Desciption: The sprawling pale sands and cliffs of Wraeclast's beaches hide a malevolent terror, the Sand Spitter. Part crustacean, part insect, these vile creatures plague the ocean side, emerging in huge multitudes from beneath the surface to ambush their prey. They possess a keen, instinctive intelligence, making them extremely elusive and hard to catch. Many who engage a Spitter have been driven mad with exhaustion, floundering through the sand in vain pursuit with their tormentors dancing just out of reach. The barrage from one of these creatures not only causes considerable injury, but a clean shot to the eyes can daze, disorient and even blind. Be wary as you walk the shoreline, because by the time they're upon you, it's probably already too late.
Location: Twilight Strand, Prisoner's Gate, Terraces, Tidal Island,Submerged Passage, Flooded Depths.
Description: Do not underestimate the bloated, rotted corpses that wander the swamps and bogs of Wraeclast. They may lack agility, but the dark corruption animating them imbues them with tremendous strength and ferocity. The island's Zombies are always hungry, and they will pursue the scent of blood relentlessly. Wraeclast's yawning graveyards have spawned a legion of these shambling undead, and they are a blight on the population. Many who fall before them are soon found alongside their putrid ranks, the undead army forever growing.
The Zombie's primary strength is its toughness. All that dried sinew, meat and bone is tough to hack through. They can take a lot of punishment. The easiest way to defeat a Zombie is to exploit its lack of speed, but woe be unto him who finds himself cornered. Zombies hit hard with their desiccated, gnarled hands, but their bite is the most dangerous thing of all. Once bitten, a victim will find their very skin rotting away, and they will surely perish without prompt healing attention.
Location: Twilight Strand, Mud Flats, Terraces, Fetid Pool, The Ship Graveyard, The Prison.
Description: It was probably an innocent comment, perhaps made in jest. Whatever the case, Hillock was deep in his cups, and the drifter's words sent the giant man into a drunken rage. His first blow killed the offender, nearly tearing his head from his shoulders, and when his friends rushed to help, they were met with snarling fury. By the end of the melee, the ground was drenched in blood, the floor strewn with mangled, trampled bodies. Hillock staggered back to the smithy to nurse his wounds. No one dared enter to make him answer for his crime, and in the days that followed, people were made uneasy by a ceaseless clanging and scraping that drifted out of the building.
When Hillock finally emerged, he was a changed man. He was silent and humorless, and now he carried with him a gigantic blade, fashioned from his long, frenzied labors in the aftermath of the slaughter. Having tasted murder, Hillock had an appetite for that as well, and he would hack off a man's limbs or head at the slightest ill glance or provocation. Finally, a group of his victims gathered their courage, and in the dead of night, they crept into the smithy, where four of the strongest among them plunged the great sword into Hillock's chest while he slept. Then they carried him far away, and hurled his body down the cliffs into the ocean.
That should have been the end of him, but it wasn't. Some months later, a breathless fisherman returned from seas off the coast of nearby Wraeclast, and reported that he'd seen a hulking, staggering apparition in the surf. Following that sighting, the bodies began to pile up, butchered like cattle, hacked to bloody pieces. In death, Hillock is a far greater terror than he ever was in life. He walks the shores of Wraeclast now, his animated corpse still pierced by the great sword that slew him. He does not feel the icy ocean spray, nor the numerous arrows that now riddle his body. His cold heart is filled with a terrible malice. Any brave enough to put him down for good would surely be met with great reward.
Location: Twilight Strand.
Description: These pathetic wretches are the banished of the banished, too weak to travel with the local bandits, too insane and dangerous to find shelter in the rare pockets of civilization remaining on Wraeclast. They lurk in the shadows and crags, rheumy eyes watching for a hapless soul who might come by unarmed and alone.
Location: Tidal Island, Terraces.
Description: The exact origin of the Rhoa is unknown, but tales abound that they are the creation of a child god at play. After all, they combine the features of a great, four-legged beast from the plains with those of a magpie. When engaged from afar, Rhoas use their powerful legs to rapidly close the distance on their enemies, charging in to deliver a massive impact that can stun, knock back or kill. They're equally vicious up close, using their wickedly sharp claws to disembowel and cripple. It is said that a deep wound from a Rhoa will never heal, so be wary if you see their nests among the trees. They are extremely territorial, and will fight to the death if disturbed.
