Laodicea: A Land of Magick
Here be game news & lore
Before the blessing of the Guardians — the twelve deities that created and protect the universe, the planes, and all that is good within them — life cowered in the shadow of the inescapable doom that is death.
Life suffered the trappings of hunger and greed, hatred and war, fear and distrust — all emanating from the instinct that plagued it. But these failings were marked against the intent of the Guardians, who would promise to set the world anew.
First came the Devastation, the Guardian’s judgment upon a sinful past. A scouring of the earth, purifying an arrogant and evil world.
Second came the Seeding, the source of all Magick, from which arose all life. Of this life came the twelve tribes, who would pledge their souls to the Guardians, in a ritual now known as the Founding. And so the First Gift of Magick was given.
After twelve histories spanning generations lost to time, magick was fully realized, and the twelve tribes burgeoned in their lust for power.
From their mastery of magick came raging a single, bloody war: the Mage Wars. A century-long conflict encompassing the entirety of Laodicea, leaving none untouched.
After an age and another of strife, the world worn and weary with war, the Guardians bestowed upon the twelve nations a second gift: Immortality.
The binding of the soul to the body: an immortal coil. A natural rebirth upon death, restoring life to its most proud state. A gift given only to the tribes who were present at the Founding, and their ancestors, who would forever be known as the Mythrhilium.
And so the Second Gift of Magick was given.
An era of peace took hold over the Mythrhilium, providing newfound providence for their now-intertwined cultures to flourish. Great minds gave birth to towering cities, complex machinations, and beautiful magick. A gilded age now known as the Common Mythrhil Era, made possible from the calm bestowed by the Second Gift.
But the Mythrhilium were not worthy of their fortune. For the corrupting influence of life can permeate even the holiest of intent. Every death led to the connection between a soul and the seed of Mythrhil within the heart of the world. The corruption that writhes within the souls of the Mythrhilium broke the Aether, the Leyplane; each passing soul fraying the seams which stitch together the planes.
The Mythrhil seed now lies twisted, the pillars of the world shorn, broken, and maligned.
From this corruption pours the combined malice of the ages: time and insanity amok, magick untethered, monsters unleashed. Horrors fall from shattered skies, death claws from tremors below. Any wayward step may very well lead to far lands, deep passages, or a different age.
The Cataclysm is upon the world.
In the beginning, there was only naught but Nothing, limitless and formless, endless and eternal. In an instant, born from the birth of a thought of a thought, Ebris, Guardian of the night, the void, keeper of all that is unknowable, Lord of the Lonely, empty vessels, recluses, Bearer of the Abyss, eldest of guardians, came to be at the beginning: before time, before fate, and before the planes themselves coalesced.
Obfuscated by the clinging shadow of fate, seeping from the swirling pattern of thought, Sionem, Guardian of time, of the stars, the forever-flowing river of Chronos, the machination of fate, the planestrider, the invisible eye, the second Guardian, born in the pure black of Abyssus, marked upon the void as Ebris formed Nothing into form; the elder twin saw the end of all things, and quickly hastened forward.
Caged and bound in the grand jest of time unending, Crogeney, Guardian of Fate, the weaver of the grand web of destiny, lord of grand desires and daring plans, spinner of all hope, giver of all glory, master of balance, lord of luck, the lesser twin and the third Guardian, spun the first string, threading twine from the fates of Ebris, Sionem, and Chrogeny herself, binding the end of everything, even nothing, to that their own.
Exuding from the tear carved by Sionem to escape the dark of Abyssus, abandoning their twin to their fate, a rush of air broke and breathed the first mark of time: wind. Reeling with glee, born from the first current, Entu, Guardian of the Sky, danced an unending dance. As wind drew salty tears from her eyes, she gave birth to the salt sea, which churned into Rosul, the Guardian of the Sea. Her son would bless her eyes to never cry again, and they would marry, locked eternally in love.
