Creature Story: Finding Ulfheid – Back in the ancient times, deep in old, unexplored forests there was an old town. You couldn’t really say a town, more like many trees with holes at the bottom that looked like doors. If you could get close enough, you would see little names carved next to them. I say “could” because you would have to pass through traps both physical and magical to get there. But if you were welcomed there, you would see the wonderful town and the wonderful citizens that lived in there. It was the city of Nightvale.
Optasia was one of the lucky ones to get there. She was a famous historian that lived in dream-plane and magicians and shamans from all over the world summoned her to tell her the stories of their people and ask information about their past. Being a creature from dream-plane made her immortal like the Gods, since they created her so their children could have someone to tell their achievements and their progress through time.
This time, the children of Alphiantis called her for the first time since ever to reveal their story. They were called “Marpens” throughout the world. You could rarely meet one since no one knew where they live, or where their city is. Their houses are inside huge trees and expend under them. Their workshops and stores are underground too, and that’s where you find Marpens most of the time during the day. Outside you could see little streets and fountains decorating the city.
Optasia was summoned near a big fountain. She looked around and saw so many cat’s ears and fox’s tails. She was thrilled!!! The Marpens had finally called her for the first time since ever! For those who haven’t seen any, Marpens are 1.30m tall at most, have cat’s ears and fox’s tail, they are furry and co exist perfect with animals. They live for 200-250 years.
The Shaman approached Optasia and offered her something to drink. He accompanied her to a private tent so they could talk. The other Marpens had never seen a humanoid or human before. They were scared and thrilled by her. Tall woman (1.75m), blond with hazel eyes, normal ears, and no tail!!”Hello great Optasia, keeper of the History” the Shaman said. “Hello to you too, great Olrum, son of Salbjorg. You finally decide to summon me! What a pleasure!” Optasia replied. “Dear Optasia, I think it’s time to inform you about my peoples’ progress through time. Let me begin our story….”
“20.000 years ago our great goddess Alphiantis created us, Marpens. She made us furry with cat ears and fox tail because she loved animals. She also made small so we could hide among the trees and protect ourselves.
As years went by, our beloved forest Ethlinn, was attacked by trolls. Filthy creatures that they only live to destroy anything beautiful they see. That was out first battle! With our tiny weapons and our tremendous courage we tried to fight them off, so we could protect our holy birth-land. Troll’s tusks tore us apart and their torches set our homes, our shelters on fire….
The fire…. It can be so useful to keep you warm yet so harmful if it gets out of control. The entire Ethlinn was burned down to ashes. We run north, up in the mountains and prayed day and night for Alphiantis to help us. She appeared to us scared and wounded. The balance between the Gods was lost. She told us were to go and hide. And then she was gone. Only centuries later, she reappeared to us again. But that’s for later.
Once again we started going up north, so we could passthe three ountians ahaead of us. With the star as our guide, Alphiantis told us to keep our course steady.
We couldn’t just go straight ahead to our destination. Being small made it difficult to confront other creatures bigger than us. That’s why we kept hiding in forests or caves. In one cave we witness the birth of the most dreadful species the world has ever seen until today. The birth of Orcs. Their God Thraal was compounding his blood with mud and created these awful creatures. The ground was shaking, the trees were yellow and the place was looking as if it was under a curse. We quickly left the place and kept moving up north. We were almost at the foot of the second mountain.
Little creatures like us lived there. They were a little bit taller than us and stockier. They seemed friendly enough. We were weak and devastated by the journey so we all agreed to stay. The days became weeks, the weeks months and the months years. Along with the Dwarf, as they called themselves, we build our town again in the trees and they lived in their cave. Happy ever after, right?
After 2.000 years they encountered the Orcs many times. Dwarfs were good at fighting with swords and axes. They were so good that their heavy armors din’t bothered them at all. Marpens on the other hand were good at traps and as the years went by, at magic. Great Magicians and Shamans were Marpens. Also some of the most skilled healers were Marpens too but Dwarf ones were stronger cause of their merciful God, Arathos, protector of Dwarfs. However, Dwarfs detested magic. They considered it unnatural and scary. As Marpen Magicians and warlocks became stronger day by day, Dwarfs were avoiding Marpens more and more. Soon, fear about magic turned into fights between us.
It was time to move once again and finally reach our final destination. With the old book as a guide which had the location and Alphiantis last words, we started moving north again (Olrum shows the old book to Optasia). Dwarfs even though they didn’t liked us as much, they helped in building carriages in order to transfer our belongings.
Back in the streets again, we tried open roads now. Being skilled and powerful again we were ready to make it to our original destination now. After the second mountain, a huge valley was laying ahead of us. It was beautiful! Little human villages were every now and then. Approaching them wasn’t easy since they had never encountered Marpens before. They tried to capture us and study us. Most of us escaped and went on to the last mountain to hide. 500 Marpen died or lived as pets for the rest of their life (Olrum is getting angry and spits the ground) Do we look like pets Optasia? No! We DON’T!”
Optasia asks for a break and for some water. She tries to remember if anyone throughout the years ever told her about Marpens travelling from one region to another. By weaving her hand a small portal opens and she puts her hand in. After searching she gets a book out. She spells some words in a language even the older warlocks didn’t understand and the book started changing pages. Then she put the book back inside and closed the portal with a single word.
