Bardic - November 2018
A Poem of Avareti, in Balanced Numerology
Her aid They implored
With Her, it was defeated
Welcomed, exulting in the serpent’s demise
This family was Her fantasy! Such ecstasy!
Another great battle, perhaps a reprise
From Her, siblings retreated
Her pleas left ignored
A tetrad of the Leviathan
Inspired by various sources, of thoughts and experiences throughout these trying times.
By Aymah Adesso
Doubts of a young hunter
We watched amidst agitation.
I was brought up with a dhurive.
Grown to be a swift hunter.
Fast, to run along the wind.
Sharp, to never miss a trail.
In this ancient barrow,
we stood, in the shadows.
As voices called our name,
we stepped back.
We were supposed to be brave.
We were supposed to be swift.
We didn't answer the call.
And the seal - it broke.
Once verdant with Dendaric energy,
now it lay shattered.
once shieldbark, but no more.
Would it have changed things?
Prayers of a devoted Indyuk
With what haste it built,
with such fury.
From a tremor to a quake,
from a breeze to a storm.
And then You, You tore the tundra,
cracked our Great White.
Ought not to name You, we,
elude Your name, snake,
else power to You.
But to our Dreamer we turn.
Akkyla, we pray.
Shall this beast wake You?
Will Your Dream end,
for our own to begin?
Is this the Great Morning?
Perhaps this is what is coming,
Your Dream finished, at last,
for us the Nightmare, instead.
Already the White warns us,
warped creatures, they roam,
free they are, while we hide,
They wreck our beloved tundra.
and to Tonrar, we pray,
hold our Nuunva safe.
Keep above our ceilings.
do not let Alaqsii drift,
that the floes remain.
Spare the mugyik and the faex,
shelter the orgyuk and the tinyok.
Guard Your gifts, Qyutituk.
Grant us ice and snow to tread on,
to us use Muupisii's teachings,
so that we honor the spear.
To Alaqsii's bounty we turn, too,
ice waters of treasure.
That we may hunt again.
To mourn at the Widow's Crack,
to ache one more time,
under Your watch, Kiittuu.
We cherish all pain,
even this violent one,
even if to Oosilik we go,
and all of us in time shall.
Spare us from the Nightmare, Akkyla,
that we remain Dream, we pray.
The Eye in the Nightmare
In a freezing bed I fall,
amidst violet sleep, intoxicated,
in my head a ringing buzz.
The dull marching sound,
blasting now in my ears.
The distant sound of battle,
now the cacophony of war.
They march toward me,
under a dark, tainted sky.
Warped, worn soldiers,
or something else.
I feel it in my bones,
it creeps deep in my gut,
torturing me within.
They surround me by the hundreds,
crawling maws threatening me,
rabid to shred me apart.
And the sounds, cutting my ears,
that disturbing scraping,
along my spine, I shiver.
The yowl of something dying,
consumed and agonizing,
over and over again.
What might have been seconds,
What I might have called frightening,
horrors from the depths of my mind.
And then, there it watched me,
boring through me.
Glimmering and primal,
raw and ruthless.
Like a dark, gaping abyss,
inescapable, the eye.
Life as we knew it
all of you who had no faith.
The name of the Father,
but a whisper in past times,
as if He had never been.
As if only a rumor,
told in stories,
once every other decade.
Many saw Him,
not a speck of doubt remains,
In the minds of those old,
those who heard His name oft,
a spark was fueled.
A fire blazes now,
renewed conviction that He created us.
As the Moon shattered,
so did all our resistance.
As the beast was repelled,
cast back in its prison,
the lock on our disbelief unraveled,
stomped on by His might.
And yet as our awe heightened,
much more was to overwhelm us still.
The torment of our broken Moon brief,
for there we saw it,
a great unknown,
knitting it together.
As if merely a broken vase,
like a curious puzzle,
pieced back in minutes.