The love shared between Entu and Rosul grew until they became one: Ensul, Guardian of Storms, mirth, music, and beauty. From the purest of the first of first loves, rising from the sea and greeted in tidal forces, was born Reat, Guardian of Gaia, flora, fauna, tender of the forests and the beasts and the mountains, Lord of the nurturing, of farmers, the trees, and kinship, and she, born from the purest love, bestowed upon the world her own.
The first flesh quivered to life in a barren, cold, and dark land, and was named Sors, Guardian of Life. Lord of flesh, hunger, blood, and pain, reveler in food, laughter, defilement and debauchery, Lord of hedonism, lustful conquest, greed, cannibalism, and slavery, Sors, once a beautiful man, turned to defile his creations, and, for naught but his own comfort, created fire, using the very flesh of his children as kindling.
Branded upon all creation, Igni, the First flame, Guardian of fire, rage, and thirst, maker of war and destruction, Lord of love, the powerful and lost sailors, was cast out into the makings of the world. Jailed by Sors to the bodies of his kin, Igni sought to escape the Lord of Pain using the only path he could, and spread himself across the world, consuming and destroying all life in his path. From the burning came light, and as fire burned, the stars were born.
Seared into creation arose Lux, the First Light, Guardian of the sun, of lightning and thunder, protector of peace, medicine, and healers, Lord of the loyal, the pure, and the courageous, the first star burgeoned into being, shining her light upon the world from afar. Temptation fading as the dark faded with day, life abated from the cult of fire, and together, Igni and Lux, the second twins, would light the realms of the universe.
Lux, in all her purities, could not forgive Sors for her own, nor Igni’s creation, and the consummation of the cult of fire. And so she sought to seek justice for his crimes, and made Justice; Gravithoth, Guardian of order, judgment, the dignity of weight and the power of consequence, champion of fatigue and punishment, Lord of cleanliness and discipline, who would see Sors bear the body of a stinking leech, covered in sores, and wrapped in smoldering poison ivy.
Appalled by the profundity of Sors’ transgressions, Gravithoth made the final judgment, and deemed all life fit for Death. Falling upon the world in miasma, Mors, Guardian of death and decay, disease, plague and famine, castaways, vagrants, slaves, the sick, the poor, those seeking vengeance, the Keeper of fear and spite, Lord of murderers, the desperate, and the betrayed, tore across all life, ending those too weak to fight, and dooming all to die.
Thrust into a world not made for it, the First Soul, Guardian of the moon, of souls, of emotion, muses and art, Lord of revenge, the Queen of Dreams, Lunatimic was made, born from Death, and lifted herself into the sky, to the stars, drawn by the pure light of Lux. There, she and light would lay, but in the light, she could not find rest. So she left to find Igni, with whom she lay, but the flames tickled her, and she could not rest.
Lunatimic sought her body’s father, Sors, who mocked her sorrow, scorned her death, and cast her into the dark. In a lightless glade, Reat found Lunatimic, and in love, created for her a realm of her own, Lunanul, the moon. In this, devoid of all life and pain, Lunatimic dreamed, and shepherded the newly dead to her, where they dreamt of everything, and brought to being the final Guardian, Tenesomniarc, Guardian of knowledge, of invention, Knower of all, Lord of pursuit, and Keeper of memory.
Morning, Tirsdai, March 15th, the 273rd year.
Yesterday’s weather has cleared, and the grass is once again dry. A chill remains, but the sun and her rays are quickly rising. I do think, and relish, that this past snow was the final throes of winter and his clutches. With the trees displaying a haze of green sprouting from their crowns, I believe it safe to presume that spring has finally arrived.
For we have come to the realm of the Smoky Mountains, as the stories here are old as Time themself. We arrived after sunset, I, guided by the trust in Vas’ dragons, who, either by smell or some supernatural sense, flew the course to a small glen amidst this breathtaking expanse of forest, beguiling the moonless night. And so, we found ourselves welcomed to sleep on the top of a mountain we had never seen.
