It was a cold morning making movement difficult and sluggish. ‘Are youss making your wayss to way to the human sssettlement?’ one snake asked. ‘I hear they expectsss another attacks from yousss’.
Them voices in my head were all I could hear…. ‘Take their souls! they are more useful when they are….’
Shaking of the voices I hissing loudly, turning slowly, with hatred in my mind, I glared at the snake shouting ‘There are always plenty of humansss to ssslay! and dwarfsss!!, and elfsss!!, I… I have other thingsss on my minds…’
The snake seemed taken back by my remark, raising himself higher on his tail he replied, ‘Well perhapsss latersss then, Humansss make good slavesss, and we alwaysss have a use for ssslavess!’ the snake hissed back, and with he donned his helm and slithered towards the west.
The city streets of Hyssk was quiet, maybe it was due to the lack of warmth, or perhaps that many of the yuan-ti had left their home to seek adventure and war upon the enemies of old. But slithering about the town was rather uneventful. The city held no appeal to me, I had no family here, I was told by the elder snakes that they had perished in raids against the humans and elves many years ago and the elders seemed to be able to tell me more. It actually seemed they didn’t wish to tell me more. I wanted to be a warrior, and slay our enemies so when I was young I found sport in killing the lepers to the north west of the city, but these days the lepers was few, and he found no sport in it anymore and besides, a leper makes a poor slave when parts of him are falling off. The warrior skills never seemed to be my calling, but never the less, I donned armor and slayed all I considered enemy. I had traveled the realms briefly also, border skirmished against Calimport and I also spent some time in Dobluth Kyor, nice place, but cold and underground.
After slithering about the city, I realized I was slithering around in circles with no real destination. I had heard rumors of some mines in the north east of the Calimshan dessert and decided that is was also my time to leave Hyssk, and this time, perhaps forever. I purchased a slave to feed the giant turtle, which is our way of leaving our island, and made my way to the beaches. The sun was beginning to shine and the heat was starting to warm my cold blood. I offered a prayer of thanks to the Yuant-ti goddess of the Sun, Quetzlac and mid prayer I wondered, how do I know of this God? Many strange things were happening to me lately and I didn’t seem to understand any of it.
After a brief wait the ancient dragon turtle arrived and after some satisfaction watching it devour the human slave, I slithered upon its back, curled up and decided to sleep. I would need the energy if I were to journey to the Calimshan.
Then the dreams began…
What looked like a Yuan-ti half breed appeared, except his scales seemed to soak up light, and the skin of his torso seemed to be stretched upon him, he carried a staff with what looked to be a skull of some creature upon it, and he wore a robe that was torn, he hissed and a black forked tongue flicked, it seem to smile and as he leaned forward, he pressed the staff upon my head and hissed…. Remember…. Remember how it used to be….
Turvaul was the name of the immortal silver dragon, which Turvaul once lied upon. Turvaul is the father of all gods, of the land, and of all the races. Turvaul lies dormant in the Great Sea and has been for several million years. In the time in which he slept his scales, spikes, back, and wings have all become overgrown with flora and fauna, creating the landscapes of Turvaul. His scales have turned into forests and jungles, his spikes into mountains, his back into valleys and hills, and his wings into plains and deserts.
Millions of years ago, when Turvaul was still young and alone in the universe, he happened upon the planet of Brena. Turvaul did not know Brena was completely covered in water so he circled the planet several times, trying to find a place to land and rest. Finally, Turvaul passed out from exhaustion and has since lain sleeping on the planet of Brena.
Several thousand years later, two scales fell off the back of the Silver Dragon as he slept. These were no ordinary scales, but two scales from off of his eyelids. Each was bestowed with immense magical power and knowledge. Sentience sprung up from these two scales and Ystiu and Hilth were born. Both were loving brothers who attempted to cultivate the land their father had born into goodness. Ystiu created the Elves and Dwarves, while Hilth created the wild creatures, such as the snake and the mountain cat. When Hilth saw his creations overpowered by the Elves and Dwarves of Ystiu, he became jealous. To prove his worth and craftmanship, Hilth created two races of his own, in an attempt to copy Ystiu. This is how the orcs and minotaurs were born. The orcs were far stronger than the elves, and far more cunning. The Minotaurs also delved underground and became crafty blacksmiths. Hilth finally smiled at his creations.
