Know Your Enemy: or What’s an Elba Darvager?
(Riverhaven, Therengia: 8 Nissa 351)
This wayfarer does not often journey northwards, but things proved quite eventful when I did. When I set out from my home in Esouvar Deriel, I had anticipated a quiet visit. As a studious mage, I had hoped to delve once more into those books of lore housed only in Riverhaven’s Academy. But it was not to be.
It seems that the lands surrounding Riverhaven have been recently plagued by attacks of strange new creatures. Thanks be to Tamsine, the walls of this town have not been breached at the time of this writing, at least to the author’s knowledge. But just outside the gates, first along the pierwalk, and recently outside the gate of Nobles, invading creatures have threatened.
I was not present for much of the earlier invasion, so I will limit my account to the more recent one. At first, rumors abounded of goblin invaders, unlike our resident wildland gobs. It seemed initially of little concern, for what were goblins to fear? But the scrolls of deaths soon indicated that perhaps this was of more import than we realized. I and my companion, a cleric, soon went to see what aid we might offer. We found the Gate of Nobles strewn with bodies, and set to work, she rejuvenating and I harnessing. In time it seemed that things were settling down, and she returned to town, but it was just the beginning of the eve for me.
I stepped outside the gate, to be faced with countless citizens battling goblin warriors, goblin bowmen, goblin berserkers, goblin mercenaries, and goblin warlords. These creatures were clearly antagonistic, and certainly more organized than your typical goblin. They attacked in several waves, and slew a good number of adventurers. They also seemed a bit more alert than their counterparts, and a few of the goblins called out to each other. When it seemed they might face defeat, they unleashed their last effort. ‘Release them!’ one goblin cried. ‘Now?’ came the response. ‘Yes now, you doof!’ (and that is a quote, goblin informality of speech, not mine).
We knew that we were in for a challenge, and indeed, mutterings of ‘Thar gath!’ preceded an elba Darvager ambling in, and a great pounding headed our way indicated a horde of gelv cyclops. At the time, my only perception of these creatures was that both names sounded Gamgweth, and I knew that elba meant gloom, and darva meant hammer. Since the elba Darvagers did carry war hammers, I left my interpretation at that. But between the Zeng — bolts of lightning — of the elba Darvagers and the stomping of the gelv cyclops, many brave adventurers were slain.
In the end, Elanthia’s citizens prevailed, and it was not until after the fray was over that I was able to mull over the appearance of these creatures.
The gelv cyclops was described as:
Clothed in a patchwork hide loincloth the gelv cyclops is a frightful sight indeed. Nearly thirty feet tall and equipped with two huge, powerful forearms the cyclops is a very stout foe. Its most curious aspect, however, isn’t its gigantic size, but rather the lone eye which consumes most of its forehead. The eye seems to watch you no matter where you move.
The elba Darvager as:
The elba Darvager is a queer creature, a product of some ill union between insect and dwarf. It looks like an over-muscled dwarf except for an extra set of long black “legs” that dangle from its midsection and a smooth, charcoal colored shell that shields its flesh body. A great horn grows out from the top of the shell, perhaps to scare off other beasts. Despite the elba Darvager’s grotesque appearance there is obvious intelligence behind dark Dwarven eyes.
You notice that the elba Darvager is unnaturally quick.
It was only then that I realized…Darvager means, simply, Dwarf. Albeit not just a Dwarf, but Dwarven nonetheless. Who is our enemy, after all? What are these strange halfbreed creatures? Those of you who are Dwarven warriors, or any who strive to avoid raising blade against another of the Seven Races, perhaps need to think twice about who it is we strike. Perhaps it is merely akin to the struggle that I face when I, as an Elf, raise blade against another of Faenella’s progeny. I advance against the sprites and dryads, for they advance against me. I had to comb my memory to make certain, but the elba Darvager did indeed advance on me, prior to any attack made on it. Thus, they are certainly antagonistic, and quite lethal. But perhaps we ought not underestimate the fact that they are intelligent as well.
May Albreda bless us, and perhaps we will not again see these…creatures…if we may call them that, in the realms again. But my foreboding tells me that we have not yet seen the last of these strange creatures, who are so powerful that they can bring down adventurers with a single spell, and yet are captive to a goblin chieftain. Let Elanthia be aware, and let Elanthia think carefully about who we know, or do not know, our enemy to be.