The remaining townspeople had gathered in the remnants of the dilapidated town hall. Like all crowds that are demanding something they had assembled a speaker on their behalf. A half-cocked, dishevelled merchant found himself ushered to the front row. Shaking, he walked forward towards the mayor who was waiting in anticipation to hear the cries of his electorate. Galen (The Mayor) was known for fumbling words, being irritatingly blunt and quite often a tactless fuck-bag in delicate situations. How he was in power was a mystery to many. The merchant knew this and half expected either a stupid comment or boneheaded arrogant statement in reply. It was for this reason that his shaking could not be determined as general anxiety or actually pre-emptive anger.
Speaker, please tell me why you have gathered here. It is the middle of the night and our town is in need of rest and healing.
From the crowd came a flying rotten tomato. It had been hurled by an old woman who began to shout and curse the mayor.
You cockflap! We should have voted for the other man. He may have been a flaming racist but he had two working ears and enough sense to make a decision. You’re such a windy sack of shit, Galen.
The mayor didn't even need to signal to his heavies at the door. The woman was quietly hushed and dragged out by the last of the town guards that hadn't been maimed, injured or killed by the monsters attack. Once again the Mayor addressed the crowd, this time attempting to be more sensitive to his voters needs.
Please, refrain from violence and slurs. We do not want this behaviour in our town. It may encourage other creatures to attack us if they see us weak. We must stand strong.
The merchant speaker interrupted.
We are strong. We are united Mayor. We challenge your authority and how you have handled this situation. A third of our people have been murdered by this malevolent menace. We beg of you to do something. What if it returns?
The Mayor frowned.
But, what else is there left to destroy?
The crowd dropped to a deathly silence. Each of them murmured about the mayor's stupidity. The crowd erupted into shouting and banter as the words 'fool' and 'dolt' were hurled at the public figure, much like the tomato grenade that had been launched moments before.
Mayor, we demand to know what you or The Holy King will do. He is our spiritual leader. You are our political leader! Something must be done!
The Holy King has sent us one of his heroes! She has brought food and supplies for us to get back on our feet! She even cleaned the water! I mean… that’s pretty good really, what more do you expect?
We demand justice! How will this town become the great society it once was if all YOU do is sit on your chair?
The crowd erupted into a roar of chanting. “Build a bonfire, build a bonfire and put Galen on the top, put the creature in the middle and burn the fucking lot.” Galen began to panic and fluster. He became quite anxious over the situation and could feel his palms getting sweaty. He wiped them profusely on his dirty coat and quickly looked around the room for an escape route.
The crowd began to etch forward, chanting more of the same, again and again. Several of the younger chanters had grabbed a few wooden posts from the rubble of the building and had begun to beat the sticks along the wall. The drumming heightened the mood of those present, stirring within them a tribal power they had not felt before. It was the blood that flowed through their veins that had reacted so quickly. Within each of them (at least the native born) was the memory of their ancestors slavery. The raging beast of the people’s voice could not be soothed, they demanded satisfaction. The Mayor hurried to the far side of the stage where his assistant was timidly hiding behind an old statue.
Don't just hide over there Felps! You mute speck! What am I going to do about these morons?
Felps muttered and stuttered as he tried to pass out some excuse. He was of no help, but at the same time Mayor Galen noticed something that gave him a striking idea. There, wedged in the cracks of the rubble, lay a statuette. He headed to it and pulled it out of the dust and shrapnel. As he did so — an arm came with it — a withered pale arm, meshed with black cloth that had been burnt onto the skin. The arm was no longer attached to its original body but it did have a strong deathly grasp upon the statue. Mayor Galen shook the severed claw off and held the hand crafted wooden statue up into the air. The crowd hushed and stopped in its tracks. They stared on at the cross-dressing icon of Jet that their mayor was thrusting into the air. Most of them recognised it but none of them could place a reason as to why the mayor had taken to holding it up high.
Jet was a founder of the Knights of Sanator and through his deeds he was elevated to godhood by the southern deity, The Power!
The crowd remained silent so to listen, although they were unsure as to why they were bothering. Some even used this opportunity to pick up broken glass with which they could hurl at their useless leader.
The Knights of Sanator sent forth Thannoth who saved our ancestors from slavery and destruction. As it happened before so shall we do it… once again! We will call upon the heroes of our time to find the creature that murdered our brothers and sisters... and they will bring us it back… bring back its head!
The silence was broken by a wave of cheering and applause.