In the meantime, Ystiu had noticed his own peoples plagued by the creations of Hilth. When Hilth was approached, he lied to Ystiu and attempted to hide his creations. In the meantime, several other gods had sprung up. K'z'k, Ordynai, Jurgen, and Choph had been created as major gods on Turvaul. Hilth was put on trial before his peers and for his foolishness and pride; he had to watch as his creations were destroyed. Hilth, set into isolation and prohibited from creating anything more, became sullen and dangerous. By tainting K'z'k's disposition towards Ystiu, Hilth received some of his powers back to create his offspring again…
‘You’re here… You getting off or you coming back again?’ asked the turtles keeper looking rather annoyed at having to speak to anyone.
‘I’ll be… Thanksss, I will be disembarking, thanksss’
Uncoiling and wondering what had just happened I decided that it was just a strange dream, disembarking as not to upset the keeper I made my way to Viperstongue. I couldn’t help but think about the dream ‘When Hilth was approached, he lied to Ystiu and attempted to hide his creations Hide what creation? The snake? My race? Was this the beginning? Was this what begun the wars? Or was it all just craziness…
Before I knew it I was slithering into the Viperstongue tavern to be greeted by an old troll friend that went by the name of Akur. I had met this troll many years ago in the heat of battle, he was as kind enough to mention I swung a sword like I was waving a spoon, and after killing a few human and elves, gave me some finer tips in how to use a dagger. His words if I recall was more like ‘Snake use dagger, Snake no use sword, Snake become cloak if try use sword like dat!’
Not very discreet but there is nothing discreet about a troll.
‘I hearsss rumorsss about some minesss near here, do you knowsss of thisss place? I asked Akur
‘Nog Nog! Dey be east of here! duergar and hooman fighting! Der be Giants too! Hears rumour of treasure too! No elves tho, me likes killing elves!!’ replied Akur, ‘Snake wants to come kill?, Akur wishes to hunt!’
Half listening I felt a coldness, not the coldness that takes the warmth and energy from us snakes, but more the coldness of… death
‘Yesss, I will huntsss with you, waitsss here Akur, sssomething… sssomething draws me… upstairs…’
I proceeded up the stairs into a stone hallway where I spotted a door to my left and whatever it was that I felt was behind this door. I felt no fear, just coldness and whatever it was, I felt drawn to this. I opened the door and entered and an Ogre greeted me, Dark Energies surrounded this Ogre and he was grinning at me.
‘Welcome snake’ it said
‘Welcomesss’ I replied, ‘Who’sss are yousss?’’
‘I am Nraak, and I am your master, you are here to learn are you not? is this not why you have come?’
‘I do’sss not knowsss why I am here, you are no mastersss of minesss, there is nothing you can teachesss me’.
‘Oh really?!’ cackled the ogre, ‘Then you are a blind snake! you have seen the past have you not? Death calls you to service snake!, not in the eternal slumber might I add, but u carry the mark!! You have no choice!’ You are Necromancer, You are the binder of souls!! No comfort will u find with those of flesh and blood!! You have no choice!!
‘Yousss are crazy orge… I have no mark, I am warrior, I have choicesss, my path is mine to walksss!
‘Ha! It is tine u learnt some more is it not!’ screamed the ogre hysterically, ‘Dream!!’
With that the world went black…
Finally, Hilth broke free, went into hiding, and began amassing armies of orcs and minotaurs to assault the elves and dwarves of the land. This is how the Race Wars began. Hilth and K'z'k fought with the orcs, Minotaurs, and K'z'k's offspring, the Ibixians, or goatfolk, against Ystiu, Jurgen, and Orydnai with their elves, dwarves, and fey creatures. The war lasted for 3,416 years, according to ancient elven texts. In the end, K'z'k betrayed Hilth and Hilth was captured. His minions were defeated and scattered, while Hilth himself was exiled to the bottom of the Great Sea, where he lies asleep and chained, awaiting the power to return.
