Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Youthful Knights of Vep-Ullich

    Within the hinterlands of the Somnocracy of Nat-ul, the Dreaming Tzarate, lie dark woods and darker creatures.  The curious curse of the township of Vep-ullich betrays the danger of meddling with the puissant inhabitants of the forest.

     The Druid of the Leaning Peak commands fear over the region of Vep-ullich.  That beast is a local potentate as fair, callous, and distant as a fat bear in autumn.  Every spring this creature demands one youth or maiden of the surrounding lands, delivered to the base of its mountainous lair on midsummer's day.  It delights in burning civilization and thought from their minds, reducing the sacrifices to wild animalism, bereft of language and symbols.  These feral villagers prey upon local herds and those foolish enough to venture alone at night or attempt to reclaim their kin.  One fell autumn evening, the beasts ransacked the herds of a local lord, seeking stores for the winter.  Craving vengeance upon the Druid, the baron summoned a troope of seven pompous young knights.  Their gay banners snapping in the fall breeze, the procession entered the forests around the Leaning Peak, waving favors from their ladies as the serfs cowered in their villages.  That night, blizzard snow howled, and thunder grumbled about the heights.  It took a fortnight for all the knights to return, naked and scarred.  Each and every man was struck dumb, deaf, and (much to the delight of their lesser relations) impotent.  The same fate now awaits anyone of noble blood who sleeps within sight of the Leaning Peak.

     Without a lord to protect them, the villagers were defenseless against raids upon their herds and fields that fall, but the Druid is not an unjust liege.  During the following calving season, the first brood of seven old men was found amongst the cattle herds, toothless gums sucking at the teats of mother cows.  Tenderly, the serfs cared for them, treating these elders with respect and asking after their families, but they were faced only with idiot drools and babbled motions for more cow's milk.  Within a fortnight, their teeth grew in and, on the first full moon of April, the Druid's wild thralls laid the armour of the pompous young knights at the step of each house caring for the stray old men.  Soon, each elder could speak again, first as a child, then brighter than any serf.  As their hair filled in and coloured, black as a bull's hide, they learned the languages of wind and beast, as well as the kennings of the local wise women.  Four years later, as muscles and guts swelled with strength, they resembled men of middle-age, picking up their swords, lances, and armour with natural talent.  During the fifth year, they triumphed over the neighbouring raiders, seven men driving fourscore or more from the field.  The litter lived together in the lord's abandoned mansion, patrolling the lands of their care-givers and celebrating the turning of the seasons with their adoptive village.

     In the seventh year, the calves of Vep-ullich again had old men amongst them and as they grew into middle-age, the first brood reached their youth.  With another set of protectors for their people, the first litter ventured into the world, returning a decade later as pubescent boys.  They brought back knowledge from the Dreaming Monks, who then dwelt deep within the Murmuring Crags during those days before the Fateful Tzar found the Truth.  At their own instructions, the seven youngest knights imbibed sleeping draughts and, whilst dreaming deeply, were drowned in holy oil by the newer broods.  Each was entombed in brown glass coffins and laid in a crypt at the base of the Leaning Peak.  Every generation since has undergone this process after they pass backwards through puberty, ready to be raised in the service of their Dreaming God.  When called upon a crusade against Awakened, the Youthful Knights of Vep-ullich often bring their preserved elders along, leathery boy-corpses capable of routing legions of unbelievers, proving the power of Pegana Unwaking and the Dreaming Tzarate.

3 comments:

  1. I kinda want to try this idea out as a class, but I've never made one before, so... if anyone has suggestions when trying to draft a new class, for the GLOG or just generally, I'd be glad to hear them!

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    1. It sounds like each time you level up, you move up an age category? No safe retirement for these folks, they die of old age at 5th level!

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    2. I mean, unless you consider being embalmed as a corpse-golem to be used as a weapon by a relatively ruthless empire a form of retirement? But otherwise, the character would eventually die of youth, turning into a baby before shriveling up into a fetus and probably completely dying as an egg, fodder for some bacteria

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