“My dear Olrum, are you feeling a bit better now? I understand your history is not the happiest one.” Optasia asks kindly and folds Olrum’s shoulder. “I’m better, I’m sorry for my temper. It’s all about that spell that makes me like this!” He goes out of the tent to get some fresh air. Optasia is still wondering what is going on. The moment she was summoned in this place, she could feel magic all around her and couldn’t understand it. It was ancient magic, a bit familiar but she had never met it before. She turned and asked the Warlock Helwise “What is this magic Olrum talks about?”. “Oh, it’s something that both protect us and torture some of us like Olrum.” Optasia just stares Helwise with wide open eyes. Alphiantis’ children are still under torture? After all she did for them?
Olrum enters the tent, calm now and takes a sit. “So shall we continue?” “But of course my lovely Olrum!”. Olrum notices that Optasia is somehow uneasy despite her calm face. He thinks maybe she knows, so he decide to tell her everything.
“After regrouping with everyone who got away from humans, we went and hide into the mountain. The winter lasted longer than usual and it was colder than ever. During the winter we lost 500 more. Grief is a meaningless word to what we really felt. We start praying to Alphiantis for a month but she didn’t appear. We got desperate. At the end of the winter we started heading towards our new home. Hungry, sad, angry and afraid of losing more, we got off the mountain to enter the forest.
Pure, virgin forest we waiting for new residents. Ulfheid was the name of it. It is a really old forest, dating back to this planet’s creation. No one has ever got in here. Even if he did, he could never get out. A mystic power, like a shield, is guarding this virgin place. We prayed once more. Alphiantis showed herself. “Finally!” “Goddess guide us” “Please give us some mercy and lead us to our new home”… That is all you could hear from everyone when she appeared. But wait……Only one noticed her. She was pale, with white hair among her black curls. She lead the way while doing a spell in a language we never heard before.
We made it to this lake. That’s when she said her final words to us. She ordered us to never leave this forest. If any of us leaves it, he cannot come back. And the Arch-mage of each time should do a spell to keep us safe in here. Many Marpens left, but never came but as she told us. Every 150 years a new Arch-mage is taking the position of the previous one and does the spell. Every time he gets the same results. He remembers every single fact since our birth until today and hurts with all these memories. And our Goddess, our Alphiantis is nowhere to be found since then.
Optasia we summoned you to share these unbearable memories and ask you about Alphiantis. Where is she?”
Optasia looked so sad. She didn’t know what to say. Tell them the truth, or keep them in their safety of Alphiantis? They had to know some of the story, not all of it. “My dear Olrum, I’ll tell you what happened.”
“Back at the beginning of this planet, the Gods were fighting who will make the best race. Marpens were cute but not strong enough back then. Alphiantis tried to save you by sending you here. This forest, Ulfheid, is the creating she made to protect you and keep you safe from everyone. No one can get in here, cause it magically miss-directs you. But you can’t also get out too. Stay in here my lovely Marpens. Alphiantis sacrificed most of her power to keep you in here, safe. The memories you have Olrum is because everytime you cast that spell, you take a part of Alphiantis in you. And you have her memories. Even if she couldn’t help you that doesn’t mean she didn’t watch you over.”
Olrum thought about what Optasia said. He asked “But why was she sick? Is she ok?” “Just pray to her every day. Praying makes her stronger, she had a huge battle and she is hurt. I can’t go help her cause she can’t summon me. But please endure the pain and pray for her safety. It’s time for me to go, but first let me see her last words” Olrum gives her the book. It is written in a language Marpens couldn’t understand, but Optasia could.
“My lovely Marpens, I know you can’t read this but I have to tell you how much I loved you all as my children. I’m very proud of you and happy that you turned into great warriors. Unfortunately the other races on this world are mean creatures that want to destroy you. So I used all my power to make this forest. Hide in here my loves and my love will protect you. I know you will eventually want to get out, to see the world, but I won’t allow it. Only the strong ones will leave this village, but they will never return. They won’t have to, since I will erase all their memories since they were born, so they can run free out in the world and make great adventures. The rest of you will live happy until you get very old and wise. I hope you will still pray to me even after I die. Yes my loved ones. I’m dying. Thraal threaten me to either destroy you, or kill me. I’m going to meet my endless sleep. Goodbye my wonderful children. May the odds be with you.”
Optasia cried a little bit. She knew that Alphiantis had gone through all this. She went outside the tent were almost all of the Marpens were around. She bowed in front of them. She thanked everyone for letting her being there and opened her portal to go back to dream-plane. “My dear Marpens, keep praying to Alphiantis. She needs you…..” she said and disappeared through the portal.
Back in her house Optasia cried a lot. Alphiantis was the one who made her kind. She was one of the originals who created her. She also knew the sad truth about her. Thraal didn’t kill her. He was torturing her, and was draining her power as a punishment for hiding Marpens from him. She was alone, suffering and only the prayers of her children could give her the strength she once had.
Optasia, alone again, in her house full of books, was waiting for the next shaman or warlock or magician to summon her and tell her about their story, so she could write “The stories of Perarwan”