Who, or what, has done this?
Once only whispered, Varian,
Our faith resurges.
But is He the only one?
Such might, could it be,
anyone else's but His?
He, Whom with the flick of a wrist,
Wrests divinity into being.
Nothing anymore as it seems,
tables have turned,
And in what little we perceive,
in our small world,
in our limited scope,
we no longer whisper with doubt,
but speak His name, Varian -
and wonder, curious,
the name of Another.
25th of Lanosian, 475 MA
Many, many events have transpired since my last entry. The world grew to
know a grave threat, one which even our Pantheon feared. I dare not
write Its name, lest I anger the Gods or awaken the Leviathan itself.
This beast was as long as the ocean, Its maw could swallow a village
whole. Its gaze... my Gods Its gaze. My hand trembles at the thought.
When I first learned of the threat, the first thought that crossed my
mind was of if my Lord, Lord Damariel, would survive. I know He and Lord
Severn are the two strongest Gods I know. Even so, the stories of this
Beast were enough to make us all, Gods included, quake in our boots.
The city of Spinesreach drafted a document that would serve as a
temporary peace treaty for all the cities, while we all dealt with the
threat. Enorian and Bloodloch agreed easily, yet Duiran held onto their
hate for the Shadow. They delayed the inevitable by holding a vote,
which was delayed in itself. Lord Slyphe came down, speaking to us all.
They told us what we needed to hear, that even Lord Damariel was working
with His Brother, who is a Shadow god. Even so, there was still lots of
discontent around the city. I took it upon myself to try and help
everyone see why we needed to help, and why we -needed- help. My manners
may have been... unconventional, but it was getting the job done.
After awhile, each seal holding the Beast in would shatter. Lord
Damariel would do His best to hold them closed, but all He could do was
slow them down. One seal called for us to feed it with blood from the
animals we hunt. Each city organized hunting parties, and groups to
butcher the creatures and run the buckets of blood to Lobyl. We
surprised even our Gods above, who knew not how capable we were of
After that seal eventually broke, there remained only one seal. Crafted
from the combined efforts of all of our old Pantheon, when it was at its
strongest, it was the most powerful seal of them all. However, the
Goddess Omei wanted to free this Beast, or perhaps It was manipulating
Her to free It. Either way, She stole Lord Damariel's leg, which was
crafted of the same material as the seal, so she could let loose this
Serpent on all of Sapience. Us mortals caught her, as Lord Damariel
arrived. I felt overly relieved to see His graceful figure striding
across the West Tundra, albeit with a slight limp. He handled his Sister
fairly, taking back his leg and keeping the Leviathan at bay for a few
Now, reader, the next part I tell of may not be the most accurate, but
you must forgive me. I was resting during these events.
The Serpent, that vile, disgusting snake, eventually freed Itself from
Its prison. With It arose a great army of Dregs, and a Commander to lead
them. This army was no match for the Four Cities, and we dealt with them
swiftly and efficiently. We had crafted bombs, and little
thingimawhatsits to heal us as we went.
Our Pantheon arrived in a great show of force, Lord Damariel and His Kin
doing what They could to smite this Beast. Yet Their combined power was
not what it used to be. The Leviathan let loose a roar which rippled
across Sapience, killing a great many of its Creatures. This roar
reached into the heavens, destroying our moon.
At the sound of this destruction, Varian, the Creator of all things,
came down to save us all. He struck the Beast, knocking it unconscious,
and trapping It back in Its prison. He turned to our Pantheon, and spoke
to Them of how They had failed us. "How will You protect them if You
cannot fight one beast?" He may have said. "I will create another of
You, One who will fight these Beasts." And so, He turned Lobyl into a
god, Bamathis the Warlord. I have met Him, when He was a mortal. Quite
an imposing man, He was. I haven't seen Him since, yet it would be nice.
