Valak Raum, The Harrowing Blade: Act One, Scene Two

Raum stumbled from the portal in a daze, a brilliant light blinding him and a bitter chill wind biting at his flesh. From behind him his remaining followers staggered out to join him. Shielding his eyes Raum adjusted to the light and took in his surroundings. A snow strewn mountain peak, a rapidly fading portal, unstable energies lashing from its collapsing form into the cracks that spiderwebbed across the gateways obsidian surface. His followers milled around, confused, cursing, drawing weapons on each other as they stumbled into each other. He stared at them, their forms familiar yet diminished, a far off memory of those he had been fighting alongside only moments before. He stared at his own hands, slick with blood, his twin sickle blades glistening in the light. They felt heavier than he remembered. The cracking of crisp virgin snow drew his gaze… 

Trudging towards them a group of hulking fur clad warriors, each bearing heavy blades and bolt throwers, their dull armour contrasting against the brilliant snow. Their leader began barking orders in the Azyrite tongue, and a volley of bolts hurled at Raum and the others, followed by a bellowing charge. Nur and three of Quatis’ attendants were struck down, the bolts throwing the lesser mortals back like rag dolls, while Nur took two in the heart and one in the head, dropping to her knees before collapsing into the snow. Raum himself barely managed to side step a bolt aimed at his head, and then an axe thrown by one of the dull brutes, which ended up lodged in Brosts neck and collar with fatal force.

The warrior that threw the axe barreled into Raum, lifting and carrying him till he smashed against the gate, leaving Raum winded and dazed. The warrior went to pummel Raum, but his fist met stone instead, Raum shifting aside and out of the warriors grasp. The warrior spun and wrenched his axe from Brosts remains. Raum twirled his blades in anticipation, eying up the brute as anarchy broke out around them. He was a sight to behold. This was no mortal, his size, his strength, far beyond even the strongest of Raums mortal opponents. A vast bear skin cloak framed his form as he stood in a wide combat stance. On his head he wore a helm fashioned in the form of a mortal’s face with a bear head atop it, a harsh and inelegant attempt, but solid looking. And all about his garb and armour he bore the marks and sigils of the mortals God King, of the wretched Sigmar. Raum wondered to himself how Sigmar had wrought such warriors, and where had they been when he was carving his way through the Ghurish kingdoms loyal to the God King? They would have been such a lovely distraction from the pitiful offerings that threw themselves in his path. The warrior roared and swung his axe at Raum, cleaving the air in a wide arc as Raum stepped back. Raum countered by pirouetting around him and sweeping his own blade out and through the back of the brutes neck, taking his head off.

Before it could even hit the ground a thunderous crack of lightning arced from the warriors form and into the sky in a blinding flash, leaving Raum stunned and somewhat intrigued. He strode between two more that had laid low Mae’is, Ji and a handful of his mortals. As they turned to meet him, Raum buried his blade deep in the gut of one, and brought down the other with a high blow that sheared her in two. Two more flashes of lightning speared up around Raum, with more being added to the display as his remaining followers dispatched the others. The attack had been short but brutal. Fully a third of his remaining followers lay dead in the snow, their blood running and swirling through it, turning it shades of crimson and cherry pink, while the hollow remains of their opponents left no such visceral treats for the eye. 

A few meters from the gate the charred corpses of a group of mortals ringed one of the warriors remains, they had clearly been crawling all over him when one of them stuck the fatal blow. Quatis was leant over a dead gryph hound, one hand deep in its chest and bloody knife in the other. Raum knew these beasts, native to Azyr, and often seen where Azyrites ventured and settled. But this was not Azyr. He was certain, he felt it in his bones. Wherever this place was it did not look or feel like the domain of the God King, though there was an oppressive force that bore down on him and his followers, draining them of their strength. Raum had slain countless champions of the other gods and often by the score, and all as vital and strong as these lightning born. Yet he and his followers struggled with a handful, Raum himself being taken aback by the attack of the first brute. What was this place, and why was it having such a deleterious effect on them all? The only certainty they had was that they would not be returning through the gate. The force of Raums impact having cracked it enough to cause one side to collapse as the fighting ceased. They could only go forward, down the mountain and into this new land. The thought of the challenges ahead managed to elicit a blood stained smile from Raum. He dearly hoped that these lightning born were only a taster of this new realms offerings. His quest to find the Dark Prince may have been marred by the efforts of others, but he felt that this was still the right path. Such a task should challenge those who seek their god, to show their dedication and in the effort gain his blessings and boons. Yes, this is where he needed to be…

The Shadowglade of Lingelad

Amongst the aelves of Yss, the mention of Lingelad equally conjures feelings of hope, despair, exultant praise, and calls of damnation.