However, before he was imprisoned, he managed to shroud the northernmost point of Turvaul, Vathar, in impenetrable cloud, rendering it invisible to the pryin eyes of Ystiu and the other gods. It is there where his minions hid and where his evil societies have sprung up.
In the meantime, elves and dwarves became estranged, humas were created, and the lesser races began populating The Realms. Some orcs and half-orcs truly repented and made their way to found their own nations..
Now several nations have sprung up, trade routes have opened, and most believe Hilth is simply a myth…. Or is it…
When I opened my eyes I was on the tavern floor curled up and strangely next to Akur.
‘Snake ready to hunt? Akur bored, come snake, lets kill hoomans’
Not really knowing what was going on, I uncoiled and followed Akur.
We left Viperstonge and before I knew it was heading through the desert. The journey wasn’t long and the troll I was with seemed to talk to me about various soups one could make from human and elven flesh.
‘We here’ said Akur simply and pointing to a hole in the side of a mountain, ‘Comarian Mines’.
‘Thisss be the place I hear rumoursss of treasure?’ I asked
Akur simply shrugged and said ‘No elves tho’ and he generally seemed saddened by it.
This seemed to put a smile on his face ‘Yes Hoomans, Akur like splat hoomans’
I followed Akur deep into the mines. He stopped occasionally to sniff the stale air, I could taste it on my forked tongue… There was Humans, lots of them. I felt the energies rise in me, I could hear the voices again in my mind again, and this time it was louder though. ‘Bind them, Bind their souls!! Bring them back from the dead to DO YOUR BIDDING! You have the power to be theKeeper of Souls!’ Shaking my head slightly to rid the voices I heard Akur scream his blood-curdling war cry and run into the darkness. I slithered high on my tail, dagger in my hand and followed him into the darkness. As I reached the bend I saw Akur engaged with a group of human raiders, I raised my dagger high and joined the melee. It was over before I knew it. Surrounded by death. Human body parts littered the mine floors and Akur was smiling as he scavenged the dead for trinkets of value. ‘You should have bound them! Bind their souls! They are yours and you let them free!! Bind the souls…You are the Keeper of Souls’
It was too late when I saw more human raiders upon us, and there was no escaping them. We engaged the first wave of humans in heated battle. Akur was in a blind rage and swinging The mighty scepter of Valhalla like there was no tomorrow, and in the heat of it all…
As I waved my hands a shimmering took forth, and a mist appeared that wrapped itself around the human raiders ‘Yes!! That is it!! Bind them!! BIND THEM ALL!!’ Words I don’t know the meaning of were in my mind, causing the enemies blood to boil and their bones to break. I was wondering what that crazy ogre Nraak had done to me, but to be honest. I craved it, it left me feeling complete and at one with myself. As the humans began to fall, I brought them back, Spectres, Wraiths, Zombies, it did not matter and they did as I commanded. Time seemed to slow down and more humans came at us, all dying to the mighty Valhalla or being overwhelmed by the undead.
And before I knew it, it was over. I looked about the carnage and saw limbs and organs everywhere. I looked at my undead minions, lifeless awaiting my command. I turned to look behind me and it was then I saw Akur’s lifeless body. I felt close to this troll, and I wanted him to be alive. ‘You can bring back the dead, you are a keeper of souls, you can return his soul to him, you just need to will it to be!’
I slithered over to the fallen troll, something inside of me clicked, it was all shown to me, I knew what Nraak said to be true, I am a Necromancer, I am the Keeper of Souls. I leaned down over Akur grasping his head and hissed
‘I am Tssassop, Keeper of Souls, and I return your soul to you!!!’
Akur stirred and looked about, a smile spreading upon his face and said, ‘Dat Good fight snake!! Me Hunt some more!!’
And with that, he ran deeper into the mines.
I myself had questions to ask, and I suppose more to learn, so with that in mind, I left the mines to pursue my destiny.
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Yeh, i think i havea corpse there too....
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