CHAPTER 2

2 DRUIDS UNLOCKED

WAR COUNCIL

Kha’al and Syndra survived their escape from The Capital, and met a Druid, of the faction that wants to awaken The Old Gods, to fight something truly horrible coming across the ice. Now it is your turn to pick your two favorites:

This poll has ended (since 29 days).
The Fanatic | Turn Skeletons into allies… at least for the moment!
37.14%
Mist of Darkness / Dread Mist | Cancel all Skulls for both sides
23.25%
Doppelganger | Gain Druid Powers TWICE
20.63%
The Martyr | Send your troops into a self-destructive rage
18.98%

*Please note that we have to playtest these thoroughly, so they might change a bit.

Below are the stories written by fellow rebels, to continue the tale of Kha’al and Syndra. Click on the name to read their contribution to the Lore of Azuhl. Please keep writing this story with us!

“…we demand your aid.” These words echoed from everywhere. Kha´al didnt know how he could help druids or how they could help him. He was just a soldier, trying to survive and live from one day into another. “You need training.” one druid said. “Once you will start training you will feel the power floating through you.” “Ok” Kha´al was to tired to disagree these akward looking and timeless figures of magic, something that has been called often a druid. On the next day the training started. A rainy and windy day. And suddenly the world of Azuhl changes its colours and habitat: Immediately thunderbolts everywhere: Hailstorm, and branches fissured the surface. The leftovers were a jagged region. A Storm as heavy and cold Khaa´al has never seen before. he swore himself: if this is over he had to drink some really strong mixture of Durenghart´s beer.

As quickly as the storm came, it was over again. And suddenly he saw 2 gray silhouettes coming in his way. As they came nearer, he realised that one of him was a manlike creature and the other one was femallike. Each time they touched each other the sky thundered with a huge rumble. Kha´al was, completely wet and cold and waited. “Kha´al. We choose you as our fellow” the male one said. “We will show you the art of druids.” the female one said. And then everything got black. As Kha´al woke up he didnt know perfectly what happened but he feels strong. Stronger than he has ever been before.

Dugpa was no stranger when it came to the spirit realm, but what occurred last night sent ice through her veins. Dugpa was used to reaching out, searching, longing for contact with companions, lost souls, but what had her mind racing was the fact that something reached out to her. Did she witness a vision of some sort, was it a warning of events to come, or teachings of the past? Also what was it that she saw just before she woke up? Dugpa knowing this to be important began trying to recall all that occurred within her dream? Or was it a vision…….

If you asked Yanny this morning there is no way she would have guessed she would be in the situation she found herself in currently. Just this morning she set out for a day of hunting, to her misfortune it was not going well. To this point it was past mid-day and all she managed to kill was a couple measly creatures that would barely cover her for one meal. To her dismay she made a camp to recoup her strength, cook what she killed and bring back something worthy for her clan.

Just as her meal was about ready she suddenly heard crunching footsteps behind her. Normally the highlands are too harsh for your general traders, and someone doesn’t just go for a stroll through the mountains unless they are looking for trouble. Yanny’s best guess is that it was some form of animal. Yanny waited for the creature to get a little closer, then suddenly Yanny spun around with a dagger in hand. To Yanny’s surprise,it wasn’t a creature rather the figure of another woman, slender in stature, covered in tan hides and atop her head was a helm with two thick horns protruding from either side. At the woman’s side was a beautiful inscribed axe that appeared to be made from the same bone material as her horns. Yanny spoke first, “what do you want”? The woman spoke, “to join you by the fire, perhaps a bite to eat”? Yanny would have preferred to fight the woman than to share the small meal she already had, but her honor would not allow her to turn away another in need.

Yanny cautiously and reluctantly welcomed the stranger to a seat at her fire, and gave her one of the two skewers of meat. They ate in silence, Yanny always keeping one eye on her new acquaintance until she couldn’t take it anymore and once again spoke first, “so what brings you up the mountain”? The woman replied, “disciples”. It was only one word but with that word it made Yanny’s skin crawl. What does she even mean by disciples, and who looks for disciples way up here?