Lingelad is the ancient throne glade of Yss, and a union of three distinct aspects. First were the sylvaneth and their groves, they guarded the ancient forests at Alarielle’s behest when Yss was young. Then came the noble houses of the aelves, wandering the realms after their split from Alarielle, seeking to make amends for their actions. During the Cyanth’arhain, a time before the sundering of the Azyrite Realmgate, the aelves were able to forge an alliance with the sylvaneth against a resurgent plague of beastmen and other chaotic creatures intent on despoiling the forest and glades they called home. 

For an age they stood side by side, going from allies of convenience to kin, building symbiotic groves and glades to shelter in from the horde. It is during the waning years of this period that the third aspect arrived, the kurnothi, their wild hunts appearing from nowhere during battle, harrying the chaotic beasts with blade and bow till nothing but meat and gristle littered the forest floors. The kurnothi’s uncompromising savagery helped deliver the killing blow to the chaos hordes that sought to infest the land. As with the sylvaneth and the aelves, the kurnothi soon took up a place within the union, although an aloof one as the sentinels of worldwoods paths, hunting intruders and watching the borders for threats. 

A golden period emerged from the bloodshed, the various groves and glades rooting themselves in the land, taking titles and forming bonds across Yss. Lingelad became the center of this union, a throne tree seeded with magics offered by each group at the heart of the glade. Each group chose three representatives for each major aspect of their culture, warrior, spiritual, and civil, who in turn had three advisors from each group. The equilibrium they created ensured the seclusion and safety of their kind for centuries, and that beast, orruk, and the savage tribes of man feared the deep woods. 

Unfortunately such golden times were short. When jealous tribes of men united to destroy a golden realm created by Azyrite colonists in an age past, they took the heinous action of corrupting and shattering the realmgate that linked to Azyr. In doing so they created a rift through which an apocalyptic horde dedicated to the gods of chaos poured into the realm. Their actions also rendered the other realmgates across Yss either inert, corrupted, or shattered entirely, creating smaller breaches into Yss. With chaos resurgent once more, the beast’s numbers grew exponentially, threatening Lingelad and all they had built.

The war that came upon them made those of the Cyanth’arhain seem insignificant in comparison. The beasts allied with mortals and demons, cutting though long coveted regions with rapacious bloodletting and savagery. Glades fell to axe and fire, sylvaneth remains used to fuel pyres onto which aelves were sacrificed, and the kurnothi rendered into impromptu feasts. The nobles of Lingelad sent out raiding forces to distract the hordes closing in on vulnerable glades and groves, while evacuating all they could to the throne glade. But even this felt futile, for every glade saved, one was lost, its people scattered and hunted. The hordes marched ever closer to Lingelad, using fel magics to breach the worldwoods paths so they might strike at the heart of the throne glade. These breaches cost the kurnothi dearly to repel. 

Eventually the council chose to undertake a dangerous ritual that would ensure their survival, but at the cost of their connection to the rest of Yss. They would close the paths, hide them with potent obscurations, and create cursed groves so inimical to life that even their own kind could never traverse them as long as the magics remained in place. The ritual itself unleashed a tremendous amount of energy into the worldroot, planting seeds of itself across Yss, as well as doing as they planned. Lingelad simply disappeared, lost to the outside world. The aelves, sylvaneth and kurnothi that survived beyond its borders singing lamentations about its loss, and in time, many cursed its name for abandoning them to face their doom alone. However their doom did not arrive. The chaotic forces broke, sundered by hordes of iron clad orruks that pursued them through the rift, torn apart from within due to the inherent nature of chaos and its followers, and driven back by coalitions of desperate defenders from the rest of Yss’s inhabitants. Lingelads gambit was, ultimately, unnecessary.

