Enjoy now a story from Entyl, focusing on the Ra’shan, our featured Race for the week. Hope you enjoy! Please let us know what you think in the comments.
Shadows flickered across the etched stone face of the pillar, the scent of burning tar twisting with the stench of decaying flesh and mud. The ancient guardian of the swamp stood silent vigil, carved eyes forever watching the waters that continued to churn and bubble with barely concealed life.
Crouched before the pillar, Kara’char placed the carved wooden bowl upon the mud before filling it to the brim with the blood from his pouch. Powdered root of the Shava tree joined a chunk of shattered genzite crystal as both tumbled into the bowl. After a moment, Kara’char reached into the bowl, letting the mixture coat his gnarled hands.
Blood dripped from his hands to feed the swamp as the shaman reached up and wiped his hands across the face of the pillar, talons finding the grooves with the ease of long practice. The words of the spirits tumbled from his jaw, spilling past blood stained fangs to call to those who had come before.
Their guidance was needed.
Settling onto his haunches, the Ra’shan shaman contented himself to wait. The spirits would answer in their own time and not that of mortals. Though Kara’char knew his time was limited and that the swamp would call him back to its embrace soon, he also knew that to do other than wait was a follow.
One could not compel the dead to speak. One could only ask.
Minutes passed by, then an hour. Still the ancient one waiting, hardly stirring. The torches burned down slowly, their shadows stretching and flexing, as if they too were calling for the spirits.
Suddenly the blood smeared on the pillar bubbled and burned before seemingly disappearing into the pillar, as though the stone itself drank in the power of life. The etched eyes took on a new life, glowing a dark, ominous red.
“Why do you call us, shaman?”
The voice hissed directly into the mind. One did not hear the ancestors. They felt them.
“Great ancestors. I come to give warning. Soon, many of our people will swell thy ranks. We return to war, to rescue those who had been taken and twisted. Cursed to be not of us and yet of our blood. I freely give of my body and the body of that which sustains life to ask for guidance and direction.”
He settled in to wait. As with all things involving the ancestors, it would be on their terms and their timeline. The feeling of their voice in his head almost immediately startled him enough that he almost toppled over, needing to use his tail braced against the ground to remain in position.
“We know of the struggles of our children and those who were once of us. We have watched over all that has befallen those who left the swamps. Many have suffered much at the hands of those who would wield magic to rend flesh and twist it into a mockery. Were we able, we could strike down those who had been warped.
“Yet they are no longer of us. They are no longer part of the tribe. Do with them what you will, but in this we cannot guide you.”
Kara’char felt the presence recede from his mind before fading from the pillar as well. The shaman heaved a sigh of loss, trembling for a moment. With another soft, hissing sigh, he pushed off his knees to stand. Reaching out, he took hold of the torch beside the pillar. There was no more need to cast light upon this site. He had what he needed, little though it may be.
The ancestors were leaving the decisions in his hand. Though it pained him to do so, he made the only decision he could.
It was time for war.
You can learn more about the Ra’shan here: