The Sloorish is a tooth taken from a junvenile Dunkleoustous. It measures from three to five inches and has a hole bored at both the base and tip in order to enable it to be slung around the body of an Eshal warrior when it is attached to a thong made of Ranchowen hide. Its sides are inscribed with strange symbols that only the Cauda priests serving the Eshal emperor, can read
Toltep sighed heavily. What he had hoped desperately were mere rumours, had proven to be horrifyingly true. Once again in his lifetime, an ancient horror drawn from his darkest nightmares stalked the land. It had come in the wake of the race of men, eager to verify for itself the tales that they had spread about his people. Only a week ago, a hunting party of Eshal warriors raiding an Anura tribe, had stumbled across the corpse of one of his own. The unfortunate Cauda's visage displayed a tortured rictus, borne of the deepest terror. Around him had lain the mutilated remains of his Eshal escort, their faces bearing a similar look of horror. The mark of the Tacrredi was unmistakable.
With determined strokes of his body, he begun to swim in the direction of the massive coral building that dominated the bottom of the lagoon. He had convened a meeting with his closest advisors, among them his young female protégé Toltep. Also present would be the emperor of the Brave People himself. What they were to discuss would require the aid of the Brave People. Only they could hope to face the horror that was the Taccredi and emerge victorious. It had been necessary for him to deceive the emperor into believing that the Tacreddi were foul demons intent on destroying the imperial shoal that was the empire. Fortunately for his endeavours, the emperor was a true fanatic, blindly cherishing everything that was expounded to him by his Cauda minders and advisors. It had been under his reign that massive incursion of invading humans had been pushed back with massive slaughter to the intruders. The emperor would do anything that Toltep desired. Including sacrificing his own warriors to save the Cauda from annihilation.
Swimming past the gaping entrance, he was saluted by massive Eshal warriors. With the customary blessing of ''Bravery before the Gods, Brave People'', Toltep swam past them into the cavernous interior. It was dominated by massive idols elaborately decorated with gold, gems and pearls. They reeked of blood from the corpses that had been piled at their bases. Toltep turned to survey the others who had gathered here at his request. Femnon was there, together with Loguad, his closest adviser. Also present was Sagad, a shrivelled little Cauda who was almost as old as Toltep himself. Sagad was the most powerful sorcerer among the Cauda, his control of the magical arts amazing all who had ever witnessed his accomplished power personally. Among the Cauda, there were whispers that Sagda's power rivalled that of the long dead kings of Kasmir. The Eshal for their part regarded Sagad as the avatar of a minor Eshal deity and gave him homage that paled in comparison only to that afforded to the emperor himself. Towering above them all was that elevated personage himself, a massive Eshal bedecked with dazzling quantities of gold and pearl encrusted jewellery. His seemingly baleful glare and predatory maw would have intimidated even the most stalwart of warriors, but Toltep was not intimidated in the slightest. Had he not personally educated the emperor as a juvenile along with his royal siblings? If Toltep so demanded, the emperor would not hesitate to sacrifice his own flesh and blood.
Kneeling low and making the traditional sign of reverence due to the eldest son of the Matriarch, Toltep begun his ritual greeting. '‘May your reign be prosperous and great, oh son of the Matriarch, most powerful of the Brave People. May your divine mother endow you with her unbounded power so that you as a dutiful son, may provide her with the blood that is due to her ''. The emperor responded by beginning to address Toltep in a slithery language that the old Cauda quickly translated. His people's mental gifts enabled them to perceive the thoughts of the Brave People. ''Arise, oh elder son of the gods of water. Tell me now in your unparalleled wisdom how I may best guard the shoal against the vile demonic monstrosities that now menace it’’. Toltep answered him, his mental voice suffusing the expectant, anxious mind of the emperor.
''Blessed son of the Matriarch, for months now the horror that are the Taccredi have ravaged the imperial shoal, slaying both the elder and younger children of the gods of water. They have followed the air-breathing demons from across the ocean, determined to destroy the glory of the Brave People. But these hell spawned fiends will ultimately fail in their vile design, for the gods of water stand with us. A month ago, Sagad, the god Lugaa incarnate, was visited in his dreams by the Worta, the god of war. In that vision, Wrota revealed to Lugaa incarnate, the secret to defeating our dread foe for good''.
His words were only partially true. Sagad had indeed devised a method for defeating the Taccredi, but his inspiration had not come from a non-existent deity who had been invented by his people to facilitate their manipulation of the Brave People. Instead, Sagad had received the answer that he had had sought among the dark arts that the sorcerer kings of Kasmir had once practiced. Before the true gods had smitten them for their blasphemous arrogance in daring to challenge them, the Kasmir had mastered the art of manipulating the minds of other beings. By meddling with the vital fluids animating a living creature's body, they had learned how to manipulate its emotions and sentiments. After all, a creature's vital humours was the seat of its emotions. By striving to replicate the ancient technique that the kings of Kasmir had employed, Sagad could hope to ward the mind of a creature against the assault of a Taccredi. Hence with this intention in mind, he had set out to create a device that would shield the mind of its wearer against the psychic terrors that the Taccredi would induce in the mind of its victim. The Taccredi was a creature that devoured the mind of its victim by causing its worst nightmares to materialise. Hunted within the confines of its mind by apparitions stirred into being by the Hellbender, the victim would die of sheer terror. The Cauda especially were vulnerable to such attacks. Indeed, the Tacrredi had been spawned to destroy by them by their former masters, the long dead kings of Kasmir.