In the modern period, those areas touched by the magics used to sever Lingelad have continued to trap, curse and consume those that wander within their confines. Areas that sane man and beast avoid at all costs. But of late tales of these areas have started to change, with trapped figures walking free long after disappearing, the darkness dissipating and of creeping blood briars receding. But most scintillating of the tales are those telling of great hunts roaring forth from them and dragging away creatures stalking the woods at large, or of shadowy archers slaying roving orruk bands from high up in the trees. Many think these tales fanciful, but many a noble of the Grunvale and the Northern Kingdoms has come across their inhuman quarry dispatched with apparent ease in a forest clearings close to these ill beggoten places , with surgical decapitations and pinpoint accurate arrows in the most vulnerable of spots. There are even some talking of wandering aelves bearing the sigil of Lingelad wandering the ‘Vale, seeking their lost kin. Naturally I will look into these tales and see if there’s any veracity to the claims. To meet one of my ancient kinfolk would be most fascinating….

~ Thaltha Ylvanas, Author of “Ylvanas Concise Aelven History of Yss”, daughter of the Dra’nuin Grove of the Mere March.   

Harakin the Pale

Harakin the Pale, aka the Pale Butcher, an example of Bestia Bovigor Superior, commonly known as the Bullgor.

Harakin the Pale is a particularly ferocious example of Bovigor Superior, his rage and bloodlust having secured his position as a favoured subordinate of Budahks, leading the most savage beasts of the herd. There are only a few accounts of Harakin beyond his time at Budahks side.  

The earliest reference to an albino example of Bestia Bovigor Superior was noted amongst the villages and towns on the alpine borders shared by the Free Shires and the Vesentaal League. A lone creature stalking amongst the forests and valleys, attacking caravans and travellers across the region. Always alone, never with any other beastmen at his side. However these tales suddenly stopped and those travelling the roads of the region breathed a sigh of relief. 

The next account comes from the city of Kul Sahir, and it’s fighting pits. Tales of a great pale beast known as Harakin began circulating, a slave creature of unbridled rage proving to be the most challenging combatant the city had seen in years. His inclusion in the arenas resulted in vast crowds and even greater amounts of coin. His rampages through lesser slave warriors being a spectacle of blood and gore. Through these displays of wanton bloodshed he earned his name, Harakin, a term in the bastardised dark tongue of Kul Sahir that translates to “butcher”, “savage” and “red maw”. Accounts of his prowess from Kul Sahir remained steady for nearly a decade and then a calamity struck the city. 

A mass breakout of slave beasts occurred, ravaging the populace, freemen, warrior and nobility alike. Creatures of all kinds stalked through the city slaughtering anything they could find. The most terrible of feral monsters took a bloody toll on the city guards as they attempted to contain them, while a large cadre of beastmen and mutants butchered their way to freedom in the countryside beyond the city walls, the Pale Butcher at their head. For nearly a decade after, the slave raids by the forces of Kul Sahir abated as they fought a bloody war against the freed beasts; the rampaging monsters carving out territories for themselves amongst the rugged lands surrounding Kul Sahir, and Harakins mongrel herd hurting Kul Sahir in any way it could. 

Settlements, patrols, caravans, both slave and trade, all fell to their blades. After eight bloody years the coordinated attacks dwindled, and reports of the Pale Butcher leading them ceased. None of Kul Sahirs populace cared why, only that it had. With the cessation of these attacks Kul Sahir was able to return to slaving with vigor, ranging far and wide to restock its pits and markets. 

A few years later, tales of a savage pale beast amongst the mass of Budahks great herd started to emerge. A frothing berserker unleashed like a great hunting hound to ravage and rampage through enemy lines and sow confusion. He was second through the gates at Utenstead, his master having personally breached the gate, but he was first into the mass of it’s surprised defenders. Since then his bloody ledger has grown, as has the number of lunatic followers that accompany him into the fray. Few can withstand such a creature, a vast pale form motivated by pure rage. To stand in its way is to invite certain doom….. 

~ Filib Stjerne, Scholar of Theriology at the Learning Halls of Esel-Din. Author of “The Superior Hunter’s guide to the Beastly Mind. A cultural and psychological treatise on the Gor-kin”

The Raspel

An example of Bestia Raspestis Caerban, Raspel in Deiran and common, Caerban in Old Nythric.

Raspel are another widespread bestial species seen across Yss. However some of the largest populations can be found amongst the hills of Deira and Nyth Mor. These vile pests nest in vast labyrinthine warren systems carved into hillsides. Anywhere between twenty to thirty Raspel will occupy an average warren, but it’s not unheard of for multiple joined warren systems to house up to a hundred of them. 

