Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Geir, Fenris Shaman

The old grizzled Fenris shaman will tell you the end is nigh, and you're tempted to disbelieve him—just as you would any other crackpot fool wearing a sign around his neck—except that this crackpot fool supports his claims with evidence. Though old, Geir's clothes are clean. Though prophesying the coming calamity, he is paradoxically cheerful. This, he says, is because there is still something that can be done about it.

The fire crackles, sending embers whizzing into the sky like little fire fairies, looping and swirling through the chilly twilight air before ultimately dying out. Like your fate, so the old wolf-man tells you, if you do not heed him.

Geir's voice is friendly and clear as he states out loud, rather matter-of-factly and with explicit detail, what your most notable ancestors were like, though you are certain Geir could never have met them in his life. Nevertheless, his words answer the stories you were told when you were young. He assures you that this is because he has spoken to them. Just this morning, over breakfast. They came to warn you, through him, what was to come.

He drums a calm beat on his hide-and-wood doumbek, waiting patiently for you to size him up with your eyes. You cannot help but notice the glaring hole where his lupine nose once was, a wound now long-since healed over. Beside his furry folded legs are not one, but two longspears. Knowing that Geir means "spear" in the wolf-kin language makes you wonder whether he claimed the name after the fact, or simply took to the weapon as a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. Either way, you can he is invested in what he says. His gentle drumming stops. His face becomes solemn.

"I can use them, you know," he utters in a low growl, suddenly more menacing than you expected. Your eyes dart to the pair of longspears. "Both at the same time." He stands, leaving his drum on the ground. He turns away from you, digging into his pack. You instinctively lean forward. "And blind-folded, if necessary," he boasts. You lean back once more, convinced of his words, waiting patiently for him to turn around again.

When he does, he tosses a small wooden box beside you. It bears a slit on one face and no other discernible opening. Shaking it, you hear the clanking of many objects inside. You ask what it's for.

"My payment," he says, sitting, returning to his drum. "For the information I will provide you. I am a broker of portends, not some simple crackpot fool as you think me to be." The statement catches the breath in your throat. "I know the future of this night. You will not value this knowledge unless you have to pay for it. Now, make your payment and let's get things moving along." His eyes widen as he stares at you soberly. "Time is short."

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Kaawa by the Way

As you march along the trail, fallen pine cones crunching beneath your feet, the tall trees towering above you, the sound of trickling water meets your ears; your first sign that Kaawa is near. Soon after, you come upon the characteristic piles of stone that flank the trail, the cairns standing both as gate and sentinel for what lies beyond. The trail continues past the cairn, but you take the less-traveled path through the underbrush. The air turns crisp, and clear, and you know that out into the wood just a little more is the spring that supplies the inhabitants of the thorp.

Only just before you emerge from the green does the burbling of the spring give way to another sound. No, many sounds: many people laughing at the same time, the trill of a tinflute, a boastful voice, and then a melodic response. As you pass between the small, sturdy houses from behind, you smell the sweet, nutty wafts of a food vendor selling honeyed pine nuts. You enter the clearing proper and see a simple stage that has been built out of cloven trunks where an acrobat deftly flips several times before feigning a botched landing. The small gathering of local folk laugh in concert again. Your heart lifts: you've reached Kaawa by the Way.

Mani, Draconian Monk

Short in stature, but with long legs, Mani cuts an almost frog-like figure among the other draconians of the Iguanar horde. At a drunken glance, some might mistake her for some overgrown Ranai, if it weren't for her thick hide of frosted scales and tiny, squinting, articulated eyes. Always drawn to a more traditional form of dress, she can frequently be seen practicing the forms of her Scorpion Style—an impressive demonstration of the discipline she gained from long years of study—in the Temple of Hibernation under the sands of the Akkedis Desert.

No stranger to secrets, Mani safeguards the location of her daughter, the result of a youthful dalliance with a draconian archer from another tribe. So suddenly was their passion kindled those many years ago that neither had even given the other their name before their union had reached its climax and they were obliged to return to their homelands. Mani laid the egg in her mother's cave, never telling her what had happened, and for a time she happily thought forward to the day she could meet the offspring of her unexpected love. But what was happiness soon turned to despair.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

:: Random NPC—Oyibo, Leonian Wunderkind ::

Oyibo (“White”)
by Wm Jay Carter III, 6/11/16
a leonian

Race: Leonian
Age: Middle-Aged
Gender: Male
Stature: Tall
Physical: Narrow Shoulders
Outwardly: Enraged
Inwardly: Embarrassed
Profession: Law Enforcement
Magic: Wunderkind—Love/Enmity
Catchphrase: “You dare to enter the den of the Kahina, infidel scum!?”

