The Creature, In Short
The Talking Pet of Qugun the Accursed, the Holy King of Ulanhu, scarcely resembles any kind of “pet” known to humankind.
It somewhat resembles some kind of bizarre weasel, a long, smooth, snaky creature which writhes in and out of its own coils constantly, it’s motion strangely tricking the eye so that it resembles a kind of endless knot or stream; along its belly it has four sets of small paws, strangely resembling human hands (though each has only four fingers). Its hide is unmarked, smooth, and rubbery in texture, save for the end of its tail which is tinged a virulent red-purple hue.
It’s head, on its long snaky white neck, disturbingly resembles a pale-white human face, with mask-like, otherworldly features, inhumanly perfect, smooth, and beautiful. It’s eyes are the bloody pink of an albinos’, shining with moisture, and lack a pupil or iris, giving the Pet the expression of blindness. The creature’s face constantly bears an expression of sardonic knowing, as if it is hiding a mischevious secret; its close-lipped smile seems to speak of hidden malice.
When the creature moves, it is with an alien, sinuous grace, slipping in and out of itself and writhing across the stone floors of the High Palace. It scarcely seems to use its small hand-paws, which rub and chafe each other (as if the creature were plotting to itself).
When the Talking Pet speaks, it is with a sibilant liquid whisper, an aqueous voice which seems to echo slightly. When the creature murmurs, its white lips scarcely seem to move.
Its Shadowy Provenance
The Talking Pet, as it has come to be known, was first seen with Qugun at the High Assembly of the Ulanhu Palaces. As the Holy King made his opening appearance before the priest-lords of Ulanhu, the creature slithered from behind his throne and stared at the convocation. As the lords gasped, Qugun laughed and said:
“Behold, my new pet! Pay it no mind, let us attend to our business.”
The horrified priest-lords, unable to argue, were forced to continue with their business as the creature lurked near the Holy King’s throne.
Immediately after this Assembly, the rumours began to spread. The King made no secret of the creature, which he called his pet, but its strange and disturbing aspect nonetheless gave it an aura of evil.
The prevailing theories in Ulanhu are that the Talking Pet is the product of Qugun’s pact with an evil sorceror (the name of the legendary sorceror Lim Dul is often mentioned), or that it is a demon of the Outer World.
Some dare to say that the thing is a spawn of the ancient horror of the Dragons, the Destroyers of Mortals, hatched from one of the prehistoric eggs of these creatures and nursed on the venoms of those ancient and terrible creatures.
Others at the court whisper (though not too loud; the Talking Pet has a way of ferreting out such “slanderers”) that the creature was summoned forth from the depths of the legendary and haunted ruins of the city of Srancunar, and that it is a relative to the Enemy of Man, the fearful Sranc.
The truth of the matter is far stranger.
The Holy King is known by the appellation “the Accursed”, a title which he has come to know through the misfortune of his house during his reign, to wit, the disappearance of his only heir and daughter, the Anointed Priestess Minlu.
In the Year of the Green Cshughiyac, as marked by the Supreme Calendar of the Years of the Holy City (the calendar of the Nine Cities of Ozhun, which Ulanhu, though not an Ozhuniyac city, uses as their own), the Anointed Priestess left the walls of Ulanhu on a small sabbatical from her duties as high priestess of the Ulanhu Palaces, accompanied by a small party of protectors.
None returned. A search was launched through the hills around Ulanhu; the local tribes which sometimes trade with the city were questioned, and emissaries were even sent to the Southern Mani, but still no sign was ever discovered.
To much of the Ulanhu populace, this remains a mystery. They use this tragedy to explain the Holy King’s dour and sad demeanor, and his sometimes-strange decisions. For these reasons, he is named the Accursed.
But this story of Minlu’s disappearance is an elaborate fiction. If the populace knew the truth of Minlu, and of the Talking Pet, they would name their “Holy” King the Accursed for a quite different reason.
The Talking Pet is, simply put, the child of the vanished Anointed Priestess Minlu, and the heir to the city of Ulanhu.
The Misbegotten Prince
High in the jungle hills which surround Ulanhu, amidst the rocky oblong peaks of the Clouded Mountains, there is an ancient temple, built upon and walled by a tall brick platform, and built all of pale local stone. Vines cover this antique monastery, a relic of the Age of Fallen Houses and the time of the warrior-monks.
Deep inside this monastery there is an unfathomably-ancient shrine. It’s walls are thatched with curling black and purple moss, and filthy water wells up from between the stones of the floor to form a blackened pool; at the back of this chamber there is an empty altar, showing the shattered scars where a sacraficial idol has been dragged away or destroyed. home to an unspeakable presence