Physically an individual Raspel is of little concern for most people, their only real advantage being speed over short distances. Beyond this that are individually quite cowardly when confronted. However in larger numbers they can be quite a challenge to deal with. They quite quickly become frenzied and are emboldened to act in a vastly different manner to when they are on their own. 

The Raspel are generally a pest to rural communities, often stealing crops and trinkets from farmsteads. But Raspel on the hunt are anything but a minor pest. A pack of Raspel area real threat to isolated farms and villages. They will terrorize the inhabitants at dusk, creating all manner of noise and din beyond the reach of ranged arms in order to rattle their prey. Then once the sun has set they venture into the village or the farmstead, ransacking anything they can get into and dragging away whatever they can pilfer. Most villagers and farmers will lock themselves away in their homes and hope that is all they want. 

Unfortunately they often spend this time trying to find an entry point into the homes and searching for a weak target to drag back to the warren. They have a particular predilection for stealing away babies and young children, often by distracting the rest of the family while one or more of them makes entry into the home to secure their prize. Their probing and planning usually occurs over a number of nights till they either achieve their goal or realise their targets are too challenging. At this point they will melt away and either wait for another opportunity a few weeks later, or simply trek to another location rich in possibilities.

Total eradication of these pests is the only way to ensure an area isn’t plagued by them again. Because if only a couple of them escape and survive, the problem can quickly return after a few seasons.   

~ Filib Stjerne, Scholar of Theriology at the Learning Halls of Esel-Din. Author of “The Superior Hunter’s guide to the Beastly Mind. A cultural and psychological treatise on the Gor-kin”

The Blutvolk

An example of Bestia Blutvolk, the Blutvolk in common.

The Blutvolk can be found across Yss in many colourings and ranging in size from the height of an average man, to towering monstrosities capable of tearing a house down. Blutvolk are highly territorial, hunting over a vast range that they have marked. Initially Blutvolk can be found in tight knit packs, but the more success they have, the larger they grow, with pack leaders growing to prodigieous sizes and becoming more far aggressive. This often leads to  internal conflict as the lead Blutvolk eliminates challengers and culls weak blood, and it’s not unheard of for them to simply slaughter their whole pack in a rage leaving them as the undisputed master of their territory. In this state the Blutvolk is most problematic, as they fear little and will attack anything and everything within their territory. Villages and towns, travelling caravans of merchants and seasoned soldiers, all learn to fear the lone Blutvolk, as left unchecked the creature will simply carry on reaping the rewards of being the lone apex predator. Those left for a decade or two are taller than a man on horseback, and easily capable of tearing the mounts head clean off with little effort. When they have reached this size it takes a concerted effort to hunt and eliminate, as the lesser arms that most militias and rural hunting parties are equipped with are of little concern to such a beast.

Yss have many tales and myths involving Blutvolk, many detailing heroic hunters slaying the rampaging beast after it had ravaged the land and consumed a number of men, women, and children. One contemporary story within the Grunvale details the tale of a lone Forrester slaying the beast that wiped out his village and family, having stalked the beast for months he finally cornered it and split the creatures head in two after a gruelling blood soaked duel. 

Another mythological tale comes from Cathairs distant past detailing the Vargenskung, or the King of Wolves. It details a Blutvolk of mountainous size, as tall as the pines that litter Cathairs hills and mountains, a beast capable of swallowing a man whole, armour and all. The whole of Cathair was its territory, as less would never satiate its hunger. Every creature in Cathair feared it, as nowhere was safe. Eventually the ancient tribes of Cathair banded together and sought allies capable of assisting them. From the mountains came a band of Fyreslayers relishing the chance to kill such a beast, particularly when such a large bounty had been offered. The battle was long and bloody, as these things usually are, and only ended when the woodland spirits themselves chose to attack those defiling their forest. The beast was eventually slain by an enraged treelord thrusting a felled pine through its chest like a spear. The Fyreslayers chose to fight against the spirits as they distrusted such creatures, while the tribesmen knew that laying down their arms would appease them and show they meant no harm to them. The tribeman walked out of the forest, but not a single Fyreslayer. Their fury and pride led them to a pointless end.

There are, as I have mentioned a great many variations of the Blutvolk across Yss, and with a staggering number of local names for this creature, far too many to list here in their entirety. But they all share the same lupine features, from Nyth Mor to the Shénmì Isles. Some may have smoother coats and alternate patternation, but they all share the same behavior patterns. Their actively predatory nature makes them a priority for eradication, because a pack left to their own devices can quickly become tomorrow’s nigh unstoppable rampaging beast.                                                                                                                     

~ Filib Stjerne, Scholar of Theriology at the Learning Halls of Esel-Din. Author of “The Superior Hunter’s guide to the Beastly Mind. A cultural and psychological treatise on the Gor-kin”

The Ursek

An example of Bestia Ursek, the Ursek in Deiran, the Orzek in Arturan.