It was only about an hour ago that the sun broke the bleak of pale early morn, when the black of night retreats at the coming of the sun; and from where I sat as it rose, I have not moved. Smoky indeed. Like a blanket of freshly-picked-but-recently-waterlogged snow-white cotton, the mist dances a slow step, easing silently into the rising morning air, darkening and roiling as it falls and eddies, brushing the tips of bare trees like a ghost’s cold hand.
These old mountains are ancient; the geological structures tell of a graceful and loving battle held between Ensul and Reat, the peaks of the shallow and rolling mountain chain long forgotten from the mind of even the Stone Mother herself. Trees hug and cling and decorate the entire landscape, as if invited by the old hills to act as armor against the sting of storms.
Through my looking-glass I have spotted no less than four waterfalls, each ranging between 2 or 4 meters, given my unprofessional estimation. A small mountain stream can be heard from where I am sat, and its lull brought us to sleep easy this past night.
The conifers here are plentiful, more than I have seen this far south than in comparison to any of my travels. Their needles are pliant and broad, a sage green that glows with a halo in the morning light. Their pinecones are wide in their circumference, like a portly priest too fond of the beekeeper’s mead, but their structure is light and airy, the wings fluting out like rehearsed waves, they too of a lighter shade than their northern cousins. At their base, the bark, almost a dried-bloodred, sports the pattern of a dragon’s scales, the cracks between them an earthy mud brown. As the trunk rises, the bark assumes the usual pattern of a pine, albeit wider, and again, displaying a lighter hue.
The wind, in bursts, is brisk, and the soil here is rich until half-a-foot down to clay. I have already witnessed rabbit, deer, quail, squirrel, hawk, sparrow, tit, crow, jay, and magpie. The invertebrates are plentiful in numbers that I am not accustomed to so early into spring, but those I have seen are: ant, worm, moth, fly, mosquito, mayfly, lacewing, beetle, centipede, and more gnats than I care to consider.
The calls of the birds rise in pursuit of the sun, and from the valleys can be seen flocks exceeding and diving into and out of the misty blanket that holds so dear to this wild and vast place. The mountains stretch and roll from horizon to horizon, old and plentiful, like rows and rows of old weary bones at Sundai’s temple. Forever ancient, old before the heroes older than memory and forgotten to time; and yet, as if to stand against Time and Sionem themself, Reat capitulates, and the steadfast glory of these mountains remains.
I am happy to be here, amongst these trees, to share in their story. To hear the whistle of the wind in the bare, barely budding branches – a lick, a whisper of winter to tinge my eyes. As I write, Vas stirs to a kick in her sleep, taking in a sharp and sudden breath. I always wonder if the surprise in her dream is a good one, or if it’s merely her legs preparing for the coming day’s travels.
I’ve left more than half the pot of coffee for her, as today’s brew, on my part, was a bit strong. I fear that we may have to dispose of it. Perhaps we can feed the remains to Dragon — although, while the effects caffeine holds over Dragon are quite endearing, the shit that comes afterward is not. No, today we head to town, as small as it supposedly is.
Fulton, as we have been told, was once home to the largest mythrhil mine on East Laodicea; and the scars of industry at such a scale are apparent from two leagues outside this once-bustling mining town. The tunnels that bore the mythrhil which brought Fulton riches witnessed the first drops of blood spilled in the Orc Crusades, when the orc overseers killed and devoured their deikin slaves. It was also these same mines that would host the surrender of Chief RoRo Blogut, and their orc army.
But the damage of the Crusades had wracked its wicked toll here in scars still untold — and with the horror, the earth that supplied the mine went sour, and the veins ran dry. Those who remained, depending upon with whom you speak, were foolish hillbillies who were too small-minded to pack and leave, or brave and valiant freedom fighters who had finally reclaimed their land, paid for with thousands and thousands of deikin lives.
It is today that I hope to discover with which opinion the truth lies. I have been told that Fulton should be found at the edge of the southeast rim of the mountain to the southeast of the very mountain upon which we stand. I’m sure Vas will discover the precise location of the town almost as soon as my foot hits trail, but like always, I expect her to let me roam, as I surmise she takes great pleasure in doing so.