Entering the forest clearing at last, you cross the threshold between underbrush and polished flagstone. The den of the Kahina spreads out before you in a perfect flat circle. At its center, nearly 50 feet away, a tall leonian male stands, facing away from you. A long, billowing ceremonial cape hangs from his narrow shoulders, as shock white as his albino fur. You take but one more step and his left ear twitches, marking the sound. An instant later a roar rings out across the den and he is upon you in seconds. “You dare enter the den of the Kahina, infidel scum!?” he bellows, bearing down on you, flashing clawed gauntlets of jeweled silver.

Monday, June 29, 2015

:: Random NPC--Forest Marshal Saturnina ::

Forest Marshal Saturnina (“To Sow”)
by Krista Kubie, 6/27/2015

a ranai bulb-lantern bearer
Race: Ranai
Age: Adult
Gender: Female
Stature: Tall
Physical: Broad shoulders
Outwardly: Exuberant
Inwardly: Joyful
Profession: Marshall
Magic: Wunderkind--Enmity/ Love
Catchphrase: “Heeey! You cut that out you crazy...person!”

As you hack and slash and slash and hack your way through the underbrush, you are suddenly halted mid-slash by a shrill exuberant voice. “Heeey! You cut that out you crazy...person!” A tall, braod-shouldered ranai woman swings in from a neighboring copse of trees, nearly tngled in the vine she’s riding. “You just cut through two snakes and a tree that just had it’s four-thousand-three-hundred-and-sixty-first birthday!”

Sunday, June 28, 2015

:: Random Item—Mandeep's Living Nightmare ::

Mandeep’s Living Nightmare
or Dying for Merciful Nirvana
by Wm Jay Carter III, 6/25/15

a grimoire
Books: History
Culture: Sirens
Condition: Dirty, Intact
Color: Pastel Pink
Keyword: Nirvana

The siren guarding the underwater grotto agrees to let you pass only on the condition that you read a passage aloud from a book in her collection. When you agree she selects a volume bound in the hides of pink starfish and slimy with algae. Opening the book you discover that it is a history of one Mandeep, a draconian dendrite who once sought to find release from reincarnation and offer her soul to the void of nothingness.
The passage you select details Mandeep’s final attempt at lasting release—a long off-white gown woven from the tendrils of poisonous jellyfish. Upon entering a lake deep within an undersea grotto, Mandeep’s record says that the dress’ poison would sink into her skin and obliterate her soul, granting her true death. After reading the passage you look up to see the siren gazing at the water of the lake with bitter reminiscence. Taking the book from you again she wordlessly escorts you into the grotto.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

:: Random NPC—Yale, Bórean Dendrite ::

Yale (“Fertile Upland”)
by Wm Jay Carter III, 6/25/15

a bórean
Race: Bórean
Age: Adult
Gender: Female
Stature: Short
Physical: Small Head
Outwardly: Paranoid
Inwardly: Desperate
Profession: Physician
Magic: Dendrite—Awakened
Animal: Lion “Caerwyn”
Catchphrase:You there. Is the Winslie village up ahead? Tell me truths or I will know! Hurry, speak!”

As you leave the Winslie village toward the Dreaming Desert you see a strange sight; out on the horizon a silhouette wavers in the heat. You take it to be a lion, but struggle to understand why it has the upper body of a snouted creature, complete with two massive clawed hands, growing out of its neck. You shake your head, wondering if the sands have already begun to take hold on your mind. Regardless, the silhouette is fast approaching.
When the beast reaches you at last, your eyes correct themselves—it is not one beast but two. The snouted creature turns out to be a bórean with an exceptionally small head. The mole-woman reins in her snow-white mount and hails you from a cautious distance. “You there. Is the Winslie village up ahead? Tell me truths or I will know! Hurry, speak!”