Native to the northern reaches of the Grunvale and beyond, the Ursek has a particularly fearsome reputation. The Ursek are often found roaming mountain passes and the darkest parts of ancient forests in relative solitude, only gathering in numbers when the need arises. These creatures are a mass of muscle and dense layers of body fat, which combined with their unnaturally rugged hide, affords them a great deal of resilience to to the average blade and spear. To stumble across the site of an Ursek attack is a sight of pure horror. Corpses torn apart, rib cages crushed and opened up like potted meat, limbs and innards strewn around while smashed and gnawed heads sit atop twisted necks. Little can stop one of these creatures when they attack, and nigh on impossible to stop if they are enraged.

The heavily wooded and mountainous areas of northwestern Deira,The Kingdom of Arthtir and the Cantons of Cathair play host to sizable numbers of Ursek and their smaller cousins the Urczarn, with Arthtir having a long standing tradition of their nobility hunting Ursek and Urczarn as a rite of passage. Thankfully the Ursek are isolated to the north, with only small groups of Urczarn occasionally being encountered in the southern mountains of the Grunvale.

The term Orzek is the earliest name for these creatures, originating amongst the isolated ancient tribes of Arthtir millennia ago, before it was carried south by Deiran traders and morphed into its current form. While the Ursek is noted as existing in the south during those times, it was such a rarity that it only appeared anecdotally in local myths and tales. Whereas the tribes of Arthtir had such regular and protracted encounters with the Ursek and Urczarn that they quickly formalised their names, with them entering their everyday lexicon and as an ever present threat. To this day the people of Arthtir stand against these creatures as their ancient ancestors did, using heavy spears to hold them at bay while warriors with jagged picks and serrated axes tear at the beasts flesh.

Thankfully I have only encountered one of these creatures on my travels, which was one too many despite my endeavors to catalogue such creatures. A truly terrifying sight, its blood caked brown furred mass thundering into our caravan while we were traversing the snow laden forests on the border Deira and Arthtir. It tore open two of my hired guards within seconds. The only reason I and the rest of our group made it to our destination was thanks to me prudently hiring a number hunters from Arthtir, all working as guides during a harsh winter due to there being little quarry at home to feed their families. Two of the hunters fell to the creature along with six other hired swords, leaving ten armed men slain by the creature, and seven other members of our caravan joining them. Were it not for those hunters I am sure I would not be sat here recounting that most traumatising of experiences.

~ Filib Stjerne, Scholar of Theriology at the Learning Halls of Esel-Din. Author of “The Superior Hunter’s guide to the Beastly Mind. A cultural and psychological treatise on the Gor-kin”

Malphus Seir, The Pale King, Lord of Kul Zhahiir

The Pale King sits amongst Yss’s fel pantheon, each an embodiment of chaos in one form or another. One of two orbiting avatars of chaos undivided, The Pale King and The Beast take a central position in the pantheon of the avatars. They each represent the raw nature of chaos, neither favouring one aspect of its quintessence nor the gods formed and nourished by it.

The Pale King’s legend rose at the end of the Age of Chaos, when malevolent minds sundered one of the realmgates and a horde of untold horrors swept through Yss wiping out civilisations and driving the primitive mortal tribes into desperate acts of survival and heroism. The first tale linked to him recounts the end days of the fel forces rampage. During this time the tribes of men and the remnants of Yss’s other people managed to hold the line against the hordes. Relief came from unexpected quarters, it was during this period that the first Orruks arrived in Yss. It is believed that they pursued the horde through the diminishing gateway and set about them with relish, breaking the back of the invasion and nearly annihilating each other.