So southeast it is, and with high hopes we shall find the remains of Fulton, and hear from the people who would call it home.
“The sounds of Orc were drawing near, the walls of the crevasse blurring as I ran — I would say something to the effect of “feet slapping against the stone” if I was some nob like a Dindle or Fregshin, but I’m not, so I won’t. A brace-headed groundnook I am, so I went silently, like one should in a situation as such.
The flabfoots charged behind, and I knew they brought death. I heard them slaying my kin like they were but chediiggers, but still I pressed through. Nothing hurts more than the soft cries of your tribe, when they were there but for your own order.
The bait had worked though. I was swift, swifter than their foolish legs could carry them, the moss skins hurtling into the rocky cavern like pins in a bore. The crevasse opened up like a plump roast of felo, and I climbed faster than I ever have, faster than any kin I reckon. The rope hung in my hands, tight in my grip, taught with purpose.
The nincompoops filled the cave like cattle herded into pen, and waiting for the space to fill, I hardly stifled a laugh, though I doubt any one of their thick heads could hear anything over their brutish grunts and steps.
The sluice poured wide, and the cavern filled almost as swift as my feet. Only till I felt the tickling of water on my toes did I let the deluge pause, and only after the last bubble popped did I climb my way out, into the vengeance-spun night.”
- Gubb Spitt, “To Clap in the Dark”
Deikin are diminutive, subterranean, gangly, homely, and above all else, industrious. The newest sentient species to the world below our feet, Deikin were forced to make do with what they could find, oftentimes in the most dire or humiliating of circumstances. Would this history impress, then, that their success in invention and sovereignty is all the more a worthy feat.
Consider the fabled Kilnkrug Halls, or the mobile mining city of Craul. No other mythrhilium has held but a candle to the sheer complexity and scale of the machinations and industry of the Deikin. A talent which is not so much learned as is passed through lineage, forged more in the fires of instinct rather than science.
For their lives are short — an elder amongst them will range from ten to twelve years. Pligtick the elder, the longest-lived of all known Deikin, was renowned for passing her seventeenth year — an accomplishment not again yet, and most likely never surpassed. Perhaps their candles burn so bright, they pay with their lessened stature and lifespan.
Another consequence of their quick, instinctual lives is their lively form of society, bereft of common law or rule, most succinctly described as an anarchic state. Despite associations with chaos and a breakdown of the social order, however, they seem to coexist as well as any other mythrhilium, and lack any form of social hierarchy or lineage of rule, save for merit or reputation.
Newly-born Deikin are birthed able to walk, hunt, invent, and never learn the identities of their true parents, as all Deikin are raised by the entire tribe, in a sharing of responsibility that permeates all aspects of their egalitarian and uncouth societies.
However, do not betray understanding of their innate knowledge to mean that Deikin lack the mental faculties of you or I — far from it. I once played a game of Chess with the kin Gubb Spitt, when I was able to keep his attention long enough for him to sit still for a game. Within six turns, my outcome was made, and I am certain if the games had continued, my shame would only grow larger.
Where the water comes to rest, down below the cliff of the clouds, and where the reeds and rushes grow, that is where the old Bak Bak lived, in a hut made of dried mud, floating with the river’s ebb. And in her hut, sat a beautiful, plump, golden goose, perched atop a nest made of thistles spun with gold thread.
Up on the top of the cliff, set on a lily, sat the house of Grilgli, who one day decided to make it her home because the fish were fat, and slept in the shallows all morning and night. Grilgli went out every morning, and every evening, and would eat all the fish she could, without even pouncing once.
But one day, when the sun came up, and Grilgli swam from her lily pad, the fish had disappeared. Grilgli swam to the tributary, but there were no fish. So she swam to the pools, but there were no fish there either. So she swam to the mouth of the river, but still, there were no fish.
