New Races Strut Their Stuff
(Crossing, Zoluren: 392 Nissa 357)
You limp into the Wren’s Nest after a long day of saving the world. Ah, how good it is to finally relax. You catch snippets of conversations as you pass through . . .
"Hello Baresh, let me tell you about…"
"Oui Baresh, pour the usual…"
Ugh.. it’s pretty noisy in here lately…
"Baresh my friend, a round of imaginary beers for my friends here…"
".. and the sun came out in the middle of the day!"
Even the corners of the Tavern seem busy today.
"..talked to Amiss…"
"…I have this rash on my…"
Thats it! You cant remain here any more, you have to rest! Bursting out of the door, you manage to find solace in a dark alleyway behind the tavern.
But lo, you are not alone. A man, dressed in strange attire, sits at a table playing chess (seemingly with himself), his bright green hair calling attention to himself.
"Howdy friend," the dusty old fellow says, "Name’s Moker. But you can call me Moker."
Moker takes one of the chess pieces and places it on an adjasent square, then switches seats and makes a move on his opponent’s side.
"Care to watch?"
You approach slowly, and take a look on the game. Moker seems to be at a stalemate with himself. Strangely, the chess pieces look somehow familiar to you. They are not chess pieces, thats for certain.
Ah! Now you remember! The figurines are the ones taken from the halls of choosing! Wait… there are four new ones that you have never seen before.
The figures are a wolf-man, a cat-person, a massive human, and a miniture elf. You take a look at each one in turn….
A deep, growling voice emits from the figure: "Rakash I am, the hunter who is happiest when he is with his pack. We live for the family, fight for the family, die for the family. No king can break us up, no god can destroy us. In ones and twos we may sometimes travel, but our happiness is complete when we are. The other races try to understand us, but cannot, for in their minds they are examining us in the singular. We discovered the truth long ago when we learned that we are strongest when united. Strength have I, and endurance, and speed. Whether I hunt with steel or with spell, all that matters is that I do what I do for the pack!"
The Rakash is of moderate height and seems to shift between a humanoid with a furry coat and a short snout and a Human with deep, soulful eyes. Both forms gaze at you with a combination of strength and loyalty, and there is a down-to-earth sensibility about this race present in only a few of the others. In its half-Human form, a short tail sweeps down behind the Rakash, stopping just short of the ground it stands on, and its ears are tall and curved, constantly twitching at the smallest sounds.
And then the feline-like one…
With a yawn, the figure stretches and rolls its head fluidly to the left to regard you. It purrs out, "Prydaen am I, the proudest and most graceful of all. Unwavering and fearless, I fight for what is mine…which is, of course, everything. My reflexes are by far the best of all the races, and I am certainly the most beautiful. Not brutishly strong, but then, what’s strength if you can’t hit anything? Magic is within my grasp, though I excel at the fighting arts. I hunt and stalk in the darkness, my footfalls soft and sure. When alone, I am the happiest."The smallest one there is next…
The Prydaen is about the same height as a Human with short, smooth fur covering its body that you at first mistake for skin. Bright, inquisitive slitted eyes peer out at you, and the Prydaen’s pointed and tufted ears are always twitching, as is its long tail. The glint of claws draws your eyes to its hands, but not for long. Raising your head to meet the Prydaen’s gaze, you find it hard to hold, and eventually look away, the Prydaen’s fixed smile silently laughing at you.
The figure speaks in a clear, light voice: "I am a Gnome, perhaps one of the smallest of all the gods ever created, but definitely the fastest, lightest, and the most nimble. Invention is my genius, but it is not my only skill. Let the others bash their heads against the world trying to make it do what it wants — we know the truth. Gnomes manipulate rather than force, persuade instead of pummel. If you want to undo a knot by hacking it to death, get a ‘Tog. If you want it unraveled, get a Gnome."The last one sits on the far side of the board…
You regard the small Gnome. Tiny in comparison to a Human or Kaldar, it is a shade shorter than the Halfling with an exuberance similar to that race, except that in the place of overbearing bubbliness is a razor-keen wit. The Gnome’s ears are slightly pointed, and its fingers are constantly twitching, as if it were eager to be doing something.
The figure chuckles as you gaze at it. "I am a Kaldar, though some consider me little more than a glorified Human. Obviously the originator of such thought was probably him- or herself a Human who was jealous of my strength and stamina. Humans may be diverse, but in combat they cannot hope to best a Kaldar. We are terrible to behold in battle, having been weaned on it since childhood. Cities cannot hold us — we laugh at the storm and sneer at those who would shiver behind walls during the winter. If you want to be raised soft or waggle your fingers at every shadow that makes you whimper, be born a Human or an Elf. If you want strength and determination, choose me!"The figures flicker with an erie light, and you look up to ask Moker how he obtained these, only to find him in the clutches of Brandewynn, who has him in her famous kentucy burbon hold!
An aura of mystery surrounds this tall, limber figure. While at first glance it seems little more than Human on a grand scale, the Kaldar is endowed with a stalwart spirit that reminds you more of the Dwarves. Sardonic humor lurks in its eyes, coupled with a sense of determination and unfaltering will.
"Got ya now, Moker!" she says, "These trinkets belong back in the Hall! Shame on you."
Without another word she scoops up the figurines and disapears in a plume of smoke with Moker behind her. Oh well. At least it’s quiet…