The native tribes that had sundered the realmgate had run rampant across the land they coveted tearing down the idols and infrastructure of interlopers sent to “enlighten” them and the rest of Yss. Within this broken kingdom The Pale King rose from amongst the ash and blood and led his followers into battle against the tribes that were carving up the kingdom. Within a scant few years he had driven them all into another coalition, one where they sought to end his ceaseless persecution of their tribes. They chose to draw him to bloodied ground, the site they had shattered the first army of the interlopers. Unfortunately for them he was quite well prepared. He had turned many of the rampaging beasts unleashed by the gates sundering to his will, either through mystic means or through lash and chain. They rampaged through the tribal horde gutting the heart of their defenses while he and his followers waded in and cut down their kings, chiefs and shamans. By the end the beasts tired and wandered away from the battlefield, their purpose served and their appetites satiated. The Pale King rounded up the surviving tribesmen and had them all executed and disposed of. This was the first step on his apothesis to the creature described in the modern accounts.

Like so many of the fel horde that resided within the desolation we know as the Sundered Wastes, The Pale King carved out a new kingdom and built a home for himself and his followers, Kul Zhahiir. Few descriptions exist, but those that do talk of jagged obsidian towers, a pit of darkness, and a vast impossible fortress suspended above it. We know more of his deeds across Yss than we do the nest in which he resides.

The Pale Kings Seal

The Pale King carries an ancient shield along with his favoured weapon, Scourge. This spear is noted down as being in his possession from the earliest accounts, along with his shield. However their description has changed with each account over the millenia. Scourge has changed the most, from an average but sturdy spear into an object of profane power. Its original steel long gone, replaced with what the fel tribes call Blackstone and we call Wyrdstone, Witchstone or Warpstone. Those killed by it are turned to ash or rot away immediately, and those that are merely wounded can suffer all manner of fates, from persistent searing pain, sudden virulent infections, maddening blood poisoning, to rapid mutation and disfigurement. Even when The Pale King is banished and his army broken, Scourge and his shield always make their way back to Kul Zhahiir and into his clutches.

The name Malphus Seir is the earliest name that any scholar can associate with The Pale King, a name he gave to a foolish amateur mage dabbling with shards of Witchstone in a folk tale from the Al’Arkan region. Since then there have been variations of this name in numerous tales of his deeds. But it is unlikely this is his true name, for knowing a demonic entities true name gives you power over them, and none would be foolish enough to openly offer it. Who he truly is and was is lost to time, and only a mad man would try and dig that deep.

Excerpt taken from “A Compiled Grimoire of The Fel, The Demonic, and the Heretic” by Marus Von Helmar, Witch Hunter”

The Koga

An example of Bestia Chelona Koga, or Koga in common.

The Koga are related to the forest dwelling Holzkröte of the Grunvale and the Sangon of Ilshana. These hard shelled amphibious bestials inhabit the exotic lands to the west, from the muddy rivers that nourish the Haanjagala and its mangroves, to the crisp clean streams and rivers of the Shénmì Isles. 

Koga to the layman would appear to live in isolation, however they actually live in large herds spread out over an exceptionally large area. They dig hollows out beneath trees and under river banks and line them with treasures and the carefully preserved skulls of their prey. The Koga’s predatory habits shift seasonally. In winter they hunt alone, grabbing whatever food they can, from passing wildlife, pets from nearby villages, or lost travellers. In the spring they gather together and ravage isolated communities, taking anything and everything they can. They are particularly fond of shiny objects, particularly gems, silver, and gold. They will often roughly hammer bits of precious metals and gems into items they have scavenged to wage war with. Nobody is entirely sure why, it may be a display of power and their prowess as a raider, or maybe they just enjoy them for aesthetic reasons. 

Koga vary in colour between the Haanjagala and the Shénmì Isles. The Koga of the Haanjagala and it’s mangroves have flesh in shades of green and brown, with deep brown and black shells. While the Koga of the Shénmì Isles have a more etheric quality, many being albinos from their flesh to their shells. Some have shells with pearlescent qualities, while some have shells bearing patterns that look like they are made of pure silver. Beyond the albino Koga some have other pale hues, light yellows, purples and pinks.  

Koga are challenging opponents, being far swifter and agile that one would expect. Couple this with their natural defense and they pose quite a threat to an unprepared combatant. The best chance of taking one down in combat is to cripple their legs and dispatch them while they are on the ground. Otherwise I would suggest a sturdy crossbow or handgun, as their shells are easily pierced by the force of the projectiles. Keeping them at range is always preferable to a close encounter…….  

~ Filib Stjerne, Scholar of Theriology at the Learning Halls of Esel-Din. Author of “The Superior Hunter’s guide to the Beastly Mind. A cultural and psychological treatise on the Gor-kin”

The Hircyne

An example of Bestia Caprigor Hircynus, or Hircyne in common.