“Oh, my legs are sore and the day is hot!” Cried Grilgli. She swam to a lily, and sat upon it. “If only I knew what happened to my fish!”
From the reeds below the river, in the basin below the cliff, a hissing voice reached out. “Oh, little frog, what has the day done that hast ruined it?” And from the marsh a green snake with yellow eyes rose, meeting the now trembling Grilgli.
Grilgli cowered. “Begone, foul serpent, I am not worth your tongue! For I am but a small morsel compared to the needs of your appetite! Please, oh please, spare me oh fanged one!”
“Do not worry, for I have no need to hunt you, little frog.” The snake slithered nearer to Grilgli. “Now, tell me, what brings you trouble?”
Grilgli wanted to jump away, but the snake did not seem to mean her harm, and with no friends to share her woes, she decided to stay. “All of my fish are gone, and there is no food for me. Without them, I will surely die, leaving naught but skin and bones behind.”
“But surely there are fish at the head of the river, where all your family hunts?” Asked the snake, voice slippery as a mudbank.
“So what if there are? Those fish know to flee my grasp, and it is much too difficult to catch a good meal. I much prefer it here, where the fish are fat and easily snatched.” Grilgli whinged.
“If you like easy meals,” said the snake with a glimmer in eye, “then I have a special secret for you. There is a quiet place in the marsh below.”
“But everyone knows the marsh is where Bak Bak lives,” said Grilgli. “I shouldn’t, I couldn’t, and I wouldn’t!”
“That’s too bad,” said the snake. “I guess a snake is braver than a frog after all. For I face Bak Bak every morning and every evening, and eat of golden eggs.”
When Grilgli heard this, she could not hide her hunger. With the thought of a warm, delicious, gold-covered egg, her stomach rumbled with delight, and her mouth watered, dreaming of its delicious taste. “Tell me, snake! And tell me now! It’s been days since my last meal, and the next egg is mine! So tell me, or I’ll take all of your eggs from now until my final days!” She puffed her neck, and stood up tall. Seeing her size, the snake shrunk away, slithering back into the reeds.
“Follow the flood till the last pool, and there you will find a mud hut, floating on the water. Enter it, and say to the goose, “Your master has sent me, now do your duty!” Once these words have been spoken, the goose will lay a golden egg.”
And so, Grilgli swam down the river to the basin below the cliff, and wandered into the marsh. As the sun set on the world, she found the mud hut, floating in the reedy grass. “Finally!” she exclaimed. “For I am so hungry I will say the words twice, and eat two whole eggs!”
Grilgli pushed aside the tattered cloth, and glimpsed the warm inside of the hut. She hopped in triumphantly, greeted by a roaring fire, fresh herbs hanging from the low ceiling, and a large reed nest, towering and teetering with a pile of glowing, gleaming, glittering giant golden eggs.
The firelight danced on the gold eggshells, and flicked across Grilgli’s eyes. Contain herself she could not, and so she began to pounce forward, mouth opening with delight and drool.
Until, rising quietly like a shadow from the marsh at night, long and tall, coiled and ready, the snake from before loomed over the nest, eggs cradled amongst her scales.
“You’re sssuch a good lissstener, little frog.” It hissed the words, its yellow eyes squinting down.
Grilgli stammered. “These are your eggs?” Her voice croaked.
“Yesss, little frog. And now, the time has come for your journey to end, for you are home.”
“But you lied!” Grilgli stomped her foot. “You told me they were geese eggs!”
“Did I?” The snake laughed a hiss, fangs glistening in the golden light of the flickering hearth.
And in the dancing firelight, her coils did sprout feathers, and wings grew where once none shown. Her fangs shaped to a wide beak, and feet did push her body towards the rafters.
“But… but… You’re just a snake! You can’t be Bak Bak!” Grilgli shrieked in terror, and turned to spring from the hut of the terrible Bak Bak. But instead, her body fell to the muddy floor, heavy and unmoving.