Location: Fetid Pool, The Ship Graveyard, Mud Flats.
Discription: The dark necromancy infusing Wraeclast gives no respite to its countless dead. In the still of midnight or in the bright light of day, the bodies of the fallen walk with frenetic animation. In life, many of them wore armor and brandished weapons, so expect skeletons you encounter to come armed and adorned. They are not discerning in their choice of gear however, a skeleton is content with a broken mace or a rusted sword. As long as it can cut or crush, they like it. Wraeclast's skeletons are not particularly tough or threatening, but they are fairly difficult to injure with some types of weaponry. Archers or swordsmen may find themselves frustrated, watching their blows slide off hard bone or their arrows whistle harmlessly through. If you are beset by skeletons, splinter their bones with a bludgeoning weapon, and you'll likely live another day.
Location: The Ledge, The Prison.
Desciption: Eventually, The Fawn's mother grew weary of her pariah status, and she took the hideous boy far away, to the cliff side. She meant to cast them both into the ocean, but at the last moment changed her mind. Seizing a large rock, she struck her son on the head, and left him inert and bleeding. However, The Fawn's thick, bony skull took the brunt of the blow without cracking, and he didn't die. The wounded boy attempted to follow his mother back to their encampment, but he got lost on the way, and that was the last anyone heard of him.
But years later, a new menace appeared near the encampment, a terror waiting to waylay anyone attempting to traverse Wraeclast's soaring cliffs. Somehow The Fawn had produced offspring, creatures as twisted and vile as their father. These "men" have a goat's ability to eat anything they encounter, driving them in relentless pursuit of anything edible. They attack from above, smashing their prey underfoot with cloven hooves. Any who survive that assault are pummeled to death by a barrage of savage headbutts. If you hear the bleating of The Fawn, run away.
Location: The Prisoner's Gate.
Desciption: They descend on me from several directions, heads down, ears back, nearly silent. Their great strange paws pad lightly across the rough stone of the cliff face. Their faces are an enigma, neither dog nor feline, but something unnervingly right in between. At first I see only two of these beasts, but soon the hackles on my neck rise and I turn quickly to find three more slinking up behind me. They have me surrounded.
With a cry, I lift up my notched blade and throw myself at them. The beasts answer my attack with ferocity, leaping in to swipe and bite. Their wet, stinking breath is burning hot against my sweaty face as I slash at them, their razor sharp teeth mere inches away from tearing my skin. With weary arms I fight, watching with dismay as more come racing into view, drawn by the sound of battle and the chance of a warm meal. Maybe they thought me easy prey, but not this day!
The battle continues for a seeming eternity, but suddenly I am turning the tide. I am surrounded by hacked, hairy corpses, my own blood mixing with theirs on the stony ground. As my foes dwindle, their courage wanes, and I am spurred on with new strength. My final predator tries to flee moments too late, and my sword catches it turning away, cleaving its head nearly in two. It is over, I have won. I gather up the spoils of my victory, and then it dawns on me: I know the name of my defeated enemy. Few have met the dreaded Hellions of Wraeclast's cliffs in battle, and fewer still have lived to tell my tale.
Location: The Prisoner's Gate.
Description: Every land needs a prison, and Wraeclast was no exception. Axion Prison has been held by countless men over the ages, anyone living today can only recall one name: Brutus. He was the overseer of Axion Prison when Wraeclast's old men were just children, and he is the overseer to this day. Mothers get their children to behave by telling them that Brutus will come to see them. He is Wraeclast's boogeyman.
Brutus ran Axion Prison with a legendary cruel streak. Under his stewardship, not a single soul escaped its soaring walls, and men were terrified at the prospect of a term inside. Alas, even great, terrible men cannot conquer the ravages of time, and as Brutus' years drew to a close, he became steadily more deranged and dangerous. He began to invite practitioners of dark, fel arts to the prison to experiment on his captives, and eventually, in a desperate bid to extend his own waning life, he allowed them to experiment on him.