The Hircyne along with Baran and the Stier, are the most widespread and most common bestial forms across Yss. The Hircyne share features with domesticated goats, and have a wide range of colouration and forms, dependent on location and climate.  

Belligerent and stubborn, Hircyne are a significant threat to any that might encounter them. Unlike the Baran, the Hircyne find no issue eating bones, tendon and anything else their prey may be wearing. There are many examples of deceased Hircyne specimens with buttons, buckles, coins and other such detritus in their stomachs, and showing no ill effects such as inflammation or ulcers.  

Hircyne, Baran and Stier can often be found in mixed herds, though it is not unheard of for them to live in groups made up exclusively of their own kind. One common trait amongst these groups is their pride in their horns and their disdain of those without. They treat hornless bestials as lesser than their ungor kin, even if the bestial is equal or greater in the natural order (Though they will keep such notions to themselves if the creature is far larger than them). They will only work with other bestials if they see a significant threat or if an alpha forces them to accept the arrangement, often with a few examples made of any with dissenting opinions.

The modus operandi of the Hircyne, Baran and Stier is well covered by numerous tales, personal accounts and historical treatise. For their actions are innumerable and horrifying. No corner of Yss has remained untouched by their kind, the tales from Esel and the Grunvale as a whole would fill volumes on their own. No man, duardin or aelve alive has not heard of their vile actions, nor unacquainted with their foul visage.    

~ Filib Stjerne, Scholar of Theriology at the Learning Halls of Esel-Din. Author of “The Superior Hunter’s guide to the Beastly Mind. A cultural and psychological treatise on the Gor-kin”

The Feuergeist

An example of Bestia Feuergis, the Feuergeist in common.

The Feuergeist reside across Yss, lurking in damp cave systems and secret hollows in swamps and marshlands, and many found in the sewers and waterways of Yss’s larger towns and cities. These vicious man eaters are true horrors, stalking abroad at night to snatch away victims to consume, children and young women being their preferred choice. These creatures are perfectly adapted for nocturnal hunting, they appear to have perfect night vision, and their dark oily skin acting as near perfect camouflage in the shadows of their preferred hunting grounds.

While vicious when hunting, they are far more terrifying when defending their homes, becoming frenzied and inured to pain. They will lurk in the darkest shadows of their homes, stalking the interloper before striking with claw and blade to tear out the victims throat or dismember them alive. The entrances to their homes are often littered with the remains of unwanted guests, from wandering adventurers to wild beasts. 

Fully capable of killing with just their claws, Feuergeist are always found carrying a blade made from bone with crude symbols carved into the handles, over which they wrap dried intestine tightly. It is theorised that these daggers have not only a practical use, but a religious one to the Feuergeist. Possibly that the act of the kill and the consumption of the flesh is viewed as an offering to their fel deity (Or deities) and an act oneness with them?

Beyond their daggers they will fashion larger weapons from other skeletal remains. A common one being an assemblage of bone that they strap to their forearm as you would a shield, but with a variety of teeth and horns protruding from it so it can be used offensively. It is quite effective at close quarters, particularly in the narrow confines of their homes. They will often reuse helmets and other light pieces of armour if they feel their prey may pose a heightened threat to them and their kin.

Feuergeist are often hunted despite their fierceness, as many that dabble in magic and shamanic rituals, both noble and fel, wish to procure certain glands and the pelts for various rituals. One of the most common is a concoction made from a gland in the base of the creatures skull. This gland is believed to be the source of the Feuergeists heightened abilities when defending its home. When consumed a warrior gains the same ability for a while, becoming frenzied in combat, gaining increased strength and ignoring pain that would disable a normal man. Though this isn’t without risk, many die from their injuries, while others simply keel over and die post battle due to being overwhelmed by the concoction. But those that survive their first use seem to gain a measure of resistance to the negative effects of the concoction, becoming more focussed and aware, and a tempering of their fury when used again.

While I believe that, as with all bestials, that the Feuergeist should be dealt with in an unwavering fashion, I believe that those hunting them to procure ritual items are needlessly provoking these creatures as attacks increase four fold after successful hunts. Their greed and lust for martial recognition comes with a high cost to the innocent.         

~ Filib Stjerne, Scholar of Theriology at the Learning Halls of Esel-Din. Author of “The Superior Hunter’s guide to the Beastly Mind. A cultural and psychological treatise on the Gor-kin”