“Little frog, little frog.” Bak Bak’s voice soothed like a lullaby. “You never asked me my name. You demanded I not eat you, and yet you demanded that I feed you. You never hunt. You never work. You only look for easssy meals.”
Grilgli struggled to keep her eyes open, the deepness of sleep enveloping her as the words of Bak Bak echoed throughout her hut.
“And ssso, an easssy meal you ssshall become.” And Grilgli felt the hard scales of the snake grasp her helpless body, and the darkness overtook her.
- The Lazy Girl, a tale by Shallow Stream
The True Scent of the Sunflower
by Aruru Yeodl
The Water and the Root
by Ar Kazor
Introduction and Translation
by Sam Finely
Before any mind save lurk reads this work; pray thee understand the vast gulf which liest between beings of flesh and those of soil. Lurk, perhaps more than any variety of mythrhilium, defy the instinct and nature of the other races, and even violate the orthodoxy of the majority of beast and monster. The incredible diversity of nature provides an astounding array of wonderment to behold, yet aggrandizes the likeliness of misunderstanding, and therefore the inheritance of violence and war. Even whenst looking upon the cousins of Lurk, the trolls and their seemingly stone skin: the primal hunting instinct and need for sustenance, the more base instinct of lust, and the feel of sinew and blood circulating with life, calls to a similarity in all other mythrhilium that Lurk sharest not.
This simple yet profound usurptitude of the natural instinct of flesh by Lurk has led to unending conflict. For a being of flesh to comprehend, one must first glimpse the culture of the Lurk.
Lurk, before Guardians’ Day, would reproduce asexually, and despite intense thought on their part, are entirely unsure as to the method of this self-reproduction. One morning, an Lurk will lie down in their mudcave, and that evening, after rising from their slumber, will witness another Lurk sprout from the mud, which is met by an embrace, and then an intricate and complicated ritual punctuated with deep, rumbling howls, known in most Lurk tribes as a chug wug. Due to this queer method of reproduction, Lurk are a sexless species, and therefore woefully ignorant and free from the oppressive nature of the libido and the qualities of the differing genders. This mudbirth, by its very nature, defies the very foundation of physiology in all other mythrhilium. Lurk hearts beat with mud rather than blood, their skin bearing the appearance and texture of that of a pliant lichen, their hair a thick moss which grows in unkempt trails, and their toothless mouths form words in an unholy manner of movement. This startling guise is just that, however, and the Lurk, not unlike most fauna of Laodicea, would rather sit and ponder the nature of Gaia than battle or war with the other races.
Lurk, by their very nature, receive sustenance via lunasynthesis, and are energized by the light of Lunatimic’s realm. Due to their reliance on moonlight, Lurk are most active during the waxing cycle and full moon, and many Lurk who disregard their sedentary nature become renowned silver mages.
Lurk are the only of the mythrhilium to not immediately seek out the destructive properties of mythrhil, and were in fact unaware that mythrhil had any power beyond diverting clouds from the light of the moon, and creating mud, until the goblin folk came into contact with the Lurk, and tormented the peaceful tribes with fire magick. The peaceful and innocent nature of Lurk, while often proving fatal for many of the Lurk tribes lost to the mage wars, has allowed some of the most secluded tribes to boast some of the oldest beings across all of laodicea. One tribe is said to be led by an elder council comprised of Lurk from before even Mythrhil Day itself, and hold accounts of history in its truest form, chiseled into stone tablets. The location of this mythical tribe is a closely guarded secret, and those who do venture upon the lands of these ancient Lurk are invariably tested and dealt with accordingly by the mysterious followers of the Kalak Covenant. Even if one were to gaze upon the tablets, the meaning of the carvings would be lost upon all but another Lurk, as their written language is abstract and reliant on minute variations of letter formation to purvey context, sentence structure, emotion, detail, and tense. For instance, if Lurk used the common alphabet, and one were to write “chug wug,” the difference between the thickness of the descender of the “h” in “chug” could change the meaning from; “Arise! Arise with my soul and the soul of Gaia, and together our spirit will sing and be one in communion with the moon and the mud. Arise! Arise oh child of the moon and kin with we, and feast upon the light which echoes in the night. Arise! Arise Lurk and Lurk we shall be, forever bound with the mud, the blood of life which gives Gaia beauty. Arise! Arise with we!” to; “A harsh day is one which the moon does not rise and the mud cracks, the smell and taste of metal scorches the air, and the ground hardens so that which grows from it is weakened to the brink of rot.”