For days the halls of Axion echoed with Brutus' awful shrieking, and when it was over, he was transformed into a hideous, hulking mutant. As the Necromancers crowded around to witness the results of their twisted endeavor, Brutus burst free from his bonds and descended on them with savagery. Their aged, frail bodies offered little resistance to his assault, and within moments the chamber was drenched in Necromancer blood. Brutus then tore through the entire level of the prison, leaving none alive in his merciless rampage.
When word of the slaughter reached the lower levels, the remaining guards made the only choice left to them. They barred the gates, locking the monster in the topmost level of Axion Prison. It did not take long for Brutus to realize he was trapped, and in his mad rage to escape, he pounded his mighty fists into a raw meaty pulp on the jail walls. So far, the gates have held, and Brutus remains sealed away, unable to inflict further carnage. Time has not diminished his anguish, and woe be unto anyone foolish enough to engage him in combat.
Location: The Prison.
Description: And then, out of the rising morning mist we spied them, the jagged, towering cliffs of cursed Wraeclast. A cheer went up among the men, some rubbing their eyes with disbelief. As we drew closer, the pounding roar of the surf drowned out our anxious chatter, and the forbidding, rocky wall drew ever larger. To our dismay, we found no port at water's edge, no cove to shelter our beleaguered vessel. "We head North, around the peninsula" the captain ordered, so we came about and set course.
Many hours of sailing brought only more misery and hunger, and by nightfall we were gripped with despair. Wraeclast was a fortress, as impenetrable as a stone prison. As night fell, we dropped anchor, and sought whatever comfort remained. The air grew quiet and still, the only sound the lapping of the waves against the hull. But then another sound joined in, soft, enticing, and insistent. At first we could not believe our hearing. How could there be women's voices out here, in this awful, desolate place? The men staggered to the railing, first peering out into the blackness and then calling to it. The voices returned our hail, rising as a chorus, beckoning us to them.
Within minutes, we had dropped rowboats into the water, and all who could summon the strength clamored aboard. Then we rowed like men possessed, towards the gentle, sweet voices ahead, their song drifting up from a yawning cave in the cliff side. We arrived at the entrance shivering and exhausted, yet nearly frenzied with need and desire. Oh the voices, the things they promised us! Disdaining caution, the whole of us dashed forward into the cave, the dark swallowing us up as readily as a serpent engulfing its prey. And the voices ceased.
There was a pause, a singular moment of clarity when we all knew our great folly. Then, a new voice pierced the air, this one sharp and strident, dripping with malevolence. It was all around us, hissing with delight, and hunger. Then the men began to shriek, their choking wails abruptly silenced by whatever beset us. I felt something cold, slimy and terribly strong coil itself around my throat, and I reacted on instinct. I pulled my dagger free, cutting wildly at the thing that grasped me, and somehow I was released! Abandoning all thought, I groped for the cavern's exit, and when I found it, I plunged headfirst into the surf, my own screams barely audible among those of my doomed crew mates. I was the only one who made it out of that hellish place.
Let my words be a warning to any who dare travel the shores of Wraeclast. The Siren's Daughters lie in wait there, ready to lure and devour whoever happens by. If you hear their sweet song on the ocean air, cover your ears and flee.
Location: The Ship Graveyard, Caverns of Wrath, The Cove.
Desciption: Open my cabin door, and am immediately struck with the full fury of the gale roaring outside. Lightning forks and flickers overhead, for a moment casting our tattered main sail in stark relief against the iron sky. A sickening crackle of thunder follows immediately behind, boring into my aching bones. I make my way carefully across the pitching deck, past my crew who huddle drenched in the freezing darkness. Each of them has long since withdrawn into his own world. We've not spoken in days. Cold and fear will break the strongest of men.
I climb to the helm and grip the first mate's shoulder, altering him to my arrival. He shuffles past me like a ghost as I seize the wheel, checking my compass in the gloom to determine if we're still on the right heading. But what is this? The needle, normally pointing reliably North, jerks around suddenly as the lightning flashes. I tap the glass on the device, even knocking it against the wooden railing, but it changes nothing. Without navigation, I can only hold the wheel steady, and try to keep the craft upright in the tossing surf. I throw myself into this task, as the wind tears into me anew. We plunge ahead into the night.