Just then Yanny heard more footsteps. She addressed the strange woman in front of her, “more of your friends”? But just as Yanny said that, the stranger rose eyes widened and grabbed her axe. The hair on the back of Yanny’s neck rose, she spun around once again, and this time to her dismay approaching was a skeleton. However there wasn’t just one, but rather a horde of them and they are all heading this way.

Yanny swiftly took out the first skeleton but knew there were many more to come. What is a horde like this doing so far north and so far deep into the mountains? Well regardless Yanny readied her herself, as she did so, the stranger stepped up along her side and snorted. Yanny, confused, took a second glance over at the woman and stated, “I hope you know how to use that axe”.

The horde was upon them Yanny, a skilled fighter, was not having issues taking out some of the foes. At the same time her new fighting companion seemed to be holding her own as well, and seemed to be fighting with the supernatural strength of someone of a much larger stature and girth. Her blows with her axe would not only slice through her enemies but at the same time push them back. Despite all this, it still looked grim. No matter how great of fighters the two women were, quantity in some cases was better than quality. Just then Yanny realized she had been distracted and when that happens on the battlefield that is the last thing you do. She was already engaged with one skeleton and a second was now suddenly upon her. She tried to back peddle to allow for more room for the double engagement, and that is when she tripped. Yanny, now scrambling to get back to her feet with only her dagger to defend her, found herself grappling with one of the skeletons while watching the second coming right at her face with a killing blow.

Just then from nowhere a bright light flashed in front of her face and she thought that was it. This is where I die. Then suddenly she realized what was in front of her face was the most beautiful ornate design she had ever seen on an axe.. AN AXE! The stranger she had met parried the killing blow, ripped off the skeleton holding Yanny down and stepped in front of her as if she was a shield sent by a god to protect her. Yanny now had time to get to her feet and the stranger’s actions seemed to instill a fear into the remaining skeletons, but there was still one issue. The two of them had put up a great fight but they were still heavily outnumbered and at this point exhausted.

Yanny, still looking at a grim situation decided that no matter what, she was going to go down fighting, and not just fighting. But fighting with a friend. The two women looked at eachother with an unspoken understanding and for the third time Yanny broke the silence, “may I at least know your name”? The stranger replied, “They call me The Guardian”. Suddenly a single loud howl came from behind the skeleton horde. The group of skeletons paused and looked behind them. Appearing from almost thin air was a silhouette, first hard to tell what it was but it appeared to be a warg. As if now almost coming out of a mist and into focus Yanny could see what had made the sound. A woman dressed in white furs stood before the skeletons. A warg head on top of hers and her furs wrapped around her as if she was one with them. No weapon in her hand, but her hands were weapons. Cold steel claws extended past her fingers reflecting the sunlight. The horde began to change directions and move towards the new figure but the surprises of the day did not stop there. One…. two…. three….. no four more howls suddenly were let loose.

Two figures approached from the horde’s left and two more figures from the right. All four appeared from almost nowhere just like the first. This time a mix of both men and women, in grey furs and with swords in their hands. The Guardian now acknowledging the four grey figures said a single word, “Disciples” and with that she began to charge the horde. The five warg like figures began to charge as well. Yanny, barely having time to process the situation realized, they now had the numbers and she wasn’t going to miss this fight….

That is when Dugpa’s vision began to fade to darkness and with that a flash. A flash so terrifying it had startled her awake. It looked just like the mysterious white warg figure, but Dugpa knew this was no ordinary warg, maybe even something else. Whatever it was, it was large, very large. Fangs large and sticking out from the jowls, and a snarl that nobody could forget. Also not to mention those eyes, unlike the furs, the face she saw almost felt as if it could see her too. The crystal like blue eyes stared right back at her, and Dugpa felt as if her soul was being contacted. Once again, her veins felt as if they were turning to ice as she realized what she had just met was something very much older and more powerful.

The children gathered in front of the Old One. Was it man or woman? They didn’t know, nor did they much care. They came for the stories, and the Old One had many of them and would share them while sitting on the flat stone it had taken as its own. Looking out through the empty sockets of the stag-skull mask it wore, at the beaming young faces, the Druid smiled to itself.