It seemed that the Mayor had saved his hide once again and had brought an idea to the people that they could support. His only obstacle now was finding a group of heroes that would take the quest and hunt the immense force that had caused so many deaths and acts of destruction.
The crowds dispersed and the many became a minority, eventually the town hall was empty. Galen turned to his mute assistant and informed him he was retiring for the night. There was much to plan and do if he was to secure a hero for a quest.
Once the mayor had left, the only being remaining within the hall was Felps. A mute and an uncomfortable sort of fellow, Felps was known for his attention to detail and his ability to tolerate the sometimes viewed 'mentally deranged' mayor. He had checked that everyone had left and secured the building as much as he could (after all a giant hole was taking up the majority of the west wall). He slithered back to the centre and over to the statue of Jet. Picking it up with his sticky fingers, he examined it closely, sniffing along the edges and tracing his skeletal thin index finger along its ridges. Checking he was alone, Felps slid the statue into his robes and began to make his way out.
He paused. He shook his head and returned back to the area where the mayor had found the statue. Felps looked around the ground. He studied and examined closely until he discovered what he had been looking for — the old mockerlite's hand. Picking it up, he carefully smelt the charred skin and licked the middle finger and thumb. Checking he was alone once again, Felps slid the dismembered limb into his robes and began to make his way out towards his local Mockerlite meeting.
This time, as he shook his head, he couldn't help but smile.
A water priestess was grace, civility, charity, and above all else, an academic. They held great social standing in Ulderheim, mostly because of their manner but also through reverie of their sacrifice. In order to join The Temple of Levimatia, a maiden must remain as such — never to fall in love and conceive a child from the love, were this to happen then the goddess’ gifts of longevity, enducrance, strength and elemental manipulation, would all be removed — returning the woman to the frail type of mortality they were all born with.
For Unda, it was an easy sacrifice to make. Her life was for service and she knew this from a very young age. She sought the power to make changes in people’s lives and this was what she valued above anything else. She had taken her female lover, Arabella, with her to visit the ruins of Tannoth. Under direct orders from The Holy King, Unda was to lead the relief mission and bring aid to the affected population. This started with a cleansing ritual at the well, purging the foulness which had been gushed into it — a simple trick using aquakinesis to separate water molecules from the dark shit particles — but a taxing trick nonetheless.
This well is beautiful. White stone. And now you’ve removed the pebble-dash shit stains, it looks picturesque once again.
It’s a very famous well.
Are wells often compared for their fame?
…it was rumoured to have been built by the hero Thannoth himself.
Really? How come I never heard of this?
You’re not exactly known for your devout study of ancient history and mythology, are you?
Are you saying you’re with me because I have a cracking pair of tits and know how to beat any man at a game of Shin’zee?
Unda peered down to check out her girflriend’s frame as she deliberately flaunted her body towards her. The water priestess rolled her eyes and smirked wildly.
It’s a legend and you are more interested in art and languages. Anyway, the idea that Thannoth was even a real hero is debated by some scholars. No remains, only an oral tradition survives.
...love a bit of oral.
You are incorrigible. The oral traditions state that Paraphoph (the daemon child of the poison blooded troll-god), was terrorising the local people. He was using the locals to mine for a precious mineral that could be found nearby. He starved them and got them addicted to a pheromone or drug to ensure loyalty, he took of both men and women, any sexual favours he desired… and then one day, came the hero Thannoth.
I know so little about him, perhaps it is my southerner upbringing.
She shrugged in a coy and flirtatious manner, hoping to charm her lover and distract from her lack of historical knowledge.
He is my favourite of all the old heroes. He was a Knight of Sanator so I am surprised you have not heard of him!
Sanator is a legend itself! The once famous capital of the Southern Region lost to the winds and wilds of time. It’s sexy to imagine it but truth is, it probably got turned into a tavern or homes for students.
A crowd began to gather to praise the water priestess for cleansing and purifying the water source. Flowers were placed in her hair by children, and local businessmen were pressing gifts of brewed potions and edibles into her hands. Arabella found it very empowering that her girlfriend was so adored. She lusted after power and Unda held true power, a gentle yet magnificent power that commanded respect but never demanded it.
So according to the story, Thannoth snuck into Paraphoph’s tent one night and slices his balls clean off with a wiggly-edged blade. The poison blood leaks out of his scrotum and burns into the ground — deeper and deeper until it hits an underground river. The hero builds a well and helps free the slaves, and in turn they name the town after him.