Strangely, despite the damp and the din, I find myself drifting off to sleep. My dreams take me to kinder shores, to warmth and comfort. But it's all too brief, for I'm startled awake, swearing that I've heard something. Unless I'm mistaken, that's the soft, sweet voice of a girl, out here in the wind and waves. I first think that it can only be the delusions of my exhausted mind, for we've been months without the sight of a woman. Yet now, I hear it again, and I'm fully awake. The song reaches my ears louder now, caressing them with a silky, delicate, invisible hand. It is beyond exquisite, the most beautiful thing I've ever heard. I stand transfixed, peering out into the darkness, blinking back a mixture of tears and seawater. I must find her, I must know this maiden, the storm be damned!
I turn the ship to port and yell a command to sheet out the main sail. Our battered craft accelerates, plowing through the waves like a thing possessed. The sea rises and falls, beating a rhythm on the ship's hull as we speed along. All the while, the singing grows in volume, drawing us forward. Finally, I see dim light ahead, a faint blue glow, and shimmering lithe figures arrayed on a beach, not far ahead. I've reached them, this heavenly choir, who offers salvation to me and my men. Alas, I should have known how great my folly before it was too late. As we close on the beach, the trap is suddenly apparent. I see a ragged spine of sharp rocks dead ahead, just above the waterline, waiting hungrily to crunch our hull to splinters.
With a cry, I heave the wheel to starboard, and we begin to turn. Our bow crosses the wind, and the ship's boom whips across the deck like a scythe, cutting down anyone in its path. The violence of the jibe is far too much for the soaked and rotted stays that bind the mast to the hull. With a horrible splintering crack, the mast breaks sideways, and comes down on the deck in a torrent of canvas and rope. Completely out of control now, we slide sideways towards the rocks and when the impact comes, I am struck inert.
I awake some time later, lying among a heap of bodies on the deck and somehow, barely alive. The blue glow I saw from afar is all around me now, it appears to have crept on board like a living thing. It surrounds me, pulsing, slithering, suffusing the very corpses of my crew mates. As I watch with unbelieving eyes, a blue, shimmering specter rises from the body of the nearest man. It just stands there for a time, and then slowly turns towards me, clutching some sort of ethereal weapon. A moment later, more shapes arise, until I am surrounded by a host of iridescent ghosts. I know not what these things are, but I am certain they afford me no good will. Without another thought, I gain my feet, and scramble across the deck to my captain's quarters, barring myself inside.
They're all at the door now, they've been there for hours. I can see their evil blue glow through the gaps in the boards. As I write this, their blows fall heavily on the failing wood, thudding with the steady beat of some hellish metronome. How long the barrier will last I cannot say, but they will surely breech it. Pray for me."
Location: THe Ship Graveyard.
Desciption: In her grief, that pathetic girl exiled herself to the coast, where she remained for years, growing ever more disfigured and powerful. She hid from the sun by day, but at night she would stand in the surf, weeping and singing to the waves, beseeching her lost husband to return to her. Merveil's tears mixed with the waters of the sea, producing a dark alchemy of rage and magical corruption. The taint of her grief imbues the briny waves with life, filling them with a deadly energy and purpose. Anyone foolhardy enough to venture into Wraeclast's countless swamps and bogs may well find themselves beset by the dreaded Water Elementals, born of Merveil's sorrow. They appear as rippling columns of animated, brackish water that slide over the earth, bent on destruction.
Merveil's tears can manifest as an Elemental in any body of water on Wraeclast. From a small pond, to a waterfall, to the ocean itself, nothing is free from her wrath and corruption. The Elementals appear out of nowhere, bursting up in a violent spray. They attack with makeshift appendages fashioned from the scavenged bodies of dead sea creatures, and they are extremely difficult to defeat.
Location: Tidal Island, The Cove, The Ship Graveyard.
Description: Countless years ago, the island's population of Sand Spitters began to venture away from the ocean in search of prey. They migrated high and low, with a bunch of them eventually venturing deep into the hillside. While they didn't find much to eat there in the caves, they did something pleasing to them: lots and lots of limestone. The Sand Spitters normally form their shells from the sand and rocks of the beach, but the mineral in the cave gave them something much better to work with.
Anyone foolhardy enough to explore the bowels of Wraeclast will find the descendants of those original Spitters. They have learned to combine their thick mucous with the limestone in the cave, and they use this cement to craft themselves a thick, resilient carapace. If you find yourself beset by these armored abominations, do not despair, for they have a weakness. Crack through their tough shells, and the vulnerable, stunned occupant will tumble out.
