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The Stained Hood

Another night of merrymaking was in procession in a crowded tavern in a town whose name no one remembers. Laughter, story-telling, and idiotic babbling filled the air as old and new friends shared in good times. At the bar there sat a young woman covered in a red hood, never stopping her intake of alcohol. Across her skin were a number of claw marks and bites; signs of great conflict and an attitude to match. No one dared to come near her, except one foreigner. She sat next to the intimidating figure without an ounce of fear. The woman in red seemed to ignore her presence as the liquor continued to pour down her throat. Finally, the foreigner spoke,

“Seems to me that you are the only one sulking on this fine night. Come, why not smile a bit and share in the partaking of stories. Tell me your name and the most exciting of tales. The sky is alight with the stars and moon that…”

Suddenly, the girl in the hood smacked the foreigner backwards against a nearby wall. She glared menacingly at her victim with her red eyes alight before going back to her drink. Seemingly foolish, the foreigner rose up and sat next to the hostile woman. A chuckling emitted from the hood before the woman within it spoke aloud,

“Stubborn, I like that. You want to hear a tale then huh? Let me tell you one, but I guarantee you that there will be no laughter found within it. I am only known by the name of Red for my past name I do not deserve. It started upon a night like this, I was out riding upon my silver horse with my white hood when out of the shadows a werewolf pounced upon the two of us. I tried to defend us, but I was knocked back by the strength of this creature. Hours crept by as I lay in darkness, only awaken by the rays of the coming morning. When I awoke I found only bits of my beautiful horse left. My anger and sadness knew no bounds as revenge became my only thought. I marched to the temple of the goddess Epona and demanded for the high priestess, my grandmother. The attendants worked fast to retrieve her as she appeared before me in a long gown with a moonstone carved into a horse’s head. She looked at my questioningly before asking,

‘My dear granddaughter, what is the matter? Have you finally come to your senses and asked for forgiveness from the great goddess? It is only then will you find peace in your parent’s death and see the purpose that is meant for you.’

I scoffed at her before responding, ‘No, I came to make you aware of what the goddess that you revere has done to us. As you know, she took my parents away many moons ago but gifted us a silver horse. For a while, I was happy with the gift that I had been giving, but sure enough your goddess had to ruin that too. A werewolf, a creature of the moon, attacked me and killed my beloved horse. What do you have to say to your goddess now?!’

At first, she seemed unfazed by my news, making me even angrier, but then she did something I never thought I would see. She grabbed her necklace and shattered it against the ground. That is when our quest for revenge began.”

Red took a few more sips of alcohol as she paused from her story. The stranger was stunned by the words that came from the woman’s mouth. She asked,

“Revenge on a goddess? How foolish could you be? The gods and goddesses are not to be trifled with. How are you even still alive?”

“Shut up and I will tell you.” Responded the harsh woman. After finishing what seemed like her eighth glass she continued, “First, we wanted revenge against the werewolf, the goddess was afterwards. We knew that we needed at least a third to even attempt to kill the beast. So, we came to this very tavern and hired the services of mercenary who used only axes to kill his victims. The three of us then headed into the forest to hunt for the beast. It took days to even get within the right area to find its den. In that time, the three of us bonded and partook in merrymaking much like those around us tonight. But like most good things, it came to an end. We were attacked in a flash by the beast. Without a second thought, it killed my grandmother by biting down on her throat. I screamed in anger as I went after the beast with no plan. It easily pinned myself underneath it as it tore into my skin. I would have been dead if it were not for the mercenary. He threw three axes into the side of the beast, making it come towards him. I went towards my grandmother’s body and found the shards of the moon necklace she once wore. Then I heard a dying scream as the body of the mercenary lay cold and bloody upon the ground. It was just me and the horrid beast left to battle. I took up one of the axes and grounded the moonstone into the axe head. With my weapon ready, I charged forward once again to kill the wretched beast. It moved to the side, barely escaping my swing as it latched onto my arm with its teeth. My other hand was still free as I chopped again and again into the beast. It died after the first two strokes, but I did not care. Over and over again I struck it until my white hood was stained red. As I looked at what was left of the body, it began to change to a human form. Horror struck my face as I saw the dead body of my father upon the ground.”

