In the year 1456 of the month of the Waning Moon, the little island barony of Farkon inexplicably ceased all contact with the mainland. Perturbed, the Chief Chamberlain to the King Steward dispatched a messenger to investigate the strange situation. A month later, the man returned bearing this mysterious record of a '''speech''. Here it is in,full. An elaborate hoax to which our courier fell victim? Or something more omnious? I do not know..

''Listen to the great truth I impart to you now, children of mankind. Fear us not, for we, the Qurasooth, are your own forgotten brothers and sisters. Let not our blazing chariots that ride on clouds of fire, or the shimmering folds of the garb that clads us, blind you to our true nature. Our silver locks and golden hue of skin are but minor offshoots of a common source that has lain forgotten by both you and us for far too long. Celestials and even demons you may term us,(though we in our modesty, eschew and reject any comparison with the divine energies you revere or revile), but we claim descent from the same ancient fathers that first coupled with your mothers and sired your people.

I see the baffled gaze of incredulity and fearful suspicion in your eyes yet remains. Do you still persist in allowing baseless terror to pollute your thinking? I will put them to rest. By offering the recorded history that we have shared with you across great eons, you will soon understand our true purpose in finally seeking you after this long period of mutual separation.

Listen and understand well. In a time so distant that your world was yet dominated by beasts rather than men, great events transpired in the ancient cradle of all civilization. In those days, the red star that your astronomers mistakenly regard as the eye of one of your primitive gods, was home to the most marvellous civilization of Zor-Tanis. In our tongue, it means ''Utopia''. And that it truly was. No other contemporary culture could boast of our lofty achievements. Many were the great repositories of knowledge that rested in the pages of the innumerable tomes that filled the vast adamantine halls of our famed libraries. And fabled throughout the entire breadth of creation, were our unparalleld centers of material progress where devices of great ingenuity and advancement were moulded by the brilliant minds of the teeming hordes of craftsmen that laboured so tirelessly to bring our people to ever loftier hights of advancement. Truly, it was a golden age for our people, we who could dominate the very stars you continue to revere as divinity.

But alas, great calamity struck. From the savage western reaches of the heavens, flew massive swarms of fire-locusts, to lay waste to our land. Enormous insects entirely composed of the blazing flames of the stars, these ferocious fiends seized upon and devoured everything in their path, be it living creature or machine.

In the end, fearing for their survival, a great number of our people, fled Zor-Tanis in their swift chariots, hoping to evade the deadly swarms and seek sanctuary where they would be tormented by these ravagers. After much time had elapsed, they settled upon an isolated little world of vast oceans and great forests. Arriving there, they embarked on the process of begining their lives afresh there. As far they knew, it was unpopulated, home only to a bewildering variety of animals and beasts.

It was only during the course of their efforts to tame the hitherto unsettled reaches of this world, that they stumbled across a race of beings that resembled them closely in many ways. Their astonishment at encountering seemingly sentient creatures on a world previously deemed unpeopled, soon turned to disappointment as they realized that these natives were mired in barbarous savagery, scarcely above the level of reasonably intelligent beasts. But the men among the settlers found their daughters attractive and pleasant to the eye, stealing many of them to be their pleasure-slaves. And it was out of this union, that your race emerged. Those of their sons in whom our blood ran the strongest, naturally assumed positions of power and authority, becoming the famous kings and founders of your civilization.

In the meanwhile, contrary to the dire predictions of those who had fled, Zor-Tanis survived, albeit in a much reduced state. So much of our greatest accomplishments had been ground to dust by the slavering mandibles of the swarms, that our civilization had become a pale shadow of itself. But still we stubbornly persisted, holding on to what remained of our former grandeur.

The final death-knell for our world came three millennia later when our leaders had the misfortune to incur the wrath of a powerful race of monstrous beings that dwelled on the dark planet of Soras. By refusing to acknowledge their superiority over all the heavens, as our previous rulers had, they drew the calamity that wrecked us utterly. Mistaking the lack of high culture so prevalent among these tyrants as a sign of their inferiority, we paid a painful price for the arrogance of our leaders, when the beings of Soras, afflicted our entire nation with a tremendous curse. They unleashed against us a plague of their creation, that robbed us of our fertility, rending our people completely sterile. No longer could we sire future generations of children. Our civilization was as good as dead. That was a century ago.

Now ,in our desperation, we have followed the flight of those who first fled here. Only by mating with you, can both of our peoples enter an unrivalled new era of
civilization. Our race shall be saved by the fecundity of yours, and yours shall benefit greatly from the knowledge of ours.

But before this great dream can be put into action, an important first step must be taken. A purge of your race will be vital. For many among your people, yet harbour blood of beasts in their veins. In these savages, do the bestial,animalistic urges to slay, rape and even eat their fellow men, still flourish. For the master plan to come into existence, they must first be exterminated like the vermin they are. Only then can you depart this era of uncertainty and anarchy for the true paradise that we have brought down from the stars, to uplift you race. O, men, expunge barbarism and embrace true salvation.''

