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Author Topic: Forgotten Fey - The Xura  (Read 2455 times)
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Spell Energy / Taint +12/-3
Posts: 715

« on: May 28, 2012, 12:40:11 PM »

The Xura –The Deep Ones, the Impure

64 Last Age: Our mining party had been missing for more than five days. All our searches had been in vain. Many believed that we’d finally been discovered by the Shadow and our clanhold would soon be under siege. As our fears grew, our clan elders met in heated debate. I could hear their voices raised in anger and accusation. The loudest of the voices belonged to our Loremaster arguing that we had to be sure and only they had the ability to know the fate of our miners.

Clearly divided, the elders called the people together and told them of the decision; the barrier would be lifted and the summons given. The oldest amongst us cringed with revulsion and disbelief. The rest were confused as twelve warriors took hold of the chains that held the barrier to the depths in place. As one they pulled and raised the stone some scant five feet from the ground. The air whistled as a dark shaft leading to the Mountain’s core was open for the first time in my short life.

I had only a short glimpse of the shaft before the warriors released the chain and allowed the rock to slam to the ground. I could feel a vibration throughout the clanhold and the dull echo of a boom beneath my feet. The warriors raised and dropped the stone five more times before finally lifting the stone and securing the chains. An ancient ritual had just been completed and now we waited, but for what I had no idea.

I stayed there for hours staring at the shaft but there was nothing. Like many I thought the ritual had failed and I could see signs of relief on the faces of many of the elders. It was late the falling day when we heard a thumping; six low rumbles of stone on stone - a response. Less than an hour later they emerged; pale, hunched creatures, with dark clawlike hands, and dark pupil less eyes. They were draped in black and what little skin I could see was the color of the long dead.  I’m ashamed that I backed away in fear.

Only our clan lord and the loremaster would approach them. The creatures spoke in an odd form of our language, asking why they’d been summoned. Our clan lord explained our need to find the miners or learn their fate. The creatures agreed that they could provide this knowledge if led to the site where the miners had last worked. I mastered my fears and joined those who escorted our ‘guests’ to the mine site. Once there the creatures formed a crude circle and chanted in low tones, slapping the stone with their hands. At the end they went silent their hands and faces pressed to the stone. Long minutes passed before their leader raised its head and said ‘crawlers in the dark, they’ve been taken by the crawlers in the dark.’

I didn’t know what they meant, but it was clear the loremaster and the clan lord did. The mine shaft was quickly sealed and the loremaster etched wards on the rock seals. We hadn’t been discovered by the Shadow, but by something else, even more dangerous. Our guests were escorted back to the hold. They and we were both anxious that they depart. We gave them gifts of fine tools and food and the clan lord thanked them for honoring our ancient pact. Without another word they left and we lowered the stone sealing the deep once again.

Description/Influence: The Xura are an ancient offshoot of the dwarven race; cruelly warped in form. Forever hunched with gnarled hands and poor vision, the Xura survive through their ability to commune with the earth, living deep below the Kaladruns in conditions that few others could abide. They have the innate ability to sense even the slightest tremor in the earth (tremorsense 120’). The rare Xura savant can commune with the rock similar to a Stone Tell spell and learn the secrets it holds. They can also sense weaknesses in stone and pure water from a great distance.

In the early days of the dwarven race, the Xura were more common and lived with their dwarven cousins. In those early days dwarven children that were born deformed were given to the Xura. Over time the Xura were seen as impure; a weak strain of the dwarven race closer to the Shadow corrupted goblins then to true dwarven stock. The Xura were driven away, forced to live in the dark recesses of the Kaladruns. It was not a proud moment in the history of the dwarven race.

The Xura, safe in their deep clan holds, have been almost unaffected by the Shadow’s offensive. Their numbers have grown over the ages and their civilization has matured with advances in lore and harnessing the natural forces of their homeland.  It’s been only in the waning years of the Last Age that the dwarves have attempted to re-establish contact with their lost kin; seeking allies and a means of survival.
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