There are still creatures lying dead around Sapience, and it is our duty
to find them and burn them on a pyre. I am fond of walking, yet with all
these corpses I find myself unable to journey far. Nothing escaped the
Serpent's wrath, everything was affected even if it wasn't killed. I
don't know what will become of us, or if this event will just go down in
history as yet another cataclysmic event that was diverted.
I cannot stand the fact that it took such a devastating event to bring
the cities together, and that even now they are splitting apart. I have
spoken my opinion many a time, and it will do me no good to write them
here. Perhaps we can work together in the future, as we have done now.
There is great opportunity for the Four Cities, if we can look beyond
our petty squabbles and our religious hatred of each other.
Your Brother, The Axeslinger
It was a busy night at The Shining Trident, the day's work done, and every table occupied by merchants, fishermen, arena folk, and even adventurers trying to relax and take their minds off their troubles. It was a scene all too familiar to Brock - he was practically a permanent fixture in this establishment, handing out contracts to adventurers braving the Vortex.
But tonight was different.
For the number of people in this common room, it was awfully quiet. A palpable, sobered atmosphere that he could see in many of the patrons' faces. Even the boorish drunks laughing and singing. Seemed like everyone knew what was coming. How could you not know? The distant rumbles and roars from the distant tundra. The stories the adventurers brought back with them of the dreg hordes. The horrors of the Nightmare. The whispers of an Albedi god sealed beneath the ice. The Leviathan. Every Howling for the past few weeks, Brock had seen adventurers file into the tavern, weary, bloodied, and some even a little bit scared. But it was never more apparent than in the faces he'd seen in the past few hours. This whole ordeal was nearing its end.
And for some adventurers, it seemed like they were facing the prospect that they might not come back from this fight. The final battle to protect Sapience from the Leviathan.
One such adventurer walked into the tavern just then, and Brock found himself straightening up in his seat at the bar. A pretty thing, she was. A regular, too, that would stop by and have a drink and a chat. She was covered almost entirely in heavy armor, save for her head, and she wore the same grim, tired expression all the other adventurers he'd seen today had.
He mustered a smile and gestured to the empty stool next to him as he ordered her a drink. “Hello, miss. Couldn't stay away? Have a seat.”
She smiled back at him. “You always use that line,” she noted wryly, shifting her armor and weaponry as she took as seat in the offered stool.
“Well, you've not asked me to stop yet,” he pointed out.
His response was met with an exasperated sigh, and a rolls of her eyes, but from the look in her eyes, the lightness was appreciated. She smiled faintly at Brayth as a drink was slid across the bar to her, a morose silence settling in once more.
Brock allowed time for everything to settle in before he asked her a question he already knew the answer to. “Heading up north with the rest of these fellas to fight the dreg army?”
The woman took a sip of her drink and nodded grimly, but voiced no verbal reply.
“How long?” Though he didn't say it outright, his tone implied the question of 'How long have we got left before the world might be destroyed?’
The woman's shoulders dropped, and she let out a deep sigh. “Soon… Perhaps a few hours from now. Maybe sooner. The dreg have been appearing before Howling - sooner every time. The seal won't hold much longer.”
Brock took a drink from the flagon he'd been nursing for the past while. He grimaced. . “Enjoying one last drink?”
She lifted her flagon to her lips, only to stop halfway, shooting Brock an odd look. And then she let out a laugh, shaking her head. “A last drink? No.” She took a long, deep sip, her eyes fluttering shut as she savored it. “I don’t intend for it to be the last. I’m...not going to say any goodbyes. I don’t like going into anything thinking it might be the end, even if it really might be.” The armor-clad woman tilted her head, offering him a warm smile. “Have to have a little hope, right?”
He didn’t say anything to that. Not that he didn’t believe in hope or anything, but in his line of work, he’d seen far too many fresh and eager faces accept contracts from him only to never return. Shrugging, he returned to his drinking, though his gaze didn’t drift far from the adventurer. “Well, if it does end up being your last, I’m definitely not letting you be the one to pay for it, miss.”