“Why do you come to pester me again today? Haven’t you chores to do, siblings or pets to look after, parents to obey!? Or is it that you’re here to demand something from me yet again!? What is it this time, bountiful food, fair skies to play under, cool rivers to swim in? Or do you want… a story?”

At this the children cheered, familiar with the Old One’s brusque attitude they weren’t put off with the yelling and knew they just had to wait for the good part.

“What is it you would like to hear?” asked the Old One. A boy in the small audience pipped up: “Where did the Druids come from?”

“Ah, you’re looking for secrets, are you?” The Old One chuckled. “I will tell you the story, but unfortunately it won’t help you hide from your responsibilities.” Looking around at the rapt faces, the druid settled in for the tale.

“It was the time when the Gods fell to the Last Emperor. The Inquisition traveled all the lands looking for those who did not revere their lord and punished them. The druids… those of us who were swift enough, took to the high mountains, deep valleys, dark woods and mighty oceans to find places of refuge and peace. However, even then many were not spared. Little did we know how thorough the Inquisition would be. The Druid Circles became smaller and smaller as one or another of us were found and ‘dealt with’. Now only a few of us remain. Most continue to hide, not willing to risk themselves in the cause of the Rebellion. Some few of us though, would rather see the world again like it once was, when the Old Gods were with us.”

After a moment of silence the boy spoke again: “What’ll happen if the ‘Quizition comes here? Will they take you? Will they hurt us if they find you?”

The Old One shakes their head. “You shouldn’t worry about what will happen if the Inquisition comes to this place in the future.” The Old One thrusts out an arm, pointing over the children’s heads and shouts “BECAUSE THEY’RE HERE NOW!”

All the children jerk around, some with gasps, some with screams. But looking behind them they see nothing but the huts of their village, life going on as it always had. Turning back around gasps and screams were heard once again, for where the Old One sat a large boulder had taken it’s place. As the children grumbled and got up, trudging back to their homes, a hollow chuckling could be heard from deep within the stone. 

Some would say there are rumours about theme, some believe they are legend. But there are also some few out there, that swear they have met them in these dark mysterious times. These myths called druids, our ancestors has telled us about.

There is the story about Lucidia the women with the voice, sounding like blazing waves. So she is also called the Waterwhisperer. Wherever liquid water exists, it obeys her.

Her god is Vaquash the dark Depth. Once, as there was an ocean instead of the endless ice and the deadly horde, you could open your eyes under water and with great luck you could see him. A light blue deep in the dark waters. He controlled the tide and had the might to wash harbours away or grant them plenty food. Is he gone when the ice came? Ask Lucidia, if she really exists.

Then there was the Tale of Kreshnak the corpse eater. No one knows which race he comes from. His skin is made of chitin, his countless eyes look at you, into you, but never focus you. He is where the death is, and where he is, there are maggot like larvae, consuming the bodies of the unlucky ones of the last fight. It sounds like a curse, but don’t run away.

Kreshnak teached us, that you can eat his small maggot babys to satisfy your endless hunger. After you’ve choked down the first, you’ll get a taste for it.

He doesn’t know anything about gods. All that counts is the cycle of life.

« Non » fut la simple réponse de Kha’al.La druidesse, sans surprise leva les yeux sur Kha’al, le regard triste. Ce fut plutôt Kha’al qui fut surpris. Il s’attendait à une réaction. Toutefois, la déception était palpable pour Syndra. Elle empoigna Kha’al par les épaules comme si elle voulait le secouer pour lui rendre la raison mais baisa les yeux et soupira « Vy’rinàh ristan`d fret vitru…. ».

Kha’al la regarda d’un air complétement perduavant de d’apercevoir le regard paniqué de la Druidesse. Une fraction de seconde trop tard, lorsqu’il reposa les yeux sur Syndra, une dague cristalline enfoncée dans son cou. Étrangement, cet instant paru éternel et tellement réconfortant. Son combat était enfin terminé. Et pour une fois, il n’avait pas pris la décision.