Location: The Cove, The Ship Graveyard, Terraces, Submerged Passage.
Merveil had three daughters while in mermaid form. Each of them looks like a Siren's Daughter, but are far more powerful than the siren daughters, although less powerful than Merveil herself. Each of them drops valuable loot. Merveil and her daughters await Daresso's homecoming, though what they may do should he ever return to them is probably too horrible to speak of.
Description: the days that followed the grand wedding, Merveil was seen about the city, appearing to float on a cloud of joy, so difficult to read was her expression of blank contentment. She went from home to the market to the theater, always with the precious necklace at her throat, the better for all to see. One would think that someone so proud of an object would willingly allow others to handle it, but not so with Merveil. The first sign of warning came at a party, when one of the lady's friends decided to reach out to caress the beguiling stone. The woman's fingers had only brushed the gem, when Merveil screeched and clawed violently at her friend's face. Some who attended the party swore that the sound was more of a hiss than a scream, but all could agree on the horror of the injuries inflicted. The girl lost an eye but was lucky to keep any sight at all.
Naturally, Daresso was aghast at his bride's actions, yet Merveil’s rage at the party was only a sign of things to come. She began to leave their bed at night, wandering the black streets aimlessly and returning home disheveled and smelling foul. On one night, her husband awoke to find her naked in bed with him, as freezing cold as death itself, her skin covered in some sort of vile slime. It was even said that she had seaweed tangled in her hair, but of course that was false, wasn't it? After all, the sea was a long walk from the city, down at the bottom of jagged cliffs.
As Merveil's behavior grew increasingly alarming and strange, her obsession with the necklace grew. She never removed it, and took to clutching the gemstone tightly in her hand, polishing it and staring evilly at anyone casting a glance her way. Whatever had corrupted her mind began to take hold of her body as well, for the once graceful girl now shuffled about like an aged crone. She abandoned the tasteful wardrobe that had once brought her so much attention, choosing instead to dress in stinking, tattered rags. People began to whisper that her body appeared to be changing beneath the garments, becoming lumpy, with odd bulges at her back and shoulders. Merveil took to hiding her face from view beneath a grimy cowl, but a few who saw her in good light said that her visage had changed as well. It was all stretched with blotched skin, her lips pulled back in an agonizing grimace, her exposed teeth long and sharp. Through all of this, Daresso remained a dedicated stalwart beside his wife, and few could fault him. Merveil now carried his child within her.
Yet the bonds of marriage were soon not strong enough. On a moonless night, with his wife fitfully asleep, Daresso gathered a few light possessions, slipped out into the night, and sailed off from Wraeclast on the midnight tide. Finding him gone in the morning, the last of Merveil's waning sanity appeared to slip away. She ran the entire distance to the cliffs barefoot, bloodying her feet on the hard cobbles of the road. Then she climbed down the rocks like a thing possessed and stood on the sandy beach, clutching the necklace to her chest while she screamed at the top of her lungs. Efforts to bring the girl back to the city were futile. She would attack anyone who got close.
For many days, Merveil remained at the water's edge, filthy and forlorn. She sustained herself on fish she pulled from the waters, devouring them alive, bones and all. She huddled in a nearby cave during the day, and spent the cold night hours standing knee-deep in the waves, singing out to the ocean for her lost husband. Her countenance grew haggard and shriveled, but her belly continued to grow, and when the child was finally born it was a freakish nightmare of scales, slime and tentacles. It was also female. With the birth of her spawn, Merveil retreated deep into the labyrinth of tidal tunnels beneath Wraeclast's cliff walls, where she grew ever more twisted and corrupt. Still the Star remained about her throat, pulsing with some dark energy.
It seems that in the years since these tragic events, the fair lady has been busy producing more children, though by what mechanism none can say. Her daughters, now of untold number, haunt the island's shoreline. With lilting sweet voices, they call out at night to passing sailors, bidding their father to return to them. Their mother dwells deep in the bowels of the mountain, now fully possessed by the jewel around her neck, imbued by it with powerful, deadly magics. It is unlikely she will welcome anyone who blunders into her lair.
Location: Merviel's Lair.