Brock slid a few coins across the bar - more than enough for several drinks rather than just one. The woman’s mouth opened to protest, but he waved his hand in dismissal. He wasn’t going to let her get a word in edgewise.
He smiled cheekily, even as Brayth slid a fresh set of drinks in front of the pair. “Tell you what, miss,” he went on to say, leaning in towards the woman. “If you and the rest of the Accord or whatever you’re all calling it manage to emerge victorious, you can return the favor and buy ME a drink. Sound fair?”
She pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes at him, but eventually she smiled. “You, sir, have a deal.”
Brock smiled triumphantly. “Don’t go dyin’ on me, alright? I want that drink.”
She shook her head and rolled her eyes again, but made no further protests.
The night wore on, and more drinks and conversation were had until the woman left along with many of the other adventurer patrons. The call had come to gather for the final battle. The Shining Trident was close to empty now save for the usual barflies like himself.
He found himself staring out one of the windows towards the northern horizon, watching the skies and listening to the shouting between the gods, all while in the process of downing another drink.
There was a massive rumble as the ground shook, and in the far off skies he could see the titanic shape of a serpent emerging from the earth beneath the distant tundra.
The Leviathan had awoken.
Brock watched the battle unfold in the sky in a drunken stupor. Watched the gods attack in a coordinated effort, his flagon clenched tightly in his hand. “C'mon, kill that son of a unicorns.”
But it was all for naught. Each god was repelled one by one.
And then he heard the warning from the Earthen Lord.
“COVER YOUR EARS, MORTALS!”
Despite having had more than a few drinks and being plastered beyond belief, he stuck his fingers in his ears to block out all sound. But it didn't prepare him for what he heard next.
A bellowing roar echoed across the land, shaking the earth. Even though dulled by his plugged ears, the sound echoed through his head, and he could feeling himself screaming as his brain pulsed and throbbed from the assault.
And then it all went dark.
He wasn't sure how long he had been out for, but when his senses returned to him, he could hear voices.
“Hey! This one's still alive over here!”
He felt the floorboards beneath him shift and creak, and the shadow of a presence kneeling over him.
“Hey, you alright there? Say something if you can hear me.”
Brock cracked open his eyes and found himself greeted by a familiar sight. He was lying on the floor of the Shining Trident in the same place he'd been standing before he passed out. Kneeling over him was another familiar sight. She looked tired and battle worn, but it was the same woman he had had a drink with before the Leviathan showed up.
She smiled wearily down at him, offering a hand up. “Hey, Brock. Good to see you're still alive.”
Brock flashed her a weak grin. “Nice to see you still alive too, Miss.”
He'd have said more, but when he took her hand to sit up, his head spun and throbbed. It felt like his brain had liquefied. The sight of another man lying on the floor nearby caught his eye. His body was in the process of being hauled out by another adventurer. From the blood seeping from his ears and the lack of movement, he was very much deceased. And he wasn't the only one in the tavern. There were a few others. Brock was one of the lucky ones.
The woman noticed his gaze and smiled grimly, but then nodded to the tankard still clutched in his hand. “Having one last drink?”
He followed her gaze to the tankard and let out a laugh. “Nah, Miss. You still owe me one!”
The woman laughed a little in return. “That I do. I'll buy you a round once I'm done here?” she offered, tilting her head towards the other bodies in the tavern. “I think I could use a nice, strong one after this.”
Brock flashed her a grin. “I'll help ya out.” He tried to get up again, only for his head to throb some more, and he collapsed onto his back. “Just, uh...give me a minute here.”
The woman smiled and shook her head, and then patted him on the shoulder before leaving his side to help finish clearing the rest of the bar of the dead and checking on other survivors.
Brock squinted into the tankard in his hand. There was still some alcohol left in it. No use letting a drink go to waste.