“Il ne comprendra que par la vérité… “… fut les dernières paroles qui entendit.

Enfin le calme. Enfin la paix, après ces années de guerres inutiles d’où on perd la raison.

Et pourtant…

Il se réveilla, terrifié, trempé de sueur, lecorps en état de choc. Jamais de sa vie n’avait-il vécu un tel sentiment de panique. Il regarda autour de lui. Syndra et la Druidesse étaient agenouillées près delui, le regard calme. Il porta ses mains à son cou et ne trouva aucune trace decicatrice. Avait-il rêvé? Non…

L’arrière-goût amer d’un voyage lointain lui revientlentement, quelques souvenirs, encore flous. Et cette peur… une peur viscérale comme il n’a jamais connu même sur leschamps de bataille pour des causes perdues. 

Et soudainement…. Tout lui revint.

Il tourna ses yeux paniqués vers la Druidresse,qui lui retourna son regard avec plein de compassion.

“Il a compris … ” dit simplement Syndra.

Kha’al regarda tour à tour la Druidesse et Syndra, incrédule. Et puis, le regard au loin, agard, il soupira « Nakar… »

1: In the time before the Last Emperor, when the lands were still fertile, great forests stretched seemingly without end. The Netherwood, Darkboughs, The Forest of Tears, they covered different territories, but it was said that all woods lived in peace together and were subject to the one Great Bristle Pine. This massive tree was held by some to be a god, bringing pilgrims from over the realms who would place gifts of exotic soils to at it’s roots and pray under it’s shade.

It is said by the Treemother that when the Curse was unleashed, it was the life-force of The Great Bristle Pine that finally quelled the tide, and halted the wave of death. The Tree God can still be seen in the wastes, lifeless yet stalwart, as if it were still watching over all it’s “people”. Now the disciples of the forests follow the Treemother to the last few bastions of wood on an endless task to try and preserve the final Children of the Pine.

Ueki-yo is one such disciple. He will usually be found hanging from a large tree branch with his strong, prehensile tail in an inverted lotus position, meditating and giving his essence to the tree. When he or his charge are threatened, he will fight to the death if need be. Utilizing a sturdy oak staff and strong, focused chi bolts. (Power could be to manipulate chi [bolts] in some way, re-rolls, add a bolt to a blank, add a second bolt to a single bolt roll)

2: High in the mountains, in nearly perpetual cold and ice, the monastery of Ki Tsang Go has stood for time immemorial. Once part of the greater peoples of the north, the acolytes of this inhospitable place have locked themselves away from mankind after being shunned for their worship of He Who Lives Under the Mountain. For many years the acolytes have lived simple lives consisting of meditation, what little food they can coax from the granite floored ground, and martial training exercises used as a form of discipline and worship to their deity. Their faith affirmed whenever He Who Lives Under the Mountain shares his pleasure by making the ground tremble like water, instead of the solid stone it is, the monks of Ki Tsang Go know they have the right of things, and anyone who doubts should be pitied.

Recently the quakes have stopped and strange rumors have come to the monastery. Talk of darkness and cold enveloping the world, and death. Much death. None of this had touched Ki Tsang Go, but in an unprecedented move, the current Mountain Heart, the title given to the leader of the monastery, proposed leading a small band out past their mountain walls to find the truth. Had these things actually occurred? Was this why He Who Lives Under the Mountain was no longer pleased? Answers must be found.

Chi Pang, a young acolyte who had just completed her final Trial of Discipline was one of the first to volunteer for this journey. There was doubt that she should be allowed to leave the monastery, since she had not yet reached her seventeenth summer, but her determination and enthusiasm could not be denied. Despite her large frame and curved, ram-like horns, Chi is light on her hooves, leaping gracefully from outcroppings just barely visible and lading solidly and ready to rebuff an assault on a cliff no smaller than a man’s hand. (Power would be in hit manipulation, similar to the Mountain Heart card. Skulls could be flipped or redirected back to the attacker, denoting her ability to inspire fluid movement during combat.)