Red had to stop for a moment, her past causing her to be visible shaken before grabbing a whole bottle of wine and guzzling it down her throat. The room had stopped their fun and were listening intently to her story. She noticed this as she gave them a murderous glare, to which they all returned to their fun. After a few deep breaths, she continued,

“As I stayed at bended knee at my loss a beam of light from the moon above came down in front of me. A being formed from the radiant glow as a goddess stood before me. She kept her hair in a pony tail and had a riding hood of silver around her shoulders. Across her shoulder, she wore a belt of moonstones that glowed within the dark night. She looked at me with a disappointing gaze while she spoke,

‘What have you done? My dear you were always so headstrong, but this is beyond that characterization. Anger blinded your judgement and reason. Your father was so close to finishing his sentence before you struck him down. Now, you have lost him forever.”

I was stunned by the figure in front of me, not because she was a goddess but because I had recognized her.

‘Mom?’ I asked questioningly.

The goddess sighed as she replied, ‘Yes, my dear daughter. You see you were only half right about when you thought the goddess took your parents. When I committed myself to your father and him to me, we were told by the other gods not to reveal my identity to anyone. For many a year we both kept silent of my true nature until one night in that dam tavern. Your father was with some of the other men in the village who began to mock me. They said horrible things such as I was a whore looking for redemption by the goddess Epona by becoming a priestess. Due to anger and alcohol, your father rose to defend my honor revealing who I was. Of course, this broke the vow we made to the gods and he was immediately struck by the moon. He transformed into a werewolf and killed all around him before running into the forest. Many moons passed, and he hid within the woods; not killing another soul until he felt the pull of the silver steed, the one I gave you. Another test by the gods to see if you were worthy of being in my presence again. This you failed miserably. Had it not seemed strange that he did not kill you at the same time? You were knocked unconscious with no way to defend yourself, easy prey to anyone. Worst of all you dragged two others to their deaths because of your anger. My dear I am sorry, but you must be punished. Henceforth from here on you will guard my temple as the beast that drove you to such foolishness.’

The moon struck me with such power it overwhelmed my mind. All I could hear was howling and feel a hunger for flesh. That night was the end of me as a human for now I am cursed to walk this earth as a werewolf until my sentence is finished. Serving as the guardian of the temple of Epona just a short distance away.”

With her tale finished, she had finally stopped drinking from the alcohol she had been given. Her eyes had softened from her tale from the fury she had started the conversation. The foreigner smiled as she talked to werewolf,

“So, you are the woman I have been searching for. I am going to need your help Red. The gods have decreed only one that has been bathed in moonlight can defeat the foe I face now.”

Red plucked an eye brow up at the foreigner, intrigued by her offer. Before agreeing to anything she asked one question,

“What’s your name?”

A small smile appeared on her mouth as the foreigner responded, “Aurora.”

Item Inquiry

Item Inquiry: Powder of Enttaus

Created by crushing while combining moonstone and moon salt, this powder can be used to remove an enchantment. This is only in the case of something that limits the patient from a spell done by another. The ailment can only be cured with the infected area being powdered with this strong medicine. During the Fang War, it was originally created to counteract the assault of the Knights of the Round Table, these mere humans given a magical network by Merlin. This new medicine proved invaluable during the conflict, saving many lives from horrible spells that were designed to be cruel towards werewolf and vampire kind.

Item Inquiry

Item Inquiry: Clay of Erhol

A suggestive name by the Moon Claw tribe considering the actually substance is more paste-like in appearance and texture. This unique mixture is made from a powdered mix of selenite, moonstone, labradorite, and opal combined with sap from both the birch and alder trees. However, it only takes form when exposed to the moon or shot with a blast of moon/primal energy. As for the purpose of this medicine, it is to reform tissue and organs lost in battle and has the ability to work on all species. For example, a goblin has his arm blown off in battle. If gotten to quick enough, the Clay of Erhol can reform the lost limb with no side effects. The only way to tell the difference from before is the gleam of silver that will show when the scarred area is exposed to moon light.

Item Inquiry

Item Inquiry: Densan

Silbermond, as discussed before, reacts to moonlight and/or the primal energy released by werewolves. What happens when the injury is given by a fellow werewolf using this energy? The medicine is not strong enough to tell the difference between the healer’s power and that radiating off the wound. In order to remedy this, the healer grinds wolves’ teeth, claws, and hairs into a powder. Then they slowly pour the dust in evenly, controlling the flow with their hand. If done correctly, a puff of silver should arise from the concoction. With this complete, one had made the medical potion known as Densan.