The poetic nature of their language is lost upon all other mythrhilium, as their spoken language is as esoteric as the written form. A simple greeting of the north star, to any other race, would sound like an enraged, guttural howl, and this discrepancy between intent and perception often leads to conflict. Many an adventurer has unwittingly stumbled upon an Lurk tribe performing a moon howl ritual, or a “chuz agh,” and thusly believed the horrific chanting to be a war cry, and attacked a peaceful religious ceremony. This, in turn, has led to Lurk having a distrusting nature of outsiders. The class structure of Lurk tribes also fuels their reputation for violence; the most intelligent, ponderous members of the tribe sit in the inner circles of rituals, while the simpler-minded and often physically stronger members sit at the perimeter. This structure did not come about for its defensive nature, but rather from the belief that the less distance between the physical proximity of the minds of the deepest thinkers, the more profound of a song they will perform.
Most unfortunately, the tales of the consuming of mythrhilium flesh are true. This practice originated from the final battle of the first goblin war, when Lurk, poisoned by their collective battle song, their victory, and the violence that hast awarded it, feasted upon the flesh of the goblins. It was on this day that Lurk discovered the enthralling effects of consuming meat: upon digestion, the minds of the Lurk ascended to a higher realm, and their eyes saw the way their moths spoke, and the world took upon an abstract form, replete with moral guidance in the form of visual metaphor. At the fall of the sun the next evening, the Lurk awoke from their deep slumber, and sought to repeat their profound realizations. The ensuing chain of events led to the outbreak of the Lurk Crusades, a series of conflicts retold by Gub Spitt in the classic “To Clap in the Dark,” acting as a catalyst for the treaty between the deikin and quezrit, and ultimately providing the spark for the Alliance of the Lake.
Lurk in the west rarely partook in the “ghru go” as their tribes have taken to referencing the practice, which in the common tongue translates to “the knowledge we gain from the suffering of a soul, and therefore an unholy treatment of both the devourer and victim, in turn also harming ourself.” Western Lurk do, however, consume the flesh of wild beasts, which achieves nearly the same effect, albeit with varying side affects ranging from excessive gluttony to incurable fits of laughter, which is a horrific sound to most other mythrhilium.
The history of the Lurk is an unfortunate chain of events born of miscommunication and profound biological difference. I beseech my broad-minded kin in the west to more heartily accept our Lurk friends, as the guardians have deemed them as such, and as Lurk have resurrected from our Chrysthalys for 20 years, since the miracle at the temple of Iberia. It is with a hopeful heart that I, the author of this introduction and translator of “The True Scent of the Sunflower,” forgo my usual impartial disposition, and beg you, dear reader, to accept all of Lurk as our neighbors and allies. If the Oregonian Republic is to survive the looming threat of the cataclysm, and the growing shadow of the Heshbonian Empire, we must heed the deep-thought wisdom of the Lurk, and protect a fragile and beautiful culture and way of life.
Whether you would doubt the purity of the Lurk or not, I pray thee read this deeply profound and almost prophetic poem by the late elder Aruru Yeodl, contemplating the nature of an existence that does not end. First, the poem will be written in the Lurk phonetic alphabet, and will be followed by the common tongue translation.
tuf bug blu
krak ugh proo
agh buf blu
The True Scent of the Sunflower
To sit beside you, and pray to the moon
is a heaven here, and a journey we are blessed to
take in the smell of the sunflower
but do not linger
The flower is not for you
The life it lives is of its own
The life you live is for a purpose, and when that purpose
ends, so to does life
For the true scent is not the flower itself
but the memory
Written by Aruru Yeodl after the death of their entire lineage at the battle of Black Rock, the poem, while immensely respected amongst all Lurk for its linguistical intricacy, was shunned by many due to its topic of accepting death. Since Lurk were naturally immortal prior to Guardian’s Day, the idea of willingly ending ones’ existence was seen as unnatural. Yeodl’s teaching took hold however, and many tribes began to follow the practice of ritualistic suicide when the individual determines their own purpose has indeed been fulfilled.
