterical panic and confusion. The newly enfolded chaos escalated as a soldier called out in the throng of cowering men.
"Up above! Scatter!"
It was too late for him and the rest of his unit. A boulder too large and too heavy for any conventional catapult landed on top of them, crushing dozens of men. Several more came raining down upon them, destroying everything and everyone that was unlucky enough to be caught beneath their place of impact. Like frightened mice, the survivors turned tail and run for the hills, abandoning the pitched battle they had resolved to fight, only to find that the hills themselves moved against them, their shadows looming over the entire battlefield like a cursed eclipse. Gigantic fists of stone slammed down into the broken warriors, the distinct rumbling akin to a violent quaking of the earth, the thunder and might of earthern feet that echoed through the mountains like the roar of angry lions. Spears, swords and arrows could not pierce their hardened flesh. Thrown rocks from catapults and missiles from ballistae could not crush their defences. There was nothing in their arsenal, built for killing man, that could stand up against their gargantuan strength, seemingly invincible mountain gods wrecking havoc upon those that dared to disturbed their peace.
The massacre took only a number of hours before the screams and shouting subsided. The giants disappeared back into the fold of the wilderness, leaving behind a broken field of death and destruction. Months later, the two empires exhausted their war funds from continuing to push through the mountains and attempting to hunt down these walking monoliths of stone with no success. The bloody feud ended as both empires collapsed under massed internal strife, splintered into territories and independant states over the course of a decade, major changes and events turning the land into what it is today.
That fateful day of defeat was never forgotten. The mountains of White Sky have quietened ever since the two empires dissolved yet evidence of the existence of giant sized walking golems persisted in folklore and speculated sightings. No one has set foot into the range since the Massacre of Lakespring Valley, yet the intrepid few who brave the dangers of its many passages and valleys have reported to occasionally feel the tremors that these giant beasts of stone make, the echoey rumbles of heavy footsteps ringing across the expanse of a once well traversed wilderness. A famed historian and magi referred them as 'Earthen Titans', ancient guardians of a civilization long lost, and the name sank into a famous local legend to every village and town within sight of the snow capped peaks.
There have been numerous documentations and studies conducted to determine the origin of these fearsome constructs but few have been able to prove where they came from, who built them and for what true purpose. Some legends say that they were descendant of local mountain deities who were angered by the two empire's folly in waging war in their sanctuary, and dealt with them with divine justice. Others claim that they were the embodiment of the earth itself and they were nature's answer to man's invasion of the wilds.
The closest person to discovering their origin was an unnamed elven druid, who was said to tend an ancient grove hidden within the White Sky mountains. According to his accounts to a passing bard, he allegedly conversed with one of the golems through one of his animal companions and claimed that they were created by an ancient race of craftsmen, carved straight out of the mountains to initially serve as monuments. He claimed that they were given life by a powerful sorceror when the region was turned into a catasthrophic battlefield, when the ancient race was almost wiped out by powers that they could not conquer alone. The Titans have outlived their masters and now continue to guard their ancestral home from all warring intruders, based within the central plateau located closeby to Lakespring Valley, where no man or creature could ever reach. There was no solid evidence to support the story as the elusive druid was never found again.
- Scholar Briar von Freyheim, College of Umbraya Appearence and Behavior
- Scholar Briar von Freyheim, College of Umbraya
Appearence and Behavior
From texts dating back to the time of the two warring empires, the only reliable source for determining their appearence was the sole survivor of the Massacre of Lakespring Valley. General Lorgar Stimitz was one of Emperor Paulus' finest generals, decorated with multiple battle honors bestowed upon him from various campaigns. He was a seasoned commander of Paulus' imperial forces, seen as a war hero to many, whose stern demeanor never breaks under pressure. It was said that his battles with the Titans was considered his greatest defeats for his military career, failing time and again, losing a huge amount of Paulus' army reserves. He was said to have been in a dire state as he presented his report to the emperor after returning to the capital, immediately after his first battle with them beyond the massacre of his 10,000 strong army, describing how one of them may have looked:
"When the trees shuddered and the earth shook, we knew it was far too late to retreat. Whatever it was that ambushed us preemptively was not an army, neither did it have the strength of any army that the empire has ever faced. It far surpassed the strength of even the strongest of war golems. It stood like a hill giant, slouched upon the bulk of its torso, yet its size was nothing any man nor creature in the realm have any capability of growing into. It was enormous, so large that it overshadowed the brave men who stood below it. Its arms and legs were wide. Its hands and feet were flat and segmented, as if its fingers and toes were floating. Its head was a dome with a pair of large crevices that marked eyes, and it was its hollow stare that gave it its aura of fear. Whatever weapons we used, sword, arrow and catapult, could do little to no damage to it, as the monster was made entirely of finely carved stone, decorated with unrecognizable symbols and runes. When it attacked, the runes glowed furiously with a ghostly blue light. When it walked, the runes glowed a pale hue of green. With a single hand, it could crush more than two dozen men in column fomation....Through of my 20 years in your service, your Holiness... I have never fought a monster like this ever before...."