Item Inquiry

Item Inquiry: Medallion of Howling Winter

Much like the Medallion of Moon Claw, this was given to a group of werewolves on the Matriarch’s death bed. The tribe that formed around it obtained the power of her mighty breath. The wearer of this item is given stronger ice powers and a more precise and powerful control of blizzards; so much so that they can cover entire lands with a single howl that sounds like that of a thousand. In addition, their body feels no effects from the cold even if they are encased in ice. Meaning their muscles do not tighten like other beings in the snow. This allows for them to move much quicker than their opponent who seems to move like a slug to them. Add in the fact that the Howling Winter tribe has mastered being silent on snow and you have a deadly combination. Beware the chief that wears a necklace with a pendant made of pure ice snowflake on which is carved a wolf howling. One cannot mistake this object for nothing else with the string around the neck decorated by claws.

Item Inquiry

Item Inquiry: Medallion of Moon Claw

Long ago when the Matriarch was upon her death bead, she passed on her power to her children by way of four medallions. Each tribe formed around these objects and were gifted powers from the energy that radiated from it. However, whoever wielded the medallion was granted far greater abilities that almost rivaled that of the Matriarch herself. In particular, the medallion of Moon Claw grants the wearer healing from any injury instantly. Much like the properties of Silbermond, the injuries they do sustain glow silver and pale like the moon before it becomes healed. There is no need to focus on the area or do any preparations necessary unlike other medicines.  This becomes a problem for their enemies that cannot seem to stop an unrestrained assault.

In appearance, the crescent shape medallion has three slash marks behind the depiction of the moon. It is made of a white metal as a ribbon of evergreen is used to hang it around the wearers neck. When the medallion is active, it will glow a pale light color. Only a member of the Moon Claw tribe can use this item while all others will have only a fashionable accessory. Never be found wearing this precious artifact without the tribe’s permission or you might just end up losing your neck.

Exploring New Lands

Exploring New Lands: Pruina

Pruina, the land of blistering snow and covered in slippery sheets of ice, is found North of Fabulum across the mountain ranges that surround the frost bitten land. To the West is a vast forest of snow-covered pines where the Howling Winter tribe hunts their prey.  Once one travels through the trees, over roots, and trudges through the snow. After what seems like an hour, they will arrive at a series of caves. In the center of these is a large bonfire where many of the werewolves can be found talking and feasting around it. Behind this, is the largest cave that is covered in a wall of icicles. A doorway has been carved into it with a flap of deer skin that covered the entrance. Upon this is painted a symbol that showed a wolf howling and is outlined by a snowflake, the symbol of the tribe. In this cavern, the tribe will meet to discuss issues plaguing them. If you happen to be a prisoner of the tribe, you are led to a side cavern, away from the main part of the village and the warm fire. Once inside, your weapons are placed in a metal box before being led to a set of jails cells further down the hall. This is a better alternative then how most end up. If you find yourself in the woods with a storm that seems to be howling, you better duck or your head will roll from their silent kill.

In the center of Pruina is a long valley where several small villages of humans can be found. They are protected by the Zimkon, where there home city is found in the far North. Made entirely of ice, the leader sits upon his throne in a castle. Several swirling, frozen fountains lead up to the building, where curvy three towers look over the city. Decorated with such splendid sparkling ice and snow that the sun that rises sparkles magnificent colors unto the land. As for the city, it weaves in and out of caverns with its thick walls of ice that not even an ax could make a dent in, thus why they are protecting while hugging the mountains with their front gate being guarded at all times. Like most cities, there are market places, homes that range of a simple one room or towering spires, healing centers, and schools where young Zimkon learn to control their powers.

Across the valley to the South is found the fortress of Mr. Frost. Originally invited to stay in this land after the Tech War, he was seen as a new protector for the people of Pruina. So much so, that the Zimkon helped build his fortress. Three layers of thick ice walls protect the inner sanctum from attack. Catapults and cannons litter the walls that Frost can activate with his powers with a flick of his hands. The inner building is dull to look at, a simple dome one door leading into it. One when approaches it by air, their are met by spikes of ice that emerge.

Finally, to the East is found the Lake of Smeroza, a body of water with icy temperature that could cause frost bite and a quick death if no one is there to warm them. A thin layer of ice covers the water, meaning it is easy to break. If one travels far enough, the lake turns into the Sea of Maremanes found in the land of Peractium, also known as the land of the dead. For this reason alone, the lake is a place to stay away from and is feared by many. Tread carefully if you ever found yourself upon it.