So went the long cryptic diatribe. Unusual in its content, but perhaps not so unsual as the medium employed to convey it. For it was not a scroll of parchment or even a scrap of rare paper that had caused our messenger much consternation. Nay, the written meduim was entirely bypassed by the author of this mysterious sermon. What we found on our hands instead, was a silver orb no bigger than a large wal-nut. And it begun to speak to us the moment the quaking man displayed it before us. A sonorous, disembodied voice seemed to escape from within the confines of the little orb and penetrate our heads, regardless of hard determinedly we tried to bar its path to that most intimate region of our consciousness. Let me put up no false citadel of courage, and readily admit that this foul witchcraft sent a shudder down my spine. The voice that intruded my head was not human. Oh, it was majestic and regal in its rich tenor, but that did nothing to conceal that unsettling alien quality that pervaded it.. I am no coward, but had it not been for the presence of my peers, I would have fled the chamber, away from that demonic voice with its seductive yet destructive promises.

At least I handled myself better than the Bishop. When the orb finally ceased its eerie cacophony, he was livid with a combination of extreme terrror and wrath. Screaming, he begun to rave about the nefarious work of demons and immediately ordered his attendants to cast the orb into the most powerful furnace located within the entire realm.

It was with bated breath and a stomach churning combination of relief and regret that we watched it cast into the fire(for there were those of us like me who still wish to unwrap this arcane puzzle). Only to watch in stunned astonishment as the orb remained whole, its form all but oblivious to the ferocious flames engulfing it. As the bishop's will to achieve the impossible task of destroying it waned, it was retrieved from the belly of the inferno whole and unblemished.

Utterly wracked with mind-numbing awe by now, we turned to the messenger and demanded from him, all the information that he possessed. Obliging us in his trembling voice, he told us of his sojourn to Farkon. Contrary to what we had expected, he had never made it past the keep guarding the coast. Detained there in spite of the seal he carried that bore the king's authority, he was simply told that he was not ready yet to witness, let alone participate in the ''Second Coming'' of the Quarsooth. But the otherwise taciturn guards there, were willling to answer his questions.

With great adulation evident in them, they spoke of dazzling angelic creatures that had desecended to effect a new ear of progress and perfect harmony on the world of men. Sublimey beautiful creatures of lofty stature, they walk the land, imposing a new order, one that the people of Farkhon hail as the end to all human suffering. Taking the most comely young women as their wives, they introduce miraclous changes with the aid of arcane tools that confound and evantually terminate scourges like drought and plague, bringing great prosperity to the people. And they rejoice, reverantly feting their new masters.

But this Eden has come at a sinister price. The new rules demand ruthless purges of those that are believed cursed with ''bestial traits''. Individuals overly fond of pleasuring the baser senses, now find themselves rounded in great numbers and slaughtered like so much animals by the new dictate. But not many mind, as most of these unfortunate denigrates were outcastes and social scum. Neverthless, it still gives much cause for dread. Has Apocalypse finally come with these Quarsooth unleashed against the sinful race of men? Or is this entire thing a devious farce by some accomplished worshipper of the Dark One? I do not know.

But I will not rest until I do.

-Anton De Sliuis, The Duke of Buargan.

The Real Quarsooth:

The truth behind the Quarsooth is very different from what the little sermon in the Duke's possession would have us belief. For everything that we think we know about the Quarsooth is an elaborate hoax, a skillful deception of the most vast scale and undertaking.

The real Quarsooth are not humanoid beings that spring from a common source as us. In reality, they do not even possess physical bodies.

Their homeworld is a dull, sterile planet inhabited mostly by lumbering reptillian creatures that hold what can only be said to be the dimmest spark of intellect. But it is not in these rude and primitive natives that the true driving force of this land lies in.

In the atmosphere of this world, lie thousands of minute microbes. But they are not mere single-celled organisims Over the millenia, evolution played an interesting trick with these myraid organic particles. By merging together, fourty or fifty of them would evolve into a sentient, complex entity capable of the rudiments intelligence. And if more clusters were to form and attach themselves to the existing intellectual nucleas, the organisim would experience a radical leap in its intellectual capabilities. By pooling their combined biological matter together, these creatures were able to attain true self-awareness.

The next phenomenal leap in their evolution resulted when one cluster accidently found itself able to infest the skull cavity of a reptilian native and wholley control the brute's mind by congregating around its crude neural connections and attachig themselves to these minute pathways. For the first time in their existence, they were now in command of actual physical bodies, experiencing all the intense pleasures that the various senses could bring. But effecting dominance over the mind of a sentient creature was not easy, as the more willfull and aggresive ones would resist ferociously with their primitive instincts, at times compelling the microbes to abandon their battle for dominanace. Only certain beings could be used as hosts.

Three millenia passed and these creatures took on the name of Quarsooth, or ''Myraid Ones'', building an advanced culture, one now capable of space-flight. An enormous boon, it provided them with the means to colonize neighbouring planets when a rise in the microbe boosting solar flares of their sun caused a great upsurge in their numbers and population. New bodies had to be urgently found to house these new additions, and new resources to fuel the ever increasing demands of their civilization.

Over the next hundred years, they conducted aggressive campaigns of conquest against their neighbours, seizing great riches in the process. But eventually, this constant war-fare took a toll on their resources as the constant demands of the war-machine wrought havoc with the economy, rising to drain the benefits that the conquests had brought. A new way had to be invented, for brute force would prove to be ultimately counter-productive in the end.

In the end after much careful calculation a new policy emerged:Deception and guile had to be the first and foremost line of defence. And pro-creation its second. By encouraging the natives to willingly surrender their future to the Quarsooth and breed with existing hosts to produce new hardier bodies to inhabit, the Quarsooth would be well served.

Who are the Quarsooth again really? And what are they really here for? Men would do well to ponder on those questions.

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