There have been no further sightings after his final defeat that led to his execution, save for the occasional shadow or silhouette spotted at distance until much later. Current accounts of contact have been met with little reaction. They seem to only react violently when massed numbers of armed men are within their vicinity, mysteriously able to detect them through an unknown method of aid, or when attacked in any obvious way. This explains why they were never sighted before the two empires began fighting for the White Sky mountains. After studying the pattern of the most recent sightings, it would seem that the Titans have never left the vicinity of the mountain range to the plains and forests surrounding the region, adding some evidence to the theory that they are indeed guarding some thing or some place of great importance to them.
If the alleged contact with the druid is true, that would indicate that the Titans are intelligent and capable of communication through means of a medium, such as an animal companion or perhaps telepathy. If communication is really possible, that would mean there is a possibility of learning more about their creators and their greatness in craftsmanship and magic.
- Scholar Elaine Judith Wraine, College of Blackwish Creation Methods and Animation
- Scholar Elaine Judith Wraine, College of Blackwish
Creation Methods and Animation
Further study of the soul projection from the skull of General Lorgar Stimitz, collected from the Royal Archive of Knowledge Preservation, have allowed scholars a sketchy look at these magnificent constructs through the eyes of the long dead imperial general. The quality of his soul has evaporated through the centuries since his death by execution and thus images of the Titans are lacking much detail. We were able to concur, however, that the Titans were indeed made of various collections of carved stone and rich veins of ore, gems, crystals and precious metals. My colleagues speculate that their creators may have ignored the extraction of these useful ores and stone for the purpose of creating a religiously pure stone monument, a 'living mountain' symbol that may have been prevailent as the center of their religion or culture. As their original purpose may have been to be a centerpiece of worship, it may explain how intricately marvelous and exotically artistic the carvings upon their bodies are. We have yet to determine why these beautifully crafted monuments were turned into weapons of war, but we assume that it was an act of haste, perhaps to avoid defeat by an invading army. Perhaps they were even built to function both as a weapon and a monument.
My colleagues and I have argued over the kinds of tools their ancient creators may have used. Some believe that perhaps they may have used simple magically infused implements that allowed them the ability to cut with extreme precision and care, perhaps a magic buffering device or pick axe with the aid of flight and thousands of artisans working together. This may be a possibility, but such a method of carving out such a shape of that size from the face of a mountain would have taken at least a century. Furthermore, there were simply too many of them for this to be true, as the numbers would be impossible even for the technology of today. Perhaps they may have received divine aid or the aid of otherworldly creatures from other Planes. Perhaps the mountains themselves responded to a powerful magic spell that caused them to splinter and split, with the artisans finishing off the job with hammers and chisels.
The magic used to animate stone of this considerably huge amount of volume is equally as remarkable. Nothing short of known divine power of today could move mountains and allow them to walk the earth for such an extended period of time, and even then such power of life only exists in myths and legends. The secret behind them may lie in the runes and marks that are carved all over their structural form. From studying the patterns of how they move, the glow of lights traverse each crevice, crack and trench upon the designs, with some distinctive circular markings perhaps showing points of importance. Our calculations and experimentation have revealed that such marks may have been channeling points of great magical power, of which the origins may be of the elements of life and earth. With extensive observation from the soul projection, these marks can be found upon five main areas: the forehead, the outer sides of the elbow joints and the outer sides of the knees. After some consideration, we have concluded that these points may also be the Titan's only weak points that can only be damaged by extensive blasts of offensive magic spells.
However, it is still too early to draw upon such a conclusion until we are absolutely certain. If only we are able to obtain a sample of a Titan. Only then will many mysteries be solved. Perhaps even replication of the techniques of their creators could be possible from analyzing them up close. Still, I have my doubts that the Titans would leave their mountain home without a vicious fight.
- Master Curator Magi Logrin, Soul Master of the Royal Archive of Knowledge Perservation
- Master Curator Magi Logrin, Soul Master of the Royal Archive of Knowledge Perservation