That escalated quickly. I was expecting a battle.
Why battle when you can castrate in the middle of the night. More efficient don’t you think?
Kneeling down, the water priestess drew an even bigger crowd as more gathered to watch her ritual of thanks to Levimatia. Removing a small silver amulet from her wrist, she placed it into her hand and then to her chest. Every inch of her began to glow blue.
Hear me Levimatia, we thank you for your generosity and kindness and ask you to bless this town with your healing waters.
And with that, the rains started to fall.
Herzikiel was a carpenter. Poor in pocket as he was in talent.
From a young age, he had actively repressed his desires to dress like his sister and this had caused him to become recluse and emotionally closed off. Cross-dressing was not taboo in the town of Tannoth, nor any region of Ulderheim. Gender and sexuality were fluid for many people however Herzikiel still felt ashamed of his inner most wants. There was a complete lack of self awareness which had resulted in the development of a dark psychological suppression. Herzikiel was afraid of being himself, and seeking acceptance, buried his truth so deep it had formed a pit in his soul. In a bid to encourage him out of himself, his mother and father had enrolled him in Archibald Glenliversnip’s School of Carpentry. After completing his apprenticeship, he setup a small stall in the town centre and began to sell his carvings to passing travellers and tradesmen. At least he tried to sell his carvings...
In the first four months not a single item had been exchanged or purchased. This was all due to his innermost feelings rupturing forth into his hands, and revealing themselves through his creations. Not one person that stopped at his stall wanted to acquire one of his transvestite statues of the various gods and heroes of Ulderheim. The whole continent was a very accepting place unless of course you defiled or depicted a hero or god as anything but their glorious selves. Not only were people offended by his statues due to their corruption of the images of beloved legendary figures, but also they were shit. They looked really, really shit.
Every day he watched on as people simply strolled by, never stopping to even ask why he had The Ghost of War in a formal ball gown, or why Evangeline the Savvy had a moustache etched onto her face. Nervous smiles escaped their faces as some tried to contain their laughter or horror so not to offend him.
Herzikiel had nearly given up on ever being a success until one fateful day, a mysterious and strange looking figure subtly emerged from the crowd of shoppers and made its way over to him. The stranger was a stumpy old man, wrapped in a cloak that engulfed him like the dark of an abyss. His icy looking hand moved out from under the swamp of robes and towards one of the feeble carvings of the deified hero Jet. There in all his glory was Jet, dressed in a busty gown with etched roses on both strips of the lace. The stranger brought the statuette up to his wrinkly nose and placed it between the firm bristles of his nose hair. Sniffing and snorting, the man began to salivate before placing the statue back down on the table. He reached into his pocket and fidgeted around until he found his coin purse. A gold coin peeked out of the bag and nearly blinded Herzikiel as the sunlight reflected off and into his eyes. The carpenter felt the weight of the gold in his hand.
You are my first ever customer! Thank you for your trade, kind stranger.
The old man croaked and coughed and splattered bile onto his cloak. He wiped his chin with his hand and wet his lips before replying.
Think nothing of it. I have not had such an arousal in many years. My balls are tight and my penis firm. Your erotic idol creations are a blessing.
Stunned into silence, Herzikiel suddenly realised that his creations had become a pornographic stimulator for an old, decrepit todger. He couldn’t complain though, after all he had earned himself one gold coin.
In fact, I would be interested in purchasing many more of your statues. You see... I am a Mockerlite.
Herzikiel didn’t know hwo to react. He had heard of the Mockerlites from tales his father told him as a boy. The Mockerlites were an infamous sect of strange people that worshipped the gods and goddesses through satirical practices. They were a detested group of heretics, yet Herzikiel couldn’t stop staring at the gold coin in his hand.
Some fear us but we are simply worshipping the great beings in our own way. We mean no harm. These statues would be adored and held to high regard in our weekly services. The other member of my underground church would love them. I will go and get my larger purse and when I return, I want to buy every single one of your creations.
There’s thirty-seven statues in total on my stall.
Then I will give you thirty-seven gold coins. But carrying these will be tricky. I’m not as spritely and strong as I used to be.
Don’t worry. I have a trailer you can use. It’s at home. I’ll go and get it and start loading them up!