Queerly, this ritualized suicide known as “at och” has continued into the age of the Guardians. Famously, after the sacking of Cul Hont, and the subsequent flood that rushed down the forest of the Glade Valley, with no land remaining to their liking, the Lurk of the Bug tribe performed a tribe-wide at och, the first tribe in the history of Lurk to do so. As the Heshbonian army, which was then mostly comprised of Alancs and Aliaptors, had already imprinted themselves on Cul Hont’s Chrystalys proceeding the flood, the Bug tribe had moved to higher ground, away from the opposing army. The flood, while initially spelling doom for the Heshbonians, ultimately brought about the demise of the Bug tribe. As soon as the flood hit Cul Hont, Heshbonian soldiers sleeping in the underground city began drowning, and summarily reviving at the Cul Hont Chrystalys. As the flood raged throughout Cul Hont, the Bug tribe looked on in horror as their once proud city not only faced a sacking, but would soon be submerged below the waters of the Grushanc River, and decided an at och was the only appropriate response. The Heshbonian soldiers drowned repeatedly in Cul Hont’s caverns, and steadily ate away at the Cul Hont Chrystalys’ mass, devouring the once proud mythrhil birthing crystal, and reducing it to ash. By the time the Bug tribe were dead, there was only enough mythrhil left to resurrect one Lurk of the tribe, Ar Kazor. The Heshbonian army, since it was of course imprinted upon the Ryrstark Chrystalys, resurrected in the capitol of Heshbon. The Bug tribe, tragically, faded from the material realm, the last of their kind to travel to the realm of Lunatimic, and perhaps the last mythrhilium to possibly ever truly perish.
The Heshbonian soldiers who resurrected in Ryrstark, while decidedly luckier than the Bug tribe, were cursed by the Guardians for their brash defiance of the new natural order, and for playing a role in the doom of the Bug tribe, all the soldiers who had sacked the city of Cul Hont were doomed to relive their drowning every time they would sleep, and the Father of Heshbon, Protector of the People, Errant Tigfir Qualin banished the soldiers to the Scablands for their blasphemes and cursed dreams.
The one surviving Lurk, Ar Kazor, composed a poem about the final day of Cul Hont, titled “The Water and the Root.” This portrayal of the last day of the Bug tribe, is a profound tragedy of the utmost gravity and pose. First, the poem will be written in the Lurk phonetic alphabet, and will be followed by the common tongue translation.
Groomen groomen at
nog dei col fu
Nid cro agh coo
Agur ulo vad
Mig nog grod groomen
cro shul pit
bug bug bug bug
His go lak Rosul
Su pu su pu
Col men groomen
Adar gruf dewl tu
hid ro fod
mowt hrog frit tab
Bug groomen Lunatimic
Fut Bug cal
The Water and the Root
The dragon’s claw descended upon the valley,
and there were raptors in our gates.
None from Cul Hont
would live to see the next night.
We retreated to the lip edge of the valley,
away from the chasing raptors.
We cry at the sacking of the city, our cry is harsh.
The charging carriage of Rosul ruined the land,
the high waters, our high wails.
In Cul Hont, deep under the valley,
our enemy drowned.
We pushed our blades into our bellies
They had already poisoned the root with their touch,
and it was spent before we could muster.
The drowned city was silent now
The floating corpses of raptors clogging the tunnels.
And we were lost to the valley wind, and found our way to Lunatimic.
So sayeth the last of the Root of the Bug, and last Lurk of Cul Hont.