Thursday, Feb 5, 2009 - original posting
Buried half-hidden by the trivial and menial announcements of the simple townsfolk, an urgent missive, seemingly lost and forgotten due to the yellowed parchment, frayed edges and faint markings flickered dully in the evening breeze. A young, athletically built man strode up to the wooden wall on which the missive stuck to, just out of sight. Sifting through the mess carefully on the lookout for word from the pirate he had challenged to single combat, he happened upon the thin scroll upon clearing and tidying up the entire wall, hoping to erase all evidence of having been there. He leaned in close, eyes darting across the old parchment, straining to read by the faint illumination as the sun set behind his back to the east.
Just as he was about to tear it loose to despose of it, a word leapt out at him from the opening sentence. Jerking it up to the board, he nailed it front and center and set to reading it as best he could in the failing light of the ball of fire and gas sank once more below the ground.
Dusky looking, feral creatures that crawled out from their hidey holes to pillage and lay the "civilized folk" to ruin; death and destruction for their ancestors crimes against the Gnoll race.
For centuries, they have hid away from the sunshine and heat, in the cool, dark, damp caves hoarding their gold and overcoming the beasts within.
Elite Gnolls, riding arachnids into triumphant battle against all odds. Fighting with spears for which they have trained with for nigh on a millenia, the sacred weapon of their people, yet they have acquired skills in short swords stolen from the dead and forgotten pasts...
Common Gnolls, fighting tooth and nail to win any battle, at any cost, eating anything they can chew, these bloodthirsty 'savages' do all they can to survive in a world they are no longer a part of.
Dark Gnolls, like other Gnolls, have lived in darkness for centuries - but in this case, the darkness has also lived in them. With each encounter, they unleash a path of destruction from deep within their twisted souls, marred by hatred, suffering, anguish and tortured pain. Channeling it for their own use against their enemies...
Fire-Demons, Gnoll-like creatures who have sold their very existance to a being far greater than themselves, a vessel for a minor demonic blight, they did all they could to achieve a small measure of light in the deep blackness that permeated every breath, aroma, touch, taste and Sight.
Goldenrod Cult - These gnolls can still remember the days of long times past, of war and the lust for blood. Of treasure and riches beyond compare. Of the evil, powerful, hell-wreathed personage of betrayal, whom turned away from his corrupted brethren, slaughtering them and joined forces with the Gnolls...
For now, the Gnolls have risen from the ground, seeping out in search of their prized artifact, The Dragonfang Blade. A sword of might, strength, power and firey devestation...
Alas, finding the sword is but a part of their quest and salvation, they must also Raise their once mighty leader, who shall take up his armaments and do battle with the wretched humans once more, to pulvarise, butcher and maim all in his path.
He is the demi-god of betrayal, a once noble man, who in his failings as a human, reached infamousy and hell-bound glory as he Descended, a true Dark Hero of the times.
Zahesh, bearer of the Dragonfang Blade, Leader of the feared Gnoll Legions, Demi-God of Betrayal, and three time winner of most shiniest sword.
Fear. Truth. Betrayal. Glory. Revenge. Life. Death
The Goldenrod Cult, led by the only other human in the entire organisation, a broad shouldered, blackened dead skin, crazed glint and clutching, grasping, clawed hands...
With a golden dragon embedded in his skin, its tail encircling from his waist to the head splayed across his charred face. The Cult, dedicated to raising their deity, demi-god of Betrayal, right hand demonic being to the Chaotic Charge, raise their banner behind one man, the torch in the dark, guiding them to a human-less world... Corefield.
Be wary, friends, for the world has become a whole lot deadlier, and not all is as it seems. - Anonymous.
Treyburn stepped back from the Town's noticeboard, having just read the urgent missive tacked in among the comings and goings of trivial things. His hand reached up and brushed the names, his lips moving gently as he mouth their names, commiting them to memory.
"Zahesh...Corefield..." He murmed, barely able to hear himself, he allowed his hand to fall back to his side. It was time, all these long years he had watched and waited for a sign... and now it was upon him. Turning on his heel, he headed in the direction of the nearest tavern, perhaps a drink would settle this easier.
Two hours, four amber liquids sloshing down his gullet and one plate of goulash later, Treyburn mulled his options over briefly, wondering on his next move. Ordering another glass, he stood up on his chair, ignoring the barman's protests and proclaimed loudly and spontaneously to the crowd around him.
"Who here has seen fit to heed the warnings that the town's officials feed us each day?"
The chattering died down somewhat, before someone yelled at the monk to do something highly inappropriate. A flask smashed into the man's head, laying him out on the floor in mid-laugh. "I asked a question, SIR, you would do well to pay attention!" Treyburn barked loudly.
Swilling the liquid around, he stared at it for a brief moment before raising his voice and eyes to the crowd once more.
"They never tell you the whole story, trying to make you believe that the world is not a terrible place, where corruption and lies spread their seeds everywhere. NO! This has happened for far too long. I say, we take back our freedom to make our own decisions, to fight against the tyranny they call authority, to fight for liberty, justice and honor! Now who's with me?!"