However, if Sagad's effort had indeed resulted in a triumph, they could strike a deadly blow against the Hellbender. Unfortunately, this device could not protect the Cauda. The Cauda had no humour strong or passionate enough to be utilised as a barrier against the terror unleashed by the Taccredi. Only the Eshal with their inherent tendencies towards an all-consuming savage violence, could be deployed as warriors against the accursed Hellbenders. By amplifying their bloodthirsty instincts, Sagad had effectively created a device that would enable Eshal warriors to combat the terror inducing illusions that a Taccredi might evoke in their mind, by completely overwhelming their terror in a an unstoppable wave of savage ferocity. All that had remained was to persuade the emperor to order his warriors to use the device, a task that had proven fairly simple. A single Dunkleoustous tooth taken from a juvenile would be used to store the potent humour altering energies invoked by the magical sigils carved into the side of the device. When placed against the skin of an Eshal warrior, it would deliver a powerful enchantment throughout his body that would cause the inherently violent nature of the Eshal to assert itself against any alternative emotion that the warriors might feel, including bone-numbing terror.
Toltep gave a wave of his hands. Swimming towards him came a young acolyte who knelt before the feet of the emperor before handing over to Toltep a bundle wrapped in Ranchowen hide. Toltep deftly un-wrapped the bundle and then with a low bow, deposited its contents in the outstretched clawed hands of the emperor. They were a bundle of Dunkleoustous teeth taken from various juveniles of that species. Roughly the size of an Eshal dagger, the arcane sigils carved on their sides in the archaic script of the doomed kings of Kasmir, radiated a certain aura that made his ancient bones scream in agony. In order to destroy the Taccredi, Sagad had been compelled to draw on magic almost as dark as that which had birthed the Hellbedners in the first place. To appease the sprits that had shared the knowledge of such magic with him, he had been forced to clandestinely sacrifice young hatchlings that had not yet undergone the process that would have transformed them into true Cauda. It was a painful but necessary sacrifice.
'‘Son of the Matriarch, the gods of water have enlightened us as to the whereabouts of one of the vile Taccrredi. Arm your best warriors with these and they will emerge victorious''. The emperor shone a vibrant purple in colour, signalling his eager assent. It would be done as Toltep had advised.
Szaaaashol trembled in terror as the terrible visions filled his mind. Images from his worst fears leaped all around him and he uttered a silent scream of mingled terror and agony. At the direction of the Elder Children and the emperor, he and his best warriors had been despatched to track down and slay the Tacrredi abominations that had been spawned by dark gods who loathed the deities of water and the imperial shoal that they favoured. Just as the Elder Children had foreseen, they had encountered a Taccredi lurking in the ruins of a long abandoned aquatic city scattered in the expense of a dark swamp. However, before he and the other warriors had even cast their spears at the vile abomination, vicious nightmares had invaded their minds, filling them with terror so dominating that they had become utterly paralysed.
Even as Szaaaashol took on a blood red hue which articulated his mind-numbing terror, the small Dunkleoustous tooth that he was wearing clasped to his chest, begun to take on a luminescent eerie glow, its strange sigils glowing with an unearthly radiance. And in that instant, the demon spawned apparitions crowding his mind vanished suddenly. In their place now existed sheer fury. Heedless of anything but the urge to rip his foe to shreds, Szaaaashol hurled himself at the crocodilian like bulk of the Taccredi. Unleashing a slithery war-cry, he sank his barbed teeth into its throat and begun to rake its sides savagely with his claws. Foul smelling green ichor sprang from the wounds he inflicted. Dimly, he became aware of the other warriors disembowelling the Taccredi. The swamp rang with its blood curdling cries of agony mingled with wrath. It could not understand why its vile power had failed this time. Within a matter of seconds, it perished, its eviscerated carcass resembling the body of a prey animal after an assault by a Dunkleoustous or Organi. But his urge to inflict violence was not sated yet. With another eerie wail ,he hurled himself at the next living body in close proximity. Some detached corner of his mind screamed at him to desist from attacking a fellow Eshal warrior, but he ignored that weak impulse. The feeling that suffused him now to the exclusion of all else, was so much like the spirit of savagery and bloodlust that gripped male Eshal during the annual mating season, but a thousand times amplified. All reason and sanity had fled together with the images of terror that the Taccredi had sown. Szaaaashol screamed in agony as an Eshal drah or dagger stabbed him in the chest. As black blood oozed from his fatal wound, he felt the talisman that he had been given, slip off his chest. In his dying moments he finally realised what it was that had caused him to turn against his comrades. Desperately he tried to issue a warning to his comrades to rip off their talismans but it was too late for that now..
The Sloorshi which means ''warding’’ in the Eshal tongue, serves to amplify the inherently aggressive tendencies of the Eshal in order to shield their minds from the fatal terror that the Taccredi evoke in their victims. Unfortunately, the device works so well that the user is utterly dominated by the urge to inflict violence. As well as slaying the Taccredi that he was commanded to destroy, more often than not, the Eshal wearing it turns against his own warriors. After learning of the deadly drawbacks of this device, the emperor ordered them to be used only in the most grave situations since the best efforts of the Cauda had failed to reduce the effects of the Sloorshi. Hence, the Sloorshi is only handed to the most fanatical warriors who are willing to cast away their own lives in order to destroy the Taccredi that menace the offspring of the gods of water.