The withered man turned away and left with his defiled statue of Jet. Herzikiel was frozen in his place. The surge of excitement had caused his entire body to spasm. Like a daft maid clawing at her friends in order to get the bouquet at a wedding, Herzikiel forced himself forward and through the crowd. His legs unstuck, he began running as fast as he could to get home and collect the trailer. On his way back to his family house, he couldn’t stop thinking of how much money he would earn if the old man paid a gold coin for every statue on his table. He would in no way be rich but he would be more than comfortable! The carpenter was in such a rush to get home that he didn’t realise the locals were not walking past him to go the well for midday prayers, but were also running, just in the opposite direction. In fact he was so removed from reality that he hadn’t noticed the scream and blood curdling roars erupting from the direction in which he was headed. It wasn’t until he bounced off a giant black and red boulder that he even realised anything was occurring.
Looking up from the flat of his back, he noticed the large out of place boulder was not actually a rock at all, but was in fact a horrific and terrifying creature.
It appeared humanoid at first glance, and was at least 14 foot tall. It towered over him and wreaked of intimidation and evil. Its muscular form flexed, and stirring beneath its tinged skin was a gaseous mix of black and red, swirling and drifting like late evening mist on a lake.
It was an immense force.
The creature roared and beat its chest, each thump cascading ripples into the air. The devilish monster lunged at the nearest house and pulled a chunk of wall away, causing the building to collapse into nothing but dust. Stepping forward, the immense force began to magikly charge the rubble with the same sinister gaseous energy that appeared to coarse through its flesh.
Herzikiel was once again frozen only this time, by complete dread. He could not move. He couldn’t fix his stare on anything else other than the vile beast before him. It was for this reason that his fame and success would be brief. He would not live to sell another piece.
The immense force hurled the large wreck of the house at the poor and confused carpenter. As it flew through the air, time slowed, allowing him to notice every crack and bump of the bulk as it came crashing down above him. The rocks landed on his head, crushing it into his torso, which in turn forced downwards into his thighs, and eventually his feet. In this compressed form, his bones splintered and pierced through his skin. His organs turned to mulch. The power from the mystically charged rock caused his hands and wrists to explode out and off, shooting upwards into the sky like flares for a distressed ship. The immense force crouched down to the mess of the man smeared across the grass. Placing its hand into the pool of guts, it scooped a handful and brought it up to its lips to taste it. Fragments of Herzikiel’s bones were spat out as the creature grunted and huffed, before once more carrying on with its path of total destruction across the town.
The townspeople continued to flee from the immense force as it tore through their rustic homes and well-attended gardens. A pile of smashed novelty gnomes had accrued next to a large heap of dead bodies. The two mounds had much in common for the creature had treated the people of Tannoth like they were made of porcelain. Stacks of rubble framed the newly created landscape of garden ornaments and blood garnished corpses. The town of Tannoth was devastated and yet the beast was not finished. Aside from its bulking muscular physique (which seemed to allow it to dismantle any object in its way) the creature also demonstrated a fiery projectile ability which had set several trading carts and livestock ablaze. The smell of burning beef had filled the air as the giant continued to stomp and smash. Had they been basted in Aunt Fessie’s BBQ sauce then with all the commotion you might have mistaken the disturbance for the annual Tannoth Summer Fair. This was not the case of course, this was an absolute massacre and there was no tombola in sight.
A group of teenagers combusted violently as the creature launched its magical flames outward and down onto them. The screams pierced the environment with a shrill shriek.
The force continued its rampage as it hurled flaming trade carts into the nearby tavern, which caused the volatile ethanol mixtures to explode. Barrels of Old Tomley McGinnery’s Scabs and Footsore Paste Based Beer had ignited upon impact and sent the roof of the much favoured public house, hurtling to the heavens. The sign of the tavern, known to locals as The Nobody Inn, ironically landed on its owner, Greg Baxely, leaving him with no body and just a severed head which rolled down the hillside along with the remnants of beer barrels.
Its last vile act was to climb on top of the well and laugh as it squeezed out an intoxicating stench. The defecation was like a tainted molten rock that poured into the town's water supply and turned the famous well into a container of black sludge. Once the creature had completed its exercise it left, cleared the scene, the only evidence of its existence was the melting and fiery rubble that lined the streets of Tannoth. A few thunderous steps sounded out as it charged off into the distance and although each earth shattering pulse could be heard across the town, the people were not concentrating on its departure. Their attention lay with the charred remains of their loved ones and incinerated livelihoods that were slowly collapsing around them.
The Eldritch Chronicles
Explore the continent of Ulderheim, its ancient daemon infested history and the crazed gods that rule the mortal and near-immortal races.