A chorus of assents shouted back at him, as he toasted them and drank the beverage. Smacking his lips to savour the taste, he dropped the glass, snatching a bottle from a nearby waitress, weighing the capacity of it in his hand.
"This is how you get a riot started... with fire!" He heaved the bottle into the air, several pairs of eyes watching it arc through the air, unable to see where it had come from, but eager to see where it landed. As it began its descent, Treyburn turned around, staring at the bartender as flames exploded outwards, throwing glass, stone chips and heat blast out of the fireplace. Checking himself mentally, he found he was unharmed, which was more than could be said for others around him. A small group of people by the now dangerously burning hearth rug and walls were hit by flying shrapnel in the blast.
Watching the closest man struggle to breathe and finally expire with a coughing, ragged, bloody rattle, Treyburn leapt ontop of a nearby table and whistled loudly.
"My friends, look what has happened to our fellow man here! Cut down in his prime by a bastard of the law, a man who wished to see us locked away in chains and manacles. A man who by all accounts should be in our brethren's place... but nay, he is alive while our friends are dead. Should we allow this? What say you?"
"NO! Show us the killer!" They roared back whole heartedly.
"We shall slice him to pieces, we shall destroy his family and take pleasure in the process! We shall be free from the unjust law of this forsaken land." Treyburn continued to build them up with promises of glorious things, it was so easy to manipulate the simple folk of the town. "There he is!" He shouted, pointing at the bartender, who in his fear was pressed against the wall, the open window serving as a tip off that he had been caught attempting to escape. The man swallowed and began muttering quickly as the mob descended on him.
"Tell us where your family is and we'll let you live!" Treyburn shouted over the din, pushing his way to the forefront of the crowd. They parted confused, allowing him to approach the bleeding and battered barkeep on the ground, shattered wood impaling his legs and arms to the bar and ground, respectively. "Tell us, and you live." Treyburn crouched next to the man, ignoring his whimpered pleas. "TELL US!"
"Upstairs... the key is around my neck, please, let me go." He pleaded with the monk desperately as the man in question reached into his victims shirt and snapped the leather cord. A large metallic key rested in his clenched palm.
Treyburn turned his head in disgust, and rocked back on his heels. Standing up he motioned to a nearby thuggish man. "Break his bones, one by one...don't kill him, leave his neck and skull intact." He muttered to the thug, before turning to the onlookers. "Anyone that leaves or is sick has no place in our rebellion. We must deal with terrible people, and terrible things must be done to atone for their horrific treatment of us."
With that he left the room, climbing the rickety staircase to the house proper. Knocking quietly on the door, he pushed the key into the door and unlocked it quietly. Dropping backwards, catching himself with his hands in a crab like position, he kicked the door open, a crossbow bolt sailing over his head and embedding itself in the wall behind him. Leaping to his feet, he sprinted into the room, taking the crossbow weilding youth by surprise, and taking him out with a well-aimed jab to the stomach.
Treyburn stopped, and pointed at the corner with one outstretched finger.
"You. Ma'am. Use the window. If you're still when I open my eyes hell will be a cheap boat ride compared to the atonement you face...One" Closing his eyes, he heard the woman move quickly from her corner, "Two." flitting around the room grabbing what she could and lifting them out the window. "Three."
Slapping the boy awake, she half dragged, half carried him along the ground to the window. "Seven." Treyburn could hear footsteps clunking up the stairs closer and closer. "Eight."
Dropping out the window, the woman fled the estate, tears dripping from her eyes, her whole life left behind her, the house she had come to love, the gardens she tended, the man she loved... Treyburn's eyes snapped open, hawking deep in his throat, he aimed an accurate shot of spit at the corner, the saliva splattering across the hard wood.
They hadn't built this house, they had stolen it from the rightful owners with their just words, wrongful accusations and whoring.
The monk turned, and pushed past the man who had entered the room mere moments before. As he took the stairs down two at a time, he could hear the screams below getting fainter and duller. Sweeping into the room, he called out to the thug to stop.
"Halt, he better not be dead. We had a deal, remember?" He asked, smiling creepily. Squatting down in front of the virtually broken man, he spoke the next sentence slowly, softly and clearly, so that even the thug trudging down the stairs heard him.
"I went to find your family, as per our agreement, and guess what? They weren't there." Treyburn's voice dropped to a low whisper, drawing the crowed around him to lean in closer. Reaching up, he petted the sobbing man's cheek almost sympathetically, until he snapped his neck harshly. With a gurgle, life blood seeped from the man's throat and he collapsed one-lessly towards the floor, held up only by the rough crucifixation.
"Burn it all. Tonight we drink and make merry, tomorrow we take back the town." He exclaimed to loud cheers as the mob swelled towards the tavern cellers. Sighing as they left, he knelt down, facing the still embers of the burnt half of the tavern and bowed his head in Prayer. Smirking slightly as his plans began to unfurl, he whispered to the high heavens a simple phrase, yet one that held the true divinity that resounds only from a true dedicated monk of chaos.
"Chaotic Charge... may you see us through the night, and on to victory in our anarchy."